The Force of Data

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4 min read

Last week was a banner week for SalesForce with their annual DreamForce conference. Well over 150,000 people converged on San Francisco to learn, connect, and give back. I admire what Marc Benioff has been able to accomplish at SalesForce, they have set a high bar for the rest of us. One day I hope our company can be just as significant, that said, there are some similarities we have today, in fact, we both have a huge passion for data!

Simplistically, SalesForce is about customer data, and yes, I know it is so much more. But think about this, SalesForce has given tens of thousands of companies insight into their customer base. In Benioff’s keynote, he covered a number of customer stories from companies such as T-Mobile, Adidas and 21st Century Fox. They all are using the SalesForce platform to not only understand their customers better, but see patterns to anticipate what that customer might want next. He observed that we are entering the 4th Industrial Revolution, where artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are transforming the customer experience. What’s at the core of that? Data.

Data is helping companies win. With historical data, live streaming data from every source, companies are able to gain active intelligence. Which means that they can make decisions, act on and see what is happening in data time. None of this rear mirror stuff, in data time, as data happens. Let me explain. Depending on the type of data, there are different time frames for it to be acted upon. Historical data is something you already have, like last year’s customer info. Then there is real-time and also near-time. What is essential is that companies understand the implication and difference. The data coming from sensors on a car is coming in sub-millisecond or real-time. Is it important to keep the temperature data of that car? Possibly. Speed, most definitely. If that car was going too fast, too slow, we’d probably want to keep that data. Especially if something were to happen down the road, so to speak. Data time is when data happens. While the autonomous driving car is a logical reference when talking about data time, most companies today are trying to understand how they can apply these types of intelligent and modern applications to their everyday business environment. While for most of us today it is not intuitive, it clearly becomes more so through constant iteration. You see, as your sample size of data increases, you can create more intelligence about that data, and through repetitive iteration, modeling and working with the data, companies start to understand what is possible. As this happens, these intelligent and modern applications will become commonplace in most businesses. Understand that, and you can architect your business accordingly.

Data is a force that every company will need to understand and harness. Just as SalesForce is in the business of building the best platform for customer engagement, MapR is in the business of building the best platform for data.

This blog post was published November 14, 2017.

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