The Age of Alt: Data Commercialization Brings Alternative Data To Market

Jennifer Belissent

We all want to know something others don’t know. People have long sought “local knowledge,” “the inside scoop” or “a heads up” – the restaurant not in the guidebook, the real version of the story, or some advanced warning. What they really want is an advantage over common knowledge – and the unique information source that delivers it. They’re looking for alternative data – or “alt-data.”

From the information age where everyone took advantage of easy access to information, we are now entering an age where everyone seeks alternatives: new sources of information and innovative ways of deriving unique insights.  This is the “Age of Alt.”

We know that business leaders want to better leverage data and analytics in their decision-making. But more importantly most decision-makers want to supplement their own data with external data; 81% tell us they want to expand their ability to source new external data.  Demand for data is exploding.

With everyone now chasing data, the challenge is to find something new and different – finding the “alt data.”

Fortunately, the supply of data is booming as well. Forrester’s hot-off-the-press 2017 Data and Analytics survey reports a huge jump in companies taking their data to market:

48% are commercializing their data – and that’s up from 32% last year.

These new data sources out there represent an enormous opportunity to find that information advantage.

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Cloudera IPO Highlights The Big Data And Hadoop Opportunity

Jennifer Adams

Last week, Cloudera successfully completed an IPO, raising $259 million of equity capital, including the over-allotment option. Shares were priced at $15 per share and traded up to over $18 per share on the first day of trading, giving investors a 20%+ return.

Cloudera describes itself as a company that “empowers organizations to become data‑driven enterprises in the newly hyperconnected world.” Cloudera, founded in 2008, was the first commercial Hadoop player and is a Leader in Mike Gualtieri and Noel Yuhanna’s The Forrester Wave™: Big Data Hadoop Distributions, Q1 2016.

Last August, Forrester published its first Big Data Management Solutions Forecast, 2016 To 2021 (Global). In our forecast, we highlighted Hadoop as the fastest-growing sector, at a 32.9% CAGR over the 2016 to 2021 period. We estimate that firms will spend nearly $800 million on Hadoop and Hadoop-related services in 2017 and that this will grow to $2.3 billion by 2021.

In its S-1 filing, Cloudera reported revenues of $109 million, $166 million, and $261 million in the years ending January 31, 2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively. This represents 52% year-over-year growth in 2016, accelerating to 57% year-over-year growth in 2017. Cloudera’s customer base is primarily Global 8000 companies, accounting for 73% of revenues.

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Is Business Intelligence (BI) Market Finally Maturing? Forrester Three Big BI Market Predictions

Boris Evelson

No. The buy side market is nowhere near maturity and will continue to be a greenfield opportunity to many BI vendors. Our research still shows that homegrown shadow IT BI applications based on spreadsheets and desktop databases dominate the enterprises. And only somewhere between 20% and 50% of enterprise structured data is being curated and available to enterprise BI tools and applications.

The sell side of the market is a different story. Forrester’s three recent research reports are pointing to a highly mature, commoditized and crowded market. That crowded landscape has to change. Forrester is making three predictions which should guide BI vendor and BI buyer strategies in the next three to five years.

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Insights Services Drive Data Commercialization

Jennifer Belissent

The new data economy isn’t about data; it is about insights. How can I increase the availability of my locomotive fleet? How can I extend the longevity of my new tires? How can I improve my on-time-in-full rate? Which subscribers are most likely to churn in the near future? Where is the best location to build a new restaurant franchise or open a new retail outlet? Business decision-makers want answers to these kinds of questions, and new insights services providers are eager to help them.

A growing number of companies recognize the opportunity their data provides, and they take that data to market: 1/3 of firms report commercializing data or sharing it for revenue with partners or customers.  The recently published Forrester Report Top Performers Commercialize Data Through Insights Services discusses the new trends in data commercialization: who is buying, who is selling, and what offerings are available, from direct data sales to the delivery of data-derived insight services.

While some commercializers avail themselves of data markets such as Dawex or DataStreamX, many are creating more sophisticated data-derived products and services. They are becoming insights services providers, often as an incremental offering to their existing customers.  Some offer insights based on smart products and IoT analytics. Siemens Mobility, Boeing, and GM offer predictive maintenance for their planes, trains, and automobiles. In the agricultural products industry, companies such as Monsanto and DuPont offer services that prescribe when and what farmers should plant, when certain interventions, such as water or pesticide applications, are advisable, or when to harvest.

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Insights Services Leaders Deliver True Decision Support

Jennifer Belissent

The explosive growth of the data economy is being fueled by the rise of insights services. Companies have been selling and sharing data for years. Axciom and Experian made their name by providing access to rich troves of consumer data. Thompson Reuters, Dun and Bradstreet and Bloomberg distributed financial and corporate data. Data brokers of various kinds connected buyers and sellers across a rich data market landscape. Customers, however, needed to be able to manage and manipulate the data to derive value from it. That required a requisite set of tools and technologies and a high degree of data expertise. Without that data savvy, insights could be elusive.

