Momentum is building for unified data analytics platforms (UDAPs).
TDWI is the latest industry group to shine a light on this rapidly emerging category. In “Unified Platforms for Modern Analytics,” a Best Practices Report for Q3 2021, TDWI Senior Director for Advanced Analytics Fern Halper, Ph.D., details the market forces driving over 400 organizations surveyed to consider how they might construct a unified data and analytics environment.
The big idea with “modern” analytics is to provide an integrated set of capabilities that address many parts of the data and analytics workflow, including data management and the deployment of advanced analytics. A unified platform is one way of getting there.
“The market is still early for the unified platform for modern analytics although respondents to the survey for this report overwhelmingly agree that unification is an opportunity,” writes Halper.
Respondents saw many potential benefits from unification, including the ability to capture and use diverse data sources, achieving faster time to insight, better performance and scalability, and support for advanced analytics.
Now a Must-Have
A few years ago, those things might have sounded like nice-to-haves, but they are now becoming must-haves. The demand for analytics, including more advanced types of analytics, continues to grow as organizations collect more data, and more types of data than ever before.
Before 2010, much of the customer data that companies had was in their ERP and CRM systems, notes Dr. Prashanth Southekal, founder and managing principal of the DBP-Institute, an expert quoted in the report. Today, companies have all that and more. Data is coming in from mobile devices, websites, IoT devices, call centers, bots, and other sources.
Organizations want to be able to use all of this data to get insights that can help them operate more efficiently and gain a competitive advantage with customers. To do that effectively, they must be able to serve up fresh, secure, and governed data to data scientists, data engineers, data analysts, developers, and business users alike.
The Unification Opportunity
This is something the industry has been talking about for a long time, and up until now achieving it has been elusive. Unified platforms are making it a reality. The basic elements of a UDAP include:
- Connectivity and ability to ingest diverse data from multiple sources
- Pipeline services
- A data storage and/or virtual/semantic layer
- An analytics layer
- A consumption layer
A UDAP typically includes other services and capabilities as well. It’s easy to see why a resounding 83% of survey respondents said such a unified platform is an opportunity.
Unified platforms can be deployed in the cloud, on premises, or in hybrid environments. Although just 13% of survey respondents are completely in the cloud, 36% — the largest percentage — are operating in a hybrid environment where the architecture must, by necessity, incorporate legacy systems.
There are many obstacles to be overcome on the path to unification. The top ones cited by respondents include fear of vendor lock-in, sorting through the politics of ownership, and the time and cost of migrating data.
From our perspective, a unified data analytics platform such as Incorta helps organizations bypass some of these obstacles. Our proprietary Direct Data Mapping technology can make data across hundreds of different on-premises and cloud systems analytics-ready without costly transformation efforts. You can leave your data where it is — an important consideration for organizations moving through hybrid environments on their analytics journey.
What’s more, Incorta is built to be open. Although it provides a complete unified platform with all the layers from ingestion to end-user consumption, you can also connect it to other tools of your choice — an important consideration in large enterprises where many tools are in use.
For more key recommendations on making unified data analytics a reality, as well as user stories and testimonials, check out the full TDWI Best Practices Report — or spin up a free Incorta trial and try it out for yourself.