The Impact of SMACT on the Data Management Stack

I had the opportunity to present to the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Data Management Association (DAMA) this week on the topic of the changes to today’s data management stack. We discussed why CIOs and IT organizations in general are getting SMACT and reviewed some of the new integration challenges of the enterprise:

  • Big data access and analytics,
  • Disconnected SaaS silos,
  • API proliferation,
  • and the brewing storm of data represented by the Internet of Things.

benioff_speed_df14We then reviewed some of the characteristics and challenges posed by what we call the Integrator’s Dilemma and why old approaches to data management and same old same old (SO, SO) approaches to cloud and big data integration are not going to cut in the modern enterprise. What’s different, you ask? Here are 5 changes we discuss with our customers and partners at SnapLogic:

  1. Speed: As Marc Benioff recently noted at Dreamforce 2014, “Companies are no longer competing against each other. They’re competing against speed.”  Speed was also identified as the #1 reason companies choose an integration platform as a service (iPaaS), according to our recent TechValidate survey.
  2. User (and Buyer) Expectations: Self-service is a hot topic in the world of analytics, big data integration and iPaaS. We’ve written about the rise of the citizen integrator regularly on this blog. Gartner has recently published a report on the topic: Embrace the Citizen Integrator Approach to Improve Business Users’ Productivity and Agility.
  3. The Data: Of all of the changes in information management infrastructure, what’s new when it comes to big data volume, variety and velocity has been the most widely covered. See the original post on this topic from Gartner’s Doug Laney here.
  4. Cloudification and Data Gravity: With 2015 technology predictions season about to kick in, with so much recent attention on the shift to cloud analytics, here’s what Forrester has to say about the state of cloud adoption:  ”In 2015, cloud adoption will accelerate and technology management groups must adapt to this reality by learning how to add value to their company’s use of these services through facilitation, adaptation and evangelism. The days of fighting the cloud are over. This means major changes are ahead for you, your application architecture, portfolio, and your vendor relationships.”
  5. Standard, Protocols and Architectural Styles: We’ve talked about why the enterprise service bus (ESB) doesn’t fly in the cloud and written extensively about JSON and REST.  We’ve also written about why an ELA with a legacy data management vendor in 2014 is like betting on COBOL in 1998. As Craig Stewart, our Sr. Director of product management likes say: “It’s easy to put rows and columns into a document, but vice-versa doesn’t work.”

So what’s the same? Successful cloud application and big data platform adoption requires the right plumbing. Whether it’s orchestrating and streaming data between applications in real time or acquiring, preparing and delivering big data to downstream analytics tools and users, it’s still all about the pipes. While many of the circumstances and pace have changed, the burden of ensuring your data is timely, relevant and trustworthy has not. Your integration solution must be an innovation on ramp, not a roadblock.

I’ve embedded the presentation below, which includes a few recommendations for data management practitioners. Feedback appreciated.

Talking “SMACT” With CIOs

SMACTWe recently reviewed the many fall tech events happening in the Bay Area and elsewhere and just got back from a few CIO-specific conferences last week. There have been a wide range of topics covered during recent events, including the next wave of cloud computing, cloud analytics, integration platform as a service (iPaaS), big data and big data integration.

Last week in Miami Beach we were at the Technology Business Management (TBM) Conference, which brought together Global 2000 CIOs, CTOs and CFOs to hear from peers and learn about new solutions on the market that can help modernize and transform enterprise IT organizations. While at the TBM Conference we had the opportunity to speak with CIOs and other IT leaders about how SnapLogic customers have reduced the complexity of their integrations by up to 85% and connected data, applications and APIs at least 4x faster. We also discussed common use cases for our platform such as cloud and on-premises application integration, digital marketing, big data analytics, self-service for “citizen integrators,” and the establishment of an agile enterprise integration layer or fabric.

old vs. newAt the Midmarket CIO Forum in Tucson, also last week, we met with CIOs from a variety of industries and reviewed the new data, application and API integration challenges that are facing today’s IT leaders. We discussed the “Integrator’s Dilemma” and how older, more traditional ETL tools and approaches to integration aren’t built for the new data challenges. Lastly, we talked about how to avoid getting “SMACT” summed up by the following:

  • Don’t settle for SO SO (same old, same old)
  • The first step to solving the Integrator’s Dilemma is recognizing it exists!
  • When it comes to Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud computing and the Internet of Things  wait to integrate!

