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It is often said that the only constant is change. For data executives and professionals, the coming year will only bring a lot more of it. Developments as diverse as cloud, big data, real time, NoSQL, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to reshape enterprise data operations and opportunities as we know them.
Movers and shakers from across the data industry provided DBTA with their thoughts on these disruptive trends, as well as what these new developments will deliver directly to the business.
1-It’s Time for Real Time
On-demand, real-time capabilities will dominate analytics offerings and initiatives during the coming year. “Speed and time are the engines of disruption,” said Peter Vescuso, CMO of in-memory database provider VoltDB. “Data management systems that are super-fast—that can respond immediately, in the moment, to each data event—will disrupt business, disrupt data management approaches, and disrupt how developers create apps.” The speed of global business is one factor making real time critical—and the other is decreased human attention spans, Vescuso added. “People want everything now. They want speed, and they want things personalized to their needs. They aren’t willing to wait for a slow app, a slow website, a slow response via email, or a slow response from a vendor. One of our telco customers has done research on this, and they’ve found the window in which you can keep or lose a mobile customer is less than 250 milliseconds.”
As a result, analytics constrained to the traditional dashboards and reporting functions are no longer sufficient, agreed Korey Lee, CIO of social media analytics firm SumAll. “We’re seeing customers want data and metrics to substantiate and support real-time decision making.” For business leaders, this means an increase in “making decisions in the moment, rather than after the fact,” said Monte Zweben, co-founder and CEO of Hadoop RDBMS provider Splice Machine. “Companies want to personalize cross-channel experiences based on real-time information—the last five clicks of a mouse—not on day-old data from their ETL process.” There are benefits to both customers and organizations, he added. “The increased need for more real-time information will dramatically improve personalization for customers, leading to increased conversion rates and ultimately revenue. This will also give enterprises the ability to test and iterate much faster, possibly around 10 to 20 times faster than before.”
2-Unstructured Data Will Come Into the Light
Over the coming year, organizations will continue to move unstructured data into mainstream enterprise analytics. “We’re much better at putting context around the structuring of our data,” said Matt Matsui, senior vice president of products, markets, and organizational strategy for Calabrio, a provider of customer engagement and analytics software. “For example, the academic world has made a lot of progress in being able to identify sarcasm. So, we’re putting structure around it and also understanding the subtle nuances of context—that’s powerful.”
3-More Business Disruption
Expect more business disruption as data-savvy players arrive on the scene, and established businesses stage their own internal disruptions.
The biggest disruptors on the market today—such as Uber and Airbnb—are disrupting with data. There will be more data-savvy players entering other industries as well. “The data analytics space is incredibly noisy and there’s still a ton of opportunity for disruption,” said Lee. “Companies that don’t get on board with being smarter about how to leverage their data may very well end up like the bookstores that laughed at Amazon when they started selling books online. We know how that story turned out.”
Disruptors, even those emerging in the traditional corporate space, “all have the same objective—gain a deeper understanding of their customer—because if they don’t, legacy competitors and market disruptors such as Uber, Netflix, Airbnb, and Amazon will,” said Goutham Belliappa, business information management—data integration and reporting practice lead for business and IT consultant Capgemini. “With money comes power and influence, and these business units will soon have more say about where the data management dollars are spent. I also see a greater appetite among enterprises to deploy analytics solutions.”
Being data-driven is seen as the most effective way to compete in today’s business environment. “Collecting data, analyzing it, and then feeding it back for immediate use was reserved for the most innovative organizations, but moving forward, it will become much more of a commodity,” said Patrick McFadin, chief evangelist for DataStax, which provides an enterprise database platform based on Apache Cassandra. “When used in the cloud, the setup and planning become a matter of enabling the service for the end developers. Businesses can focus on what makes them money and keep overhead to a minimum.”
4-Greater Adoption of In-Memory Technologies
The coming year will see enterprises embracing in-memory as a strategy for increasing the flow of real-time analytics and data. The drive to real-time analytics will increase the need for data managers “to explore hybrid in-memory architectures that have the speed of in-memory but spill to disk for scalability and cost-effectiveness,” said Zweben. “These hybrid in-memory architectures should also simultaneously support both real-time data and analytics so there is no lag to ETL data for analytics.”