Top 3 Priorities for Innovative Data Leaders in 2023

Lately, I’ve been traveling for business again, flying internationally, staying in hotels, spending time with people in person, sharing meals, and swapping stories, which has been fantastic! Also, I’ve had the opportunity to see how different companies have evolved their operations over the last three years. 

Those who know me know I have a sense of urgency and like to get things done. I don’t like to wait or deal with delays, especially avoidable ones. I value companies that address my needs and solve my problems promptly – on the spot. Like others, I appreciate brands that prioritize action, response, and proactive alerts and updates that make me feel valued and show up when I need them – basically, a worry-free experience – which is why I joined Hazelcast. Our purpose is to help companies use their data to take action immediately to deliver excellent customer experiences, operate more efficiently, and capture new revenue streams. 

Customers Expect Companies to Act Now, Not Later

Forrester stats show that customers are 240% more likely to stick with a brand when their problems are resolved quickly. According to Emplifi, 52% of consumers expect a response from a brand within an hour, but 39% report having to wait more than two hours for a reply. 

And, business executives understand the impact on the bottom line if they don’t invest in delivering better customer experiences. According to a Forbes Insight Report, 83% of executives feel unimproved customer experience presents them with considerable revenue and market share risks.

Top 3 Priorities for Innovative Data Leaders in 2023.
Customers today expect companies to act now, not later. Faster response times and quicker problem resolution has a tangible impact on market share and revenue.

Customer expectations have evolved since the pandemic. Access to data has evolved. Technology has evolved. Yet, many companies are hindered by legacy technologies and need help to keep pace with the demand for quicker response times. When you shop online at Target or any of the other leading retailers, you’ll experience the difference. 

Data Leaders Are Rethinking Data Strategies for the Next 3-5 Years

During my travels, I attended a series of CIO and CDO events where I had the opportunity to meet data leaders from large and mid-size companies. These innovative leaders aren’t the kind who defend the status quo. These are the movers and shakers at their respective companies: CIOs, Senior VPs of Data & Analytics, Enterprise Data Architects, Data Scientists, Data Engineers, Heads of IT, Technology or  Technology Transformation, etc.

These innovators are rethinking their data strategies to get more value from their data in this new reality of higher customer expectations, with a spotlight on operational efficiency and pressure to capture new revenue streams. These data leaders are prioritizing three initiatives to improve business outcomes:

1) Enhancing Data Architectures to Support Future Growth

One common topic of discussion amongst data leaders is about future-proofing their businesses. They want to ensure the investments they are making today will easily accommodate changes in the future. 

Almost every leader we spoke with was migrating applications and data to the major cloud service providers (CSPs). Also, most have adopted a multi-cloud strategy, including AWS, Azure, and GCP. They plan to unify data globally across multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud, and global applications to accelerate specific business outcomes. While migrating to the cloud, they are taking the opportunity to simplify their data architecture to minimize – if not eliminate – dependencies on legacy systems without disrupting the business. 

Future-proofing is also a topic of conversation in the banking industry in Europe and the Asia Pacific. Many of our customers are working to avoid regulatory issues on data sovereignty with separate legal jurisdictions (SLJs) due to country borders. Questions of data access were top of mind as well as simple solutions to apply machine learning inference or real-time business logic to ensure they meet the data requirements of SLJs.

Some data leaders talked about plans to improve the SLAs (service level agreements) of reports for clients so they can deliver updates in real-time. 

2) Streamlining Data Architectures to Gain Operational Efficiency

Every leader I spoke with was focused on gaining efficiencies in their operations and relying less on legacy systems, which are holding them back. 

The top priority business initiative of almost every leader we spoke with was modernization. Despite the uncertain economic conditions and budget cuts, modernization projects are being protected because it’s an investment in the future success of the business. The focus, however, is on modernizing key business processes, such as customer experience, business-critical operations, supply chain management, payment processing, fraud detection, observability platforms, predictive maintenance (depending on their industry), and capturing new revenue streams. 

Complexity is the enemy of future-proofing any technical project. All data leaders are eager to learn about new technologies that will enhance and modernize legacy systems, especially if it reduces maintenance costs and drives more efficiencies and, ultimately, improved revenue. The general consensus among the data leaders is that they’re actively seeking an abstraction layer that modernizes their applications to improve efficiencies and innovation opportunities.

3) Automating Informed Actions Within Windows of Opportunity

Another hot topic was accelerating the speed of business to capitalize on opportunities “in the moment” while protecting the business from preventable risks. Many leaders are still figuring out how to augment the workforce by automating action with real-time offers, alerts, and notifications during customer and partner interactions. 

One such example occurred at a CDO event when a presenter asked the audience to raise their hands if they are facing challenges scaling AI. Every single hand in the room went up. ML and AI will augment the workforce. Scaling AI to drive business value is the first challenge to solve.

Others in financial services are focusing on improving their company’s ability to update real-time business logic to improve fraud detection, avoid losses, and decrease false positives to boost revenue, without disrupting the business.

To this end, one data leader in the retail industry said, “We already have the ability to automate action. But suppose that action comes a day, or even an hour after a consumer has left the interaction. In that case, it may very well be too late to deliver a good experience or capitalize on the opportunity.”

