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Top 10 information management stories of 2019

Here are Computer Weekly’s top 10 information management stories of 2019

Consolidation and acquisition marked the supplier side of the IT industry in respect of information management in 2019.

Hadoop distributors Cloudera and Hortonworks sealed their marriage, announced in 2018, while on the business intelligence (BI) and analytics side of the market, Tableau was sold to Salesforce, and the sale of Looker to Google was also announced. And MapR, the third of the most prominent distributors of big data storage system Hadoop, collapsed into HPE.

On the user side of the market, we saw the continued search for business value from the big data revolution that has been proceeding since at least the birth of Hadoop in 2006. Computer Weekly was represented on a springtime visit to Silicon Valley, where we discovered a group of companies attempting address gaps in the value chain from data sources to business insight.

That visit also provoked the question: what is the balance, for enterprise IT, between complementing and replacing traditional databases? An article by Lindsay Clark assayed an answer to that question later in the year.

The question of how modern BI and analytics software – roughly speaking, software that post-dates the heyday of traditional BI software in the early 2000s – shapes up to non-relational big data is addressed and suggests that data integration is the enduring, difficult problem for CIOs to solve.

Here are Computer Weekly’s top 10 information management stories of 2019.

1. MapR collapse into HPE harbinger of big data tech trough of despair?

The collapse of big data pioneer MapR into HPE this year could be the fate of an also-ran. But might it also be a sign of the crash of a Hadoop-related meteor shower that included Hortonworks and Cloudera?

2. Tableau sticking to data mission under Salesforce

Tableau president and CEO Adam Selipsky told the company’s European user conference in Berlin in June 2019 that the Salesforce acquisition would not affect its mission of “seeing and understanding data”.

3. Google buys Looker to deepen enterprise software arsenal

In a move that could signal the fleshing out of Google’s cloud enterprise applications strategy under former Oracle executive Thomas Kurian, Google announced, in June 2019, its intention to buy Looker, a business intelligence (BI) platform supplier. On the close of the $2.6bn all-cash acquisition, Looker will join Google Cloud.

4. Silicon Valley startups look to plug gaps in data value chain

A group of California-based startups and early-stage data management companies are promising CIOs ways to plug gaps in the data-to-insight value chain.

5. Alternative databases set for mainstream adoption?

The rise of non-relational databases has been a feature of the data management landscape in the wake of big data – but is their purpose to complement or replace relational databases?

6. How modern business intelligence shapes up to big data

Business intelligence and analytics strategies have evolved in recent years in the face of big data. Here, we got a supplier CEO perspective, some analyst counsel, and testimony from Nationwide, Schroders and King.

7. Southern Water’s centralised data team geared for silo busting

Southern Water has centralised its data specialists and overhauled its data management and business intelligence technology to support business decision-making at scale.

8. Universities use data analytics to tackle student mental health

UK universities are turning to data analytics software to tackle student mental health. Are there duty of care lessons that can be applied to other sectors?

9. How supercomputing is transforming experimental science

NERSC lead data scientist Debbie Bard talked about how large-scale data analytics using super computers is making new types of science possible. She was speaking just ahead of a speech at the DataTech conference in Edinburgh in March 2019.

10. Data firms join forces to help Path beat malaria

Tableau, Mapbox, Exasol, and Alteryx announced a commitment to put $4.3m into backing an anti-malaria scheme in sub-Saharan Africa run by health charity Path.

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