Want to know the future of technology? The internet and its gurus can't wait to tell you. Just follow the clickbait-y headlines: How artificial intelligence is changing your life. Blockchain: You'll never draw money from an ATM again. Five ways virtual reality is already in your enterprise. The truth about augmented reality and marketing.
Sit back and let the buzzwords wash over you. Internet of things. Machine learning. Quantum computing. It's all strangely compelling - mainly because these trends and technologies are undoubtedly going to change the way we do business, transact, and live in the modern world. We just don't know how.
But none of them are the real game-changer. Here's why: all of the technologies you're currently sitting through endless presentations about only work when you're able to process small continents of data. And right now, the biggest challenge facing many businesses is how to process data, and create useful insights.
So when CEOs, CIOs and businesses of all sizes ask me what single technology they should be investing in right now, I tell them: in-memory computing. It's not the answer most of them are expecting. The disappointment is often palpable: "I gave you a drum-roll. I was expecting fireworks. And you give me - in-memory computing?"
You'd better believe it. In fact, I would go so far as to say that in-memory computing is the platform on which all digital transformation will be built for the foreseeable future.
You see, most of the executives I talk to every day understand that all of these new technologies mean there's a data flood heading their way, and they're about to get swamped. But far too many are still not clear on what value they can get out of that data.
We live in a hyper-connected world, with more groundbreaking technologies than we ever dreamed possible - but when it comes to the basics, we're still flying blind.
The common denominator
Think about it for a moment. The common denominator that powers our brave new digital world is data. In-memory computing is what allows us to process mountains of data very quickly, and make sense out of it - and this ability is what is going to reshape our world in ways we can only start to imagine.
All of the major promises of modern technologies - better-run businesses, slicker manufacturing systems, smart cities, driverless cars, more effective energy distribution, digital healthcare, intelligent ERP systems - can only be delivered when we are able to deal with the data that comes at us from a new universe of connected humans and devices, and make it work together.
I don't even like to talk about big data anymore. It's just data. And if you want to improve your business, and stay relevant in a volatile and changing world, you're going to have to be able to work with it.
The right data with the right people at the right time
Funnily enough, one of the most-touted benefits of in-memory computing - its processing speed - is not necessarily the biggest benefit for many organisations. Not every organisation has to crunch large chunks of data super-quickly. Some just want the right data to be with the right people at the right time so they can make better business decisions.
Others want to create profitable, competitive cost estimates based on the latest information about the costs of raw materials. Many companies across the region I'm responsible for want to monitor social media to see which products are trending, and tailor marketing campaigns based on real-time consumer demands.
Scenarios like these are not only possible with the power of in-memory computing, but they are also accessible to companies of all sizes. As we speak, thousands of companies are using in-memory computing technologies to create opportunities, do better business and change lives for the better. And that's ultimately the real magic of technology to me.