Data is a key strategic asset for every company by Alan Mcstravick

05/08/2014 05:43

The leveraging of data as a competitive asset is quickly becoming the difference between success and failure for companies operating within the same vertical. The writing is definitely on the wall that we will soon see a complete turn over of the infrastructure stacks of all companies in every industry, according to Tresata founder and CDO Richard Morris.

Tresata enables their clients to navigate this transition by tailoring a data index specific to their needs. “That data index is able to essentially bring the unique aspects of data in a specific application,” he states. “That is the key. If you are in the credit lending business, your data and what you can do is different than if you were in healthcare. We would be silly to think we could build a single application that addresses both genome research and financing a car.”

In seeking the business verticals they were going to focus on, Tresata chose to identify what they believed were underserved markets. This begged off the need to engage in a champion/challenger relationship with competing companies within a market.

Several companies that might have otherwise been reticent about transitioning their business model from the accepted business practices of a few years ago to the new big data paradigm taking hold found the adoption of Hadoop and Tresata’s software suite much easier to swallow in light of their decreased income over the last few years.

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“It isn’t a discussion of keeping the existing and making changes around it,” Morris explained. “It is about complete transformation. Older companies aren’t making the money they once were. That is the impetus to change [for them].”

The best practice for these older companies to successfully transition, Morris recommends they keep their teams small and nimble. The organization should allow, at least temporarily, for decisions to be made from a bottom up perspective based on work done by this faster, more agile group.

According to Wikibon’s Jeff Kelly, current survey data shows a full 56 percent of respondents intend to leverage cloud offerings for their big data. Morris stated that Tresata works with clients on both on prem and cloud strategies. However, he stated any cloud strategies employed by their customers are strictly private clouds. “We have a major global financial institution with a private cloud within their firewall,” he explained. “It’s effectively a service. What the large companies will not do is ship out to the public cloud. I don’t think there has even been a hint of a conversation on that.”

While the Tresata team sees their relative monopoly in the Hadoop application market as a distinct advantage, Morris concedes this confidence hasn’t always held sway. “[Tresata CEO Abhi Mehta] and I look at each other and ask, ‘What are we missing?’, because there really aren’t other application companies,” he explained. Morris believes the Hadoop application vendor market will flesh out a bit more in the coming 18 months. “I hope we are right,” he joked. “Being a sole start-up in the market, we question on some days if we are doing the right thing.”

The market is currently in a broad state of maturity. “I think we are in a very exciting time,” Morris stated. “There are some companies that are already quite deep into the game. They have delivered results and it is changing their business process.” Other companies, he notes, are just now beginning to kick the tires. He cautions against adopting solely because of the cost savings. The potential for additional revenue due to adoption should be the driver. Cost savings should be, he believes, a nice plus.

The next few years for Hadoop will be exciting. “The amount of use cases are infinite,” Morris said. “The most creative companies will be able to build a data asset and build across that.” He concluded, “There are companies that don’t exist today that will be using data as a competitive advantage five years from now.”

photo credit: AlicePopkorn via photopin cc