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Speaker Spotlight Column: Donald Farmer on BI

By   /  April 1, 2013  /  No Comments

edw2013-speaker-spotlightby Charles Roe

In an effort to leverage the knowledge of several of the top minds in the Data Management industry, DATAVERSITY™ has been conducting a series of interviews on some of the most relevant topics in the field today. Recently, we interviewed Donald Farmer, the Vice President of Product Management at QlikTech.

Donald will be giving a session at the Enterprise Data World 2013 Conference in San Diego, CA from April 28-May 2, 2013. The session is titled “Business Intelligence: The Changing Roles of IT and the End User.”

The Speaker Spotlight Column (and its parallel venture the Sponsor Spotlight Column) is an ongoing project that focuses on highlighting several of the central issues represented at the many Data Management conferences produced by DATAVERSITY.

The primary emphasis of the interview was to question Donald Farmer on his work and history within the industry, with particular importance on his session at the upcoming conference:

DATAVERSITY (DV): Please tell us a little about yourself and your history in the industry e.g role at company (as opposed to job title), past experience and how you got started in the data profession)?

Donald Farmer (DF): I have been working in the world of data management and analysis for over 25 years. In fact, in many ways I have been doing this all my working life. Although I started my career as a historian, and later worked as a fish farmer – even in those roles, my work was often “data driven” and analytics gave me the insights I needed.

As my career developed into consultancy, and then into application development – including 10 years at Microsoft – my passion for data was supplemented by a passion for building innovative development teams.

DV: What’s the focus of the work do you currently do within your organization?

DF: My daily work is all about building great teams: product managers who are innovative, productive and highly motivated. If I can get the right team in place, and spark the right dynamics between them, then the rest – quality, innovation and great design – that follows naturally.

DV: What is the biggest change going on in your particular area of the industry at this time?

DF: For the first time, we all, as consumers, have better technology at home than we do in the office. When I started out in the industry at first computers, then good software tools, then the internet were all available first in business. Now the consumer world has overtaken the business world in sophistication and innovation.

DV: How does such a change affect your job?

DF: This development of sophistication in consumer technology signals a shift in the balance of power between non-specialized business users and BI or data specialists in IT. The well-known example is Bring Your Own Device. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Already we see consumers bringing their own analytic applications, data and collaboration tools to their business scenarios.

DV: What are you going to discuss during your session at Enterprise Data World and what will the audience gain from attending your talk? (Please be specific about one or two issues you’ll be addressing, and the benefits the audience will obtain).

DF: I will be discussing how this new world of consumer technology is changing the way we must think about business intelligence. In particular, I am interested in the problem of decision making and the impact of emotional and aesthetic qualities on our understanding of data. We all think we are highly rational decision makers – we are not! As data specialists and application designers we can build better decision making tools is we understand that. I will show some ways in which that can be done.

DV: How has your job, and/or the work you’re doing at your organization, changed in the past 12 months?  How do you expect it to change in the next 1-2 years?

DF: In the last twelve months, the rapidly changing world of mobile computing has been fascinating and it keeps us on our toes! Windows 8 may well change the desktop environment for ever. The growth of Android devices means that cross-platform mobile solutions are more necessary than ever.

Over the next couple of years we will keep a close eye on both the desktop and the mobile world. We need to see how patterns of usage change not only among business users but also among administrators and application developers.

DV: More broadly speaking, what do you believe is the most significant change happening in Enterprise Data at this time?

DF: The biggest changes in enterprise data are coming from the fact that users can “serve themselves” so much more readily. This poses big challenges for security, but also for data quality (different users have different expectations) and for the consistency of, for example, metrics and dimensional data. The enterprise data world is rapidly becoming more diversified, but the problems of metadata and management are still with us!

DV: How is Big Data going to affect your job (in your organization) in future?

DF: Big Data is, of course, over-hyped. There has been far too much talk about platforms for Big Data and not enough discussion of applications. Our focus has to be on applications if we are to realize the value from Big Data: and we must make the platforms as easy to manage as possible.

DV: What is something noteworthy about yourself that you would like to tell the conference attendees and our readers that they may not know?

DF: I have never formally studied computer science. At university I studied languages, history and philosophy. But I have always viewed the world through the lens of data and analysis. I built my first database – to organize my stamp collection – when I was 11 and have never looked back!

 

If you are interested in attending Donald’s session at EDW2013, please see the conference schedule at: http://edw2013.dataversity.net/agenda.cfm?confid=72&scheduleDay=PRINT

The session is on Wednesday, May 1, at 2:10pm.

About Enterprise Data World:

Enterprise Data World is the business world’s most comprehensive educational event about data and information management. Over five days, EDW presents a diverse schedule of programming that addresses every level of proficiency, including keynotes, workshops, tutorials, case studies, and discussions.

