Executive Perspective: Looking Forward to Data Odyssey Year 2021
What does 2021 have in store for data-related technologies? Heine Krog Iversen, founder and CEO of TimeXtender, discusses the data journey in the coming year, including the demand for self-service analytics, and the continued growth of AI and cloud computing.
- By James E. Powell
- December 15, 2020
Heine Krog Iversen, founder and CEO of TimeXtender, a global software company providing an accelerated way to build and manage a modern data estate to support advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), shares his views and insights based on what he has seen across the industry and what he projects for the coming year.
Upside: When you look back on 2020, how would you summarize the year regarding enterprise data management?
Heine Krog Iversen: It's been a very interesting year to say the least. We are now starting to see projections that indicate we will look at data management in a completely different way in two to five years. As technical complexities continue to emerge, and as the demand rises for having more data and getting to the data faster, while also having to adjust and learn to work remotely, organizations will need to rethink their data management platforms and strategies.
At the same time, we are seeing that the hyped solutions that are receiving most of the investor dollars are still going to only solve a small piece of the business puzzle.
As we start to talk about taking the right approaches and begin to accept that the roles and the work we are doing in data management eventually will have to change, we will see that no-code and automation will take over the majority of the workload. We are not quite there yet, but we are moving in that direction.
What would you say was the biggest surprise about what transpired across industry regarding corporate data programs?
It is still interesting that corporate data teams are not adopting new ways of working as an answer to all the data work that is being done in business units based on SaaS offerings. Marketing is buying solutions direct as they do not want to wait for IT to evaluate, consider, and deliver. The reason we are not seeing more actions from the IT teams is that they rightfully know all the pitfalls and yet need to deliver much faster to satisfy the business. IT is simply accepting that business staff is bypassing them and that is very interesting -- we would think that they would find ways to fight back.
Looking ahead, what's one emerging data management technology that you think has the greatest potential for 2021?
I would say a great technology potential for 2021 would be to move to a combined data-management platform that properly prepares for and aligns with moving to the cloud. With a combined data-management platform, you can make data ready for analysis by automating the process of collecting, unifying, organizing, shaping, and loading your data from various data sources to create and maintain a modern data estate (the technical architecture and enterprise infrastructure that enables organizations to consolidate and manage their corporate data in a central data hub). The cloud can then offer you numerous business benefits such as lower storage and computing costs, lower costs for technical infrastructure, 24/7/365 secured access, etc.
What do you find appealing about this technology?
In a modern world that is becoming more and more complex, adding automation that is driven by metadata and work based on no-code development -- both of which release people from performing time-consuming, manual, and repetitive work -- is super exciting. Doing so enables us to use humans for the strategic development and creative thinking that can make a huge difference to a company rather than having to spend time on laborious work that can easily be done by machine.
If you had to identify the hottest trends in the data analytics field that you see emerging for 2021, what would they be? Why?
I would say the need for collecting and combining data in some form of a data estate. A modern data estate can support all the different use cases that arise from corporate data, and doing this with speed, at scale, and leveraging the cloud would be beneficial.
How would you advise technology management to prepare for these trends?
I am not sure that we need that much planning because it really comes down to getting started on the journey and making sure that you do so based on as much automation as possible.
However, if we do plan, we should do so around changing the mindset that exists among business people, who need to realize that the future in data management is not about writing code, but rather about designing data flows and data models that rapidly support the business. Time to data is crucial -- speed is paramount for making business decisions when needed.
James E. Powell is the editorial director of TDWI, including research reports, the Business Intelligence Journal, and Upside newsletter. You can contact him
via email here.