Over four months into 2021, there is much talk about the ever-evolving role of data in what presents itself as yet another eventful decade.

We have sat down with Laurent Bride, former CTO at Talend, to discuss the data and analytics trends and ask for his take on the Data Leaders predictions for 2021 and beyond.

See what Laurent thinks about:

  • How metadata can bring opportunities to your business
  • What are the automation trends to prepare for
  • How becoming more data driven will impact your role

The evolution of data over the last thirty years

In Laurent’s opinion, the hot topics of data and analytics have not changed significantly over the last three decades. In fact, he finds that, in 2021, much of the talk keeps revolving around data acquisition, data curation, and reporting. Significant evolution between now and then can mostly be observed around technology, storage, and processing. For example, in recent years we witnessed a big shift towards the cloud. Due to the unprecedented volumes of data collected in modern days, we have also put more emphasis on topics such as security, compliance, and ethical treatment of personal information.

Metadata critical for RPA

Laurent agrees that RPA is indeed playing an increasingly important role in the contemporary landscape. In his opinion, successful automation will also largely depend on how carefully the data and metadata of the very business process are handled. Moreover, Laurent points out that automation will not be about machines taking over human jobs but rather about supporting end-users and providing them with enough information to make educated decisions.

Decision-making will become more prescriptive 

Laurent finds that, traditionally, a lot of the decision-making has been based on hints and hunches. Over the past decade, though, business owners have become wiser to the incredible ways data can help them grow. Once again, he points out that whilst the human factor will likely never be substituted by automated decisions, AI will play an increasingly important role in the resolution of those problems that do not require brain work.

Data will impact every role in the business 

Laurent insists that this important shift will not only affect the company’s decision-makers; instead, everyone’s role within a given organisation will certainly become more data-driven. Data will be factored into all important decisions – from investments to marketing and productivity. Naturally, data-centricity will mean something different to each individual business depending on its size and objectives as well as culture.

Supervised machine learning with transform data stewardship

Laurent believes that automation is happening beyond just governance and covering most areas of data and analytics from delivery to access and integrity. As for data stewardship, the human factor will still be the main force behind all important decisions. This will likely lead towards supervised machine learning and using automation as a ground base for the decision-making process.

Enrichment of metadata

According to Laurent, the mixing and matching of different data sets is already common practice, although there is still room for improvement. In his opinion, the coming months and years will see an enrichment of the metadata derived from promptly available data. An example would be behavioural data tracking, which derives metadata from the interaction between users and applications.

Data monetisation will continue to grow

Rather than spinning data off capacity, Laurent believes in a two-fold approach: on the one end, data-centricity should be at the core of all business operations. On the other hand, data sets can also be leveraged for business success – a.k.a. monetised. Laurence also anticipates a shift from governance to open-data initiatives, particularly in public sectors such as healthcare and transportation.

Ensure you get stories like this and many more interesting insights from data and analytics leaders like you – directly to your inbox, twice a month – by signing up to our newsletter. Would like to become a member? Get in touch!


Make better informed decisions by assessing your data and analytics capability and use community intelligence to close the gap between strategy and execution.


Essential Data monthly newsletter is where you can discover limited availability articles, guides and frameworks otherwise only accessible to our members.