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14th Baktun Mayan Calendar – Data Integration Predictions for 2013

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2012 has almost ended and if you listen to the doom and gloom artists who follow Nostradamus and their own interpretation of the Mayan calendar, on the 21st we all won’t be around. Buy hey, its the 21st and I am still here, at least for now. In a former life I studied archaeology, so I figured it would be good to provide you with a number of predictions for the first year of the 14th Baktun, as we at VL see things. But first let’s revisit 2012.

For our 2012 predictions we listed seven things that we thought would change in the last year of the 13th baktun. The first four certainly did come true but actually not at the rate we expected. Things have moved far more slowly than we expected. What was the stumbling block?  Greater economic instability in the Euro zone (think Greece, Italy and Spain here) and mixed signals with the US economy and a Presidential election in November. I am constantly amazed at how Americans under estimate the impact their four-year election cycle has on economies outside of the USA.  Items five and six on our list got limited traction which really surprised us. Social has been described as teen sex, everyone’s talking about it but no one is really doing it and if they are its not being done very well. Finally with item seven, well we missed the boat, companies can’t see the forest for the trees and this one is a long way off. Too bad because the companies that figure out the value in the data they have will be rich.

So that brings us to 2013. The following are our predictions for the first year of the 14th Baktun which starts today.

1. On-Premise vs Cloud – On-premise middleware integration solutions will continue to sell at the same rate as cloud integration solutions. The complete cloud take over is a long, long way off. What we see is that both approaches will be relatively equal to each other for some time to come. They are mutually compatible data integration strategies for a lot of mid-market companies. A number of analysts late this year started talking about hybrid integration solutions. The reality for most mid-market companies is that the more complex the integration requirements the more likelihood the integrations will be housed on premise. Companies will consume cloud services but through on-premise connections to hosted applications. A full move to the cloud will occur only if senior management endorse it and if in-house applications permit it through web services. Not so cut and dry as many pundits present things.

2. Data Integration Complexity – We said this in 2012 and we will say it again data integration keeps getting increasingly more and more complex each year. Integration is not a plug and play technology game and the providers who are flogging the easy adaptor solutions are not being realistic. There is nothing plug and play about integration, in the old days we used to call this plug and pray, some called it plug and pay. The reality is good integration costs money and it is not a commodity, despite the fact that companies have tried for the past 20 years to make it a commodity. We see integration complexity increasing.

3. Data Silos – In most SMB and midmarket companies employees are driving change faster than IT departments. This is going to be particularly felt in the integration space as business units will not tolerate the slow pace of IT change, single silo solutions and poor responsiveness to business demands are a thing of the past. We see a growing involvement of business units in IT decisions across the board. This will force companies to start looking at data holistically rather than as silos. 2013 is going to be the year that data silos start to seriously erode.

4. Web Services – We see an increased use of application-based web services to send and receive data. The push of ERP, WMS and TMS vendors to incorporate a web services interface speaks to the business need of increased data flexibility. The increased traction around web services will pose risks and challenges to many midmarket companies. On one hand IT departments will look to custom code interfaces rather than using middleware, this is a risk. This allows them to maintain an old fashion level of control and present a cost control face. On the other hand the business units will force a more holistic approach to handle data integration because they need both flexibility and responsiveness, read speed. The more applications that have a web services API the better.

5. Private Clouds – This is the prediction we are most excited about. The changing nature of data integration, increased complexity and the increasing collapse of silos mean that companies that take a holistic data integration approach are now able to leverage their own cloud creations, private clouds. No, I don’t have my head in the clouds, rather what I see is a very powerful hybrid model developing in 2013. The ability to create connections within and without, creates a huge competitive edge that now allows companies to aggregate data in order to mine it, over lay it, and manipulate it in ways that single silo solutions can’t possibly achieve. For this reason we are excited about this new trend we see.

So as we start the 14th baktun, we wanted to wish everyone, clients, partners, observers, pundits, and competitors a happy 14th baktun. We thought we would leave you with a video of celebrations in South America and the Yucatan in Mexico to end the 13th baktun and start the 14th. Enjoy, and our best for the new year to everyone.

 


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