Thanks to Christina Noren, CPO of behavioral analytics company Interana for the answers to these questions. Christina served as SVP Solutions and VP Product Management at Splunk for seven years prior to joining Interana. We spoke to her to get her perspective on the state of big data today and into the future.
Q: What are the keys to a successful big data strategy?
A: Enable everyone in the organization to ask a lot of questions and explore the data freely.
Q: How can companies get more out of big data?
A: Figure out new ways to look at your business. Empower exploration.
Q: How has big data changed in the past year or so?
A: Data pipelining — logging with intent using products like Scribe, Kafka, and Confluent that are easy to use with schemas baked into them.
Q: What are some real-world problems you are helping your client solve with data?
A: People are asking questions about the sequence of activities from Sonos devices, industrial IoT, and Reddit. How many actors who did X, Y, and Z are more or less likely to churn? More what if? scenarios. We increase the speed of iterating over complex questions without penalty of cost or time.
Q: What are the most common issues you see preventing companies from realizing the benefits of big data?
A: It’s a combination of technical and political. The physics of pre-optimizing for certain questions don’t allow the flexibility to explore different alternatives, possibilities, or hypotheses.
Q: Where do you think the biggest opportunities are in the continued evolution of big data?
A: Free people to do exploration with the least restrictions. Next, we will have data-centered networks of knowledge sharing in industries with vendor-supported market sectors. All of this is promoting a culture of exploration.
Q: What are your biggest concerns regarding the state of big data today?
A: The hype of self-service and data democratization is taking airspace and creating disillusionment. I’m concerned that this will cause us to go back to the data dark ages.
Q: What skills do developers need to have to work on big data projects?
A: Log cleanly in the fields and terms that come from the product owners and line-of-business owners. Think of logging as a major interface with your application.
Q: What have I failed to ask you that we need to consider with regards to big data?
A: Logging for analytics is different than logging for runtime/decisioning in apps and there is not one single technology that will do it all.