Three Reasons Businesses and Everybody Else Should Be Grateful for Data

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    It’s an exciting era for data, and I like to recognize that each Thanksgiving with a gratitude list for data and integration.

    It’s fun to look back on these lists. For instance, last year’s five data trends included pay raises for BI analysts and data architects, job growth, and help with your integration backlog. I also included Stinger, which was just beginning as an Apache and Hortonworks collaboration, and rather quietly released this past September.

    Way back in 2009, I focused on integration and included less custom code and Web services as reasons to be thankful. I think we can all agree that those worked out well in the long run. My list also included open source MDM, semantic integration and mashups. What can I say about those now, except that it’s a good thing that gratitude is cheap?

    Though I usually focus on the technologists, this year I’d like to take a different approach. Let’s look at three data- and integration-related reasons why businesses, government and other organizations should be grateful.

    1. Integrated APIs will ring up sales this weekend. Ross Mason, founder and VP of product strategy at MuleSoft, says connected devices, such as kiosks, are allowing stores to offer new, online inventory to in-store shoppers. So, not only are shoppers perusing the aisles for good deals, if they don’t find what they want, they can access the store’s online catalog to place an order.

    Customers at many stores need a smartphone and a data plan to do this, but in an email to me, Mason pointed out that forward-thinking stores are offering connected kiosks or “endless aisles” to drive consumers to their online inventory.  

    “Connected devices and integrated APIs are allowing major retailers to deliver a huge breadth of products to in-store customers—those from their own website and their partners,” Mason said. “This holiday shopping season, customers can leverage the Web in stores to order their favorite goods and gifts, through one seamless process.”

    2. Big Data was worth it for big organizations. We’re starting to see Big Data’s hype cool off a bit, and with that comes a certain amount of reflection. So here’s a big reason to be grateful, enterprise leaders: Nine out of 10 of you are happy with Big Data’s business outcomes, according to research by Accenture Analytics. The firm queried enterprises with annual revenues of over $10 billion and found that the majority of CXOs said Big Data was “extremely important.” The key with Big Data, analysts say, is to “start local, think global.”

    3. IoT is an emerging $7.1 trillion industry. I admit I may regret this one in a few years, but here goes. IDC is predicting that the Internet of Things (IoT) could become a $7.1 trillion industry within six years. That’s on par with industries like education and travel.

    While much of the focus is on devices such as sensors, wearables and other hardware, what makes the IoT meaningful and valuable is the data from those devices. What’s more, without Big Data and other technology advances, the constant chatter from these devices would be useless.

    So when you’re sitting down to a big dinner, give thanks for lots of things, but maybe try to include a few of the innovations that may just make the data industry more successful. Then, enjoy your tryptophan.

    Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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