By Manish Gupta, CMO, Liaison Technologies
Big data, data aggregation, data integration, data management, data harmonization… The many ways to serve up data for maximum insight and, ultimately, profit, is on everyone’s minds—ours included. And while the very realization that data is one of the most important resources an organization possesses is an ongoing trend in and of itself, I’d like to dive a little deeper into the micro-trends that I believe will come of age in 2015 to further help organizations attain their data’s full potential.
1. Big data meets reality
The excitement around the power of big data has reached a fever pitch. 2015 will be the year when the promise of big data slams into the reality that heavy lifting will be required to make it widely successful. While some may panic at this development, it is really a natural phase in the maturing of any major shift in the information technology paradigm. The visually stunning approaches to intuitively representing and displaying insights gleaned from information will remain—as will the advanced frameworks for processing both structured and unstructured data at scale. The third critical element of success—the ability to effectively integrate, aggregate, and semantically harmonize the information from numerous disparate sources—will rise to the fore in 2015, placing a huge focus on the value of data integration and management.
2. The shift from application-centric to data-centric architectures accelerates
This shift liberates data from the confines of stifling, monolithic applications and the constrained, structured data models which have for years been frustrating users’ attempts to get information as they require it. This new data-centric approach will allow the combination of dissimilar information that was never before viewed as possible to be combined. Enabled by the architectural assumptions (and vendor created realities from AWS, Google, etc.) of unlimited, near free compute and storage, it will lead to creative thinking and exploration in this area —big data as currently envisioned being only the start. This emerging shift is the equivalent (in Internet terms) of ubiquitous, unlimited, high-speed bandwidth in the 1990’s when dial up was still the norm and coverage areas for the Internet were very limited. Some will dare to dream of a data (versus connectivity) based Internet-like utility platform that could provide a revolutionary change not unlike the Internet itself.
3. The strengthening of “platforms” to execute common application services, as the monolithic approach of “applications of record” proves too rigid to keep pace
This is the business equivalent of the Apple IOS and the App Store, and should over time accelerate its threat to monolithic application stacks. Examples of this include key functions of the traditional ERP systems, such as CRM, eProcurement, HR moving to the cloud. This shift should roll out in stages by vertical industry with some industries moving quicker than others. Industries with a real burning platform for change, such as healthcare, will lead.
4. The rise of a trend toward unified data integration and data management platform services
Increasing data variety, both in type and location, as a result of this distributed application innovation will not only enable new business possibilities, such as big data, but also dramatically increase overall IT complexity fueling a trend toward unified/consolidated integration and data management platform services. This is the most promising solution approach, as the alternative of using point integration solutions in this highly fluid emerging environment of distributed data and perishable/transient applications would lead to something that might be called “ChaosNet.”
5. The nature of cloud services will drive providers to specialize in one of two symbiotic camps
The very nature of cloud services should drive provider self selection and optimization determining “who does what” in the ecosystem. With the cloud service domain being a hot bed for innovation and rapidly being fine-tuned to differentiate clusters of specific customer use cases, it is unlike the broad-based applications and mission critical integration and data management platforms of traditional IT. Data management and integration platforms are designed to connect anything to anything and combine, manage, and expose data from the vast array of emerging applications, regardless of the supplier, and in many cases the use for this data is not yet defined. These symbiotic solutions, including applications and integration and data management, must live separate lives but are highly co-dependent. Without integration and data, applications are useless and without application services to consume or produce data, there is no need for integration or data management services. In the end, companies that build and operate cloud applications need to get out of the integration and data management business or lose relevance as they struggle to meet the conflicting requirements of two diverging customer sets.