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State Agency Data Challenges: NoSQL to the Rescue

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3 minute read
Back to blog
3 minute read

In our last blog, we pointed out that relational databases—technology that isn’t able to keep up with the pace of changes and demands of data—fail to meet clients’ needs, are expensive to manage, can be more vulnerable to breaches and more. Also, your data is stuck in silos and you cannot get a 360-degree view of the data to better meet your customers’ needs.

It’s much better (and more cost-effective) to pick a tool that’s built to address these challenges.

In this blog, we will make the case for multi-model NoSQL databases as the answer for your state agency’s data integration headaches—including some success stories from the field.

NoSQL for the Win

A key feature of a multi-model NoSQL database is its ability to evolve with application requirements—as requirements change, the data model must also change. This is a problem for relational databases because the data model is static. A NoSQL database fully supports agile development because it doesn’t statically define how the data must be modeled. The data model is defined by the application model. NoSQL defers to the applications and services as to how data should be modeled. So, NoSQL features the flexibility and agility needed to meet those data demands.

Also, in today’s fast-paced data environment, databases must be able to support an ever-increasing number of users and data. They have to scale to maintain performance, and they have to do it efficiently. NoSQL databases have the ability to scale more effectively by deploying no more hardware than is required to meet the current load and scaling on-demand, without downtime. They are easy to install, configure and scale, and they ingest data quickly.

In addition, as state agencies are well aware, customer engagements increasingly are taking place online and on mobile apps. So, availability, accessibility and security are major concerns. These mission-critical applications must be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without exception, and must protect critical information. Delivering 24×7 availability is a challenge for relational databases because most are deployed to a single physical server. If that server fails, the database becomes unavailable. In contrast, a NoSQL database separates and distributes data to multiple databases with no shared resources—so if one crashes, others are there to pick up the slack.

So … what does all of this look like in the real world? And what can it mean for state agencies working to advance their data transformation and IT modernization efforts?

Data Security without Compromise

State agencies know that the struggle to implement consistent, government-grade data security policies without compromising data sharing has taken on new urgency. And, as cyberattacks continue to escalate, the need to strike this balance is more critical than ever.

By enabling rapid ingestion of multi-structured data along with powerful data mastering capabilities, NoSQL databases equip agencies to achieve a highly secure and actionable 360-degree view of their dataat less time and cost.

Here are a few examples of governments that leveraged the power of MarkLogic’s NoSQL enterprise database platform to solve their data integration challenges:

  • Criminal History System. A state’s previous criminal history system was built on an RDBMS with custom code for application and search. This rigid legacy technology made it difficult to keep up with evolving legislation and business requirements. To modernize and become more agile, the state turned to MarkLogic. Their criminal history system now allows for a variety of powerful, role-based searches that better support its business processes and stringent security requirements.
  • Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) Modernization. Another state wanted to purchase the best healthcare for its citizens at the least possible cost. However, their legacy infrastructure relied on siloed systems to determine eligibility, causing challenges in gaining a holistic view of relevant data. By modernizing on MarkLogic, the state integrates disparate data and provides a 360-degree view of application and client/customer data, thus reducing time to service.
  • Department of Human Services. This agency aims to ensure that children and at-risk adults receive the critical social services they need to thrive. To make sure recipients meet eligibility requirements, caseworkers must search their past benefits, work histories, circumstances, etc. The data had been stored across disparate agency repositories, making searches a slow process. But today, with MarkLogic’s multisystem information sharing, the agency can more easily access all the data required to meet the needs of vulnerable citizens.

Learn More

READ our blog, Data Hubs: Separating Hype from Reality, and find out the long list of attributes you should be looking for in an enterprise-grade data hub.

And, DOWNLOAD our ebook, Introducing the Operational Data Hub, to learn about this new architecture pattern that helps to greatly reduce technical debt and streamline the data integration process.


Kate Ranta

Kate Ranta is a Solutions Marketing Manager at MarkLogic. She is a communications and marketing professional with a focus on digital content strategy, inbound marketing, social media campaign management, SEO, and project management.

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