DATA is the wealth creator of this century, insists Scott Gnau of Hortonworks.
The Chief Technical Officer of the NASDAQ-listed software company insists that the “folks who don’t get this fact are going to be left behind”.
“You can never spend too much time looking at data, though you can spend too much time trying to capture data,” he continues.
Towards that end, Hortonworks has the tools for businesses to manage data and make the process of applying it a lot easier.
“In the 18th century, it was about transportation and shipping magnates. In the 19th century, wealth was in oil and energy.
“This century is about data,” Ngau says. He points to the NYSE FANG+, an index of highly-traded growth stocks of next-generation and tech-enabled companies, which includes Facebook, Apple, Alibaba, Amazon, Netflix and Google, which has increased in value at a much quicker pace than transportation or energy indexes.
Gnau urges companies to treat their data as an asset, not a cost centre.
He cites the example of global hotel chains as a case in point.
“When I was growing up, you would go on a car trip and stay at a motel along the way. Most of those motels are all gone now. That’s because Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and other big chains own the customer and they make the reservations. As a result, the mom-and-pop motel industry has been wiped out. I’ve seen that change in my lifetime.
“The companies that get customers’ data and understand their preferences are going to get the business.
“When I travel, I don’t pull into a motel and ask for a room. I go on my mobile phone and ask Siri to find me a room. And it’s inevitably a Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt….”
While it may seem a more impersonal route, Gnau maintains that it gives the customer a personalised option. “It may not be unique, but it is personalised.”
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Data In Motion
In the next 10 years, Gnau foresees the continued expansion of data in motion.
“Data will be hybrid. Some in the cloud, some on premises, others on the Edge. Connecting this hybrid environment is really important.”
The rise of containerisation — an operating system that allows various applications to be deployed — is the cool, sexy enabling tool of the future.
“Data in the future will require new kinds of tooling and monitoring. It will create a lot of opportunities as customers apply resources to solve problems.
Healthcare is another big area for growth. “Healthcare data is unstructured — X-rays, handwritten notes, different readings and tests. Making sense of it is difficult. IoT is trying to solve it.”
Hammer Or Screwdriver?
Consumption models in the new data world are different, Gnau points out.
In the old data world you analysed data within your firewall which was structured and small.
In the new data world, most of it is created outside the firewall, and outside of your control. The format of data is going to change as the devices change and you won’t know it’s changed until you get it,” Gnau explains.
“How you will capture and analyse data in that world will be different. We create an environment that is easy to capture and analyse the data; the right tool and the right process.
“I can put a screw into the wall with a hammer. It’s not elegant, but it can be done. Or I could use a screwdriver.”
Hortonworks makes it easier for customers to hear the signal in the noise and filter out the noise. The more data you have, the more noise you’re going to have.
It’s about using the appropriate tool to help businesses scale efficiently and effectively.