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Syniti 2024 Predictions: Cautiously Optimistic - Five Data Predictions for 2024


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2024.  Read them in this 16th annual series exclusive.

Cautiously Optimistic: Five Data Predictions for 2024

By Rex Ahlstrom, CTO and EVP of Innovation and Growth, Syniti

There's a saying from Shakespeare's The Tempest: "What's past is prologue." In the rapidly shifting and evolving tech landscape, this doesn't necessarily mean that history repeats itself but rather that it sets the stage for what's next. New developments build upon the foundations of the old, although they sometimes - as is the case with the explosion of generative AI this year - make significant and seemingly sudden leaps forward.

With this in mind, I've come up with five predictions for the new year that are predicated on what I've been seeing in the data management sector.

Prediction 1: The executive level will place more importance on data quality

Even though ownership of data and data quality lie at the heart of business success, the executive and board levels of most organizations often overlook this fact. We recently surveyed executives and found this played out in a discrepancy between perception and reality. More than 80% of these executives believe they trust their data, yet in reality, many people have to work hard to improve data quality to the point that the data can be consumed and used.  As data quality becomes more important, it will escalate to an executive-level conversation. Think "Data First" or prepare for escalations.

Prediction 2: To meet desired customer outcome, the larger platform play will gain traction

Companies need to do more than just sell tools and solutions, given today's economy. More and more, customers expect vendors to show that their offerings can provide ROI; then they'll be able to justify their purchase. Consequently, more companies will shift from a vast number of point solutions to a platform approach. That will lead vendors who only offer one point solution will be incentivized to seek acquisition or work with partners to develop a platform.

Prediction 3: Rising adoption of generative AI will increase need for clean data.

Data forms the foundation for generative AI and for it to function properly, it needs clean data. Regardless of where you're pulling data from - it could be something like modeling or a warehouse of your choice - you must have quality data. It's the classic "garbage in, garbage out" scenario. Bad data can result in bad recommendations, inaccuracies and so on. As more companies work to use generative AI, having a strong data governance strategy will become even more important. It will also be critical to make sure your data stewards can access and control this data.

Prediction 4: Thanks to AI, the shift to data fabric will accelerate.

As I looked at the data landscape at the end of last year, I thought more companies would shift from a data mesh approach to a data fabric; this would help flatten information silos and make data available to business users more quickly. Though this hasn't happened as quickly as I'd thought it would, it's a trend that's accelerated. Next year, greater adoption of AI and other self-discovering technologies will drive this trend harder. Data fabric has been a topic of conversation for several years, and now that more advanced AI has emerged, it will become a bigger goal for companies.

Prediction 5: Generative AI will plunge from the peak of inflated expectations to the trough of disillusionment.

Generative AI has created a lot of excitement and headlines. Yet that excitement has led some companies to adopt generative AI simply to keep up with the status quo rather than to solve a specific problem. It's likely, then, that in 2024 we'll see a great deal of investment in failed generative AI projects. That's why I'm predicting the slide from inflated expectations for gen AI to disillusionment. Senior leaders will suffer from "shiny new object syndrome," feeling the pressure to throw together a generative AI program. What will limit the number of these failed programs is companies making sure they understand the specific reason for using generative AI. They must keep in mind that its use must be tied to a defined business outcome. 

Cautious data optimism

Recent changes in the realm of data and its management have been rapid and tumultuous. Companies do need to keep up, but they also need a well-researched and well-conceived plan in place to use their data well going forward. This is where a data-first approach is key; transforming data into a high-value business asset that then lays the foundation for business transformation. By treating data as a first step rather than an afterthought, businesses improve their likelihood of success with any data migration project and set themselves up for future success - and competitive advantage. Here's hoping we will see more companies shifting to this approach in the new year.



Rex Ahlstrom 

Rex Ahlstrom is the CTO and EVP of Growth & Innovation at Syniti, a leader in enterprise data management. Rex has over 30 years of technology industry leadership experience, and specializes in enterprise software within the data integration and information management space. He is also a member of the Forbes Technology Council.

Published Tuesday, November 28, 2023 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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