11 Predictions Data Experts Have for the Year Ahead

It’s 2023 and with the new year comes an opportunity to drive innovation, growth, and digital transformation with data in the face of ongoing economic turbulence. If Snowflake’s report, How to Win in Today’s Data Economy is any indication, data-driven organizations are poised to emerge as the winners of the year with 77% Data Economy Leaders, which is only 6% of those surveyed, experiencing annual revenue growth versus 36% of Data Economy Laggards, the lowest-performing survey group. The growth of Snowflake Marketplace indicates a huge appetite for third-party data, services, applications, and secure data sharing with stable edges, defined as continuous data-sharing connections between two or more Snowflake accounts, growing 112% year over year (as of July 31, 2022).* 

We asked leading experts across Snowflake what their predictions are for this year—from cybersecurity to collaboration to data monetization in retail, and more. 

1. Cybersecurity will finally join the modern data stack

Omer Singer, Head of Cybersecurity Strategy at Snowflake, predicts that 2023 will see more security teams leveraging modern cloud data lakes, which provide a consolidated view of all security data, alongside business and IT data, to improve an organization’s security posture.

“Gartner and Forrester have both identified this as an emerging trend, and I expect to see it accelerate even more next year,” says Singer. “Recent updates to leading security products enable them to run directly on top of an enterprise’s existing cloud data platform. The economics of the modern data stack, with the cloud data platform at its core, will drive savings. Better data analytics capabilities will translate to higher fidelity insights for security teams. Finally, we will see the Open Cybersecurity Scheme Framework (OCSF) rise as the vendor-neutral standard for security data.”

2. Python will become a key enabler of the democratization of data

For trends in data democratization and data science, we turned to Torsten Grabs, Director of Product Management at Snowflake. His predictions: Instant gratification amongst businesspeople with a desire to get to the insights themselves. And data scientists will have greater appetite for pre-built, industry-specific, and domain-specific ML models.

Python will become a key enabler of the democratization of data,” notes Torsten. “Business users are no longer patiently waiting for data scientists and ML engineers to unlock the value of data; they want to extract insights from data themselves. In 2023, Python will be the primary medium for democratizing access to, and insights from, data for everyone across an organization. Python will become more enterprise-ready as the runtime infrastructure around Python grows simpler and more straightforward and includes more security and governance. And Python code will become better wrapped in a meaningful and ‘lay’ user interface.”

3. Low or no-code platforms become more widespread

Weighing in on software trends is Adrien Treuille, Head of Streamlit at Snowflake:

“Application development will become a two-way conversation between producers and consumers,” notes Treuille. “The advent of easy-to-use low-code or no-code platforms are already simplifying the building and sharing of interactive applications for tech-savvy business users. Based on that foundation, the next emerging shift will be a blurring of the lines between two previously distinct roles: the application producer and the consumer of that software. Application development will become a collaborative workflow where consumers can weigh in on the work producers are doing in real time; for instance, by commenting on code. Taking this one step further, we’re heading towards a future where app development platforms have mechanisms to gather app requirements from consumers before the producer has even started creating that software.”

4. New data-powered versions of business applications will emerge

And from Christian Kleinerman, SVP of Product at Snowflake:

“We’re poised at the start of a renaissance in software development, where developers will bring their applications to central, combined sources of data, rather than the traditional approach of copying data into applications. Every single application category, whether it’s horizontal or specific to an industry vertical, will be reinvented by the emergence of new data-powered applications. Platform providers will take on much of the burden of security, governance, privacy, distribution, and monetization, leaving developers and entrepreneurs free to focus on innovation around their primary differentiators.”

5. Sports betting will offer a new arena for advertising

Bill Stratton, Global Head of Media, Entertainment & Advertising at Snowflake, sees 2023 as a great year to bet on:

“Amidst economic uncertainty, sports betting will be a growing ad category. While many consumer marketers typically pull back on spend in a recession or economic downturn, there are always new ad categories that get created or accelerated during these times. We’re seeing a feverish race to acquire customers in sports betting as it becomes legal across U.S. states. While you may see a pull back on categories like auto and travel, sports betting will help buoy advertising revenue in 2023.”

6. Data clean rooms extend their reach

Data clean rooms will go mainstream as a way to boost campaign performance, Stratton adds.

