By Deepak Ghodke, Country Manager, India, Tableau
Organisations have sung the praises of business intelligence for years, and quite a few of these firms have started making progress towards leveraging mature techniques for Big Data and Analytics technologies. The steady rise of data discovery, data preparation tools, unhindered access to multi-structured data and move towards digital transformation is expected to further drive this transition.
In fact, the Economist’s Intelligence Unit recently found that the majority of business leaders believe data is “vital” to their organisation’s profitability. So it comes as no surprise that most businesses today strive to capture and analyse data. Gartner predicts that most business users and data analysts will have access to self-service tools to prepare data for analysis by 2017.
But how is this happening? With an expansive landscape of technologies and deployment types from data warehouses and Hadoop ecosystems, to cloud, on-premise, and hybrid deployments, the data landscape is diversifying and evolving quickly. As you evaluate and select data tools for your business, it is important to understand the larger trends in the market. In doing so, you will both future-proof your systems, as well as capitalise on the innovations occurring in data today.
Here are the three emerging trends your organisation needs to consider when developing a data strategy:
1. Data’s center of gravity is moving to the cloud.
“The cloud” has been sweeping through the technology industry for some time now. But only recently has the cloud revolution come to data. As practitioners of big data analytics seek to bring computing power closer to the data, the cloud is emerging as the preferred platform for increasingly sophisticated data crunching across industries adopting big data strategies. Platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are empowering businesses to easily capture as well as to store their data in cloud databases and Hadoop ecosystems.
This transition is formidable. According to Gartner, the global spending on public cloud services market is projected to reach $1.26 billion in 2016 in India. Accordingly, one of the fastest growing areas is cloud system infrastructure services which becomes critical for a country like India, as we now have the second largest population of internet users globally who rely on web connected devices powered by the cloud.
Using Tableau as an example, we saw a 28% increase in usage of cloud-hosted data by companies using Tableau Online over the past 15 months. By the first quarter of 2016, nearly 70% the customer data was hosted in the cloud.
Data gravity indicates the pull of data on services and applications. If your data lives in the cloud, for example, you will likely want your data tools – from processing to analytics – running in the cloud as well. Data’s center of gravity is now squarely focused on the cloud, and that focus will only grow larger in the future. Organisations building data ecosystems should concentrate their efforts on cloud workflows to ensure they are system are ready for this change in data gravity.
2. In the move to cloud, hybrid data technologies are critical to business operations.
Even as established businesses move their operations to the cloud security and privacy requirements, often necessitate certain part of their data to be stored on-premise behind corporate firewalls. Other times, moving operations to the cloud is a slow and incremental process achieved over months or years. These scenarios are driving demand for hybrid solutions.
When not all your data can be moved to the cloud, or you want to make the move incrementally, hybrid options give you the flexibility to bridge that gap between your cloud-hosted and on-premise environments.
Our internal data resonates well with this trend as we saw popular hybrid databases like SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL accounting for over half of all data sources used by our customers in first quarter of 2016. In fact, hybrid cloud usage never fell below 60% for data source connections in our study.
An IDC report predicts that by the end of 2017, 60 percent of the APAC top 1,000 enterprises will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy with Hybrid cloud as the underlying architecture. The research also noted that with the push towards digital, 65 percent of IT organisations in Asia will commit to hybrid cloud architectures by 2017.
3. Data storage is expanding beyond our traditional concepts of databases.
With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), data is now flowing from everywhere and everything. As a result, the capture and storage landscape has expanded to meet the requirements of new and variable streams of data.
Cloud-hosted data tools in particular are driving this expansion with “as a service” products. Newcomers like Snowflake are rethinking the delivery of databases, while hosted solutions like Amazon Elastic MapReduce have extended the capabilities of traditional Hadoop ecosystems.
Again, using our cloud analytics tool as an example, there are over 40 different types of data sources were deployed on Tableau Online. Even when file-based sources like Excel and web applications like Google Analytics are excluded, there are 32 distinct types of databases and Hadoop ecosystems represented. This diversity is indicative of the wide and varied landscape of data tools available today.
In the future, the landscape will only become more crowded. Gartner found disruption to be accelerating innovation in warehousing tools designed explicitly for data analysis. Consequently, businesses need to connect their analytics tools to not one, but many data sources that span across databases, Hadoop ecosystems, and web applications.
To capitalise on the breakneck speed of innovation in the data landscape, build a data workflow that focuses on flexibility and choice above all else. After all, the legacy shift from IT services to cloud-based services has already begun.