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We are fond of tech metaphors that help us understand the world. One such metaphor is that data is the new oil. Essentially it means data has so much value, that when mined and refined, it could have great value in the marketplace.

If you doubt that, consider that this month alone, two data visualization companies have been acquired for almost $18 billion. First Google announced it was buying data visualization startup Looker for $2.6 billion, and before the ink dried on that announcement, Salesforce nabbed Tableau for $15.7 billion.

That’s a lot of dough, and it shows how much these companies value not only data, but the ability to take that data and put it into formats that people can understand. This has generally fallen under the umbrella of business intelligence in the past, but with ever increasing amounts of data, the ability to pull out what’s important and present it in a visually appealing way has become more crucial than ever.

Companies not only want to know how they’ve been doing, they want to use artificial intelligence to help them understand what the trends could mean to the future of their business. Whether looking back or ahead, the tools Google and Salesforce paid so much money for provide insight across an organization.

It’s all about that data

As an MSP, you could be helping your customers implement systems to store data like spreadsheets, databases, and for much larger companies, data lakes or data warehouses. Whatever level your clients happen to be on, being able to pull various views of the data and visualize it in a graphical way helps make it more understandable.

It’s not always easy to grasp data collection or visualization for any business. Your customers may be looking for you to guide their tool choice and training after they make a purchase. It can be confusing to understand these tools to get the data in and even more challenging to get it out again, in a digestible form.

These two acquisitions show just how much value data visualization has in the marketplace. It’s not unreasonable to expect more consolidation moving forward. This kind of market volatility can add to the difficulty of choosing a tool. Customers may want to go with a large company or they may prefer an independent, smaller one.

Regardless, as a trusted IT adviser, it will be up to you to help them manage all of this. Much like understanding data itself, understanding the various elements of the data market takes some savvy, and you will be tasked with helping customers sort it all out.

Photo: Krunja / Shutterstock

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Ron Miller

Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

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