The Rise of Unified Data and Analytics Platforms

Ten years ago, the thought of driving an electric car from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a single day would have been laughable to most people. Now, of course, it seems trivial. It’s the classic story of disruptive innovation—and it’s one we’ve all now seen play out countless times: the iPhone, the internet, the cloud, ride sharing, commercial space flight—the list goes on and on. 

Today, we are seeing the latest version of this story unfold in the data analytics industry. When Osama, Hichem, Klaus, and I left Oracle in 2013 to found Incorta and begin developing our Unified Data Analytics Platform and Direct Data Mapping engine, everyone thought we were crazy. They said: “If Oracle—the most powerful data company in the world—couldn’t do it, what makes you think a startup has any chance?” But they were wrong. We set out with a clear vision for what the future of data analytics would one day look like, and now—just six years later—that vision is being validated left and right. 

A new category is rapidly emerging around Unified Data Analytics and it is profoundly changing the way that companies think about, interact with, and create value with data. Early adopters are not only solving age-old data problems that continue to plague the vast majority of companies today in a matter of days or weeks—they are also discovering entirely new products and services that were hardly even conceivable before Incorta. We hear new stories like this from our customers every single day, and it’s immensely inspiring. 

This shift toward Unified Data Analytics Platforms is catching the attention of industry analysts as well. In fact, a brand new report from the Eckerson Group is just out today: The Rise of Unified Data and Analytic Platforms: The Case for Convergence—and a free version is available to anyone reading this blog by clicking the link. The report examines the data industry’s long tradition of fragmentation and why UDAPs are a clear signal that we are entering a new era. It also lays out the benefits, challenges, and architectural framework of UDAPs, as well as a handful of use cases from the field. 

Here are some key highlights:

  • Unified data and analytics platforms (UDAPs) are the culmination of a multi-decade trend toward functional convergence. They provide a comprehensive and wholly integrated data and analytics experience that is easy to deploy and accelerates insights, user adoption, and return on investment.
  • Fragmentation has been a hallmark of the analytics space since its inception. UDAPs break from this tradition. They offer many benefits for companies whose existing environment is riddled with data silos, redundant tools, inconsistent data, and security vulnerabilities or who lack IT resources to build a data and analytic environment. UDAPs also provides a smooth on-ramp for companies looking to add data science and machine learning capabilities without creating another technology silo.
  • UDAP products are here to stay. Many companies are getting tired of playing systems integrator for core internal systems—they just want a single holistic environment that ties everything together. In 2019, many large software vendors shipped UDAP products or acquired technology to flesh out their data analytics portfolios. They are racing to catch a number of UDAP startups who built a single platform for data and analytics from the ground up.
  • Every data analytics professional should evaluate these products to determine what role they might play in their organization. Besides these technical requirements, it’s also important to understand a vendor’s heritage, since its architecture rarely deviates from its historical technical choices.

I challenge you to read this report (and others), start having conversations with your colleagues and peers, think about the unsolved data challenges that are hanging over your business, and come to your own conclusion about where the future of data analytics is heading. Whatever you decide, I want to hear from you—join the conversation on Twitter using #riseofUDAP or ping me @layereddelay.