Speaker Spotlight Column: Enda Ridge on Guerilla Analytics

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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 Enda Ridge.

Enda will be giving a presentation with Edward Curry at the Enterprise Data World 2013 Conference in San Diego, CA from April 28-May 2, 2013. The presentation is titled “Managing Guerrilla Analytics Teams: Principles and Practice.”

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 Enda Ridge on his work and history within the industry, with particular importance on his presentation 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?

Enda Ridge (ER): My name is Enda Ridge and I am a data analytics manager who brings together a PhD and research in computer science with experience consulting for Big4s and boutiques to clients in finance, government and insurance. I became interested in data analytics during my research which applied data analytics to model and tune algorithm performance. I then took that experience of methodical data collection and analysis to my consulting roles. This combination of experiences eventually led to the Guerrilla Analytics techniques I am presenting at EDW on Tues 30th April.

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

ER: I manage risk consulting teams helping clients with fraud investigations, financial remediations and other data analytics challenges. My Guerrilla Analytics approaches to coordinating work in restricted and high pressure environments have been used in Big 4 teams in the US and UK. I also work on developing new analytics propositions to take to clients struggling with the Big Data tsunami.

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

ER: Increased regulation and the need for financial services and corporate clients to take a more proactive approach to risk are demanding new and varied data analytics at larger scales and with a wider breadth than ever seen before.

DV: How does such a change affect your job?

ER: These changes affect consultant data scientists in several ways. We must be able to rapidly prototype analytics techniques to demonstrate value. We must scale up these prototypes to production solutions. We must be conversant in a wide range of analytics techniques across structured and unstructured data and knowledgeable about how these new techniques can be adapted to a client’s business needs.

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).

ER: My talk with my collaborator Edward Curry will describe ‘Guerrilla Analytics’. Guerrilla Analytics is a set of guidelines we have built from our experiences that help analytics teams quickly get up and running in restricted environments under tight deadlines. I’ve seen projects become quite chaotic when a lot of data from a variety of sources starts flying around. Clients want indicative numbers and analyses quickly. Teams are quite fluid and there is little time to build capability. You usually don’t get to use all the tools you’d like and you often don’t have the time or data knowledge to specify a project in the traditional software engineering manner.

Our audience will come away knowing the key principles to follow so that when confronted with such scenarios they will be able to get up and running with minimal overhead of documentation and process. We’ll walk through case studies to illustrate the Guerrilla Analytics principles and help the audience relate Guerrilla Analytics to their own projects both in internal teams and consulting teams.

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?

ER: In the last 12 months, the continued growth in the complexity and scale of client data is requiring more sophisticated analytics. For example, it is no longer sufficient to flag and rank transactions with scores based on simple tests like thresholds, although these tests will always be useful. Recent rogue trader and mis-selling events in finance have shown that a more holistic view of data from across an organisation is required. Analytics techniques need to incorporate the usual structured transaction data as well as unstructured sources such as email and instant messages. In the next 1-2 years, I expect analytics tools for unstructured data and Big Data to continue to improve. Because many of the data analytics projects I work on involve poorly understood data, it is critical for us that we can rapidly prototype ideas. Guerrilla Analytics describes the process/team coordination side of this challenge. But analytics needs the support of tools that allow this rapid prototyping and transfer to production scales.

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

ER: I think clients are becoming more aware of the potential for analytics beyond the traditional Management Intelligence reporting.

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

ER: Big Data has made its way from the realms of cutting edge research and highly innovative internet companies to become a more widely available offering with vendor-supported tools that consultants can use to address their clients’ challenges. These challenges, especially in the risk areas of fraud and trader insight will cover wide ranging sources of structured and unstructured data from across an organisation. The challenge for us as consultants is how we can address this in a scalable way for our clients. We need to be experts at rapid protyping a wide range of our analytics to demonstrate value, and be well versed in the available Big Data solutions out there. We then need to design our work in such a way that it can be efficiently scaled to a Big Data implementation when value has been demonstrated. Guerrilla Analytics helps with that rapid prototyping stage by allowing you to quickly get up and running with minimal tools and overhead.

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

ER: I am currently working with Edward Curry towards a Guerrilla Analytics book. Like Guerrilla Analytics itself, this book will be a lightweight description of Guerrilla Analytics principles and processes. The idea is that this book can be given to a newly formed team so they can quickly coordinate themselves and begin adding value on day 1 of an analytics project.

 

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

The presentation is on Tuesday, April 30, at 7:30am.

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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