The new data market is different with insights services providers doing the heavy lifting, delivering relevant and actionable insights directly into decision-making processes. These insights services providers come in a number of flavors.  Some provide insights relevant to a particular vertical; others focus on a particular domain such as risk mitigation or function within an organizations such as sales, marketing, or operations.  

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Mobile World Congress 2017: Observations Regarding The Main Enterprise Themes

Dan Bieler

Recently, the largest annual get together of the mobile industry, Mobile World Congress (MWC) took place in Barcelona. In my opinion, the biggest themes at MWC in 2017 that are relevant for enterprise customers were the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), platforms, collaboration, and connectivity. These themes underline how mobility is becoming part of the broader digital transformation initiative. I discuss this shift in this separate blog and report. MWC provided several valuable insights for business and technology leaders to align their mobile to their digital strategies:

-> Not everything that claims to be AI is true AI. Many vendors that claimed during MWC to be AI-proficient are in fact able to deliver true machine-learning solutions to generate transformative customer and operational insights. Most solutions that were branded as AI at MWC rely on preprogrammed responses and statistics rather than machine learning.

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The Data Economy Is Going To Be Huge. Believe Me.

Jennifer Belissent

Are they serious? I've just finished reading the recent Communication on Building a European Data Economy  published by the European Commission. And, it’s a good thing they're seeking advice. The timing is perfect. I’m in the thick of my research for a new report on data commercialization. When I first published It’s Time To Take Your Data To Market the idea was merely a twinkle in people’s eye. Today that twinkle is much

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Business Intelligence Skills

Boris Evelson

So you have gone through the Discover and Plan of your Business Intelligence (BI) strategy and are ready to staff your BI support organization. What skills, experience, expertise and qualifications should you be looking for?

  • Since the term BI is often used to also include data management processes and technologies, let's assume that in your case you are only looking for expertise required to build reports and dashboards and it does not include
    • Data integration (ETL, etc) expertise
    • Data governance (master data management, data quality, etc) expertise
    • Data modelling (relational and multidimensional) expertise
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On-Premise Hadoop Just Got Easier With These 8 Hadoop-Optimized Systems

Mike Gualtieri

Enterprises agree that speedy deployment of big data Hadoop platforms has been critical to their success, especially as use cases expand and proliferate. However, deploying Hadoop systems is often difficult, especially when supporting complex workloads and dealing with hundreds of terabytes or petabytes of data. Architects need a considerable amount of time and effort to install, tune, and optimize Hadoop. Hadoop-optimized systems (aka appliances) make on-premises deployments virtually instant and blazing fast to boot. Unlike generic hardware infrastructure, Hadoop-optimized systems are preconfigured and integrated hardware and software components to deliver optimal performance and support various big data workloads. They also support one or many of the major distros such as Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM BigInsights, and MapR.  As a result, organizations spend less time installing, tuning, troubleshooting, patching, upgrading, and dealing with integration- and scale-related issues.

Choose From Among 8 Hadoop-Optimized Systems Vendors

Noel Yuhanna and me published Forrester Wave: Big Data Hadoop-Optimized Systems, Q2 2016  where we evaluated 7 of the 8 options in the market. HP Enterprise's solution was not evaluated in this Wave, but Forrester also considers HPE a key player in the market for Hadoop-Optimized Systems along with the 7 vendors we did evaluate in the Wave. 

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How British Gas Transformed Customer Engagement And Won Our 2015 EA Award

Charlie Dai

Customers’ perception of a company depends on their experiences with the organization at every point of contact. Companies can try to change how customers view a brand in a number of ways, such as a new mobile app or an improved complaint-handling process. However, to really improve customer perception, every interaction at every touchpoint must answer questions, suggest new services, and deepen the relationship. Many firms fail to tap into business opportunities that their front-line employees encounter because their processes and technology are antiquated. 

Enterprise architecture (EA) programs can lead the effort to address these limitations and deliver benefits to customers. British Gas, one of the winners of the 2015 Forrester/InfoWorld EA Awards, is a firm that seized its opportunity. My recent report, Enterprise Architects Transform Customer Engagement, analyzes the key practices enterprise architects at British Gas made to serve as brand ambassadors and to improve customer satisfaction levels and highlights key lessons for EA leaders. These practices include:

  • APIs, cloud, and big data technologies power the new engagement platform. To build an engagement platform that delivers customer insights to front-line engineers, the British Gas EA team developed a platform architecture that uses APIs and cloud and big data technologies to support a new engagement platform and the applications on top of it. The API mechanism simplifies digital connections to business applications; cloud infrastructure provides robustness and agility for business operations; big data technology arms field engineers with customer insights; and policies and multitenancy ensure flexibility and security.
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