Recent survey data from Forrester reveals that external third-party data is rapidly rising in importance to organizations. Such third-party data sets are rising in importance partially because they provide opportunities to take advantage of the explosion in data sources — for example, from data generated by the proliferation of mobile and other sensor-enabled devices. External data provides real value — not just in traditional use cases such as improving market intelligence data, but increasingly in improving customer experiences, such as EA Sports piping real-time weather data into its game venues to create more realistic gaming experiences.
Our recently published report, “Navigating The New Data Market Landscape,” explores how this explosion in data sources has given rise to a new market for data and data services — what will make up the foundation of the emerging data economy. The report aims to arm both technology management as well as business professionals with the knowledge to guide new data strategies, in particular with the possibility to incorporate external data into business intelligence and decision-making.
An explosion of data is revolutionizing business practices. The availability of new data sources and delivery models provides unprecedented insights into customer and partner behavior and enables much improved capacity to understand and optimize business processes and operations. Real time data allows companies to fine tune inventories and in-store product placement; it allows restaurants to know what a customer will order, even before they read the menu or reach the counter. And, data is also the foundation for new services offerings for companies like John Deere or BMW or Starwood.
Improving the use of data and analytics is a top strategic priority for many companies. But organizations face major challenges ramping up their information management capabilities — in particular due to the combination of a brutal proliferation of new or enhanced technologies, emerging data sources, and difficulty in finding skilled people with the appropriate experience. As a result, companies are increasingly looking to service providers for help.
Please note that we use the term “data services” to refer to broader engagements (including data delivery, analysis, management, or governance-related services), while “data management services” form a smaller subset of services relating to finding, collecting, migrating, and integrating data.
Here are three of the key findings from our research:
More than two-thirds of organizations expect their spending on data management services to increase; 41% stated they expect spending to increase 5% to 10% in the next 12 months.
Major industry dynamics such as digital disruption are causing chaos and upheaval even in mature industries. To help navigate the changes that result, companies are placing an ever greater premium on data-driven insights. Put simply, the management and effective utilization of data have become essential for competitive survival — but the growing volume and diversity of data leave companies scrambling to effectively and efficiently manage, govern, and utilize it. Companies face four main data management challenges at the moment:
Highly skilled and experienced resources are expensive and difficult to find.
New technologies, such as SAP HANA or Hadoop, are challenging existing capabilities.
New sources of data are rendering existing information infrastructures inadequate.
Companies still lack maturity in managing and analyzing their data. For example, few companies have a fully-fledged information management strategy (just 13%, according to Forrester’s Q2 2013 Global Information Strategy And Architecture Online Survey).
For decades, firms have deployed applications and BI on independent databases and warehouses, supporting custom data models, scalability, and performance while speeding delivery. It’s become a nightmare to try to integrate the proliferation of data across these sources in order to deliver the unified view of business data required to support new business applications, analytics, and real-time insights. The explosion of new sources, driven by the triple-threat trends of mobile, social, and the cloud, amplified by partner data, market feeds, and machine-generated data, further aggravates the problem. Poorly integrated business data often leads to poor business decisions, reduces customer satisfaction and competitive advantage, and slows product innovation — ultimately limiting revenue.
Forrester’s latest research reveals how leading firms are coping with this explosion using data virtualization, leading us to release a major new version of our reference architecture, Information Fabric 3.0. Since Forrester invented the category of data virtualization eight years ago with the first version of information fabric, these solutions have continued to evolve. In this update, we reflect new business requirements and new technology options including big data, cloud, mobile, distributed in-memory caching, and dynamic services. Use information fabric 3.0 to inform and guide your data virtualization and integration strategy, especially where you require real-time data sharing, complex business transactions, more self-service access to data, integration of all types of data, and increased support for analytics and predictive analytics.
Information fabric 3.0 reflects significant innovation in data virtualization solutions, including: