Business Spotlight

Rubal Sahni Of Confluent On : Transforming Data Into A Vital Asset For Decision-Making And Strategic Planning

India is experiencing a surge in data growth, however, the challenge lies in harnessing this vast data reservoir and transforming it into actionable insights.

Rubal Sahni, Area Vice President and Country Manager India
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Data streaming, a cutting-edge technology that offers real-time data access, is emerging as a pivotal solution in this scenario. It’s revolutionizing how organizations manage and analyze data, converting it into a crucial asset.

In this interview with Rubal Sahni, Area Vice President and Country Manager India, Confluent, we delve into data streaming and its potential to reshape the business landscape globally.

  1. What is data streaming and what is the value proposition for organizations?

Data streaming refers to the continuous and real-time movement of data from various data sources to a destination where it can be processed and analyzed instantaneously. It involves the transfer of data in a steady and continuous flow, ensuring that information is always current and up-to-date.

Today’s most successful organizations are those that are the fastest at turning data into action but businesses are struggling to make sense of the data they have while keeping up with customers’ increasing expectations for more real-time experiences. Data streaming platforms provide the quickest, most reliable access to continuous streams of data that are updated in real-time. According to our 2023 Data Streaming Report based on a survey of 2,250 IT leaders, including 300 in India, 71% of India organizations are powering critical systems with data streaming and 82% saw data streaming drive greater IT and business efficiency for their company.

  1. How do Confluent’s offerings benefit organizations?

Confluent is pioneering a fundamentally new category of data infrastructure centered around data in motion. We have built on the power of Apache Kafka – the de facto standard in data streaming – and redesigned the technology to be cloud-native, complete and everywhere. We bring the product, expertise and support organizations need to start using us as the central nervous system for their enterprise. We are not just providing a data streaming solution, we are providing a data streaming platform that allows our customers to connect, stream, process, govern and share all their data from where it’s coming from to where it needs to be.

  1. What are some of the challenges with data streaming?

Data streaming can be tricky, especially when organizations are faced with limited resources. In the same report cited earlier, 72% of IT leaders cite that fragmented projects and uncoordinated teams and budgets can be a challenge or a major hurdle to advancing data streaming, and 78% cite lack of relevant skills, expertise, and experience. In fact, 95% of respondents state that they are prioritizing training and recruitment to bolster skills as they continue to invest in data streaming.

  1. With October being the Cybersecurity Awareness month, what role does data streaming play in cybersecurity?

While having the right security tools and processes is important, effective cybersecurity requires data infrastructure that supports the timely prevention, detection and intelligent response of cyber threats. This includes the ability to capture and send contextual and situational data to the right tools in real-time. This is the role that real-time data and data streaming plays in cultivating strong defenses. Cloud-native data streaming infrastructure enables companies to enhance real-time interoperability across all their systems, applications and data stores, so companies can efficiently detect anomalies and swiftly counter potential security threats.

  1. How has the uprising of GenAI impacted data streaming in 2023 and what steps has Confluent taken to capitalise on GenAI?

For companies to be able to build a real-world, production application leveraging GenAI, a big part of that is bringing the general capabilities of GenAI together with the company’s unique data and needs in a clean, trustworthy, safe and timely manner. Data streaming is arguably the best tool for the job because its strength is circulating feeds of data around the company in real time. We believe that both GenAI and data streaming will help to mutually advance one another’s maturity.

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Data streaming gives AI applications:

  • The ability to perform continuous training on data streams
  • Efficient and constant data synchronization from source systems to machine learning platforms
  • Real-time inferencing and application of AI models
  • Access to high volume data processing

Confluent is built and optimized to support the distribution of data in real time as it is created. Our massive ecosystem of connectors help organizations tap into their existing data stores, modern or legacy, and curate them for consumption by AI tools to drive actionable intelligence.

We have recently announced Data Streaming for AI, an initiative to accelerate organizations’ development of real-time AI applications. To help companies unlock the full potential of AI with the freshest contextual data from across their business, we have expanded partnerships with leading AI and vector database companies. We are also making product innovations that incorporate the latest advances in AI into our platform, like the Confluent AI Assistant and AI for Apache Flink® SQL.

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