“We saw early adoption of data clean rooms from media companies and publishers on the sell side in 2022, but in 2023 it’s expected to reach across the entire advertising and marketing ecosystem. Whether you’re an AdTech or MarTech company in identity, measurement, and Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), or on the buy side with agencies and marketers themselves, we’re in the midst of a mass realization of how drastically the collaboration, privacy, and governance features of data clean rooms can benefit all parties involved.”

7. Greater collaboration across FinServ

Predictions for the Finserv space come from Rinesh Patel, Global Head of  Financial Services at Snowflake:

“In 2023, we will see broader and deeper collaboration across the fragmented financial services industry. From sell-side banks to buy-side firms, the landscape is made up of multiple products, solutions, and service providers like investment research, order and execution management, reconciliation, accounting, data management, performance, compliance, risk management, and client reporting needs. Critical data is locked within each system, creating significant cost and resourcing challenges to support pre-trade, trade, and post-trade processes, and to meet customer needs. FinServ firms are seeking greater operational efficiency and will seek to connect siloed data from disparate systems into a unified customer view that delivers a seamless, frictionless data experience.”

8. Data marketplaces will become more popular for ESG initiatives

“Lack of standardization in ESG data will give way to data marketplaces,” continues Patel.As investor interest and fiduciary duties continue to lead to the rise of ESG investing, a lack of data standardization in this emerging field will continue to be a thorn in the side of the industry in 2023. The ESG data landscape remains incredibly fragmented with the industry forced to navigate diverse data sets from established data providers, niche data providers, private and government data sets, and more—and all of this needs to be onboarded, aggregated, and curated before it can be leveraged for investment decisions. Data marketplaces are going to become a more considered approach for an industry that is hungry for query-ready data that can be brought onboard more seamlessly and immediately leveraged strategically.”

9. Advanced analytics shine

For a lens into the healthcare sector, we turned to Jesse Cugliotta, Global Industry GTM Lead – Healthcare & Life Sciences at Snowflake:

“Advanced analytics that can handle unstructured data will play a bigger role in healthcare data strategies,” says Jesse. “Unstructured data, such as physician notes, X-rays, or even social media sentiment—which some estimates suggest represents as much as 80% of healthcare data—has long been a white whale in the healthcare world. This data has historically been difficult to analyze en masse. It would be incredibly valuable, for instance, to be able to run a structured query against a collection of images sitting in bulk storage. Let’s say, for example, that I’m researching non-small cell lung cancer and I want to identify every example showing a pulmonary neoplasm in the right lower lobe to put together a research cohort. Then cross-reference that group of patients with a social determinants of health data set showing proximity to areas of high air pollution, like an industrial zone, in order to determine the best course for treatment. That level of analytics sophistication is finally being realized and is expected togo mainstream in 2023, reshaping the way that healthcare organizations leverage data to improve patient outcomes.”

10. Companies experiment with data tracking efforts to measure sustainability

Rosemary DeAragon, Global Head of Retail and CPG at Snowflake, also sees ESG topping the list of priorities for retail and CPG firms. With the growing pressure to align executive compensation with sustainability goals, there’s a push to find new tracking methods. DeAragon suggests that these firms will try tracking metrics like the percentage of empty space in ecommerce packaging as they look to measure and communicate their progress against sustainability goals. 

11. More retailers embracing data monetization

DeAragon also sees retailers, some of whom have previously been “allergic” to data monetization, starting to come round:

“In response to macroeconomic pressures, I see more retailers becoming receptive to the idea of data monetization, something most rejected as recently as 2020. Now, nearly every retailer is having these conversations at the C-suite level. We’re in a discovery phase as retailers realized that governance of data in the cloud enables them to do a lot with this data that they could not do previously, while also streamlining how CPG companies are able to acquire this data. Data monetization offers an exciting source for revenue, but retailers are going to make sure they’re leveraging this data to make better business decisions that are mutually beneficial for the retailer-CPG relationship.” 

It will be another fast-moving year for every industry and data will be the differentiator. For more on data trends, subscribe to the Inside the Data Cloud blog.

* An “edge” is a data share between a Snowflake customer and a data provider. A “stable edge” is an edge that has produced at least 20 transactions in which compute resources are consumed and such consumption results in recognized product revenue over two successive three-week periods (with at least 20 transactions in each period).

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