Consolidation Renews the Fight for Independence

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Read more about author Craig Stewart.

They say that history repeats itself, and that those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it. We’re about to see another instance – with regards to consolidation – where these old adages ring true.

Years ago, at the start of the cloud revolution, companies began to flee from the idea of a monolithic, all-powerful consolidated platform that would do everything they needed. Fears of being “locked in” and unable to utilize best-of-breed technologies as desired led many to push back on the large platform idea and led many companies to change their go-to-market strategies.

We are starting to see formerly independent solutions once again become platforms, or to be swallowed up by those with designs on becoming the next platform or one-stop shop. The growth of this movement means that the fight for independence will begin once again in 2022. 

Organizations wanting to protect their control over their own destinies will need to fight against the pull of these monolithic platforms and declare their independence.

Monolithic platforms want to control both the technology you use to analyze your data – and the data itself. Some of these will be data warehouse companies, some of these will be traditional enterprise software players, some will be entirely new to the scene. They will be espousing this new way of “locking you in” to a specific platform under the guise of making it easier to access, analyze, and use your data. There will be some advantages to that approach – but, if they have control of your data, and it lives and is used inside their systems and their systems alone, then there is little chance for it to escape. 

I predict that the companies involved in the data industry will step up their purchasing of partners, competitors, and other complementary technologies in 2022, making consolidation harder and harder to avoid.

To prevent this from becoming the industry norm (again), companies will need to stand firm that they own their data and can use the tools of their choosing to compile and access said data. The benefits of owning your data and controlling how it is used and in what are easy to see. Those with control over their data can continue to utilize best-of-breed tools and be better prepared to evolve in parallel with market and customer needs – instead of being beholden to when their platform vendor is good and ready to do so.

While this battle will play out over the course of 2022, it is inevitable that tools will integrate and will consolidate with each other, and that we’ll see more of this activity throughout the year. Despite the desire to not become “locked in” to any one platform or technology, companies do need tools and technologies that work well together. For many, pre-integrated or consolidated tools and solutions will be the best path forward. But choosing this path doesn’t necessarily mean you abandon best-of-breed entirely.

Companies still need an uncomplicated way to build those connections between applications and data themselves. The need for tools that can handle related tasks within the same workflow will only increase, as it becomes a question of money and time for companies. If you’re looking to develop an app that enables employees to access real-time data and feed it into a management system, you need everything to work well together without having to spend costly employee cycles just to make sure the technology speaks the same language. 

Connections to data and connections to applications are critically important to get right. Data integration tools – and the related automation of repeatable processes and tasks – will only grow in importance, especially as the fight between consolidation and independence rages once more.

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