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Building analytics today to change tomorrow

History is as important to the future as the new ideas that will build it. The world of analytics and BI is constantly changing. Ideas that were once taken for granted have been completely upended and more paradigm shifts continue to disrupt new and venerable markets alike. Our 2020/2030 Trends and 2020 Embedded Trends ebooks surface game-changing ideas from our thought leaders to show you what’s on the horizon — and beyond it. In this post, we sat down with Guy Levy-Yurista, Ph.D. and visionary, to get his special bonus take on the future of analytics and data.

Beyond AWS: niche clouds for every market

The modern cloud landscape continues to grow and evolve at a staggering rate. Amazon was the first to come to market with their cloud services offerings, debuting Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006. They had a huge first-mover advantage and pretty much set the terms for the rest of the cloud providers. The beginning was a humble one: basically, you were able to rent compute and storage services online, and not much more. Look at AWS now: They’ve continued to expand, offering more and more services. There’s an AWS solution for any conceivable computational use case today, all from the same provider. However, the cost of creating a cloud offering has gone way down, and other players in the technology world are taking advantage of that.

The cost of creating a cloud offering has gone way down, and other players in the technology world are taking advantage of that.

These players (some new and others already established) know that they can’t compete with AWS in creating a better, broader generalized cloud. Trying to become a one-stop shop that captures all of a client’s business isn’t possible, so there will be a trend toward the emergence of microclouds. These providers will go niche and tailor their cloud solutions to fit a specific need while riding (in many cases) the infrastructure of the generalized cloud providers.

A perfect example is Adobe. They are a venerable name in the marketing, art, and design world; if you are doing any kind of layout and art (designing a website, book cover, promotional materials, you name it) with a directed marketing goal, then you have Adobe products. Adobe wants to provide a cloud offering perfectly suited to quickly and easily handling art projects and the data that goes with them. They don’t want to store your e-commerce sales data, that’s not their wheelhouse. But if customers are already buying an Adobe product (all your software lives on the cloud anyway), it’s easy to bundle a cloud database offering and simplify life for the consumer. The result is a variety of specialized clouds — if you go to the Adobe website you’ll see it proudly promoting three different clouds: Creative Cloud, Experience Cloud, and Document Cloud.

From niche cloud to multicloud, escaping the walled garden

That’s just one example. We’ll see more and more companies offering cloud solutions alongside their core business offerings. Businesses, for their part, will continue being multicloud. It’s like the iOS vs. Android decision: When you buy an iPhone all its parts, hardware and software are designed by one vendor, Apple. This, in turn, locks you to their ecosystem and forces you to have arguably the slickest mobile OS user experience but perhaps not the best camera or screen. With Android, you have a wider array of choices. You use the photo app you like, put your docs wherever, and even the phone itself can come from a variety of retailers or carriers, made with parts from many different manufacturers. The choices are vastly greater and being locked into a single manufacturer’s walled garden is no longer the default option.

The same is happening now in the cloud market. Many businesses already rely on multiple cloud services for all their different datasets and this trend will only accelerate as different companies are hesitant to go all-in on a single cloud provider. Instead, many businesses now seek to bundle niche cloud offerings with their core products. Why not get your CRM needs answered by the best CRM cloud offering you can find, rather than the one offered by the cloud provider who happened to be storing your data? Why have your HR cloud application tied to AWS or Azure or Google Cloud just because your HR data resides there? This is also a compelling reason to hook all those data sources into a cloud-agnostic BI platform, instead of choosing analytics from a company that’s already owned by a cloud provider, which may end up urging you to migrate all your data onto their cloud. 

Being a builder is a mindset. If you’re building a company, department, or team, it’s vital that you understand how best to empower your people to use the cloud services that make sense for their needs.

The future is multicloud. How companies adapt to that will determine their success or failure. Builders working on the next wave of new ideas (or building new versions of existing companies or products) need to think hard about how their products will live in the niche cloud ecosystem. Being a builder is a mindset. If you’re building a company, department, or team, it’s vital that you understand how best to empower your people to use the cloud services that make sense for their needs versus shoving them all into one mold because you already have a contract with a cloud provider. Engineers building new data pipelines will become familiar with the unique quirks of different cloud providers and weave them into a cloud-agnostic framework that powers their products. Developers working with this newly connected data will look for solutions that allow them to surface the data and insights that matter to users in a cloud-native framework. Wherever your data is, the drive to build transcends any barrier. The niche cloud landscape will have its own unique challenges, but the opportunities are also great.

Trend 2030: The cloud and the fog

We will all be in the cloud and it’ll be in all of us.

This sounds like science fiction now, but 2030 could see your phone disappear and be replaced with some kind of neural interface. We think we are “connected” today, but when this new paradigm takes hold, we will have an always-on connection to all the information in our personal clouds. We won’t carry phones anymore; these devices will be a part of us.

This is all far-out sounding, but the implications for computing will also be immense: Computing will take place in the cloud or at the edge in “the fog.” The next generation of builders won’t worry about which operating system they are building for. They will design systems for the various clouds on offer, built to run on the cloud and connect to a user’s brain. There will still be a wide array of cloud providers to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and users will need to decide which company they want in their head. (Or maybe it’s which company they want their head to be in?)

This bottom line is that we will all be in the cloud and it’ll be in all of us. Building for that is a science fiction enthusiast’s dream (or nightmare) and will take imaginations and aspirations that will literally create a world unlike anything we’ve seen before. This leap will be greater than the jump from clay tablets to cell phones.

Guy Levy-Yurista, PhD is the Chief Strategy Officer at Sisense and an executive leader and entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience in Fortune 500, startup, and venture capital environments.

Jack Cieslak is a 10-year veteran of the tech world. He’s written for Amazon, CB Insights, and others, on topics ranging from ecommerce and VC investments to crazy product launches and top-secret startup projects.

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