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Databases have come a long way since its predecessors were first created more than 40 years ago. With recent advances in digital strategies directing an increased focus on the customer, the onus has fallen to the humble database to support the skyrocketing number of customer interactions that are taking place across a growing number of touchpoints..
Now a $40+ billion market, the database industry continues to evolve and benefit from the innovations across the broader tech landscape. The year 2018 will be another landmark year in the database space as innovation in cloud and AI continue to drive customer engagement. Here are five predictions for the year ahead that will impact data at a foundational level and influence the customer experience.
Digital Transformations Will Accelerate, Led by a Fundamental Rethink of Data Infrastructure: Businesses have begun to understand the linkage between customer engagement and digital transformation. And in turn, they’ve realized that using old infrastructure will not help them achieve this transformation. Therefore, more and more businesses will evolve their business models by fundamentally rethinking their data: how it is managed, how it is moved, and how it is presented to the customer. This fundamental rethink begins at the data infrastructure level, enabling the agility that will ultimately lead businesses to reach their digital transformation goals. The replatforming of businesses’ database infrastructure to modern data platforms — platforms that allow fluidity of data movement and secure management from edge to cloud — will accelerate at an unprecedented pace.
Multi-cloud Takes off as the Future of Cloud Technology: The cloud has matured from private to hybrid and now multi-cloud technology, which will become the de-facto standard for cloud architecture as companies seek to optimize workloads and avoid vendor lock-in. Modern data infrastructure will accompany the adoption of multi-cloud, as data security and integrity become mission-critical with data moving between clouds and an increasing number of touchpoints. No longer just a competitive advantage, multi-cloud will become the new cloud standard in 2018.
Edge Computing Leaps to the Forefront: Cloud computing revolutionized virtualization and ushered in the digital era, and now edge computing will bring those digital learnings back to hardware for applications that extend customer engagement in novel ways. Industrial IoT applications, sensors and VR-powered devices use edge computing to provide offline capabilities that deliver the seamless, real-time experiences modern users expect. Data capabilities and chip technology are now advanced enough to support real-time compute at the edge, and 2018 will see organizations updating infrastructure to take advantage of the benefits of edge computing.
AI Doesn’t Go Mainstream, But Businesses Lay AI Groundwork: Today AI is more of a trendy buzzword than practical reality, and it’s difficult to execute because AI is only as good as its data. While data integrity still varies within the enterprise, true implementation of AI is still a concept that will not come to fruition for a few years. However, we’ve seen early stages of machine learning applications in verticals such as advertising and retail. In the years ahead, we’ll see more industries, including industrial IoT, digital health and digital finance, begin taking advantage of machine learning within applications to provide more meaningful user experiences. Throughout this transformation, the database will play an instrumental role by accommodating rapidly-changing data at scale while keeping big data sets reliable and secure.
Containing the Database Sprawl Will Be a Mandate: One-trick technology solutions that solve singular customer problems will begin to peel away. To maintain a lasting business strategy, companies need to become a true partner for continual innovation rather than point solutions that fill niche issues. The cost of integrating numerous solutions to a platform will not be worth the complexity and headache, and the businesses that provide one platform that fills multiple customer needs will thrive. Organizations need to adapt to customer expectations, and having an agile approach to technology will be the key differentiator.
Time will tell if these predictions come to fruition, but in any case, 2018 should be a year to look forward to as both tech titans and startups alike create new and more innovative ways to bring new value to customers.