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How Data Is Eating Software in the World of Modern Applications

How Data is Eating Software in the World of Modern Applications

How Data is Eating Software in the World of Modern Applications

Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series is a collection of contributed articles written by industry experts in enterprise software categories. In this feature, Timescale CEO Ajay Kulkarni offers a commentary of how data is eating software in the world of modern applications.

In today’s business landscape, companies face a crucial decision: either transform into a software company or risk being replaced by one. As a result, many established and emerging businesses are opting to become software companies. For instance, Nike, a company known for its apparel, has ventured into software development, offering products such as the Nike Training Club app. Even industries traditionally unrelated to software, such as automotive manufacturing, have embraced the trend, with companies like Lucid leveraging data for monitoring and analytics. Similarly, streaming giants like Spotify and Apple Music rely on real-time streaming analytics to drive their operations.

As technology evolves rapidly, organizations must keep pace with the changing needs and expectations of their own customers and their customer’s customers. Data-driven decisions are the order of the day. It’s widely cited that data helps decision-making, ultimately delivering more relevant products and services that provide better user experiences than acting on assumption alone. But another important yet widely underreported truth is that this desire to act on data means that data-fueled experiences are becoming more critical to meet customer needs, therefore playing a more prominent role than ever in software applications.

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How Data Is Eating Software

Software experiences that leverage data to help users extract and act on real-time insights, analytics, measurements, patterns, and reporting have proven to be key to gaining a competitive advantage in every industry. This is what “data is eating software” means. It’s more than just a catchy phrase. It shows that data is now the driving force behind great software applications. And that companies must update or optimize the data infrastructure that powers their application to meet customer needs and remain competitive.

So the question becomes, where to start improving your data infrastructure? A good place to start is the engine of your software application – the database. After all, great software is built on great databases. And as compute and storage resources become cheaper, modern applications have become increasingly data-intensive, placing greater demands on databases than ever before.

Consider this: If the engine of your application – the database – is slow, expensive, and unreliable, what does it mean for your business? The answer: it creates a huge risk! The risk posed by databases is not limited to the technology organization alone, it has significant business implications. A slow database leads to a poor customer experience as your application experience suffers. An unreliable database means no customer experience; they lose trust and look for alternatives. Choosing a database that turns out to be expensive results in unsustainable costs, leaving less budget for development in more business-critical areas. And finally, adopting an unproven, nascent database technology can impede the engineering velocity, as it silos database expertise and makes it difficult for new developers in your organization to onboard and use it.

This business risk must be managed from the start. Identifying the right databases to power your software is critical, as your software capabilities are limited by what your database can do. This is the tipping point. Being able to develop comprehensive database requirements, outlining the key results of your software, and then working backward to identify the database best suited to your use case.

For example, a music company like Warner Music Group or Apple Music. Such a company’s ability to access detailed, feature-rich data has become one of the most valuable commodities for their business. The advent of streaming shifted their goals from distribution and doing record deals to using data to understand listeners’ tastes and preferences and even predict the next superstar before they break out. Data about users’ favorite artists, track playtime length, and which artists or songs are gaining or losing popularity over time is at the core of such a company’s business decisions. Data also powers user experiences like custom playlists or end-of-year roundups that encourage more consumption and attract new customers. The ability to store, leverage and unearth insights from data is highly dependent on your data infrastructure, particularly your database. And so, the choice of database quickly becomes a business-critical decision, not just a technological one.

Data infrastructure is becoming key in every industry, not just media and streaming. We’re seeing teams in Energy, FinTech, Crypto Smart Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics, and more move in this direction. In the Energy sector, Octave’s data-driven Battery Cloud technology repurposes lithium-ion batteries into sustainable, smart assets for storing surplus wind and solar energy. In Fintech and Crypto, Messari has its database powering round-the-clock queries for its user-facing API, ingesting constant streams of real-time crypto trading data. And in the Industrial IoT sector, Everactive, a company that combines battery-free, self-powered sensors and cloud analytics, is able to provide end-to-end solutions to their customers thanks to a performant and reliable database.

With more companies embracing the reality that data is eating software, what’s the first step you can take for your organization to do the same? The critical first step is to identify the right database to power applications, especially customer-facing ones, according to the data needs of that application. Organizations that want to win in the cloud era must stay ahead of the curve, ensuring that their data infrastructure is up to the task of powering today’s modern applications. By doing so, companies unlock the full potential of their data, gain a competitive advantage, and survive in today’s blindingly fast marketplace.

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