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Tectonic Shifts Have Created an Interregnum in the Data Analytics Market

By October 24, 2013Article

I have a personal passion and track record for capitalizing on opportunities created by tectonic shifts when legacy players stumble under pressure. I see this happening today because the advent of data as a source of extreme value creation has altered the way companies compete.

Three things have come together for companies delivering incredible value:

  1. Utilization of massive amounts of data providing context and insights in real time
  2. The cloud, providing amazing elasticity across the value chain
  3. Social decision making that utilizes information from a variety of sources at record speed

As a result, yesterday’s technologies and traditional stack players are at a significant disadvantage as they are stuck in the “Innovator’s Dilemma.” As we have seen in past market upheavals, this introduces a new era with a new set of winners while those that don’t or can’t change are left behind.

I saw the tectonic shifts happen in the PBX world when legacy vendors refused to replace their proprietary hardware and software stacks, only to find themselves losing to software-based solutions like Microsoft Lync or cloud offerings. Similarly with proprietary hardware-based videoconferencing, mainframes and even interactive voice response offerings, the old has given way to the new.  Interestingly, in each case, pure-play software companies are heavily favored in the interregnum.

Actian is well-positioned with its software-based Big Data platform during this interregnum in data analytics. We share the viewpoint of new-world companies like Google, Amazon, Hortonworks and Tableau delivering solutions that irreversibly shift the price/performance curve beyond the reach of traditional legacy stack players stuck in the Innovator’s Dilemma. But the new era is not without its challenges.   

A burgeoning Hadoop ecosystem

Fortunately the ground-up approach taken by new players drives innovations across the value chain, including  modern software that can utilize the full power of modern hardware. Hadoop, for example, is an extremely powerful tool for parallelizing very large datasets across clusters, allowing enterprises to use off-the-shelf, low-cost servers to scale with data volume growth. Hadoop also provides a massive, inexpensive repository for all kinds of data — what some call a “data lake.”

However, there are several adoption hurdles related to data extraction, run-time performance and the need for a painfully scarce resource: MapReduce programmers.

Actian’s view is that smart software can and should augment Hadoop so that it can be adopted more economically and more broadly, allowing it to move from the advanced lab world to the robust enterprise mainstream. With the incredible pace at which the Hadoop ecosystem is maturing, we are at the leading edge with our ParAccel Big Data Analytics Platform. We offer a YARN-ready dataflow engine to enable incredibly fast execution natively on Hadoop without needing MapReduce. Check out our YouTube video for an overview of YARN‘s importance and some of its exciting possibilities.

With our platform, you can design an end-to-end process, from ETL through data prep to highly sophisticated analytics, with a drag-and-drop GUI to design the flow, including prebuilt data preparation and analytic functions you can stitch together. And you can write your own specialized functions to meet your unique business needs.  When you want to dig in with deep analytics, our powerful ParAccel SMP and MPP databases can scream through massive volumes at warp speed.

One of Actian’s hidden gems is our DataCloud Platform for rapid integration of both cloud-based and on-premises data, including everything from legacy application data to the most cutting-edge streaming flows. We can rapidly and easily onboard diverse data; when you’re ready to do work on the data, we’ve got the ETL and data quality capabilities to do the heavy lifting fast. And you can use our databases to crunch that data on the hardware of your choice — from desktop to server to full multi-node cluster.

Big Data: Are you getting the value?

In Gartner’s words, we are now in the Big Data trough of disillusionment. For all the talk of magical Big Data solutions, many organizations have invested significant time and money without any real ROI on their Big Data initiatives. Is Big Data just a money pit?

I’m a mountain climber; so where others might look at a peak and see a daunting challenge, it’s my habit to mentally break it down, formulate a strategy for each phase, put together the plan and carry exactly the right equipment before setting out. At Actian, we’ve successfully helped hundreds of customers implement operational systems that harness Big Data to create business value from applications that create inordinate competitive advantage, manage risk or propel new service models.

If you have a Big Data challenge or, better yet, you sense Big Data opportunity, we want to be your guide and partner to help you break it down, put together an executable strategy and deliver compelling success before you take on the next phase. We’re not a rigid stack vendor that will force you into an expensive rip-and-replace strategy. And we’re not a fragile startup that will disappear if we don’t get that next round of financing. With a profitable business that is scaling with tens of thousands of users and 300+ partners, a world-class services and support infrastructure, and multi-decade deep data experience, Actian makes a great partner for organizations wanting pragmatic but transformational strategies for winning in the Age of Data.

Ashish Gupta is CMO and SVP business development at Actian. Ashish has 20+ years’ experience in enterprise software companies, creating scalable go-to-market approaches and product portfolios that become category leaders. Ashish was formerly at Vidyo, where the company grew to be the leading software-based videoconferencing platform.  He led business development and strategy, marketing and corporate sales for Microsoft Lync at Microsoft Office Division and was also VP of product and solutions at Alcatel/Genesys Telecommunications and VP of marketing and business development at Telera Inc. 

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