You can find our presentation slides here. Also be sure to check out some of the social buzz below from TBM Conference and the Midmarket CIO Forum, as well as our infographic here on why CIOs are getting “SMACT”:

BI in the Sky: The New Rules of Cloud Analytics Tools

2014_FB_ArticleLinkPosts_484x252Last week we wrote about the big news at Dreamforce 2014: Cloud Analytics in the Spotlight: Riding the Wave at #DF14. SnapLogic also hosted a webinar with David Glueck from Bonobos as our featured speaker: BI in the Sky: The New Rules of Cloud Analytics. David is the founder of the data science and engineering team at Bonobos, which is the largest e-commerce-born apparel brand in the US. A seasoned analytics guru, prior to joining Bonobos, David has held business intelligence roles at Groupon, Netflix, HP, Knightsbridge Consulting, Cisco.

He summarized the three primary reasons Bonobos was an early cloud analytics adopter as speed, flexibility and scale. With the benefit of being born in the cloud and remaining cloud first from an IT infrastructure perspective, Bonobos relies upon the SnapLogic platform to pull data from multiple cloud services, CSVs, APIs, and databases and pushes it into multiple cloud analytics tools, including GoodData, Amazon Redshift, Tableau, Gecko Board, and Python.

Early in the discussion David stated: “I would rather work with the business than with the hardware.” His focus on insights, alignment and business outcomes instead of tools and technology really came through in his presentation. Just take a look at his advice if cloud-based business intelligence is something your organization is considering:

  • Pick the high value use case first
  • Know what you need to get an A in
  • Know what you want to accomplish and why
  • Think like an investor

I’ve embedded the presentation below. You can watch the entire webinar with interactive Q&A here. And if you want to learn more about how SnapLogic powers cloud (AWS Redshift, Salesforce Analytics Cloud, etc.) and big data (Cloudera, Hortonworks) analytics, be sure to check out our Analytics Solutions page.

Cloud Analytics in the Spotlight: Riding the Wave at #DF14

Salesforce Analytics Cloud Data IntegrationThis week at Dreamforce 2014, Salesforce announced their new Analytics Cloud. They called the new service “Wave” and the headline copy writers jumped all over it. Here are a few of my favorites:

The announcement was brilliantly orchestrated by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who “let slip” via Twitter that there would be a new Analytics Cloud announcement at Dreamforce a few weeks ago. The day before the press hit the wire, he then tweeted: “Good day to catch a Wave: Salesforce Analytics Cloud” with a link to the new app on the App Store. The coverage since has been tremendous.

Suddenly Cloud Analytics is Red Hot. Oracle made a cloud analytics announcement at OpenWorld. Tableau has introduced a cloud data visualization service. SAP has announced partnerships. Many Cloud Analytics pure-play vendors continue to get funded and grow (although the impact of the Salesforce announcement on analytics partners remains to be seen). And the Amazon Redshift cloud data warehouse is said to be the fastest growing AWS service.

But cloud analytics is not a new topic, particularly in the CRM market. When Oracle acquired Siebel (who had acquired a small company called nQuire in 2001), the analytics product line was seen by many to be the “crown jewel” of their Fusion strategy. This despite the fact that Tom Siebel famously claimed to “not have a thorough analysis of the pipeline here with us today on a 2002 earnings call where he tried to explain the company’s big miss.

