It goes without saying (though the whole point of this blog is to say it) that 2020 was a year unlike any other. For many of us, what come to mind first are the negative aspects of the year: COVID, wildfires, social injustice, isolation. But there were also good things to remember from last year: increased technological innovation, more opportunities for rest, development of effective COVID vaccines. We don’t want to forget the challenging moments or the hard lessons we learned (and continue to be taught), but we think it’s important to reflect on the silver linings we can find as well.
Toward the end of the year (and one in which we all felt we had lived several lifetimes), we asked some of our team members this question: If we were to create a time capsule of 2020, what 3-5 contributions would you submit?
Technology and data in 2020 went mainstream in many ways. Around the world, people were turning to data to learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic, and many were engaging with statistical analysis, data visualization and data reliability in new ways. Below is a list of what would go into our 2020 time capsule pertaining to the technology, data and the working-from-home landscape that became the backdrop for many professionals last year.
Tech, the Cloud and Working from Home
Behfar Jahanshahi, CEO
For the last 15+ years, we’ve heard plenty of buzz hyping up cloud technology and solutions. It’s been crystal clear the industry was pushing to the cloud, but there was still an undercurrent of uneasiness and continued reservation around moving data into an ambiguous location. Over the last few years, we’ve seen continual innovation and witnessed solutions grow more elegant, simple to use and scalable. This has certainly helped build traction and momentum in cloud adoption. It’s safe to say that, 2020 aside, we were always moving towards cloud-centric technology solutions. It was never a matter of if; only a matter of when.
Then came COVID-19. Overnight, there was an abrupt requirement for many organizations to figure out what “working from home” meant and how it would look for them. Organizations that had every employee and server under one roof lost their gigabit+ connection back to their physical servers. Organizations that may otherwise have been uncomfortable with a dispersed workforce, without a line of sight on every employee, had their entire thinking and philosophy change in a short amount of time.
“It’s safe to say that, 2020 aside, we were always moving towards cloud-centric technology solutions. It was never a matter of if; only a matter of when.”
This led to a flurry of organizations wanting to quickly move to the cloud. Companies that were already experiencing huge growth—AWS, Zoom, Snowflake—saw an even larger surge in demand. Daily Zoom sessions went from 10 million per day to over 200 million per day. We received requests left and right from organizations wanting to optimize, or implement from scratch, their WFH infrastructure. We saw a host of organizations wanting to take their data to the cloud. We saw educators and government entities having to embrace technology in a way that may have been previously uncomfortable or out of the question. Everyone certainly had their way of thinking stretched when it came to understanding how to embrace the “new normal” of semi-lockdown and how technology could help (or not).
Now, as vaccinations roll out for COVID-19 and it looks like we’ve turned a corner for the better, it’s safe to say that many of these technological changes are here to stay. Many employers will have to revisit their in-office vs. work-from-home policy, and cloud technology will continue to play a critical role in the conversation and discussion around what’s possible.
Garrett Sauls, Communications Manager
With the notable exception of essential workers, virtually everyone experienced the working-from-home life in some respect. For some, it was a peaceful respite from the office grind. For others, it was an isolating experience. Whatever the case, it dramatically changed how we work.
Note: WFH was the reality of our team, so we dedicated a blog series to it! Plus, we shared tips on staying productive at home and maintaining harmony with our new pet coworkers (mostly cats). Check them out:
Raphael Teufel, Solutions Lead
A lot of people, especially politicians around the globe, had to learn the concept of exponential growth this year:
New Developments with Salesforce and Tableau
Robin Bergmans, Analytics Consultant
This is relevant to our little corner of the world: Tableau introduced the new data model – relationship noodles. The features are cool and the documentation pure comedy:
Note: Check out some of our other blog posts about the new data model:
- An Introduction to Tableau’s New Data Model
- Comparing Tableau’s New Relationships to Blends and Joins
- Tableau’s New Data Model: Physical vs. Logical Data Sources
- Webinar Replay: Tableau 2020.2 Feature Demo: New Data Model
Rowan Bradnum, Analytics Consultant
When thinking of 2020 work and tech-wise, the Salesforce integration definitely stands out. Its genesis started a long time ago with Mel doing it internally and then Al doing it for a few clients over the years, but the demo instance is where things really took off this year. Significant moments include:
Note: Curator by InterWorks is an analytics solution that empowers users to create the unified, beautifully designed and tailored data experience they want. If you haven’t checked out our Curator website, go explore!
A Soft Place to Land
Theo Jones, Account Executive
InterWorks was a safe haven for me in my first year of working here. This company is full of amazing people that challenge my way of thinking to get the most out of my potential. I love wearing my InterWorks mask in public, so when people ask me what the logo means, I can brag about this place:
In the midst of last year’s uncertainty, we were fortunate to have InterWorks – a workplace with incredible people who came alongside, supported and encouraged one another. We’re excited as we look ahead to what’s next in the industry and are eager to find new ways to serve our clients and empower them to realize the future they envision.
Be sure to take a look at some of the things we’d put into a 2020 time capsule regarding culture and society in this post’s companion piece.