Interview: Michael Corcoran, CMO, Information Builders
By Jonathan Nally
Wednesday, 06 December, 2017
Which technologies do you think will be game changers in 2018?
Analytics will continue to be a leading technology initiative for all organisations. More importantly, analytics is playing a very direct role in other important game-changing initiatives including AI, IoT and blockchain. The important trend is that the industry is rapidly shifting its focus from technology discussions to important business use cases. IoT, for example, is defining the use cases for technologies like big data and streaming analytics. So instead of talking about Hadoop and storage, the focus is now on how we leverage machine-generated data for optimal preventive maintenance. Embedding analytics and AI with IoT and blockchain implementations will definitely provide game-changing results.
How are AI and robotics changing your industry sector?
AI represents a broad category of technologies including machine learning, natural language processing, intelligent search, recommendation engines and more. Information Builders is using AI to help users better leverage existing analytic content, so they reduce redundant efforts and information discrepancies. We are also taking a machine learning approach for scoring analytic content and data quality to help users make the best possible decisions. Robotics and Virtual Twins create tremendous new opportunities across manufacturing, retail, logistics and more.
What are your customers telling you they are most concerned about for the year ahead?
Cyber threats are always a top concern. We will continue to see regulatory efforts such as GDPR in Europe emerge to protect customer information from these vulnerabilities. It is also the motivation for adoption of blockchain. We are also witnessing a more feverish pace of cloud adoption. However, we are seeing a great number of hybrid cloud/on-premise implementations, so these add new requirements for data management, user monitoring and security.
What will be the biggest opportunities for your company and your customers in 2018?
Information Builders has tremendous advantages in our data management and analytics platforms to enable large user bases to cost-effectively access large amounts of data. We are seeing increased demand from organisations that want to deliver a data-driven experience to their customers. Information Builders drives many of the largest customer- and partner-facing analytic applications around the world; many of them have millions of users. We are also taking an early lead in data integration and analytic solutions around IoT. Machine-driven data needs to be merged with location data and traditional systems to give greater context and meaning. Analytics is providing the necessary monitoring, alerting and reporting to derive insights from that data. These two trends are driving many of our newest opportunities.
What’s on your tech wish list for 2018?
Anything that can simplify both my business and personal life. I am fascinated by the capabilities and opportunities created by IoT technologies, wearables and digital assistants. I am continually acquiring new technologies to better automate and simplify our business and my home. I want more automation, analytics and notification from my bank, power company, cable company, airlines, etc.
Aside from your own, which ICT companies will be the ones to watch in 2018?
It is always interesting to see where Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft will go next. We will see whether IBM can make Watson technology more mainstream. And I think Teradata has done a very good job of refocusing the company to battle the threat of Hadoop.
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