Talend CPO on conquering APAC data management hurdles

Data management challenges vary from one organisation to another, and from one region to the next.

In APAC, for example, data regulatory requirements in Singapore are considerably different from those in China, which for a lot of businesses, can be quite a headache.

What strategies can then be leveraged to overcome these complexities? Frontier Enterprise spoke with Jason Penkethman, Chief Product Officer at data integration solutions provider Talend, to learn more about conquering obstacles in APAC, and which trends are making a huge splash in the data management space.

What is the current state of data management in APAC? How do regulatory differences in the region affect the way Talend approaches data management for customers in different countries?

Generally speaking, we are seeing four patterns emerge with customers across all regions and geographies. These are the modernisation of their platforms, migration to the cloud, building and enhancing data governance practices, and establishing a data culture.

One factor that sets APAC apart is the varying levels of maturity among the markets and customers we serve. For instance, in the ASEAN region, a hybrid approach generally works best for most customers at present, and there is a strong preference for keeping personal data protected under Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) on-premises.

Conversely, many organisations in ANZ, while sensitive about recent cybersecurity breaches, are moving forward with migration and modernisation projects. At the same time, our customers and partners are working to build stronger data governance frameworks in the cloud and on-prem.

Talend is well-equipped to assist customers at any stage of their modernisation and migration journey, by enabling them to build secure and modern data management infrastructures.

The data management landscape is always changing with new challenges and opportunities. How does Talend balance the need for innovation and keeping up with the latest trends, with the need to provide reliable solutions?

At Talend, we believe that healthy data is the foundation for making great decisions. Our goal is to provide our customers with the tools they need to cultivate a strong data culture. We achieve this by listening carefully to our customers, partners, and alliances, and continually improving our solutions. While we are excited to see the region embrace new trends in data management, we remain committed to providing highly reliable data infrastructures that can adapt to changing landscapes.

For example, our open framework has played a critical role in customers building or buying big data, AI, and ML solutions that address real-world challenges.  We support a range of personas, including chief data officers, data stewards, data analysts, data scientists, and data developers, across a broad ecosystem, without requiring customers to reinvent the wheel.

Jason Penkethman, Chief Product Officer, Talend. Image courtesy of Talend.

Our roadmap is shaped by market trends. This year, we have identified several key trends, including the growing adoption of cloud technologies by our customers, the increasing use of data mesh frameworks (which view data as a product), the need for accelerated data processing to support business processes, and the organic adoption of technology by our customers.

As more and more data moves to the cloud, the concept of the lakehouse has gained popularity, particularly with the use of a particular integration pattern called ELT. With ELT, data transformation occurs within the lakehouse after the data has been loaded. While this pattern is not entirely new, there is a growing trend towards the use of SQL Pushdown ELT, which involves using SQL in the cloud warehouse to transform data. We plan to address this trend with future platform updates that will support modern data teams, helping customers leverage their lakehouse investments and scale data usage for analytics, AI, and business applications.

AI-powered automation is becoming increasingly important in data management, but it can also raise concerns about the ethics of automated decision-making. How does Talend ensure that its AI-powered solutions are transparent, ethical, and accountable?

The ethics of AI and automation are complex topics. It even underscores the importance of building good foundations around culture and governance.

During technology transitions, Talend plays a vital role in the evolution of AI and automation, just as it always has. Building near-real-time and predictive analytics requires high-quality and healthy data, as well as essential capabilities such as data access, change, and lineage. That is why our enterprise and public sector customers now consider our mission-critical offerings, including data inventory, change data capture, and data catalogue capabilities. By supporting a data fabric and analytics framework that prioritises strong governance and culture, organisations can prepare for the development of these technologies and ensure ethics and compliance.

When it comes to supporting APAC organisations’ data management strategies, how does Talend balance the need for customisability and flexibility with the need for consistency and standardisation across different customers and use cases?

Talend is positioned in the upper right of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools due to our ability to balance various aspects of data integration, which provides us with a competitive edge.

We believe that building a modern data management platform should be at the top of today’s chief data officers’ list. Talend offers a modular solution that helps teams discover, transform, govern, and share data across the organisation. A modern data fabric will support the full data lifecycle, from ingestion to decision, for any industry or agency, on-prem or in the cloud.

Cloud-based data management has become increasingly complex in recent years, with the rise of hybrid and multi-cloud environments, as well as increasing concerns around data privacy and security. How does Talend stay ahead of these trends and help its customers in the APAC region address these challenges?

Our experience in the region is that customers are struggling more with cloud competency than complexity. In reality, our top cloud partners like AWS, Microsoft Azure, AND Snowflake have good controls and technology to help customers with privacy and security.

Talend’s solutions are useful for customers seeking to expedite their cloud migration and modernisation efforts. For us, it’s not an “either-or” situation, but rather a “both-and” approach. Customers can benefit from the cloud’s offerings, including infrastructure, databases, and analytics, and construct an enterprise-grade data management infrastructure. Offering some flexibility around on-premises and cloud, particularly in APAC, helps our customers to make informed decisions as they enhance their cloud capabilities.

What emerging technologies or trends is Talend exploring to improve its data management solutions, and how do you see these advancements impacting the industry and your customers in the APAC region?

Customers often request automation for data pipeline generation and workload prioritisation, with AI capabilities becoming increasingly important. As previously mentioned, the market trends we have identified truly impact our product roadmap. Our tools are also evolving to support more sophisticated use cases and personas.

How does this translate into actions? We recently announced our latest Winter ’23 release. This introduces capabilities and enhancements to simplify and automate cloud migrations and data management; expand data connectivity; and improve data visibility, quality, control, and access. The latest Talend Data Fabric features aim to help data professionals, including data engineers and architects, to gain full command of their data environments. The enhancements also help organisations transition to and extract the most value from their modern data management stack.

Data health and data observability are critical components of a good data culture for our regional stakeholders. We help our customers to utilise data throughout their lifecycles, whether they are in APAC or elsewhere in the world, to drive business success and better serve their customers and communities.