Confluent: Embrace data streaming to accelerate AI development 

Data streaming company Confluent likes to talk about, well, data streaming mainly.

In something of an effort to validate its position in the data streaming market, the company’s 2024 Data Streaming Report: Breaking Down the Barriers to Business Agility & Innovation analysis seeks to dive into how organisations use data streaming to accelerate AI adoption while also working to overcome data accessibility and management challenges.

Based on a survey of 4,110 IT leaders across 12 countries in 19 industries, the report aims to showcase the role data streaming plays in businesses.

Confluent suggests that “responsiveness is the key to success” in today’s business landscape. The company asserts that slow, inconsistent, outdated or ungoverned data is detrimental to success because it’s unreliable and can lead to bad decision-making. 

An imperative initiative 

Shaun Clowes, chief product officer at Confluent wants us to accept how imperative it is to use continuously streaming data to discover customer learning(s), improve business operations enable organisations can act efficiently and quickly. 

Some 86% of respondents cite data streaming as a strategic or important priority in IT investments this year.

“Many organizations have data siloed away in different systems and applications, making it impossible to find and benefit from one of their most critical business assets – their data,” said Clowes. “Data streaming acts as the central nervous system for businesses by connecting systems and applications so real-time data can be easily accessed for decision making and improving business processes and customer experiences.”

Key takeaways from this report note that generative AI is (unsurprisingly) top of mind for many companies.

But says Clowes and team, for AI models to generate accurate and relevant results, the data must be trustworthy, in the right format and as real-time as possible. 

RAG time

As we know, Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) has emerged as a common pattern for building generative AI-enabled applications by connecting general-purpose LLM models to domain-specific data while allowing granular access controls and minimizing hallucinations.

“Data streaming enriches RAG-enabled workloads with trustworthy and contextual data by tapping into a continuous stream of real-time data from systems that power the business. Data streaming can efficiently transform data into the right format to be used by vector databases for AI applications,” notes Confluent, in a press statement.

As organisations look to broaden and simplify data access and reusability, more are thinking about organising their data into “data products” these days.

“Tackling data access and management challenges head-on is crucial for businesses to maximise success in a data-driven world. The 2024 Data Streaming Report shows that data streaming platforms help organisations address many data accessibility challenges, including uncovering siloed data, that hinder real-time, data-driven operations,” says 

As the central nervous system for businesses, Confluent says that data streaming platforms connect applications and systems to ensure data is available in real-time, everywhere it’s needed. This allows companies to focus on accelerating innovation instead of navigating the maze of point-to-point connections.

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