As Australian organisations make preparations for the new year ahead, many are realising the vital role that their data will play.
Everything from customer transaction records and inventory reports to market research and forecasts will become valuable assets that support ongoing business growth in 2021.
With this in mind, there are ten key trends that will shape the way data is collected, stored, and used within organisations. Together, these trends will help to shape the way data analytics is undertaken and the ways in which it supports all facets of business activity. These trends are:
- The value of data will increase exponentially: The importance of data as a business resource grew throughout 2020, and this trend is showing no sign of slowing. Organisations will continue to focus on finding new ways in which data can provide a distinct competitive advantage.
- The rise of the Data Cloud: To support this growing focus on the value of data, organisations will increasingly embrace the concept of the Data Cloud. These next-generation platforms overcome the challenges that are caused when data is stored in multiple silos and in different locations. According to the recent MuleSoft 2020 Connectivity Report, 89% of IT leaders report data silos are a challenge within their businesses - an increase from 83% in 2019. During 2021, many will focus on rationalising existing data storage platforms and adopting a Data Cloud strategy.
- Modernisation beyond the data warehouse: With the Data Cloud in place, organisations will then begin to look more broadly at their overall architecture beyond existing data warehouses. Evolving this architecture to remove data silos and improve access will allow staff to undertake new and exciting projects that add business value and increase focus on agility and flexibility.
- Governance remains a top concern: Data security and governance was a significant issue for many organisations during 2020 and this will continue to be the case in the year ahead. To succeed, a comprehensive governance framework needs to be put in place that spans all facets of activity and covers data stored in all locations. The framework needs to be supported by centralised controls but also needs to be designed so that is does not hinder innovation by restricting access to those who need it.
- The demise of data lakes and warehouses: They’ve been a core component of data storage infrastructures within organisations for years, but 2021 will be the year that the dominance of data warehouses and lakes begins to fade. These traditional data stores will increasingly be replaced by more flexible and robust platforms. This will mean that the days of having to determine exactly where different types of data should be stored will soon be over. With a single platform, organisations will be able to work with any type of data, process it where it is stored, and readily collaborate with other parties.
- Collaboration will go mainstream: Once data is made readily available throughout an organisation, collaboration will become much easier. Rather than having to make copies of databases and share them, all parties will be able to access a single data store. Collaboration will also increasingly occur with external parties such as business partners and suppliers. They will be able to access the same centralised data store and interact with it as required. Such improved collaboration will add significant value to business operations.
- The rise of analytics democratisation: In the past, business data has tended to only be available to a select few people within an organisation. In 2021, this will change for the better. Data will increasingly become democratised which means teams and individuals will be able to readily access the data they need without having to navigate complex processes or query multiple platforms.
- Data processing for all: As a result of this democratisation, teams will be able to work together and process data in new ways. Those tasked with data preparation and augmentation will increasingly work alongside those involved with engineering and machine learning. The result will be improved agility and a greater ability to respond to challenges and take advantage of new opportunities as they emerge.
- Every app will become a data app: During 2021, business applications will increasingly become data applications. This means they will be able to ingest business data that will improve the way they function. The value applications deliver to users will also increase. Rather than needing to query multiple data sources and rely on a range of different tools, users will be able to achieve the result they seek through their primary application.
- A single data platform will become reality: Traditionally, organisations have had to wrestle with data that arrives in different formats and is stored in multiple locations. During 2021, this approach will be changed through widespread adoption of the Data Cloud. Throughout the year, the Data Cloud will deliver new opportunities for organisations by maximising the value they can extract from all their data.
It’s clear that 2021 will deliver myriad new opportunities for those organisations that are able to effectively manage and make use of their data. Those who achieve this goal, through the adoption of the Data Cloud, will be best placed to thrive in the year ahead.