As part of our “They do data” feature, Olivier Tijou, Regional Sales VP France, Belux, Switzerland, Russia and Africa from Denodo agreed to review the past year and the major issues in the sector.
BigData.fr One word to define the year 2021?
I would say “transition” since we have lived through this pandemic with, despite everything, a very solid growth. Denodo grew by almost 50% last year. We have managed to be part of this trend of digitalization around data.
Do you agree with some players that the pandemic has accelerated companies’ awareness of the importance of data?
Yes, we have a bit of this phenomenon. I started Denodo and the subject of data virtualization 4 years ago, and we spent the first two years evangelizing. Covid accelerated the movement and allowed many customers to take the plunge with our innovative and disruptive approach. Generally speaking, in companies, data is often fragmented in different silos, in different databases, in different systems… Our solution allows to access or correlate it in a direct way, by going to the source and without replicating it in an intermediate way. Our approach is therefore disruptive. Traditionally in companies, people from the “business” go to IT when they need a set of data, and it can take weeks or months before they get it. We can do it in half a day. Covid shook all that up because some companies had less time and fewer resources, but they still needed that data to act and react. Denodo makes it possible to access data much more quickly.
What are your biggest challenges in 2022 for your customers?
There are several. To name the main ones: first of all, there is a real agility issue, being able to correlate data faster and faster. Data consumers can no longer wait months to access data. There is also an important issue of sovereignty. For reasons of agility and cost, everyone is switching their data to the cloud or to several clouds, but this now poses problems of access, security, etc. The result is a hybrid world with data that is in the cloud and other data that is not. Finally, there is a third issue, which is the environmental impact: the whole data sector has always been about systematically replicating data. We tried to structure data in data warehouses, then came the Big Data wave with this madness around data lakes, which is now coming down. Now there is the “move to cloud”. We finally end up with an over-replication of data in all directions, and we realize that there is only a part of it that needs to be stored. Over-replicating involves time, money and environmental impact. The environmental impact cannot be ignored, it is on the agenda of every company’s board. So we are going to try to be more frugal. Finally, there is a real issue around the governance of this data, the fact that it is fragmented and dispersed. The CDO has to be accountable for the security and use of his data and respond to regulations. We see initiatives around data catalogs. Companies are taking stock of all the data they have and then applying rules to it. At the same time, we are seeing a new phenomenon, a trend, the data mesh. Data is stored in different places, and the business needs to be able to define its data sets independently of how they are stored (this is the famous “data as a product”). This is precisely our founding principle: being able to designate your data and assign a certain level of governance without having to replicate it.
What are the difficulties you encounter?
We are currently ramping up and therefore need talent. There is a shortage of talent in the market right now, but we are still able to convince good profiles to come on board with us. We are working on a technology that has value and we are on a good time to market, as proven by the data mesh concept. We manage to convince the right profiles thanks to this. We are the dream technology, we were already doing it before the competitors arrived. We are currently recruiting mainly Customer Success Managers who are open-minded enough to accompany customers on the right path.
One word to define this year 2022?
I would say “tipping point year.” I see 2022 as a year of accelerated adoption of our solution.