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Actian 2021 Predictions: Data Analytics, Multi-Cloud, Containers Will Increase Momentum in 2021

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

Data Analytics, Multi-Cloud, Containers Will Increase Momentum in 2021

By Vikas Mathur, SVP, Products at Actian & Lewis Carr, Senior Director, Product Marketing at Actian

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted operations in every industry in 2020, forcing organizations to change the way they work and sharpen their business practices. They've increased their reliance on data - and on the transformative technologies that unlock data's strategic value - to generate more visibility, automation and intelligence into their operations and improve overall efficiency.  

We expect to see this increase even more heading into 2021. Here are four predictions about how analytics, multi-cloud deployments and containers will play even more central roles in the recovery of individual businesses and society as a whole. 

Prediction 1: Data Analytics Will Help Improve the Supply Chain 

We saw several classic cases of broken supply-and-demand chains at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020 and there are still many ongoing or recurring problems. Demand surged for specific products, creating shortages for everything from hand sanitizer solutions to medical devices to toilet paper to SUVs. In many cases, supplies eventually caught up, but they were put under pressure for months while suppliers sorted out issues with plant safety, workplace staffing and distribution.  

Now, heading into 2021, suppliers are investing more on adaptive demand forecasting and planning, upstream vendor redundancy and resilient distribution processes to head off supply chain challenges in the future. They're working to accelerate digital initiatives to improve their management of inventory, factory production schedules and delivery processes. Leveraging data analytics to get a glimpse into real-time data for existing supply chain processes, distribution networks, and transportation solutions can also help find pain points and opportunities, which in turn can proactively improve the supply chain before issues arise.  

However, the big takeaway is that more visibility into delivery lead times, logistics expenses and inventory assets will improve efficiencies across the supply chain can't be undertaken in a vacuum but, instead must be seen holistically and inclusive of what a crisis can do to drastically alter demand. The more transparency and collaboration across all departments - not just operations and procurement but also sales and marketing, human resources and other departments inclusive of the data siloed in their systems, the better organizations can meet demand. 

Prediction 2: Containers will Play a Bigger Role in IoT, 5G 

In 2021 we can expect to see key standards and technologies that were developed over the past five years start to turn into real proof-of-concepts (PoCs) and pilot projects. For example, Kubernetes-managed containers, already widely used in DevOps environments, will start to be used more in edge environments, directly interfacing with IoT. Containers will also be applied within 5G, WLAN-6 and edge-fixed networks to support 5G consumer mobile and various IoT use cases ranging from smart factory floors to entertainment and concessions in stadiums to water, fertilizer and energy management for optimal crop yield.  

More widespread adoption of containers will support enterprises with both IoT and branch and remote environments. Kubernetes projects in Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) platforms - an ETSI standard championed by the vast majority of communications service providers - will bring the rich interactive applications found today in the cloud and data centers all the way down to the edge, collocating them with edge networks and directly placing real value at the edge. 

Moving more intelligence closer to end users themselves - people with cell phones, clerks in retail stores, endpoints of IoT grids - means edge networks can perform more advanced functions. They can be used to solve issues around data privacy and sovereignty, latency and QoS. These will be critical areas where we expect to see quantifiable value returned from scaled-out deployments.  

Prediction 3: Multi-Cloud Adoption will Increase Significantly in 2021 

SaaS applications and movement of internally deployed projects at a departmental level all started from separate origination points and therefore created a similarly heterogeneous and often siloed effect seen in traditional on-premise environments.  But ease of use and lower costs overall (not just a reduction of CAPEX) have now been proven out in many cases leading enterprises to come to terms with the reality that hybrid and multi-cloud environments will be front and center in digital transformation efforts. In 2021 we'll see these organizations go further in the direction of "a la carte" purchases. Rather than staying with one vendor, buyers will opt for solutions from suppliers that support heterogeneous, agile multi-cloud environments. 

This will encourage more competition, opening the door for smaller providers and solutions capable of running on the three major cloud platforms and incorporating private cloud and on-premise technologies as needed. It will also encourage the dominant public cloud providers - AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform - to double down on upgrades and innovations to ensure their offerings integrate seamlessly with more platforms. This move toward multi-cloud adoption with an eye toward portability and compatibility across cloud platforms not only allows customers to select from best-of-breed solutions for improved business outcomes, it also gives enterprises more control over their cloud environments. 

Prediction 4: Real-Time Data Insights Will be Key to Managing Vaccine Distribution 

Public and private organizations are collecting huge volumes of data relating to COVID-19 - tracking everything from symptoms to contact traces to infection rates. Organizations are studying the data and mining it for patterns so they can make more informed decisions about future public healthcare responses. While they're investing heavily in analytics, governance around this data is lacking, which in turn has hampered the ability to share and fuse disparate sets of data and generate more comprehensive, accurate, and actionable intelligence. 

This will change in 2021. Creating centralized data management, analytics and governance repositories, will allow government officials and healthcare professionals to form more meaningful communities of interest, keep better track of the data they're collecting and ultimately, do a better job of meeting regulatory requirements.  

Managing COVID-19 data is uncharted territory and using historical data to drive critical decisions is no longer a viable option for the manufacturers and government and healthcare professionals overseeing distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Instead of relying so heavily on past data, these players need access to fresh, accurate data from a broad set of sources - letting them strategize with near real-time decision-making support.  

This will allow them to move swiftly and efficiently to make decisions based on in-the-moment insights, such as geographical case spikes or rural areas with a lack of resources to properly store the vaccine, to increase agility and respond to constantly changing consumer and supply chain needs. Real-time, trustworthy and transparent data management has never been more important. As we learn more about the virus and how to prevent it, data will be the key that unlocks critical information around flattening the curve and efficiently and strategically distributing vaccines.  


About the Authors

Lewis Carr 

Lewis Carr is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Actian. In his role, Lewis leads product management, marketing and solutions strategies and execution. Lewis has extensive experience in cloud, big data analytics, IoT, mobility and security, as well as a background in original content development and diverse team management. He is an individual contributor and manager in engineering, pre-sales, business development and most areas of marketing targeted at enterprise, government, OEM and embedded marketplaces. Prior to his time at Actian, Lewis developed his career at HPE, Oracle, BEA, Sun Microsystems, Motorola and SRI International, and founded Prism Technology Marketing.

Vikas Mathur 

Vikas Mathur is the Senior Vice President of Products at Actian. He is responsible for product management and product strategy for all Actian products. His charter includes shepherding Actian's growth by leveraging the broad portfolio of Actian's products including the Avalanche platform, Actian-X, Zen, and DataConnect. Previously, Vikas served as Vice President of Strategy and GM for the Actian Avalanche cloud data warehouse business driving both product and GTM for the platform. Vikas is a passionate leader and brings over 20 years of enterprise experience in product management, R&D, business development, strategy and change management. Prior to joining Actian, Vikas held multiple executive roles at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), including leading business and pricing strategy for HPE Software, product management for HPE's video analytics business, and shaping HPE's corporate strategy around business portfolio and go-to-market development.

Published Monday, December 28, 2020 7:03 AM by David Marshall
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