Similarly, another executive at a global bank explained, “My priority is to get more value from data by creating data-driven experiences in real time. Our goal is to personalize the experience during an interaction, not after the moment has passed. We recognize that we can get much better business outcomes if we enable our business to act in the moment based on the inbound streaming data and combine it with all the valuable and contextual data we’ve collected over time.”

“Investment in streaming data technologies will continue to grow as the real-time data imperative impacts businesses and how they make decisions and take action to respond in real-time to market forces,” said Amy Machado, research manager at IDC.

Hazelcast named as a Market Leader in the 2023 GigaOm Radar Report.
Hazelcast was named a Market Leader in the 2023 GigaOm Radar Report.

Accelerating Business Outcomes with Real-Time Stream Processing

Streaming data has enormous potential to accelerate business outcomes. However, many Fortune 100 companies are ahead of the pack. They enable automated actions while data is streaming in by enriching it with reference data that provides a rich context for informed actions. In other words, this new way of processing streaming data – real-time stream processing – enables businesses to take the right action tailored to the individual at the right time. In a nutshell, real-time stream processing eliminates delays and enables companies to accelerate business outcomes by elevating the customer experience, improving operational efficiency, and capturing new revenue streams.

Streaming data is generated continuously. You can analyze it in real-time to detect patterns and developing trends, unusual events, and anomalies, which you otherwise would not see in batched data. Streaming data represents changes in the business that are useful to know about, analyze and inform real-time responses. 

The power of real-time stream processing is it enables app developers to build optimized applications for uncovering opportunities and threats in real-time data. By analyzing stream data in real-time, you can detect unusual events, significant deviations from typical values, and developing trends, which can inform real-time responses.

Batch processing is the most common method for processing streaming data today. However, a pool of data must be collected BEFORE the data is processed, which delays action and opportunities to drive business outcomes. Real-time stream processing continuously computes the data – eliminating delays in uncovering opportunities and threats that require immediate action.

Investment in Real-time Action is a Top IT Priority

Once used predominantly in financial services, real-time stream processing is entering into new industries, primarily as vendors like Hazelcast simplify the ease of use and deployment (e.g. no “rip and replace” required). 

“There’s growing appetite for streaming data in a wide range of industries and use cases because companies are under ever-greater pressure to enable rapid time-to-insight from numerous data sources and types,” said Jason Stamper, research manager at IDC.

Data leaders are enabling their companies to act immediately because of the immediacy and automated action that real-time stream processing brings to the use case. For example, here is a sample of the outcomes Hazelcast customers are achieving:

  • 400X boost in conversion rates with real-time offers 
  • $100M+ in losses avoided annually with real-time fraud detection
  • 20X faster time to market
  • 1,000s of payments processed per second

“There’s growing appetite for streaming data in a wide range of industries and use cases because companies are under ever-greater pressure to enable rapid time-to-insight from numerous data sources and types.” -Jason Stamper, research manager, IDC

The Use of Stream Processing is Growing Exponentially

IDC predicts that by 2025, event streaming technologies will be used by 90% of the Global 1000 to deliver real-time intelligence and improve outcomes, such as customer experience.

In a separate study, IDC also found that of the companies currently using streaming data, over 80% plan to invest in new streaming capabilities in the next 12 to 18 months. Even two years ago, in IDC’s 2021 Streaming Data Pipeline Survey, companies reported that industry innovation is a top business case for future streaming data projects.

“IDC predicts that by 2025, event streaming technologies will be used by 90% of the Global 1000 to deliver real-time intelligence to improve outcomes such as customer experience.”

At a CDO event, a data leader responsible for technology transformation shared, “Data has always been in motion, but we’ve always put it to rest before we could act on it because of technology limitations. Now that these technology limitations no longer exist, we’re actively rethinking our data strategy to align with how we want to use data to immediately take action on streaming data enriched with contextual data before storing it. I aspire for this to be part of our new data strategy to accelerate our business outcomes.”

Innovative data leaders recognize that delays are bad for business in the real-time economy. By modernizing their data processing approach, data leaders are removing the bottlenecks that create delays so their business can take action immediately to improve customer experience, operate efficiently, and capture new revenue streams.

Take The Next Step to Accelerate Your Business Outcomes

In the real-time economy, delays are bad for business. At Hazelcast, we envision a world where businesses can accelerate business outcomes by taking action immediately on streaming data enriched with contextual data because they can uncover opportunities and threats and respond immediately. In fact, data leaders worldwide – including many within the Fortune 500 – trust the Hazelcast Platform to enable real-time actions. We’d be happy to help you get started. 

Let’s talk. If you’re ready to have a conversation about how we can help you accelerate your business outcomes.

GigaOm Radar Report for Streaming Data Platforms

Every company can benefit from real-time stream processing, but only some had the resources to enable true real-time decision-making until now. With the Hazelcast Platform, there’s no reason to wait for data to be written to a database before taking action.

We’re proud to note that we are a Leader in the 2023 GigaOm Radar Report for Streaming Data Platforms. The report equips IT decision-makers with the information to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the report, Hazelcast is highlighted for its ability to enrich streaming data with historical data for a comprehensive overview, in addition to its machine learning and analytics features. From adtech to fraud detection to wearables in healthcare, Hazelcast helps companies act on fleeting business opportunities. Get the free GigaOm report.

Keep Reading