People talk about the impact of the “digital transformation” and how companies are moving to becoming “data-driven,” but what does it mean in practice? It may help to provide a couple of examples of data-driven companies. Netflix is often cited as a great example of a data-driven company. The entertainment subscription service is well known for using data to tune content recommendations to the tastes and preferences of their individual subscribers and even for developing new programming (NY Times: Giving Viewers What They Want). At Netflix, big data analysis is not something that only certain teams have access to, but rather a core asset that is used across the organization. Insights gained from data allow Netflix to make quick and highly informed decisions that improve all aspects of the business and most importantly, positively impact the customer experience.
Although perhaps not as well known outside the IT industry, GE is another fantastic example of a data -driven success story. GE has a vision of the “industrial internet,” a third wave of major innovation following the industrial and internet revolution, which is fueled by the integration of complex physical machinery with networked sensors and software.
One example is in GE’s $30B Renewable Energy division. This team has begun to execute on a vision of using smart sensors and the cloud to connect over 22,000 wind turbines globally in real-time. The ultimate goal is to predict downtime before it happens and to be able to tune the pitch and orientation of turbines to generate billions in additional energy production. Talend is helping them achieve this vision. Our work with GE has helped cut the time it takes to gather and analyze sensor data from 30 days to one. And, we believe that we can cut this down to minutes in the very near future.
Amazon is another stunning example of what it means to be a data-driven company. While data plays a significant role in all aspects of Amazon’s business, I view the company’s one-click ordering system, a button that once you click it automatically processes your payment and ships the selected item to your door – as a particularly compelling and pure illustration of being data-driven. This single button proves just how adept Amazon is at turning massive volumes of shopper, supplier and product data into a customer convenience and competitive advantage. Of course, Amazon didn’t become this data-driven overnight. Similar to its evolution from an online bookstore to the leading online retailer, becoming data-driven was a process that took time.
As an integration company deeply rooted in big data and Hadoop, our mission is to help companies through the process of becoming data-driven and, ultimately, define their own “one-click”. Regardless of the industry, companies’ one-click is often associated with customer-facing initiatives – which could be anything from protecting banking clients from fraud to enabling preemptive maintenance of turbines on a wind farm as discussed in the GE example.
Some organizations mistakenly believe being data-driven is all about being better at analytics. While analytics is certainly an important facet, companies must first become highly proficient at successfully stitching together desperate data and application silos. Next, companies must manage and streamline the flow of data throughout their entire organization and ensure that the data they are analyzing is accurate and accessible in an instant.
This is certainly something that our recently released Talend 5.6 aims to help companies achieve. For those of you not familiar with our Integration Platform, it combines data integration, application integration, data quality and master data management (MDM) capabilities into a single, unified workflow and interface. We believe this approach, coupled with the now over 800 components and connectors for easing the integration of new applications, data sources with big data platforms, helps simplify data management and significantly reduce the otherwise steep learning curve associated with big data and Hadoop.
While 5.6 is a great solution for companies initiating their data journey, it’s also ideal for helping companies become data-driven and define their “one-click,” especially given some of latest features we’ve introduced. As noted in our announcement, version 5.6 adds new efficiency controls for MDM. In our view, MDM is a key component for empowering our clients to begin to uniquely identify and track their customers across various touch points, as well as govern the association rules between various data sets. Notably, Talend 5.6 also initiates support for the latest Hadoop extensions, Apache Spark and Apache Storm. While perhaps not achievable for all companies immediately, the ability to operate in real time should be on every organization’s roadmap, and is in part, what these technologies will help facilitate.
As some of you may have heard, later this year we will launch Talend Integration Cloud, an Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS). The solution will enable the connection of all data sources – cloud-to-cloud, cloud-to-ground – and IT teams design and deploy projects that can run wherever they are needed. Also, for the first time, with Talend Integration Cloud, we will be enabling line of business users to access data integration tools and build jobs without having to rely on IT. Expect to hear far more about Talend Integration Cloud over the coming months, but we are very excited to provide our customers with this new tool in their arsenal and allow them to extend data access and intelligence throughout their enterprise.
I’m looking forward to the year ahead and being part of a fantastic team that will be helping more companies become data-driven and define their “one-click”. What about you? Is this the year your company, like Amazon, will be able to use data to make smarter business decisions at any given moment across your entire organization? If so, I hope to hear from you soon.