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The New Data Frontier

5 January 2022
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by James Corcoran

The rapid – and ongoing – digital transformation of virtually every industry sector on the planet has super-charged the growth of data from people and machines, and the numbers are mind-blowing.

Analyst firm IDC estimates that by 2025, the global datasphere will total 181 zettabytes, and the amount of digital data created over the next five years will be greater than twice the amount created since the advent of digital storage!

Crucially, access to this data, and the tools and skills needed to make sense of it, are being democratized. The power is being transferred from the few to the many, leading to a myriad of new products and services that revolutionize every sector from healthcare to banking.

Research shows that businesses built on and driven by insights from data grow on average at more than 30% annually and at least eight times faster than global GDP. This is because these Insights Driven Businesses (IDB) operate differently to ones that don’t put data at the center of their strategy and planning.

Being data-driven means you can build closed-loop insights processes into every core function for continual learning and improvement. You can marry algorithms and expertise to improve outcomes continuously. Being data-driven also means that information is shared right across the business, so everyone has the opportunity to use it and benefit from it. Equally, there is a culture of constant development and exploration – “what other data can I incorporate?” How can that help drive innovation and success?

But that’s not the whole story; there is something fundamentally important about the type of data created that is fueling this era of technological innovation and transformation. And that is real-time.

The moment is now

Why the focus on real-time? Because the window to create differentiated value is narrowing for organizations in every market and sector. The faster they can act on insights derived from data created in-the-moment, the better the outcome.

And this change is happening now. Analyst firm Gartner believes that already, in 2022, more than half of major new business systems are incorporating some form of continuous intelligence that uses real-time context data to improve decisions. IDC again estimates that by 2025, 30% of data will be real-time, and 49% will reside in the public cloud.

Take, for example, Formula 1 racing teams. The higher they finish in the Constructors’ Championship, the more prize money they earn to invest in future development. They use real-time data technologies – such as KX – to analyze, in real-time, billions of sensor-generated data points to influence race strategy and future component development.

Or manufacturing plants, where real-time analysis of millions of data points from hundreds of thousands of machine sensors can detect manufacturing anomalies and correct them in microseconds. This equates to millions of pounds of savings in reduced machine downtime and improved productivity.

From big to fast

At KX, we cut our real-time teeth in the capital markets sector, helping the world’s top financial services businesses improve operational and regulatory processes and drive commercial performance. These are some of the world’s most demanding data environments, where the value of the data generated rapidly declines from the instant it’s created. The ability to make an informed decision in those perishable moments can mean the difference between making or losing millions on a trade or being fined heavily for breaching regulatory rules.

What quickly became apparent to us was that in this new data-driven world, the ability to make faster, better-informed business decisions has become the new competitive frontier for organizations the world over. It’s no longer enough for companies to rely on business intelligence derived solely from historic (big) data. That insight must be combined, even supplanted, by data created in-the-moment. This is what’s now becoming known as “fast data.”

To the cloud

However, the window of opportunity to act on data-driven insights is compressing as more and more organizations seek the transformative benefits of adopting a data-driven culture built on real-time insights. And too often, we see frustration from our clients that, despite ongoing investments, their data systems are not keeping pace with their decision-making needs. Legacy systems were built to manage and process vast amounts of data which was then stored in data warehouses and data lakes. While these technologies are still relevant for specific use cases, they lack the speed, scale, and reliability to react to time-sensitive opportunities.

We’re in a new frontier of data management, where large data repositories are giving way to layers of data fabrics, enabling any person in any part of an organization to access data in any format and from any system and manipulate that data in real-time.

Cloud is a key enabler of this shift. The always-on, infinitely scalable, and flexible nature of cloud computing offers an ideal platform for organizations looking to democratize access to their data. The cloud model also encourages, perhaps even demands, companies to prioritize speed, innovation, and agility. They now have the ability to take an idea on Monday, deliver a working prototype on Friday and have it in the hands of users in minutes, not months.

For software companies like KX, the cloud further extends our ability to integrate into today’s evolving modern data landscape seamlessly. Our platform is engineered to ingest, store, manage, analyze and visualize enormous amounts of dynamic data, whether on-premise, in the cloud, or at the edge.

The era of big ideas

Ultimately, as digital transformation continues to drive and disrupt markets, we are entering an era where big ideas can be dreamt, developed, tested, and released in time frames previously considered near impossible. From the metaverse to autonomous vehicles, rapid vaccine development to the latest cryptocurrency exchange, they all have one unifying narrative, their success, or, more accurately, the success of the individuals and organizations that exist within and across them, is built on data and much of that data will be generated and acted on in real-time.

At KX, we have constantly been innovating our technology to meet these dynamic market changes. As the datasphere moves towards real-time, our technology is now mainstream technology and a fundamental part of today’s new data frontier.