Uncertain economic conditions, skills shortages, rising automation, increasing regulation, and digital disruption—all add up to a stew of both challenges and opportunities for data managers in the year ahead. Emerging technologies—and new attitudes—are reshaping the look and scope of the information management landscape, with implications for overall business strategies and individual careers alike.
Sure, there are new tools and approaches to help make the jobs of data managers just a bit easier—yet the complexity of their challenges and demands from their businesses will also keep growing unabated.
To gain a broader perspective on the 12 months ahead, leaders and experts across the industry provided their predictions as to what to expect in the coming months.
AN ENTERPRISE BUYER’S MARKET
First, some good news, at least for enterprise data managers: Over the coming year, expect to see vendors falling over each other for your business, as we’ll see a greater emphasis on “simplifying, consolidating, and automating data technology stacks,” according to Sean Knapp, founder and CEO of Ascend.io. “Companies will be getting serious about reducing the number of elements in their stack and removing the need to build and manage a bespoke platform.”
As a result of this consolidation, there will be further intense competition among vendors to be part of the process, resulting in a stronger buyer’s market, he added. “We’re in a rare moment in the evolution of data infrastructure. Innovation is happening everywhere, as data platform vendors compete to add new features, at the same time creating fairly similar, standardized platforms, which makes it easy for others to innovate on top and facilitates interoperability and integration. It’s creating a competitive environment where the customer benefits from everyone trying to outbest each other.”
HYPERSCALE AND CLOUD
As they have been doing for the past few years, hyperscalers in the cloud will continue their relentless push to run the world’s data centers. This means opportunities will keep arising for enterprise data managers, said Ron Bennatan, senior vice president and data security fellow with Imperva. But there’s a catch—enterprises have to be able to see and appreciate the resources that are available. “The opportunities are so vast and great that I’m not sure we understand what an impact they can have.”
For example, Bennatan stated, “We all understand what data services mean in terms of simplicity, and acceleration of time-to-value. But I’ll give you an example that I’m not sure everyone understands: For the first time in history we have a true viable alternative to the mainframe in terms of stability, availability, resiliency, and integration—and obviously, much simpler, cheaper, and more available. Add to that the fact that mainframe skill sets are almost non-existent—everyone has retired—and the fact that the typical CIO today did not grow up on the mainframe but rather on Unix systems, and I think we are headed into a secular cycle where we will emerge with no more mainframes. It will of course take a few years but technologically, it’s time.”