So why cloud analytics and why now? What are the benefits? What are the challenges? We’re going to be digging into these and other questions this week in a webinar with SnapLogic customer Bonobos. I hope you can attend. In the meantime, this article summarizes a great list of 10 drivers of Cloud Business Intelligence that comes from EMA Research:

  1. Lines of business are pushing their own BI agenda and pursuing their own solutions – often cloud-based.
  2. BI users are becoming more diverse and more demanding in their user experience, and cloud can provide a better (and more mobile) UX.
  3. User communities are maturing. Consumers of BI are a ‘new breed of knowledge worker,’ less timid about technology and more sophisticated.
  4. New technology, from in-memory to big data (NoSQL, Hadoop) is forcing a re-evaluation of existing BI infrastructure.
  5. The economics of cloud enable more companies to get involved with BI, allowing them to widen the scope of BI projects utilize cloud to widen scope economically.
  6. Companies are realizing the value of new types of data from new data feeds.
  7. On-premise data warehouses are under strain from these new requirements and data sources.
  8. Data warehouses are decentralizing – cloud is an ideal platform for decentralized BI architectures.
  9. Cloud can minimize the pain of traditional BI projects.
  10. The CAPEX-based cloud pricing model makes cloud BI projects easier to fund and pursue.

In 2007, I joined a cloud business intelligence software company called LucidEra (after my 1.0 attempt at getting Salesforce to develop an analytics product line). Here’s a presentation from 2007, which summarizes some of the benefits we saw on-demand business intelligence delivering back then. While LucidEra was in many ways ahead of its time, the benefits are as true today as they were then: self-service, ease of use, rapid time to value, lower set up costs, etc. But one of the primary challenges that customers and solution providers must still overcome is the need for robust data integration. Ideally the data integration technology is also cloud-based; it must be able to deliver disparate data to end-users in batch and real time; and it must be as easy to set up and easy to use as the cloud analytics solution itself.

But back to the Wave. When Salesforce jumps into a market, it brings great awareness to what’s possible and the new Analytics Cloud will definitely encourage more and more IT organizations to re-think their approach to data warehousing and business intelligence. I’d like to congratulations my old friend Keith Bigelow and the entire Salesforce Analytics Cloud team on their launch. And I’m excited to say that SnapLogic has partnered with Salesforce to make the new Analytics Cloud possible for our customers. Here’s Keith introducing the primary Analytics Cloud data integration and consulting partners:

Salesforce Analytics Partners

You can learn more about our new Snap and Snap Patterns here and see it in action on our Cloud Analytics webinar later this week, which will also demonstrate getting data into and out of Amazon Redshift and big data integration.

Welcome to the new era of Cloud Analytics, powered by next-generation Cloud Integration!

Intra and Inter-App Integration and Analytics in the Cloud

There’s no doubt that the topics of “Cloud Integration” and “Cloud Analytics” are gaining market and customer awareness, interest and momentum. Check out the Google Trend summary and a few of the headlines from just last week:

Last week I participated in a SnapLogic webinar focused on integrating Workday HCM with the rest of the enterprise. What became clear to me in the discussion is that line of business users of specific applications, regardless of whether it’s HCM, CRM, SCM, Finance, etc., always look first to the specific application provider (or in the case of integration, to the systems integrator that implemented the application) to address intra-application requirements. Often referred to as “operational integration” and “operational analytics” the customer first wants to get a basic level of functionality (point to point) from the application and/or platform they’ve purchased.

From the perspective of the end-user business application solution provider, however, delivering enterprise-class intra-application integration and analytics, not to mention a robust set of APIs, requires significant R&D commitment and resources. Delivering inter-application integration (multi-point), which powers a broader set of analytics that include data from disparate (big and small) sources is even more of a challenge. It typically lands in the lap of the enterprise IT organization to ensure that hard-wired application silos aren’t introduced (SaaS silos) that limit how much relevant information an application/platform delivers to end users.

Ultimately, customers need day-to-day operational integration and analytics (intra-app integration) and broader enterprise connectivity, visibility and multi-channel, source and system insight (inter-app integration) to gain competitive advantage. “Cloud integration” and “cloud analytics” are hot and getting hotter and I suspect we’ll continue to see these trend lines move up and to the right in the new world of SMACT - social, mobile, analytics and big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

Here are a few posts where we’ve outlined some of the new requirements for both intra and inter-application integration and analytics in the cloud: