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April 12, 2016
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What Happens After Software Eats the World?

Yes, Software has Eaten the World

Back in 2011,  Marc Andreessen has said that “software is eating the world.”   In this famous article, Marc discusses how software will soon be at the centerpiece of defining our economy and all sorts of products.  Fast forward to 2016, and his perspective has been proven right.  Software has now become the cornerstone of products of all shapes and sizes, it has enabled the creation of new services, it empowers enterprise business processes, and it continues to grow massively.

IT infrastructure has also become increasingly software-defined.    Modern infrastructures consist of software-defined networks,  software-defined data centers,  and the dynamics of virtualization and orchestration has made cloud computing real.

So the question has become, what happens AFTER software eats the world?

Data is Eating Software

For those who do not know me, I am the vice president of product and alliance marketing for Hortonworks.  I spend most of my days working with line of business executives and IT leaders implementing the next generation of data-defined business initiatives, software applications, and building the next generation enterprise data architecture – and from my experience, the industry narrative is rapidly abstracting past just software.

Today’s transformational business and IT agendas are being driven by data.   Of course, software remains an important part of this discussion as it handles allocation of compute, processing of logic, allotment of resources,  etc.  However,  the business value is in the data.

Consider today’s most exciting consumer products and user experiences from companies like Netflix, Google, Waze, Tesla, Apple, Fitbit, Facebook, etc.    The most immersive and disruptive experiences are now defined by data.    Some examples of this include:

  • Tesla’s self-driving Autopilot leverages the data collected by the miles driven from it’s entire fleet of autopilot equipped automobiles.    Called “fleet learning”, data is enabling this early generation of self-driving cars to continually improve itself, ensuring safety and convenience for the end user.   In effect, this data-defined self learning is re-casting the logic of the auto-pilot system.  (
  • At Netflix, the everyday viewing preferences generated by end users dynamically establish the recommendations for future consumption.  Data is constantly collected and processed from every customer engagement (including connection speed frame rates.)   This analysis defines on-going tuning and architectural resources to ensure a delightful experience.  (
  • Progressive Insurance’s usage-based insurance enables an opt-in service that monitors driving data to offer discounts based on good driving habits.  This multi—billion-dollar business is an example of data from the Internet of Anything is now helping to deliver safer roads.  (

No matter where you look, modern data applications are driving transformational business impact in all industries and are delivering the next generation products and services.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 6.19.20 AMThe Power of Open Source in the New Data Architecture

IT organizations have always struggled reducing hard costs of maintaining existing infrastructures.  The more they can reduce the cost envelop of existing IT investments, the more they can reinvest that savings into innovative projects.  Having seen many transformations in my twenty years in enterprise software, usually each wave of change is accompanied by increasingly expensive architectures.

However, this time, it is different.     Open source enterprise technologies such as Apache Hadoop are now driving a breakout of new capabilities with a different cost dynamic.   This change has been called an “architectural revolution” that will remake how data is related to software logic at it’s core, while simultaneously optimizing cost structures.

As Thomas Davenport wrote in the Wall Street Journal (The Shift to a New Data Architecture,

“ So this (data) architectural revolution won’t be televised, but it will be revolutionary. It will bring the power of open-source tools and big data to large, established firms, but none of the existing capabilities will go away. It will combine the cost and processing power advantages of Hadoop and open-source tools with the ease of access, governance and security of data management and data warehousing.”

With the power of open source in the data architecture,   capabilities rise and overall costs can actually decline.    As a result, we have seen many Hortonworks customers that initiate architectural renovations around the data architecture that will be able to drive new big-data capabilities, while simultaneously producing savings over legacy infrastructure.   These savings help pay for these new innovative projects.    This unusual cost/benefit dynamic is resulting in even faster adoption of the new modern data applications.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 6.19.13 AMIntroducing the Data-defined Enterprise

Given the above conversation,  Hortonworks continues to see businesses rapidly rethinking data-defined possibilities and Hortonworks is helping organizations of all sizes on this data journey.  We believe the leading enterprises of the 21st century will be leveraging data as a strategic asset, leveraging data to define customer experiences, strategic planning, patient care, medical breakthroughs, more intelligent manufacturing, smarter retail, and everything in between.

This week I am at Hadoop Summit in Europe helping the company announce some major new open-source capabilities that deliver against this vision.     Our Open and Connected Data Platforms delivers the industry’s best platform to leverage data-in-motion and data-at-rest, helping organizations deliver actionable intelligence through modern data applications. 

To learn more about today’s announcements, please visit us at

About the Author

Matthew Morgan is the vice president of global product and alliance marketing for Hortonworks.  In this role, he leads Hortonworks product marketing, vertical solutions marketing, alliance marketing, and worldwide sales enablement. His background includes twenty years in enterprise software, including leading worldwide product marketing organizations for Citrix, HP Software, Mercury Interactive, and Blueprint.  Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or visit his personal blog


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