What’s Ahead in Data for 2020—And the Coming Decade

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There are also more significant shifts ahead over the coming decade for cloud, industry leaders predict. For starters, enterprises will be taking advantage of multiple cloud services from multiple vendors. “Companies want to avoid building applications that lock them into a single cloud vendor, so they want to build their applications using industry standard APIs like SQL that are available on all clouds,” Mendelsohn said. These converged platforms will increasingly have autonomous capabilities to increase performance and reduce manual errors, he added.

The cloud will also become more intelligent over the coming decade as well. “The revolution of the next decade is hiding in plain sight—the programmable cloud,” said Hellerstein. “Think of it: Cloud platforms are the largest computers ever built—radically larger than any supercomputer—and they grow organically. Cloud platform providers are distracted today by the mundane transition of legacy IT to the cloud. The next era will be open innovation, exposing cloud platforms to truly innovative usage.” Serverless computing, Hellerstein added, “is the first hint of a programmable public cloud. Developers upload code and run at whatever scale of demand they can generate. Over the next decade, new languages and APIs will allow innovators to easily harness millions of computers and exabytes of data to invent rich, sophisticated experiences that we have yet to imagine.”

Along with more intelligent clouds, there will be more dynamic semantic definitions and context emerging associated with data, with major implications for data governance. The challenge that will define this space over the coming decade arises with “the growth in self-service data initiatives, and the proliferation of user-created data assets,” said Loubser. “The challenge becomes how to efficiently access and consume all of your enterprise data. What constitutes the single view of a customer could differ by department. Over the next decade, data management platforms will need to expand beyond keeping lists of data assets to intelligent extract the semantic definitions and relationships across all data. Embedded AI and machine learning needs to dynamically detect the structure and possible meaning of data and guide the user to navigate data assets and select what is most relevant and related to their purpose.”


No discussion of the 2020s would be complete without robotics, which will “become a standard component of any retail or consumer goods operation,” Biddulph pointed out. “The most successful businesses will turn to robotics and AI/machine learning in order to optimize supply chains and improve operations.” Robotics is already seeing day-to-day use as both consumers and generators of data, he added. “For example, Walmart is using robots to help restock shelves and track inventory in an easier and more efficient way.”

The past decade represented a revolutionary time for data organizations—with new solutions, formats, and concepts that opened the gates to a data-driven world. For data managers, the 2020s will bring an era of opportunity and new ways of leveraging data to foster innovation and growth. 

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