 

 

In an effort to leverage the knowledge of several of the top minds in the Data Management industry, DATAVERSITY™ has been conducting a series of interviews on some of the most relevant topics in the field today. Recently, we interviewed Donald Farmer, the Vice President of Product Management at QlikTech.

 

Donald will be giving a session at the Enterprise Data World 2013 Conference in San Diego, CA from April 28-May 2, 2013. The session is titled “Business Intelligence: The Changing Roles of IT and the End User.”

 

The Speaker Spotlight Column (and its parallel venture the Sponsor Spotlight Column) is an ongoing project that focuses on highlighting several of the central issues represented at the many Data Management conferences produced by DATAVERSITY.

 

The primary emphasis of the interview was to question Donald Farmer on his work and history within the industry, with particular importance on his session at the upcoming conference:

 

 

DATAVERSITY (DV): Please tell us a little about yourself and your history in the industry e.g role at company (as opposed to job title), past experience and how you got started in the data profession)?

 

Donald Farmer (DF): I have been working in the world of data management and analysis for over 25 years. In fact, in many ways I have been doing this all my working life. Although I started my career as a historian, and later worked as a fish farmer – even in those roles, my work was often “data driven” and analytics gave me the insights I needed.

 

As my career developed into consultancy, and then into application development – including 10 years at Microsoft – my passion for data was supplemented by a passion for building innovative development teams.

 

DV: What’s the focus of the work do you currently do within your organization?

 

DF: My daily work is all about building great teams: product managers who are innovative, productive and highly motivated. If I can get the right team in place, and spark the right dynamics between them, then the rest – quality, innovation and great design – that follows naturally.

 

DV: What is the biggest change going on in your particular area of the industry at this time?

 

DF: For the first time, we all, as consumers, have better technology at home than we do in the office. When I started out in the industry at first computers, then good software tools, then the internet were all available first in business. Now the consumer world has overtaken the business world in sophistication and innovation.

 

DV: How does such a change affect your job?

 

DF: This development of sophistication in consumer technology signals a shift in the balance of power between non-specialized business users and BI or data specialists in IT. The well-known example is Bring Your Own Device. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Already we see consumers bringing their own analytic applications, data and collaboration tools to their business scenarios.

 

DV: What are you going to discuss during your session at Enterprise Data World and what will the audience gain from attending your talk? (Please be specific about one or two issues you’ll be addressing, and the benefits the audience will obtain).

 

DF: I will be discussing how this new world of consumer technology is changing the way we must think about business intelligence. In particular, I am interested in the problem of decision making and the impact of emotional and aesthetic qualities on our understanding of data. We all think we are highly rational decision makers – we are not! As data specialists and application designers we can build better decision making tools is we understand that. I will show some ways in which that can be done.

 

DV: How has your job, and/or the work you’re doing at your organization, changed in the past 12 months?  How do you expect it to change in the next 1-2 years?

 

DF: In the last twelve months, the rapidly changing world of mobile computing has been fascinating and it keeps us on our toes! Windows 8 may well change the desktop environment for ever. The growth of Android devices means that cross-platform mobile solutions are more necessary than ever.

 

Over the next couple of years we will keep a close eye on both the desktop and the mobile world. We need to see how patterns of usage change not only among business users but also among administrators and application developers.

 

DV: More broadly speaking, what do you believe is the most significant change happening in Enterprise Data at this time?

 

DF: The biggest changes in enterprise data are coming from the fact that users can “serve themselves” so much more readily. This poses big challenges for security, but also for data quality (different users have different expectations) and for the consistency of, for example, metrics and dimensional data. The enterprise data world is rapidly becoming more diversified, but the problems of metadata and management are still with us!

 

DV: How is Big Data going to affect your job (in your organization) in future?

 

DF: Big Data is, of course, over-hyped. There has been far too much talk about platforms for Big Data and not enough discussion of applications. Our focus has to be on applications if we are to realize the value from Big Data: and we must make the platforms as easy to manage as possible.

 

DV: What is something noteworthy about yourself that you would like to tell the conference attendees and our readers that they may not know?

 

DF: I have never formally studied computer science. At university I studied languages, history and philosophy. But I have always viewed the world through the lens of data and analysis. I built my first database – to organize my stamp collection – when I was 11 and have never looked back!

 

 

If you are interested in attending Donald’s session at EDW2013, please see the conference schedule at: http://edw2013.dataversity.net/agenda.cfm?confid=72&scheduleDay=PRINT

 

The session is on Wednesday, May 1, at 2:10pm.

 

About Enterprise Data World:

Enterprise Data World is the business world’s most comprehensive educational event about data and information management. Over five days, EDW presents a diverse schedule of programming that addresses every level of proficiency, including keynotes, workshops, tutorials, case studies, and discussions.

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