This week we spoke with Hmong Vang, senior vice president and chief trust officer at Liaison Technologies, a cloud service provider (CSP) specializing in integration and data management solutions for the enterprise. Before joining Liaision in 2015, Vang held senior-level positions in companies including LabCorp, Covance, Equifance and KPMG, among others.

TVG: Can you could give me an overview of database market opportunities in the cloud? What does the space look like, and what trends have you noticed?

Vang: If you just look at data alone it's a tremendous space that really spans across all of the various industries that you can imagine. As you look at the manufacturing industries, automotive, or even heating and air conditioning, everybody's moving towards IOT, putting a chip in everything that you can imagine. All of that generates a tremendous amount of data.

Getting all of the data into one spot and being able to use it from a business perspective is just a tremendous market right now and every industry has initiatives around this. Gartner and several other subject matter experts in this space are saying there's a lot of potential but not necessarily a lot of success in this area. A lot of that is due to complex projects that don't really have a solid form from start to finish.

TVG: Do you think that has something to do with how new this space is?

Vang: Absolutely. I think it's similar to when companies are rolling out enterprise solutions like for ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems and everything else. I think they are sold a promise and then there's a lot of big partners and players out there that will come in and help develop a solution or implement the solution, but then they leave and companies are left to fend for themselves to really figure out how to extract business value and how to optimize the solution for their business. I think this is very, very similar.

TVG: What opportunities does that open up for the channel?

Listen to Vang's answer below.

TVG: For VARs and MSPs in the channel that are looking to move into that trusted advisor role, what are the first couple of things that they need to focus on?

Listen to Vang's answer below.

TVG: We know that there's a lot of untapped potential in data analytics. Can you speak a little bit to the value that data can add to companies and where it's not being leveraged? Where are the best opportunities for partners in that area?

Vang: Yeah, I think you know the value with data is that if you look at it in kind of a macro level for a lot of companies, they generate a tremendous amount. Retail is a great example where you can start learning the behaviors of your customers and start being more targeted just by analyzing the data and really understanding what customers’ shopping habits are, the colors that they prefer, the style that they prefer. It really allows you to home in on the customer and I think every industry is looking to do that.

On the whole, I think every industry is looking to mine that data to find that piece that allows them to really improve or target their customers more and sell to them in a more specialized and personalized manner.

TVG: If we're looking at both the enterprise tech industry as a whole and then data analytics more specifically, what are the emerging trends that are going to have the biggest impact on this sector and on the channel over the next 18 to 24 months?

Vang: I think from the standpoint of emerging trends it's really the convergence of data and the Internet of Things technology. We hear about it all the time as it relates to the Internet of Things - every industry is looking to figure out how to put a chip in everything they build whether it's tennis shoes, or tennis racquets, or whatever. It's going to generate data and as that generates data, companies need to be able to get that data back in real time, and be able to analyze it, and then make decisions almost in real time. I think that's the trend that you're going to start seeing in the next 18 to 24 months. That real time business intelligence, if you will.

TVG: We’ve moved from descriptive analytics into predictive analytics, and now we're headed into prescriptive analytics where there are platforms that can take your data and make actual recommendations for your business based on that. Do you have any thoughts around that statement or that trend?

Vang: I think it's tracking as most people have described it. Similar to descriptive analytics is probably the easiest to accomplish. As you start getting into the prescriptive analytics I think that's hard, and the reason why I think it's hard is because it's moving a direction where there's a lot of machine and machine intelligence, and machine learning that has to happen. The resources and the skills needed to move it to that phase, particularly for business analytics I think that's where there's huge deficiency from a resource perspective today.

TVG: Out of all the different emerging third platform fields that we're seeing in enterprise tech, why should data be the one that channel partners choose to leverage?

Vang: I think because it's just the natural evolution of tech. I think if you go back several decades and you look at how tech has evolved, it started out at the system level, then expanded to the network level. It has extended out to the cloud, and I think now since the compute is almost irrelevant. It's really what's going into it from a data perspective. I think it's just a matter of a evolution of technology at this point.

TVG: When it comes to data, what is the one thing you want channel partners to come away from our conversation knowing? 

Listen to Vang's answer below.