Customer expectations drive digital transformation across every industry. Key customer insights are identified directly from your database strategy.

Today’s consumers expect amazing feats of speed and service delivered through easy-to-use apps and personalized interactions. Modern conveniences, like online purchasing and curbside pickup, instant digital payments, and real-time ride sharing have taught consumers that the digital experience is paramount—no matter how big the company, how complex the problem, or how regulated the industry. Many of these consumer expectations have been accelerated by the pandemic, but the pandemic was not their cause; it was just the most recent catalyst.

Across industries, digital innovators have continued to disrupt existing business models using software and data to deliver seamless, personalized experiences. For example, omni-channel experiences in retail have become the new normal for many consumers. Financial services empower consumers to interact with their bank in real time through mobile or online apps. And everyday, millions of people book and pay for a rideshare through their smartphones, expecting service in less than a few minutes. Innovation at this scale and speed has triggered massive business transformation—even cultural shifts—further reinforcing the notion to consumers that anything is possible.

It is an exciting time, but it’s also a lot of pressure for businesses and development teams as consumers’ expectations continue to grow. Consumption of digital experiences have only increased, and businesses are moving rapidly to survive and thrive in this digital-first world.

Transformation hinges on new cloud database capabilities 

The first step to building all-new customer experiences is to select the operational database that will power your application and, in essence, run your business. Your choice of an operational database can either abstract away the complexity of delivering real-time application capabilities, empowering your development team to innovate, or it can bottleneck and degrade the application development process, eating up valuable time on tasks like maintenance and scaling.

When building your operational database strategy, keep in mind the following tenets of modern application development:

  • Downtime can make or break a business. New always-on business models require applications to be highly reliable and continuously available 24/7. With the accelerated consumption of digital experiences due to the pandemic, brands can longer afford their applications to go down or risk losing customer trust. 
  • Modern applications require unlimited scalability. This ensures your applications can serve users across the globe and can process the high volumes of data necessary to do so without suffering performance issues. As customer demand spikes and new products see rapid growth, applications need to be elastic and performant to ensure every user in every region has a positive experience.
  • Data is born in operational databases, but that is only the start of its lifecycle. In order to be successful, you need a strategy that unifies the entire data lifecycle by bringing together databases, analytics, and artificial intelligence / machine learning (AI/ML) in a continuous, connected environment.
  • You need more than just fully managed infrastructure to build quickly. Keeping your business agile and responsive in today’s new world means finding new ways to help developers be creative. You need solutions that not only free them up from hardware and software management tasks, but also use automation to speed up app development and deployment. 
  • Today’s world doesn’t stop and wait while you rebuild your database. Moving to the cloud shouldn’t derail your developers or send them back to coding class. You need a cloud platform that provides an easy on-ramp for migrating applications from legacy commercial databases, and that keeps up with the latest in open source tooling and development languages, so your developers can migrate from on-premises to cloud without missing a beat. 

Related: Accelerate your move to the cloud by following our three-phase journey and bring your databases to the center of your business

Six considerations for a database strategy in a changing world

Digital innovators understand the power of having resilient, mission-critical systems that can seamlessly scale and reliably run your business 24/7, while managing the total cost of ownership of these initiatives. The right database gives you the critical capabilities that make a difference in our increasingly digital world. Let’s take a look at some of the key components of a modern database strategy.

  1. Serve every user anywhere. Processes that once took IT teams weeks or months with on-premises systems, like scaling database resources across geographies, can now be handled in just a few clicks. With the growth of always-on customer culture, enterprises face competitive pressure to deliver positive experiences to every user across the globe.
  2. Deliver high availability and resiliency. For mission-critical systems, there’s little room for error, and a highly available cloud database can ensure a certain amount of operability even when a data center or instance becomes unavailable. To meet the heightened expectations of digital users, organizations need to be able to quickly recover from an outage or emergency and maintain persistent operations.
  3. Incorporate automation. When a cloud database is highly automated, IT teams save time and money on tasks like scaling, back-ups, and patching, which also reduces human error and shrinks security risk by limiting unnecessary access by team members. Developers can iterate and deploy quickly through automated provisioning and management that simplifies the process for creating, modifying, cloning, and duplicating database servers.
  4. Prioritize portability and open standards. Cloud databases can enable an organization to access, copy, move, and reuse data across multiple applications, platforms, and environments. This breaks down data silos, unlocks more power of your data, prevents vendor lock-in, and makes the best use of your various products and systems. This allows enterprises to meet the growing demands of data sovereignty for easier and stricter compliance.
  5. Security should be paramount. With the new level of sophistication of bad actors, and new stringent data protection and privacy standards, security and privacy have become fundamental to the survival of a business. Your database strategy should go beyond baseline security methods and include robust measures such as secure-by-design infrastructure, built-in data protection and replication, and multi-layered security. Your data security and governance procedures need to work hand-in-hand to protect your organization and allow you to innovate safely.
  6. Cost efficacy. Fully managed cloud databases do more than save enterprises money on database administrators and maintenance—with highly customizable settings, they deliver cost savings for their target use cases and workloads. Whether it’s a high-throughput consumer application or an enterprise business intelligence application, cloud databases deliver optimal performance at lower cost.

With the right components, an operational cloud database can power your applications to meet the growing demands of our increasingly digital culture, reliably serve customers across the globe, and help you respond more quickly and easily to unexpected conditions.

Take the next steps. Databases are the catalyst for business agility and efficiency. Migrating your databases to managed services on Google Cloud ensures you can deliver innovative customer experiences faster.

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