On news feeds and podcasts over the last few weeks, there have been lots of predictions of what 2011 has in store for us. Sprinkled subtly among the hot themes (more mobile, more social, more collaborative), I noticed something interesting in the background—there was a lot of talk about data. How to handle the ever-increasing growth of data. How to make data more open and accessible. How to make sense of increasingly interconnected data.
Whether we’re talking about the latest apps for a smartphone, the latest network that links people together, or the latest technology that helps people work together, at the core there is always the data that is either generated by it or needed by it. 20 years ago, we might have been talking about the latest desktop database technology and how we were going to analyze the data from it and combine that with data from a mainframe system. It’s still the same problem—we’ve got some large sets of data from different sources and we want to slice & dice that data in a way that makes sense to us.
It’s telling that 20 years ago, the first ODBC driver allowed Excel users to pull in data from diverse sources like dBase and ISAM and produce their own custom reports & charts—and we’re still using the same tools to answer tough business questions today. The range of data connectivity tools has expanded to include ODBC, JDBC, OLEDB, ADO.NET, OLAP, ODBO, XMLA, MDX and more, but the fundamentals haven’t changed. My (admittedly rather safe) prediction for 2011 is that the need for connectivity to diverse data sources will continue to grow (and keep growing well into the future). If there is some unusual or custom data source that you would like to connect your applications to, or pull into your servers from, please drop us a line as it may be simpler than you think.