I spoke with Chet Kapoor, CEO of DataStax, about how today’s data-driven culture is affecting enterprise change, including how data will turn knowledge workers into creative workers.
See the podcast and video below.
A condensed and edited transcript of the highlights:
What do we actually mean by ‘real time data’ – and what’s wrong with the good old-fashioned static data that we’ve been using all these years?
Kapoor: Enterprises today get insights by gathering, storing, and then analyzing data. What do people really want? They want data to be activated in real-time to drive actions. So winning enterprises take data, they process it, and they use it to drive an instantaneous experience to a customer.
Think about yours and my life. What do we want? We don’t want a spinning wheel – we’re doing something and right in the middle of it there’s a recommendation: we want to either take it or ignore it.
So real-time data is all about powering user experiences, delivering immediate intelligence, and then fueling AI and ML because of those inputs.
Data can be cumbersome. It needs to be prepped, we have to run it through the ETL process, maybe it’s structured or unstructured. Data is where the insight is found, but sometimes data is not easy to deal with.
Kapoor: You’re absolutely correct. And guess what, we as technologists that build products, have to make it a lot easier. I was blown away: Having come from the middleware space, having been in the distributed world for a long time, coming into the database space, there’s a database for every use case in the world. I mean, it’s extremely fragmented. And we need to make it easier for everybody.
Because at the end of the day, the customer wants you to analyze and process it in real-time. So going off and saying there’s a convergence between data at rest, i.e., databases, and data in motion – I don’t care, right? All I want is get the information I need and make a recommendation in real-time.
The tech stack is coming together really well. Are we there all the way? No, we’re not but we’re well on our way. Now there is a solution here for doing batch, where you’re doing the ETL stuff, and you’re taking historical information and processing – all in real-time. There’s a real use case for that. As customers, as enterprises, we demand that this needs to happen in real time.
So say there’s a company that wants to be doing more with real-time data. What advice would you give them?
Kapoor: Everybody is on a digital transformation journey. And there are three parts to a digital transformation journey. It started with mobile, let’s be very clear. It’s the iPhone that started the process, and everybody wanted to do something on this phone. The second one was cloud. You needed to make sure that you could consume all this stuff really quickly. The third one is data. And this is the last leg.
Now, interestingly enough, none of the first two journeys are done, they’re all happening in parallel, right? But the first two are further ahead. So a lot of companies are starting to get on this journey.
So I think an ideal data strategy has two things. So the first thing is the tech, right? It’s about delivering an open data stack, not just a database. It’s not just about APIs, it’s not just about cloud-first technology, it’s not about it being open source, it is about bringing everything together.
It’s about delivering an open data stack that developers can use to deliver real-time applications. So you have to leverage open source, you have to give developers the right tools, but then the last thing – really important – is you have to abstract out and not think like the past. You need to bring together database and streaming technologies that companies probably have scattered everywhere. So that’s the tech part.
And the second part of that is, it’s about the developer and the enterprise. So we are in the business of building products that developers love, that change the trajectory of the enterprises that they work for. That is what we love doing. Markets come, markets go, recessions come, recessions go, but if you build products that developers love, that change the trajectory of the enterprises they work for, you’re home free.
So our mission is simple, to serve the real-time application with an open data stack that just works.
So there’s a disruption coming in the database market, there’s a disruption coming in the streaming and the database market together, and there’s a disruption coming in the API space – in all three layers. We absolutely believe that the cultural elements of what a data-driven world will look like will change one fundamental thing, knowledge workers will become creative workers. That is going to be massive.
Listen to the podcast:
Also available on Apple Podcasts
Watch the video: