Looking back on 2019, it’s been an incredible year for data. The potential of data and analytics is unrelentless, with more organisations realising this power – and, in most cases, doing it with more care than ever before. Data privacy continues to appear in the headlines with massive GDPR fines, while new governmental bodies are scrutinising the growth of AI on an international scale.
The data industry has also seen a lot of change over the year, such as the major acquisitions of data tools by Salesforce and Google alike. What impact will these events have through 2020? How will the culture of data and analytics transform as more data leadership is taken on by large organisations?
In 2020, the famed hype around AI probably won’t burst, so expect to hear more buzzwords and headlines than ever. However, it’s become clear in 2019 that the realities of AI are starting to bite.
We’ll likely see a realignment of expectations, and a new focus on foundational use cases that support the automation and optimisation of internal operations. We had Daniel Hulme, CEO of Satalia and expert in everything AI, on the podcast earlier this year to share his perspective on the awareness of practical AI.
The ability to deliver value quickly, with robust processes and move data through the value chain – from idea to activation – is where organisations will win with data. Through 2020, we’ll see the growth of DataOps as a method to achieve this ambition.
Thinking about building data products and solutions with similar methods seen in digital native businesses and startups will increasingly be a focus.
Many tools and vendors are enabling people to approach technical tasks more easily – for example, in data ingestion you now have an array of tools to choose from, with Panopoly, Fivetran, Dataiku, etc.
However, more people need to be careful not to over-democratise; trying to make everyone an expert isn’t a solution, and we’ve already spent years pushing back against the foundation of new cottage industries.
There’s a whole lot of hype around the concept of Smart Cities, and the development in IoT, APIs, and cloud platforms are enabling more and more collaboration between citizens and local government (and between local governments themselves).
For example, the London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) has been set up to drive increased collaboration and shared technology between London Councils. These projects will continue to grow and deliver real value to the tax payer and citizens’ wellbeing through 2020.
Despite being announced earlier this year, in 2020 SalesForce will maximise their acquisition of Tableau, and we’ll finally see this integration start to take shape. It’ll be interesting to see the effect of Tableau giving SalesForce some real firepower in the data and BI space.
Will we see them pivot completely to be a data, data warehouse or analytics platform? Likewise, Google will start to fold Looker into their stack more fully – and maybe we’ll see Google Analytics delivered through Looker?
With AWS, Google and Microsoft fighting over the cloud platform market and ensuring use cases on data, analytics and AI are in their kit bag, we’ll see a continued and rapid rise in organisations moving their workloads to the Cloud.
Whilst we’ll see 3rd party vendors like Snowflake collaborating with the Cloud vendors, we’ll also see them taking some of the consumption and provision of their own tooling direct to customers instead of people purely using the native tools that come from the Cloud vendors themselves.
Similar to the growth we’ve seen over the past decade, 2020 will see a continued trend of organisations taking on a senior data leader to own and lead the definition and delivery of their data strategy. The expectations are always high with this position, and tenure can be short because of that.
2020 will see some movements across the industry through a combination of the hype deflating and early foundational work over the last couple of years coming to an end, and the focus in organisations switching to value and outcomes over governance and consolidation.
This isn’t our first rodeo – in 2018, we made eight predictions for what would change in data throughout 2019. How well did we do?
What are your data ambitions for 2020?
The best foundation for any investment in data and analytics is a Data Strategy. This establishes a flexible roadmap to align your data ambitions with business goals, and define what you want to achieve with data.
Jason Foster is leading a masterclass on building a data strategy in London – register your place at the next session to learn the best approaches for your data.