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5 Factors That Will Shape the Software Market in 2015

By November 24, 2014Article

As 2014 begins to retreat and we brace for change in the coming year, we put the year in perspective with a look at important software events. What happened in the industry in 2014 that will have the most significant impacts over the next two years? Five software leaders share their opinions on events that will propel the industry to a different level. 

Chasm forming in big data thanks to Hadoop

—  Mike Hoskins, chief technology officer, Actian

Mike HoskinsFor millions of SQL developers, Hadoop has been an unattainable temptress beckoning them with promises of analytics gold. In 2014, the Hadoop gates began to open slightly with the introduction of a handful of solutions that offer varying levels and forms of SQL access to Hadoop data. This changed the game for skilled business analysts by giving them ability to conduct advanced analytics on Hadoop data.  

In 2015 and beyond, we’ll see a chasm form between the true, enterprise-grade SQL-in-Hadoop options that enable analytics directly on data in HDFS, and other SQL-on-Hadoop options that are bolted onto Hadoop with no real connectivity, are simply legacy approaches that store data outside of Hadoop, or are too immature to provide the security, access or performance that organizations require to be successful.  

Actian’s SQL-in-Hadoop offering opens the Hadoop floodgates, giving full access to the big data lake for business analysts and BI tools, bringing industrial-strength DBMS security and authentication with ACID-compliant reliability. The Actian Analytics Platform gives data scientists and analysts powerful productivity and accuracy breakthroughs while making high-science analytics consumable, accessible and reusable. 

Shrinking resources for data mining

—  Tripp Smith, chief technology officer, Clarity Solution Group

Tripp SmithApache Spark winning the Daytona Gray Sort 100TB Benchmark was a really big deal in 2014. They blew away the previous record held by a Hadoop cluster by sorting 100TB 3x faster, using 10x fewer machines. This was all achieved on disk without the use of Spark’s even faster memory-caching option. 

This signals the reality that Hadoop has evolved from a crude batch-oriented data monster to a sophisticated framework for distributed disk-memory arbitration. Not just paving the way for performance gains within traditional Hadoop workloads, Apache Spark enables new, efficient approaches to the more complex iterative data processing required by machine learning algorithms and complex event processing at scale. 

Why is this important? Because it dramatically shrinks the amount of time and resources needed to do interactive data mining. Combined with its caching abilities, a data scientist can go from hypothesis to confirmation in a relatively short period of time. That enables them to focus on large-scale, business-centric interactive use cases. 

Both Clearstory and Platfora, which provide tools for data exploration, have successfully embraced Spark. Spark still has a way to go, but it has shown that it can play faster and with less resources. 

Microsoft changing the game

—  Jeff Kaplan, managing director, THINKstrategies 

Jeff KaplanMicrosoft’s board naming Satya Nadella CEO has already dramatically changed the company’s trajectory and will give it renewed prominence in the software industry and overall marketplace. 

Loss of trust

—  Rob Reid, CEO, Intacct 

Robert ReidThe loss of perceived privacy in trusted consumer applications will resonate throughout both the consumer and enterprise software industry in 2015. “Anonymous” consumer apps like Snapchat, Whisper and Secret were subjected to hacks or leaks, or collect more data on you than you think. This is on top of the well-publicized photo leaks from Apple’s iCloud service. 

Cloud software vendors must be more explicit in their approach to security, backup, recovery and data-collection policies and capabilities to their customers and prospects.  More resources and ongoing security improvements are a necessity in order to protect information from hackers. 

Fortunately, cloud software vendors that have been at this for a decade or more, refining and improving the security and privacy of their solution over time, are establishing and promoting their leadership in these areas for the rest of the industry to follow. Trust is paramount in the software industry, and 2015 will strengthen the position of the trust leaders. 

Building blocks for innovation

—  Paul Ressler, principal, The Cirrostratus Group

Paul ResslerThe software events that occurred in 2014 and will have the most impact are the development conferences for the major software infrastructure providers such as Microsoft, Google and Oracle. This is where the engineers who will create the new applications learned what new functionality is available and how to use it. This is how new creative solutions are developed. 

We’d like to know what others in the SandHill community think were the events in 2014 that will highly impact the industry over the next two years. Share your thoughts by clicking below to post a comment. 

Mike Hoskins is chief technology officer at Actian. He directs Actian’s technology innovation strategies and evangelizes trends in big data, and cloud-based and on-premises data management and integration. Mike is a respected thought leader who has been featured in TechCrunch,, The Register and Scobleizer. He speaks at events worldwide including Strata, DeployCon, and Structure Big Data. Mike received the AITP Austin chapter’s 2007 Information Technologist of the Year Award for his leadership in developing Actian DataRush. Follow Mike on Twitter. 

Jeff Kaplan is the managing director of THINKstrategies, founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace and host of the Cloud Innovators Summit conference series. He can be reached at 

Robert Reid is CEO of Intacct Corporation, a leading provider of cloud financial management and accounting software. With more than 30 years of experience in the software industry, Rob has a proven track record of driving explosive growth at innovative companies, and has demonstrated a deep expertise in bringing cloud computing to the world of business applications. 

Paul Ressler is a consultant specializing in service delivery for SaaS, cloud computing and managed services. As the principal of The Cirrostratus Group, Paul helps his clients improve customer satisfaction, raise service margins, introduce profitable new services, and transition to the SaaS business model. 

Tripp Smith is chief technology officer at Clarity Solution Group, a recognized data and analytics consulting firm. Contact him at






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