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September 21, 2015

What came first: the data or the tech?

The evolution of data, in-memory technology, and the future it holds.

By Vinod

As we enter a time of true digitisation, organisations are starting to pay attention and look at data in closer detail because they realise that big data holds the secret to achieving better results within business.

Whether it’s better sales, less waste, or improved customer satisfaction, data is at the heart of accomplishing these feats. That’s just as true for startups as it is for large enterprises in today’s digital world.

But it hasn’t always been like this. Before, data was ignored and the data scientist role didn’t even exist, let alone cause the rock star stir it does today. Any business that regarded its data as important was restricted by the technology and the cost was prohibitive.

A client with a query would require a database engine to access the storage disk, where the data was, held for it to then read it, process it and send it back to the client. It was all rather slow, but it worked for small amounts of data and made business easier.

Data enlightenment
As we started to learn more about data and how we could use it to our advantage, we also discovered how much data was available to be harvested. With this new understanding of data and the staggering rate at which it was being produced, innovations and improved business insights could be made, but the arrival of such vast quantities meant that, eventually, disk access technology could not keep up.

Despite the inventions of technologies such as indexing and caching, big data outgrew them, and what once seemed like high-end technology became ineffective, meaning new solutions were needed.

As data sets have evolved in size and sophistication, so too have databases evolved in order to take on the data era, and one of the best solutions to this big data conundrum has arrived.

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In-memory analytic databases provide businesses and organisations with the tool they need to make the most of the data they have available to them; they’re extremely fast, powerful engines and their scalability means that it doesn’t look like they will be outdated any time soon.

Technology has democratised big data
In fact, one of the biggest benefits of this technology is that you don’t need to be a big corporation like Google or Amazon to reap the benefits of data any more. Smaller businesses are now able to use in-memory technology to understand data just as well.

The data and the tech has arrived
For a long time, in-memory technology was too expensive for companies to get involved with, but with developments in cloud technologies and thanks to Moore’s Law, memory is now at a price that means all businesses can embrace in-memory database technology.

Every business now has the chance to turn large data volumes into valuable insight at a rate never seen before – they can know what is happening now rather than what occurred yesterday.

Technology’s ability to provide real-time data analytics allows businesses to tackle queries, problems and requests immediately. It’s essential for all businesses trying to stay with the times and keep up with competition. By listening to what customers have to say, companies can provide them with a unique and tailored experience, enhancing their loyalty and increasing the likelihood that they will return again.

Online retailers can see increased sales by suggesting tempting additions to customer purchases, and banks can check for fraudulent activity in real-time – these are just some of the real world sector benefits being achieved today. Decision-makers know who their customers are, what they are doing and how to keep them coming back for more.

The benefits that are currently gained from real-time operations are just the tip of the iceberg. We are merely at the threshold of learning just what lightning fast data analysis can mean for business, and how this will change the landscape of business operations moving forwards. Indeed, in-memory can impact every area of the business positively.

Technology and data redrawing relationships
Indeed, in-memory databases are creating the environment for business management and technology to become synonymous with each other. It has redrawn the relationship in the departments and IT is now seen as integral to the business, not just on the periphery, meaning all businesses should be investing in big data analytics.

Big data analytics should be considered today as mainstream a part of running a business as spreadsheets and word processing, and there is no reason why big data cannot be weaved into the DNA of every company, especially when the price now makes it accessible for all. Investing in big data analytics is becoming the status quo, and companies risk losing business and falling behind their competitors if they don’t get on board soon.


By Sean Jackson, chief marketing officer at EXASOL


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