The year 2009 – and the first decade of the 21st century – is drawing to a close, and what a time it’s been.
The economy was buffeted around by the financial crisis, companies tightened their spending, and cuts hit hard and fast. But there has also been a deepening realization that the secret to success in this new environment wasn’t to batten down the hatches and cut away, but rather, to run businesses smarter. More companies learned that to forge ahead, they needed to better leverage both their human and technology resources – employing smarter data strategies, including business intelligence and analytics.
The year ahead promises more of the same. Here are some up-and-coming trends that will shape the data management space in the year 2010:
1) More momentum toward building analytics-driven cultures: Business analytics will continue to usher in “data democratization.” More analytic capabilities are being brought closer to end-users, as well as applications, across enterprises. Vendors will increase the emphasis on building real-time, pervasive BI and analytics capabilities into applications. BI dashboards and scorecards with sophisticated capabilities will become more commonplace for decision makers beyond business analysts with PhDs. Part of this trend will be predictive, self-service BI and analytics will emerge: End-users will be able to configure and deploy their own reports.
2) Greater convergence between SOA and enterprise data: There is growing recognition that service oriented architecture efforts require a data services component. Even with the most extensive and expensive SOA-based infrastructures in place, organizations have still been bedeviled by issues with data quality, timeliness, and availability. Data services fills in this huge missing piece of the SOA equation. As fellow Perspectives contributor Ash Parikh puts it: “SOA-based data services provide the means to read and write enterprise data, based on real-world representations, and deliver it to applications exactly as needed, in a timely, trusted and manageable way. With SOA-based data services, you can standardize on a single platform and single set of skills for all styles of data integration – physical or virtual. Sophisticated data services can be designed once and deployed many times in multiple ways for applications and projects by reusing data integration and data quality logic.” Expect to see much greater impetus in this direction, especially with new tools and platforms coming on the market, such as Informatica 9.
3) Service oriented architecture reaches the “roll-up-your-sleeves-and-make-this thing-work” stage: Gartner, for one, says SOA has made the plunge off the peak of its “hype cycle,” smashed down into the trough of disillusionment, and is now advancing toward the “Plateau of Productivity.” Service-oriented approaches are being baked into many approaches to technology and business problems, as well as vendors’ offerings. Over the coming year, while many experts will still argue whether SOA is still viable, the practice itself will be ubiquitous beyond the point of debate.
4) More efforts to tap into and analyze the “event cloud”: Companies are expressing more interest in the ability to recognize important events from the event cloud, and are looking to filter through to track the most impactful ones through the emerging artful science known as complex event processing, or CEP. It will take time for CEP to catch on, but as it does, the role of enterprise data integration will grow even more critical. The ability to sense and respond in near real-time fashion to events across the organization will require a robust and infallible data integration infrastructure. This will increasingly be on the minds of decision makers in the year ahead.
5) More cloud formations, public and private: Virtualization will morph into internal cloud computing. More businesses will look to Total Enterprise Virtualization to better manage a range of assets – from servers to applications to networks. Cloud computing virtualizes these assets. Expect to see more platforms, tools, and even database services emerge in the cloud as companies grow more comfortable with security. More organizations and end-users will access data securely managed outside their domains, enabling greater flexibility for handling growing amounts of information. More analytical capabilities will be supported by dynamic server farms managed by an outside provider.
6) More data in the cloud: Social networking will generate more valuable data for business decision makers, and enterprise applications will increasingly begin to capture this information. In addition, companies are finding their information to be a powerful draw in reaching out to networks. Expect to see and hear more about the Semantic Web – in which business intelligence and data resides and is exchanged across the network – over the coming year. This is an environment likely to be first adopted by scientific, technical, medical, mapping, and certain government domains.
7) More uncertainty in the economy and everywhere else: The worst of the economic crisis, along with the trough of the economic downturn, has passed, and brighter prospects are predicted for the coming year. However, global competition will grow even more intense, pushing companies to increase their agility and ability to run smart. The only thing really certain about the year ahead is uncertainty. Good, actionable data can help make things a little less uncertain.
Chris Boorman also has a set of astute 2010 predictions here at the Informatica Perspectives site, also seeing the rise of the data-driven organization. Don’t be so sure about prediction #10, however — this may be America’s year at the World Cup…