Previewing data management and analytics in 2012

451 Research yesterday announced that it has published its 2012 Previews report, an all-encompassing report highlighting the most disruptive and significant trends that our analysts expect to dominate and drive the enterprise IT industry agenda over the coming year.

The 93 page report provides an outlook and assessment across all 451 Research technology sectors and practice areas – including software infrastructure, cloud enablement, hosting, security, datacenter technologies, hardware, information management, mobility, networking and eco-efficient IT – with input from our team of 40+ analysts. The 2012 Previews report is available upon request here.

IM research director Simon Robinson has already provided a taster of our predictions as they relate to the information-centric landscape. Below I have outlined some of our core predictions related to the data-centric ecosystem:

The overall trend predicted for 2012 could best be described as the shifting focus from volume, velocity and velocity, to delivering value. Out concept of Total Data reflects the path from velocity and variety of information sources to the all-important endgame of deriving value from data. We expect to see increased interest in data integration and analytics technologies and approaches designed specifically to exploit the potential benefits of ‘big data’ and mainstream adoption of Hadoop and other new sources of data.

We also anticipate, and are beginning to see, increased focus on technologies that enable access to data in different storage platforms without requiring data movement. We believe there is an emerging role for what we are calling the ‘data hub‘ – an independent platform that is responsible for managing access to data on the various data storage and processing technologies.

Increased understanding of the value of analytics will also increase interest in the integration of analytics into operational applications. Embedded analytics is nothing new, but has the potential to achieve mainstream adoption this year as the dominant purveyors of applications used to run operations are increasingly focused on serving up embedded analytics as a key component within their product portfolios. Equally importantly, many of them now have database platforms capable of uniting previously disparate technologies to deliver true embedded analysis.

There has been a growing recognition over the past year or so that any type of data management project – whether focused on master data management (MDM), data or application integration, or data quality – needs to bring real benefits to business processes. Some may see this assertion as obvious and pretty easy to achieve, but that’s not necessarily the case. However, it is likely to become more so in the next 12-18 months as companies realize a process-driven approach to most data management programs makes sense and vendors deliver capabilities to meet this demand.

While ‘big data’ presents a number of opportunities, it also poses many challenges, not the least of which is the lack of developers, managers, analysts and scientists with analytics skills. The users and investors placing a bet on the opportunities offered by new data management products are unlikely to be laughing if it turns out that they cannot employ people to deploy, manage and run those products, or analysts to make sense of the data they produce. It is not surprising that, therefore, the vendors that supply those technologies are investing in ensuring that there is a competent workforce to support existing and new projects.

Finally, while cloud computing may be one of the technology industry’s hot topics, it has had relatively little impact on the data management sector to date. That is not to say that databases are not available on cloud computing platforms, but we must make a distinction between databases that are deployed in public clouds, and ‘cloud databases‘ that have the potential to fulfil the role of emerging databases in building private and hybrid clouds. The former have been available for many years. The latter are just beginning to come to fruition based on NoSQL databases, as well as a new breed of NewSQL relational databases, designed to meet the performance, scalability and flexibility needs of large-scale data processing.

451 Research clients can get more details of these specific predictions via our 2012 preview – Information Management, Part 2. Non-clients can apply for trial access at the same link, while the entire 2012 Previews report is available here.

Also, mark your diaries for a webinar discussing report highlights on Thursday Feb 9 at noon ET, which will be open for clients and non-clients to attend. Registration details to follow soon…