Gartner reveals ten data and analytics trends for 2021
The data and analytics space has, like so many other sectors, experienced huge acceleration in the past year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That’s a trend forecast to continue into the current year as the world tentatively opens up, as from Gartner suggests.
Themed trends for data analytics
The advisory firm identified three main themes for data and analytics in 2021. The first was accelerating change in data and analytics, meaning companies will leverage disruptive technologies such as AI as well as rely on more diverse data sources.
The second was operationalising business value through more effective operations for the betterment of decision making.
Finally, the company anticipated distributed data and analytics would be crucial to reaching a wider audience of people.
“These data and analytics trends can help organizations and society deal with disruptive change, radical uncertainty and the opportunities they bring over the next three years,” Rita Sallam, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner. “Data and analytics leaders must proactively examine how to leverage these trends into mission-critical investments that accelerate their capabilities to anticipate, shift and respond.”.
Gartner’s ten trends
- Smarter, more responsible, scalable AI
- Composable data and analytics
- Data fabric as the foundation
- From big to small and wide data
- Engineered decision intelligence
- Data and analytics as a core business function
- Graph relates everything
- The rise of the augmented consumer
- Data and analytics at the edge
Future-tech and IXAfrica: Full Life Cycle Expertise
Future-tech is unique among data centre consultancies for a number of reasons. Not only does the Reading-based firm have high levels of expertise in markets ranging from Helsinki to Johannesburg, but Future-tech offers services across the complete life cycle of a facility.
“We are involved with projects from the initiation to completion,” explains James Wilman, Future-tech’s CEO. “We go from initiation phase - which could mean the site selection process or technical due diligence for a merger or acquisition - all the way through establishing the brief, the various design stages, construction oversight, commissioning, operation, end of life cycle replenishment, and can start right back at the beginning with refurbishment.”
While some factors, like the facility requirements for major tenants, remain the same no matter where you are, Wilman explains that “it's the environmental conditions, construction methodologies, supply chain, and skill sets available in different locations that vary, and that makes this a very interesting job.”
Future-tech was selected by IXAfrica as the life cycle design strategic partner for its hyperscale campus project in Nairobi, Kenya. Wilman explains that, over the past year, Future-tech has been leveraging its strong local knowledge, working closely with Kenyan architects and engineers, and collaborating with both Guy Wilner and Clement Martineau, to help IXAfrica successfully deliver Kenya’s largest hyperscale data centre.
“Future-tech did its first project on the African continent in 2012 in Kenya. I've been involved in the data centre space there for a long time, and have known Guy for a number of years through projects and interaction in Europe,” says Wilman. “As the IXAfrica project came into being, Guy and I spoke about it as he knew that we were already quite familiar with the area. We assisted out with the initial planning and project design, and the relationship really grew from there.”
Wilman adds that the experience helping Future-tech support the IXAfrica project has been hard-won. “It's been a steep learning curve, figuring out how to work in Africa. Some of our earlier projects were quite challenging, but we're fortunate to be at a point now where working throughout the region feels really comfortable,” he explains. “One of the things about Nairobi - which we found out when we were working on our first project in the city back in 2012 - is that, because it's about 1,200 metres above sea level, the altitude actually de-rates the onsite equipment. Having your equipment perform less well because of the altitude can massively impact the whole facility.” Understanding the factors that define a local environment can be the difference between success and disaster for a data centre, and Future-tech’s extensive experience in Kenya is a key supporting factor for IXAfrica’s success in Nairobi.
Wilman has also developed a strong collaborative relationship with Guy and Clement. “We've got over a gigawatt of design projects going through our office at the moment with different clients, which means that we're always learning new things. What is refreshing about working with Guy and Clement is that when we bring them a new idea, they listen to us,” says Wilman. “We've had a good run in Nairobi with IXAfrica built off of a long relationship, and I hope we get to continue working with them on their future projects.”