Kevin Shelly oversees the global public sector business of San Carlos, California-based enterprise software developer MarkLogic as a group vice president and leads the company’s work in government, healthcare and life science markets.
Shelly joined MarkLogic in 2012 after service at Angel as sales VP for government and private sector markets and he is also a former sales SVP for government solutions from ACS, which Xerox purchased in 2009.
In this conversation with ExecutiveBiz, Shelly offers his perspective on strategies public sector agencies are adopting in the field of data management, use of MarkLogic’s commercial technologies in government and the role industry can play in helping agencies both manage and secure data.
ExecutiveBiz: Which is the most prominent trend in the field of data analytics now?
Kevin Shelly: The most prominent trend is organizations have more data than ever and many are exploring new technologies to extract the value of their data. Organizations have come to the realization that the older technologies haven’t kept pace with today’s data, 80 percent of which is of the unstructured variety.
Most databases use the relational model and are only suited for structured data, which represents only 20 percent of the world’s data. Since there’s a mismatch with the relational databases and the variety of data types, there is a lot of interest in new technologies especially around Enterprise NoSQL, not only SQL.
ExecutiveBiz: What progress in the IT of data management have you seen at agencies in the last two years?
Kevin Shelly: The great news is that technology has caught up to the needs organizations have to harness and derive strategic value from their data. Governments are embracing strategies around big data, which include compliance, governance and security.
Data management has become increasingly strategic as organizations understand ways of leveraging their greatest asset: their data. In order to do that there has to be a strategy around access to new data sources and breaking down the data silos that exist in virtually every government organization.
Although the government is not typically an early adopter in technology, some agencies have been very forward thinking and have taken an innovative approach by leveraging Enterprise NoSQL to extract value from their data to better support the missions.
ExecutiveBiz: Where do you see potential for MarkLogic’s commercial tools in the public sector?
Kevin Shelly: I see continued growth in the public sector, which is our largest vertical, particularly as agencies understand the need to embrace new generation database technologies that can help them achieve mission success faster and at a lower price point. As data continues to grow, security compliance and governance strategies will need to evolve.
When you introduce new generation technology such as the MarkLogic database, security is the first place people will challenge you. MarkLogic is fortunate to have “government grade” security as evidenced by our large customer base in the intelligence community. The MarkLogic database has the security certifications to run on classified networks and we have the ability to provide data security and access at a very granular level.
Whether you are a government constituent, contractor or government employee, you require up-to-date information anywhere, anytime and in a secure fashion. MarkLogic has proven the ability to be able to do that, not only in government but also in healthcare, financial services, media and entertainment.
The potential for the MarkLogic database is enormous since data is growing exponentially. It is imperative that government organizations have the latest tools to be able to extract meaning and insight from their data to make better decisions.
ExecutiveBiz: How should industry help agencies approach their data goals and agenda?
Kevin Shelly: The challenge for government is changing the culture of the workforce. The conventional wisdom of traditional systems development can hinder the adoption of new ideas and technology as many people’s long held beliefs are tied to what they know and how they have always done things. Education and realization of how new technologies can help government are critical in shifting someone’s mindset to embracing new ideas.
We help liberate them from their traditional way of thinking by showcasing relevant customer use cases and how they can deploy the MarkLogic database in their environment to solve problems in a completely different approach with quicker time to value, increased functionality and at less cost. We also encourage them to sign up for MarkLogic’s free training that is tailored to their role in their organization.
ExecutiveBiz: How do you see NoSQL usage evolving over the next year?
Kevin Shelly: NoSQL will accelerate into the mainstream as it emerges as a viable and superior option that is very different from traditional relational databases. NoSQL’s flexibility and affordable scalability are ideal for integrating massive amounts of structured or unstructured data. MarkLogic can do this quickly as we are schema agnostic and don’t require the time-consuming upfront data modeling.
People need to understand that there is NoSQL and also “Enterprise NoSQL.” MarkLogic is characterized as an “Enterprise NoSQL” database platform because we offer features found in a mature relational database such as disaster recovery, high availability and the government-grade security that enables us to run on classified networks.
We possess the enterprise features and the unique combination of flexibility and affordable scalability enabled by NoSQL. MarkLogic is the best of both worlds. Further differentiating us from others in the NoSQL space is our extensive integrated search capabilities within the MarkLogic database so one can search across various data types very easily.
MarkLogic’s unique search capability integrated with our Enterprise NoSQL database is referred by some as “Google for business.” Innovation such as our Semantic capability provides the ability to link data together that yields additional insight and context-sensitive data that provide a higher level of meaning.
Semantics, coupled with our real-time capability and ease of operation on premise or in the cloud, will fuel our rapid expansion not only in federal and state governments, but also in international governments and the private sector around the globe. I believe Enterprise NoSQL will become the prevalent database as the benefits are overwhelming when compared to traditional relational databases.