Data industry trends to watch in 2021

Okera researchers revealed five pivotal data industry trends and predictions expected to emerge in 2021.

data industry trends 2021

“The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies across the board to accelerate their digital transformation strategies and rethink their approach to data security due to remote working and increased data breaches.

“As we look to 2021, data privacy will be paramount to competitive differentiation as organizations accelerate in the tools and technologies that will transform their businesses and drive revenue,” said Nong Li, Okera CTO.

Data privacy and access controls: A brand differentiator that drives topline revenue

2019 and 2020 were all about establishing the people, processes and technology that helped businesses avoid regulatory fines and brand damage associated with privacy violations and data breaches.

In 2021, companies will have a new motivation for ensuring data privacy in their organizations and products: competitive differentiation. Even before the pandemic, data privacy was a major tech topic and COVID-19 only amplified these concerns.

We will see a wave of companies touting their investment in, approach to, and transparency around data privacy and security as a key feature of their technology and brand. Consumer demand will push this trend beyond regulated industries and make data privacy a competitive differentiator across most verticals.

However, security has not been a top concern of application designers. As a result, many organizations will experience a cultural sea change, with a top-down push to build privacy and security into the organization’s technology fabric while deploying tools and processes that enable teams to make it a reality.

Investments in data catalogs and metadata management will pay off

Over the last several years, enterprises have increased their investments in data catalog technology to enable simple, automated access to integrated metadata across the various data silos in their hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

However, though they have worked diligently to get data into their catalogs, most enterprises have yet to activate them in their business workflows for strategic advantage. This will change on a broad scale in 2021 as more enterprises start to leverage metadata to create generic and flexible business rules and for request processing.

For example, as part of their business applications, data consumers will have insight into what constitutes as sensitive data, the lineage associated with the data, and who has access to it. Meanwhile, data stewards charged with protecting sensitive information will deploy tools leveraging metadata in order to automate access controls.

Integrated, hybrid data platforms will transform the power of cloud apps

We will see the rise of truly integrated data platforms in 2021. These platforms will include a centralized data catalog that spans all the data stores, no matter where they are deployed, along with integrated user and permissions management. This will enable companies to build applications that also span these data stores.

We have already seen this trend gaining steam, with the major cloud providers creating ways to deploy their software on other clouds. The flexibility provided by integrated data platforms will transform the power of cloud applications and accelerate time to value.

More verticalization of data analytics and data platform technologies

The early 2000s saw a paradigm shift away from traditional relational databases and data warehousing toward building distributed data platforms.

By the mid-2010s, companies introduced point solutions designed to solve specific pain points that emerged in these new environments (like Databricks for analytics and Snowflake for cloud consolidation).

In the next year and throughout the next decade, we’ll see these and many other solutions hit their stride, offering much faster time to value through fully integrated and much more end user-friendly solutions. This will enable enterprises to dramatically accelerate the building of new data platforms and derive more value from their data faster.

CDOs implementing a distributed data stewardship model

Over the last few years, companies have brought on CDOs due to the need to use data more effectively. In the era of big data and distributed hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures, protecting data has become a high-stakes, board-level issue tied to the success of every enterprise.

However, in order to truly push down privacy and security from the top, a distributed data stewardship approach will be required in which everyone in the organization takes responsibility for data privacy with technology platforms to support them.

In 2021, the evolving role of the CDO will be more clearly defined. The CDO will lead a cultural shift and be responsible for activating the necessary technology changes by providing top-down controls and guardrails so line-of-business teams closest to the data will be responsible for hands-on access management.

This model will have a transformative effect on the business, driving more effective governance, competitive advantage, and increased revenue.

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