View from the CTO

The Data Management market – the dust is settling

24 Jun 2016 | Share

The need to become a data-driven company

Markets have changed dramatically, and the speed of change has picked up even in the last couple of years. The way businesses interact with their customers has changed heavily and so has, perhaps even more importantly, the way customers themselves want to interact with businesses. The times when big business led the way and told customers what they wanted have passed. Nowadays customers tell businesses what they want and it would be a good idea to listen, both directly and indirectly.

And arguably, the best way to do that is with data. Data has made it imperative to rethink, recalibrate, refocus and even recreate existing strategies. Because the world is becoming a data-driven place, companies are recognizing the fact that they must become data-driven, too. Speed and quality of the decision-making process, whether in the form of operational BI or strategic decisions, is not just a matter of success, it is a matter of survival.

With the market evolving at incredible speed, competition will only become greater, and the need to stay ahead of the curve will be critical. User groups who have never had access to analytics before will be demanding real-time analysis in order to understand and run their business as they think best and to be able to influence events in their space right as they are happening.

Exploding technologies increase complexity

The sheer number of technologies has become mind-blowing. The people who are responsible for data processing technologies and the translation of business needs into feasible and successful solutions don’t have an easy job these days.

During the last couple of years, certain emerging big data technologies have gathered momentum. And undoubtedly, this has made keeping an overview of which solutions we were being compared with quite a difficult process. Some analysts even predicted that new technologies such as Hadoop, Spark or NoSQL systems would make the well-known world of relational databases completely obsolete and revolutionize the market.

It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Now, with the dust settling, it is becoming more and more obvious that the data management market will never again be dominated by only a select few large software platforms that are universal solutions for everything. Instead, the development has gone towards a heterogeneous data management eco-system with many different vendors.

If you look at your own IT infrastructure, you will probably find a mixed bag of specialized data processing solutions. From cheap, scalable data storage systems, NoSQL technologies, streaming solutions, graph databases, data virtualization and integration tools, to the BI world with its great visualization capabilities.

The recurring theme is that everywhere you’ll find specialists that claim to solve a certain data problem better than the others!

But what does that all mean for YOU?

Being a user in this increasingly complex hybrid data ecosystem, you must cope with a daunting number of challenges. And what with a complex IT landscape, quickly emerging products and technologies, cloud environments, combined with ever more data sources and owners, new applications and business models won’t make your job any easier.

In broader terms, the greatest challenge is reacting to the changing requirements, and to change from outside and from within your organization.

So how should you react to these challenges?

It’s more crucial than ever to pick only the best-of-breed solutions – since second-best will be just that. Just because a big software company says it has the best solution does not mean it does. That’s why you should research, compare and evaluate solutions on a case-by-case basis, and pick the optimal solution for a specific task, rather than trying to shoehorn a one-size-fits all solution.

Further, you should ensure that systems and applications can be integrated into your data ecosystem easily and quickly. Projects should take weeks to months rather than months to years. Take too long and you may find yourself in a different world, where the answer to a former problem may turn out to be outdated, obsolete or even wrong. Business simply cannot afford to wait anymore.

And finally, you should stay nimble and flexible, because the technology wheel is spinning faster than ever before. Make decisions that will not prevent you from implementing new solutions nor from catering to more numerous and more diverse users. Strictly avoid any lock-ins into technologies or vendors.

We from EXASOL believe that we are well-positioned in this increasingly complex data management market. We have developed the fastest analytic in-memory RDBMS on the market. It can be tested and deployed easily; it employs self-tuning and connecting it with other systems is simple.

Yet, we are by no means a universal solution for all data management processing problems, but instead a specific solution for a certain data problem – a powerful and scalable analytic relational database management system for all kinds of complex data analysis; from operational BI solutions, to a real-time analytics layer for large but slow data lakes, to a fast and scalable data warehouse.

I would be delighted to read your thoughts and comments on the subject. If you’d like to know more about us, just let me know. Alternatively, read EXASOL’s case studies or just ask our customers.

Mathias Golombek

Meet Mathias Golombek

Mathias Golombek has been a member of EXASOL’s executive board since November 2013.

In his role as CTO, he is responsible for all technical areas in the company, ranging from development, operations, technical support to professional consulting. Mathias began his professional career back in 2004 when he joined EXASOL as a software developer and led the database optimization team, before managing the R&D department in 2006.

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