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February 21, 2017
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A Faster Horse?

The interesting challenge that product managers and innovators grapple with everyday is balancing what customers are asking for with what customers actually need. As an example in the late 19th century, purely focusing on customer requirements might have led to trying to breed a faster, more healthy and longer living horse. Then came Henry Ford and other innovators who changed the course of transportation forever. Whether Henry Ford actually said, “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse” is up for debate. My point is: impending disruption is often too hard to see until it is too late.

We are arguably at the threshold of a 21st century disruption cycle now, and the implications will be as big as the worlds’ transition to ‘horseless carriages.’ I call this inflection the ‘data tipping point.’ Driven by mega trends in the digital world like: IoT, AI, Streaming and Cloud Capabilities, our industry is awash in new data, new analytics and new opportunities. I argue that because of the rapid adoption and change caused by these mega trends, incremental solutions are no longer viable and a new platform for innovation has emerged. And just like the transportation example I used earlier, in a few years this new innovation platform will be the standard.

The key success drivers in the new data platform are:

  • It’s an ecosystem not a converged stack – with the requirements of data variety and agility, applications must work together and not be independent.
  • It’s open – open source and open community are the new software development norm and the next generation of IT leaders and innovators have grown up in the ‘GitHub’ era.
  • It’s more than rows and columns – from voice to text to geo to genomes and everywhere in between, data has outgrown the era of spreadsheets.
  • It’s more than storage and retrieval – Data in motion is valuable and pushing decisions to the point of origin emerges as the only way to compete.

What’s important here is to not be the proverbial frog in a pot of ever warming water not noticing the heat until you’re boiled….be ready to rethink normal. Be ready to deploy open and connected, cloud enabled data platforms.

About three years ago, I was sitting on top of “Mount RDBMS” and saw all of this stuff happening in the data market. The volume of data was skyrocketing every year. Sensors, mobile, social, IoT were emerging and the sheer volume of data forced the center of gravity to shift away from the EDW-centric mindset. Its because of that change that I decided to abandon incremental, and to jump fully into the new world. I knew that the market was about to take a massive turn towards Hadoop and open source as the architecture of the future. I’ve written about The Data Tipping Point in past posts, but this really was the reason why I made the move I did.

The EDW isn’t going anywhere, and at Hortonworks we certainly have a strategy to ensure our platforms complement and optimize – not replace – existing warehouse investments, while positioning our customers for the transition to a more modern data architecture. Our new Solution offers an integrated, tested and certified solution that eases the complex and costly BI process for customers, ultimately allowing for faster business transformation. Hortonworks is architecting and innovating for the future of our customers’ needs, while also providing things they want now.

Our connected data platforms span on-premise and cloud, and disrupt the traditional data architecture landscape. The platform of the future requires scalability for huge data volume, flexibility across any environment, and cost efficiency. It must be open. That’s why Hortonworks is a leader in connected data platforms, with approximately 60% of the U.S. Fortune 100 as customers. Open source is our differentiator and the market is voting with their dollars.

So when it comes to architecting a data strategy for the future, is the answer really a faster horse?


Tom says:

Interesting post – I good point and I agree that open source seems to have fully come of age with the convergence of robust platforms like GitHub but even more importantly people who are moving into senior roles who came of age with these platforms

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