Data is the fuel that powers the digital economy. For smaller, fast-growing companies – particularly those in industries like professional services or the media whose business models rely on data – the key to success will be the skill and efficiency with which you use your information resources. Do it well, and you can get a real competitive advantage against both your peers and much larger rivals. In this quest for information excellence, how do you evolve to a data-driven business that can predict, react, and execute in real time?

Unlike the digital startups that are disrupting so many industries, you don’t have the luxury of starting with a blank sheet of paper. Instead, you probably have an established ERP system at the heart of your IT landscape, integrated with a variety of information management, project management, and billing applications that combine to drive your day-to-day operations. The challenge is striking the right balance between stability and agility while maintaining a small IT footprint.

A high-performing business needs a high-performance engine. Many companies are held back by legacy databases that are simply unable to match the efficiency and power of a modern database. But where do you start in choosing the right solution for your business? Here are three ways that in-memory computing can help set your business free from the limitations of traditional databases.

Build a future-ready data infrastructure

The cloud offers a flexible and cost-effective option for creating a data infrastructure for growth. Building this on an in-memory database combines the speed and performance you need to deal with rapidly growing data volumes, and the scalability and security of the cloud. But be careful in your choice of vendor; some companies merely add in-memory cache to a disk-based database instead of designing it from the ground up as a 100% in-memory database. A true in-memory platform can handle both transactions and analytics in-memory on a single data copy, avoiding latencies from moving data between the database and application servers. As well as delivering huge improvements in processing speeds and reduced storage costs, a cloud-based in-memory database can greatly simplify and reduce your overall IT footprint.

Run your business at the speed of tomorrow

Combining a true in-memory database with advanced analytical processing, data integration, and data quality management software provides a single secure environment for all your mission-critical data assets. This will enable you to manage large volumes of structured and unstructured data efficiently, and generate immediate value by getting it into the hands of the right people across the business in real time. At the same time, your in-memory database can provide a flexible innovation platform to accelerate business and IT transformation and scale as your business needs change. Using agile pilots, you can leverage modern capabilities like automation and machine learning to streamline processes, provide new insights, and deliver a more engaging customer experience.

Drive time to value at the lowest cost

Look for an in-memory platform that is available in a secure private cloud and also accessible through selected third-party cloud providers. The comprehensive cloud infrastructure and managed services they provide mean you can move to the cloud at your own pace with flexible, modular deployment that can scale as your needs change. Cloud deployment can also help you reduce IT complexity, costs, and operational risk while enjoying the advantages of subscription-based pricing.

As we said at the beginning, information excellence is the key to success in the digital economy. This is backed up by the numbers: According to SAP Performance Benchmarking, organizations that recognize information as a key strategic asset achieve 46% higher revenue growth. And 76% of the world’s transactions flow through SAP business applications, which run on our in-memory database, SAP HANA. As a leader of an ambitious data-driven business, you want to match the speed and agility of digital startups and the scale and reach of the largest enterprises. Building on your stable ERP core with an in-memory platform could be the difference between becoming a high-performance business and being stuck in the slow lane.

Blog originally published on the Digitalist.