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2024 Data Streaming Report: Powering AI, Data Product Adoption, and More

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In the past, technology served as a supportive function for business. Over time, it has become the business itself. A similar shift is happening with data streaming—data streaming is now a critical foundation of modern business. And this year is an inflection point for data streaming platforms (DSPs). Findings from the 2024 Data Streaming Report: Breaking Down the Barriers to Business Agility & Innovation show 79% of 4,110 surveyed IT leaders cite DSPs as pivotal to driving business agility and 63% cite DSPs extensively or significantly driving AI progress.

I’ve worked with artificial intelligence for nearly 20 years and while AI’s tremendous potential has always felt evident, its widespread application seemed to be just a few more years away. With GenAI technologies, however, this time it feels different. But bringing GenAI apps to market will require a common operating model and platform for data integration. The good news is that data streaming platforms enable businesses to tap into continuously enriched, trustworthy, and contextualized data for quickly scaling and building real-time AI applications. In fact, 95% of the IT leaders we interviewed see DSPs helping or possibly helping with broadening access to different data sources to contextualize models.

With more organizations banking on data streaming platforms to successfully and rapidly adapt to today’s dynamic business landscape, it comes as no surprise that 86% of respondents cite data streaming as a top strategic or important priority for IT investments in 2024.

In this blog post, I’ll share my perspective on the report findings. You can view the full report for a more in-depth look at how organizations are harnessing the power of data streaming to drive multifaceted benefits—including transforming customer experience and managing and controlling operational costs—to operate at the speed of modern business. Plus, explore responses by industry or region.

Powering Data Product Adoption and Strong ROI

Many IT leaders see data streaming platforms as integral to driving data product adoption. With broadening and simplifying data access and reuse becoming a key focus for forward-thinking organizations, 91% of respondents say they are banking on data streaming platforms to drive their data goals and 72% cite significant benefits from embracing a data product approach. 

Designed to help businesses maximize the value of their data assets in a systematic and sustainable way, data products are trustworthy datasets purpose-built for easy sharing and reuse—ultimately driving significant value for the business. Benefits include more confident data sharing across business units and new opportunities for innovation and value creation through easier data discovery and reuse.

But with any major technology shift, stakeholders want to know, “Is this worth the investment?” According to the report, 41% IT leaders cite an ROI of 5x or more on their data streaming investments. 

Our survey findings also reveal a clear correlation between data streaming maturity level and the achievement of higher levels of return on investment. As organizations progress through stages of maturity, the proportion achieving significant ROI increases dramatically. But even companies at earlier stages in the maturity curve see excellent results with data streaming: 67% of those surveyed that have a streaming-enabled use case in production say they are achieving or anticipating 2x to 5x return. 

Common Data Challenges and How Data Streaming Platforms can Help

While achieving real-time visibility is crucial for success in today's fast-paced environment, it is often hampered by data-related challenges. These include siloed data leading to inconsistent views, inconsistent governance practices, and difficulties for users in discovering, accessing, and trusting data. 

Tackling data challenges head-on is crucial for maximizing business success in a data-driven world. Our findings confirm that data streaming platforms help organizations address many of these pervasive challenges that hinder real-time, data-driven operations. An overwhelming 93% of respondents say a data streaming platform helps them break down data silos in most and many situations.

DSPs ensure data is available in real-time, everywhere it’s needed—so businesses can focus on accelerating innovation instead of navigating the maze of point-to-point connections.

There are more insights in the report, including how DSPs incorporate a range of capabilities, including stream processing and data governance, to enable instant access to reliable data—unlocking endless use cases and value for the business. Why wait? Dive in to explore key findings from our 2024 Data Streaming Report.

  • Andrew Sellers leads Confluent’s Technology Strategy Group, a team supporting strategy development, competitive analysis, and thought leadership.

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