Marketing, as a discipline, used to be tied to communications — a career for the 'creative' types. And while creativity is still very much a part of it, marketing has shifted to incorporate more scientific, technical and strategic responsibilities. 

With this shift, marketing professionals are now tasked with quantifying, executing, measuring and expanding a growth strategy based on customer-centric approaches and data-driven decisions. 

There's a simple solution, but it's not easy. Data analysis based on business goals needs to be embedded in each and every organizational process, so insights can automatically drive action, leading to improved metrics. 

Here’s where the newest OData comes into play. 

What is OData?

When a company wanted to access its data 10 years ago, the process usually consisted of fetching data from a database which was secured internally. You'd go through some tool interface or a compiled application of some sort (Java, C, etc.) using a database driver (usually ODBC or JDBC, OLEDB, ADO, etc.). 

Today company’s data lives on a home server, is synced to the cloud and mobile devices, and even lives in cloud based SaaS applications. Data is accessible as web services for everything ranging from favorite recipes to what's on TV tonight. 

The web has given rise to an enormous amount of data being exposed as a service, and getting to all this disparate data involves different APIs, different languages, using different points of access. This is where the Open Data Protocol (OData) comes in. 

By Microsoft’s definition, “the Open Data Protocol (OData) is a Web protocol for querying and updating data that provides a way to unlock your data and free it from silos that exist in applications today.” 

OData's aim is the same as other standards-based APIs seen over the years, but it also unifies and simplifies data access in a web based world.

How Does OData Affect CMS Platforms? 

Historically, data that was connected to a CMS platform via backend driver allowed users to poll for data. But as businesses of all sizes underwent digital transformations, this was no longer an option. 

Information on a website can no longer be static content. Systems need to be able to access data in real-time to help fulfill customers’ expectations. 

Static content is published to regular files on your server and handled using the simplest methods available to your web server. Dynamic content is generated for users at the time that they request the page. CMS platforms depend on dynamic content to provide a more customized journey for buyers. 

OData provides marketers with essential connectivity to their CMS platforms and other critical access points. More specifically, real-time data is being pulled from different systems and allows users to access the data where it lives, which in turn, results in more business critical decisions being made. 

OData has reached a point of maturity, positioning it to become the gold standard for connecting mobile, enterprise mobile, SaaS, Web and PaaS applications to a variety of data sources such as Salesforce, Google Analytics, Oracle and SQL Server. Real-time data access provides users with critical insights not previously available in the days of long lag times. Marketers can now see how information is flowing, security details and gain insight into trends that can ultimately impact business decisions and provide an important competitive advantage.

What’s Next?

As businesses look to facilitate access to their wealth of data, OData provides the ideal means to standardize the link between applications and the broad spectrum of enterprise data sources. Marketers get some much needed help simplifying their CMS platforms and dealing with the ongoing influx of data from a variety of sources.

Looking forward, OData will continue to become the standard protocol of choice for mobile and cloud apps in the increasingly agile enterprise, as it allows users to analyze data in real-time from any number of sources.

Title image "rest" (CC BY 2.0) by  greg westfall.