The importance of leveraging data quickly and effectively is a message that has come through loud and clear in recent years—and with increasing intensity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it is anticipating supply chain problems, addressing customer concerns with agility, or identifying new opportunities and pouncing quickly, the ability to achieve a comprehensive view of all available information for real-time decision making has become a strong theme.
The world has changed, and with it, enterprise data requirements have as well, as confirmed by research reports issued over the past year by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc. Having the right tools, platforms, and infrastructure to support their changing needs is being prioritized by many companies.
A 2021 Unisphere study of DBTA readers found that respondents are emphasizing new approaches to managing and storing data, leveraging that data for business apps and insights, and protecting that data. The top digital transformation projects are cloud solutions (73%), BI and data analytics (55%), and cybersecurity (42%). In addition, a significant percentage of respondents reported IoT and machine learning/AI initiatives, 30% and 29%, respectively. Almost half of the organizations that participated in the survey are focused on streaming data (47%), followed closely by IoT (41%). When asked about data from these initiatives straining their infrastructure, 47% of companies responded that this was a concern. Among respondents who were not concerned, only 21% indicated it was due to confidence that their infrastructure is capable of handling these trends (“DBTA Digital Transformation and Cloud Workloads Study”).
Modern data environments are also increasingly hybrid and multi-platform, revealed another Unisphere survey fielded among Microsoft SQL Server users. While Microsoft is still the dominant environment in today’s enterprises, there is also a wide array of cloud and open source environments. More than eight in 10 database managers support two or more database brands, and more than one-third support four or more. A majority of the survey respondents, 81%, cited the need to provide the most appropriate data environment possible to support their enterprise applications. Many also pointed to the diversity of environments in their own companies, with 54% noting the need to support departmental applications as the reason for going with a database (“Thriving in a Multi-Database World: PASS 2021 Survey on Data Diversity”).
Access to data is essential, but the quality of that data is a critical foundation to data-driven success. While new ways to use information are emerging, the ultimate value of initiatives such as AI, machine learning, and edge computing depends on the quality of data they leverage. Data quality ranks at, or near, the top of enterprise priorities, and 87% see it as “important” to “somewhat of a priority,” with half citing it as their “top priority,” according Unisphere Research (“Building a Culture of Trust in a Competitive Economy: 2021 Survey on Data Quality”).
To help make the process of identifying useful products and services easier, each year, DBTA presents a list of Trend-Setting Products. These products, platforms, and services range from long-established offerings that are evolving to meet the needs of their loyal constituents to breakthrough technologies that may only be in the early stages of adoption. However, the common element for all is that they represent a commitment to innovation and seek to provide organizations with tools to address changing market requirements.
Beyond the list presented on the following pages, we encourage you to continue your exploration of these products by visiting the companies’ websites for more information. In addition, in this issue, we include Product Spotlight articles penned by company executives that highlight the features that make their products unique.