Data Mesh: Motivational Factors, Challenges, and Best Practices

by   Jan Bode, et al.

With the increasing importance of data and artificial intelligence, organizations strive to become more data-driven. However, current data architectures are not necessarily designed to keep up with the scale and scope of data and analytics use cases. In fact, existing architectures often fail to deliver the promised value associated with them. Data mesh is a socio-technical concept that includes architectural aspects to promote data democratization and enables organizations to become truly data-driven. As the concept of data mesh is still novel, it lacks empirical insights from the field. Specifically, an understanding of the motivational factors for introducing data mesh, the associated challenges, best practices, its business impact, and potential archetypes, is missing. To address this gap, we conduct 15 semi-structured interviews with industry experts. Our results show, among other insights, that industry experts have difficulties with the transition toward federated governance associated with the data mesh concept, the shift of responsibility for the development, provision, and maintenance of data products, and the concept of a data product model. In our work, we derive multiple best practices and suggest organizations embrace elements of data fabric, observe the data product usage, create quick wins in the early phases, and favor small dedicated teams that prioritize data products. While we acknowledge that organizations need to apply best practices according to their individual needs, we also deduct two archetypes that provide suggestions in more detail. Our findings synthesize insights from industry experts and provide researchers and professionals with guidelines for the successful adoption of data mesh.


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