Dreamforce ’13 is coming to an end for me and I’d like to reflect on a week filled with revelations and insight into what’s to come in the thriving business of data-driven applications. Through my many discussions this week, I’ve obtained an understanding of the types of problems companies are dealing with today. And, through the new Salesforce announcements surrounding the Salesforce 1 platform, I’ve developed my own observations and theories of where things are headed and how Progress DataDirect can continue to play an integral role in enhancing customer experience and providing leading edge capabilities. Here they are, in no particular order:
Connectivity is evolving to adaptability.
Data connectivity will continue to be an integral component in data integration solutions, but in 2014 will need to go beyond high performance connectors and should provide capabilities to adapt to the environments as well. For example, it is not enough to simply access the data using native and proprietary APIs. We have to adapt to the data-driven applications that process the data as well as the schemas used by the data sources. We've started providing that adaptability with Progress DataDirect Cloud – but there is still a long way to go to provide that transparency needed. It is also important to provide a developer interface that opens up the cloud connectivity service to specialized data environments so that applications can use the service and adapt it to whatever specialized data source is required. This turns connectivity into adaptive connectivity.
The age of the data-driven platform has begun.
Salesforce released its overhauled Salesforce 1 platform this week at Dreamforce, with mobile support that offers updated, clean interfaces for developers as well as administrators. Salesforce-compliant apps can be easily added and fit nicely into the Salesforce 1 environment. But we all know what happens when proprietary platforms start to lose that appeal of openness and adaptability (i.e., Blackberry). Companies don’t want their business-critical applications and processes they rely on to be locked into a platform driven by what CRM they use. Instead, they would rather determine the application platform required around the kind of data needed to drive their applications. The big industry influencers like Oracle and IBM have recognized this - and the up and coming juggernauts like Amazon realize this as well – all overhauling their developer platforms to be more cognizant of the data driving the business. Consistently and quickly accessing data from the galaxy of new data sources out there is now paramount to using (and not being locked into) an application platform. Progress Pacific now throws its hat into the ring as a progressive, open, data-driven application platform. Being able to adapt to data access methodologies transparently and easily is a key capability of Progress Pacific.
Advances in mobile connectivity free data... and workers too.
Just as the Salesforce 1 platform is well-enabled for mobile devices, accessing data from mobile devices needs to be easy, pervasive and ubiquitous, allowing you to access the data wherever it might reside, on-premise, in the cloud, etc. As the world becomes more and more mobile and as mobile applications become more and more sophisticated and business-critical, offering fast and secure connectivity to a wide variety of different data sources anywhere in the world is where mobile support is headed. Following the trend of consumer mobile use, the use of mobile in the enterprise will increase exponentially in 2014, and as more users are plugging into a broad spectrum of data sources via their mobile devices for work use, data connectivity needs to keep up. Connecting customer data will drive industry innovation as companies seek to unify CRM, ERP, marketing, social, cloud, and enterprise data in a single entity for analysis and business decision-making.
So, while my time at Dreamforce has been both fun and productive, I’ve had the opportunity to develop some real insight into what’s next for data. Adaptive connectivity, data-driven open application platforms, and mobile connectivity all play into the bright future I see for this market space. The data canvas has yet to be painted, but these innovations may go a long way in helping businesses adapt quickly and effectively to changes inside and outside applications as data migrates to … well … everywhere!
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