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Article

Three IT Trends Worth Watching

Big Data, IT Vendor Consolidation and Data Virtualization accelerating

The IT industry is fascinating due to its ever-changing technology and markets.

But like a pointillist painting, sometimes the best way to understand the big picture is to step back a bit.

When I do that today, what do I see?

Big Data Getting Bigger
Big data has made a big bang with massive "Web-scale" use cases at Amazon, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, and others.  And traditional enterprises are pursuing predictive analytics, customer behavior analysis, churn prevention, fraud detection, and other big-data use cases.

And a plethora of new offerings providing drastically superior price-performance characteristics over traditional relational database management system (RDBMS) or data warehouses are readily available.

But as T.S. Eliot once said, "For every life and every act, consequence of good and evil can be shown."

While the big-data trend  provides excellent insights and greater business success, the resulting proliferation of fit-for-purpose analytic data stores across various lines of business, functions, and regions are generating a seemingly unmanageable diversity that are breaking traditional, centralized, consolidation-based data integration architectures.

For the majority of enterprises that need to share big data across their many internal silos, data virtualization is proving the most practical answer.

IT Vendor Consolidation Continues
Large IT vendors continue to buy small ones, with large vendors demonstrated an increasing willingness; some might say a desperate need, to innovate via purchase rather than internal R&D. For example, IBM bought 15 companies in 2010 alone, with i2 and Algorithmics the latest in a list that includes data warehouse appliance leader Netezza, master data management (MDM) leader Initiate Systems, and business process management (BPM) leader Lombardi Software.

For enterprise IT teams, this consolidation has simplified some things: rationalizing architectures once the acquired offering is fully integrated in the larger platform, and providing the proverbial "single-throat-to-choke" when problems arise.

These gains have come at a price: slower development of new features, reduced domain expertise, and lessened choice of, and influence over, their vendors.   But most significant, lower innovation as small IT vendor acquisitions by IBM, HP, Oracle Corporation, SAP, and similar cash-rich giant corporations, will significantly reduce the pool of innovative IT vendors and solutions available to enterprises.  Enterprises that seek strategic advantage via IT will have to more actively seek out and embrace the remaining independent innovators.

Data Virtualization Acceleration Continues
According to the stages established in the technology adoption life cycle model popularized by Geoffrey Moore in his book, Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers (1991, John Wiley & Sons), data virtualization has now crossed the chasm.

More Stories By Robert Eve

Robert Eve is the EVP of Marketing at Composite Software, the data virtualization gold standard and co-author of Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility. Bob's experience includes executive level roles at leading enterprise software companies such as Mercury Interactive, PeopleSoft, and Oracle. Bob holds a Masters of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley.