COVID-19 highlights the need for innovative data processing technologies to make sense of
companies’ massive data volumes.
Data is becoming increasingly critical to business operations. But in certain industries, COVID-19 is exerting additional pressure on companies to quickly gain insight into massive data volumes – requiring the right data and analytics technologies plus specialized skill sets.
To better understand the need for innovative data analytics acceleration platforms to tackle these new data challenges, RTInsights sat down with David Leichner, Chief Marketing Officer of SQream. Here is a summary of our conversation.
RTInsights: Being able to analyze data while it’s still relevant has often been considered a major success factor in thriving enterprises. Has COVID-19 changed the importance of organizational data in any way?
Leichner: COVID-19 has forced data teams to realign their priorities and fortify their position to help drive business through this time of crisis. Without any sign as to when the pandemic will subside and how much it will impact business, enterprises need to support their internal employees, their supply chain, and their customers more than ever.
We are experiencing a level of data growth that is nothing short of a revolution. Big data is becoming an outdated term as we have moved into the Era of Massive Data. Data leaders are shifting their focus to better support their stakeholders through this difficult period by looking for ways to translate more of their treasure troves of data into business benefit. From better and faster decision-making to help enterprises endure through this period, tapping into massive data is the key to unlocking successful business continuity.
RTInsights: Are there particular industries that are affected, where data has become even more critical?
Leichner: Absolutely. In finance, for example, areas such as risk management become even more critical for the business. In addition, areas like loans and mortgages, credit risk, and product segmentation become reliant on rapid and comprehensive data analytics. To keep up, financial
institutions need to embrace new approaches for assisting customers and mitigating loss.
Retail is another industry seriously affected by COVID-19. The emergence of COVID-19 has radically transformed the retail industry. Retailers are challenged to keep their physical locations open for business, yet safe for shoppers and employees. For this they need to understand shopper
demographics, visiting and buying patterns, and shopping traffic patterns.
In addition, COVID-19 has led to an immediate and huge increase in demand for online shopping. Retailers who have rapidly improved their online offering can capitalize on the resulting data for analysis and insights needed to increase sales and improve operational efficiencies. They can predict trends, better forecast product demand, optimize pricing, and provide tailored offerings for their shoppers.
In many cases, by rapidly implementing new data management and analytics methods, they will be able to emerge from the COVID-19 era even stronger than when they started.
RTInsights: So is the heavy demand for online shopping also having an effect on the telco industry?
Leichner: The telco industry is also feeling the effects of COVID-19 in a very big way. Given the quick spread of COVID-19 and an increase in countries imposing lockdowns and restrictions on movement, we are limited to our homes – significantly increasing the use of distributed networks for work and leisure time activities. In fact, network usage is skyrocketing. Many telcos are reporting major spikes in usage, driven by companies in work from home (WFH) mode, a significant increase on online video conferencing and shopping. Network reliability is an ongoing focus, as is quality of service.
The ability to rapidly manage and analyze network usage data, customer trends, and location information enables telcos to provide the quality of service and experience that customers expect, even during the pandemic. In addition, data is increasingly being used in cooperation with
government and healthcare organizations to track and contain COVID-19 outbreaks.
RTInsights: Has the increased focus on data changed the power of the data teams and CDOs within the organization, and is this a trend that will continue?
Leichner: If there’s one thing we’ve seen since the onset of the pandemic, it’s that people want to regain control. This mood extends to data professionals, who are tired of spending inordinate amounts of time on data preparation and query execution, and are demanding rapid and
unrestricted access to their most valuable asset.
There is no question that COVID-19 is strengthening the position of data professionals and the CDO in organizations. As executives need to make decisions in near real-time, the ability to provide fast, responsive analytics has become critical for organizations, putting data experts at the forefront.
In fact, even in organizations where IT is responsible for organizing and preparing data for use by data scientists and analysts, IT has been overwhelmed with handling the set-up of WFH environments, VPNs, cyber security issues, bandwidth challenges, hardware and software
allocations, and much more. Data teams have picked up the slack and are taking more responsibility in the data pipeline.
RTInsights: Do you see this trend continuing?
Leichner: With data growing from big to massive in organizations, and business leaders understanding even more than ever the importance of being able to analyze their mounds of data very quickly to make critical business decisions, the role of the CDO and data professionals will only
grow in importance. But with this growth in standing also comes the challenge of being able to manage and analyze the growing volumes of massive data in the organization.
The Massive Data Revolution is here to stay. Continuing to throw resources at legacy data warehouses and Hadoop, which were not built to handle this new era of data, is not feasible for an organization that wants to grow and stay ahead of the competition. It’s time for data professionals to unleash the power of their massive data. It’s time to revolt against long-running queries, rise up against data preparation that takes forever, and demand massive data analytics for critical insights to propel business forward. This Revolution will continue to drive the role of the data professional forward as we are seeing in the COVID-19 era.