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Five Megatrends for the Future of Data

John Thuma | Data Solutions Group, FIS

November 04, 2019

People are demanding more from their data. Beyond knowing what happened, they want to know why it happened and what to do next. They want prescriptive guidance. Data and information are the currency of the modern world. However, with this comes great responsibility to construct a trusted computing environment. In this article we will discuss five data megatrends impacting business today. Are we all “data people?” Is data the new “Intel inside?” We will also touch on the topics of autonomous analytics, cloud vendor lock-in, and the continuous audit.

Autonomous Analytics

A Business Intelligence dashboard informs an executive of key performance indicators (KPI’s) and trends. These indicators are used to measure performance of business decisions and programs. But people want more. What will happen in the next 5-10 years will change Business Intelligence forever. Today’s BI application is passive and highly dependent on human interaction. Tomorrow’s analytic solutions will constantly look for new patterns, identify new outliers, and will seek out its user or service. Future analytic solutions will help heal an organization’s problems much like your immune system protects you from infection. Think about the last time you accidently cut yourself in the garden. Your body went to work to stop the bleeding, fight off infection, and start the healing process. This all happened without your knowledge. Analytics of the future will take on a similar type process called “Autonomous Analytics.”

Data is the App - Data is “The Intel Inside”

Is data a near-perfect product? It is efficiently and affordably stored. It can be replicated easily and endlessly. When data is refined, it is turned into a more valuable product. Refinement of data is done by individuals requiring a spectrum of skill-sets. These skill-sets range in difficulty from MS Excel, SQL, Business Intelligence tools, all the way to advanced analytics and data science. Data has value from it’s very raw to very advanced form. Various data sets can be blended easily as long as there are common bonding agents. Finally, data can be transported easily, with low/zero leakage, and at very low cost.

Cloud Vendor Lock-In

As we move to AWS, Azure, and other cloud computing providers, many think that these services will end vendor lock-in. Nothing could be further from the truth. To minimize vendor lock-in you should consider selecting vendor portable products and services, separate application from the platform, and leverage technology that can exist without the cloud vendor. With these three things you can significantly lower your organizational risk of vendor lock-in. A smart management team will attempt to measure and understand the risks versus the value. Ask your architecture team to define the time and cost of migrating to an alternative solution. This will hedge some of the risks associated with vendor lock-in.

We are all ‘Data People’

We may not want to believe it, but we are all ‘Data People!’ Data people use data to make decisions rather than relying on heuristics or past experiences. There are few professions today that aren’t data-driven or don’t require the use of data. Job candidates that know how to leverage data will have an advantage over those who don’t. Being data and analytic savvy may save your job. “The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs study predicts that 5 million jobs will be lost before 2020 as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human workers.” Many computer science college curriculums are infusing ‘soft-skills’ into their programs. It is the belief that the ability to influence others is just as important as math and software development skills. So, what you should have learned in Kindergarten might be enough to give you an edge over those cold robots.

The Constant Audit – Minimize Data Breaches

Data breaches happen and they do harm to an organization’s reputation. Many people are surprised to find out that quite a few of these breaches come from within the organization. In its 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon found that 28% of all breaches were insider jobs, and three quarters of these were driven by profit. One solution is the idea called the ‘Constant Audit. A Constant Audit means anyone who works with personal data for any reason will have to submit to a constant review of their behaviors. This is especially required for persons with high powered accounts and administrative functions. Any person with access to personal data would have to submit to a real-time audit. This includes forensic analysis on bank accounts, social media, mobile phones, texting, criminal activities, and known associates background checks.

Scary or Exciting?

These five megatrends are just a few of the many exciting trends happening in our data world. People are at the heart of these positive disruptions as we participate in the balance between data exploration and privacy. Autonomous analytics and data will impact our decisions, patterns, and habits but will require intelligent implementation and choices to respond to radical new platforms and services. We want to limit vendor lock-in and enable an elastic ecosystem. Excited or afraid, there is a simple prediction: data and analytics will be the next penicillin.