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Digital Transformation, Analytics, Big Data, Data Virtualization and More at the 2015 Data and Analytics Conference


Peter Memon, J.P. Morgan, presents during the general session.

The inaugural Data and Analytics Conference last month was, in my opinion, the best conference of the year. The brightest minds in the industry gathered for two days in Chicago to discuss the latest trends and new solutions for big data, the Internet of Things, cloud, analytics, digital transformation and data virtualization.

Customers Featured

With over 20 technical and business tracks we featured nine customer presenters from an array of industries – financial services, agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing and more. View the conference PowerPoint presentations.

Partnerships Announced

UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Cisco announced an initiative to jointly develop an interoperability platform for sharing health care information among multiple entities. The platform will be designed to enable health systems, providers and application vendors to share and integrate health data from multiple sources, making pertinent patient information accessible when and where it’s needed for care through a highly secure process.

Cisco and IBM Watson announced a strategic partnership. Over many years of working together customers value the joint solutions the two companies provide. Dark data, inaccessible or unused data collected, is not being taken advantage of by companies today. This is the catalyst behind the partnership. This long-standing and deep partnership will explore the world of Watson and cognitive computing.

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Self-service Data Preparation Made Better with Data Virtualization

Self-service data preparation was a hot topic at the Strata + Hadoop Conference in New York City last month. In the video I recorded there I discussed Cisco’s new offering in this market place, Cisco Data Preparation.

And in his recent blog, Unleash Your Business Analysts Cisco Data Preparation, Kevin Ott did a great job laying out the business and IT case for Data Preparation. Given the big data and analytic opportunity every enterprise faces in our increasingly digitized business environment, Data Preparation has gone from a nice to have to a must have.

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Swimming in Data and Analytics

    As I prepare to go to the Data and Analytics conference in Chicago next week, I just realized how much I have been swimming in big data and analytics lately. There has been so much going that I think It makes sense to that highlight some activities from last week, upcoming activities next week and in early November.
    In case you haven’t been keeping up with the frantic pace make sure you check out the news form last week:

Data Preparation Announcement

    Kevin Ott, General Manager of Cisco Data Virtualization and Connected Analytics Business Unit, introduced Cisco Data Preparation. This is a new big data and analytics offering for business analysts and IT that makes it easy for non-technical business analysts to gather, explore, cleanse, combine and enrich the data that fuels analytics and business decisions.
    Bob Eve, Data Virtualization BU, and Robert Novak, UCS Sales Engineering, also had a great discussion on new Cisco big data offerings at Strata + Hadoop World last week.

    Ok, so on to next week and things that I recommend that you don’t miss:

Data and Analytics Keynote

    If you will be in Chicago next week, you are in luck because the line up for the keynote sessions is great. 

        – Mike Flannagan, VP and GM of Cisco’s Data and Analytics Business Group
        – Jim Green, CTO of Cisco’s Data and Analytics Business Group
        – Award-winning journalist and radio and TV personality Stephen J. Dubner author of Freakonomics. 

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Tame Your Data with these 5 Strategies

We all know that data is exploding and in more places than ever before. Without the right strategy in place, it can be a real monster. When tamed, data holds the key to great insights about an organization’s business that could help grow sales, improve the customer experience and save a lot of money.

Unfortunately, in real life we don’t have an ‘Analytics Man’ superhero that can turn data into insight magically with the snap of a finger. However; with the right IT strategy in place, data can save the day!

In that spirit, here are five ways to help tame your data:

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Unleash Your Business Analysts Cisco Data Preparation

As the leader of Cisco’s Data Virtualization and Analytics Business Units, it is my pleasure to announce Cisco Data Preparation, a new big data and analytics offering for business analysts and IT.

What is Cisco Data Preparation?

Driven by Business’s accelerating demand for analytics, Cisco Data Preparation (Data Prep) makes it easy for non-technical business analysts to gather, explore, cleanse, combine and enrich the data that fuels these analytics.DataPrepDiagram1

Primarily designed as a self-service application for business analysts, Data Prep is also a valuable new capability for IT data developers and even data scientists, helping these teams collaborate to achieve the following benefits:

  • Faster Insights: New data sets available in minutes, not weeks.
  • More Comprehensive Insights: Gain advantage from all your data sources.
  • Better Business Outcomes at Scale: Supports hundred of data preparation projects at big data scale.
  • Higher Productivity, with Greater Governance: Both Business and IT gain from stronger collaboration.

Why will Business Analysts like Cisco Data Preparation?

Business Analysts can use Data Prep to address the significant data integration challenges they face when preparing analytic data sets using with a self-service approach.

  • Every analytic project is different making every data exploration effort unique. Cisco Data Prep’s Excel-like interface and machine learning lets analysts explore data freely.
  • Data is messy and everywhere. This results in analysts spending as much as 80% of their time preparing data before analysis can begin. Cisco Data Prep dramatically reduces time required to prepare data.
  • Too few Data Scientists and too long IT backlogs puts the onus on the Business adopt self-service. Cisco Data Preps empowers Business Analysts to do this work themselves.

Why will IT like Cisco Data Preparation?

IT can use Data Prep to work in concert with the business to intelligently balance self-service needs with governance constraints, while optimizing infrastructure.

  • Many requirements are short lived in contrast with IT’s industrial grade orientation. Cisco Data Prep helps IT and Business meet exploratory data needs with the right level investment and when needed even provide working prototypes that IT can quickly reengineer.
  • Independent, ungoverned data prep efforts can lead to duplication of effort, inconsistently transformed data sets of unclear origin, resulting in inaccurate analysis and potentially bad business results. Cisco Data Prep built-in governance and data set sharing increase trust.
  • Rogue data preparation activity in personal sandboxes and myriad tools, prevent IT from delivering scalable, secure infrastructure. Cisco Data Prep’s ability to massively scale allows IT so support thousands of users and multiple terabytes of data with a common, cost-effective infrastructure.

A Complete Data Preparation Solution, Only from Cisco

Cisco Data Preparation is a complete software, hardware and services solution that simplifies adoption and accelerates benefits.

  • Leveraging an easy-to-learn and use Excel-like interface and powerful machine intelligence algorithms from Cisco partner Paxata, Data Prep removes barriers to adoption and elevates business analysts’ skills.
  • Two-way integration with Cisco Data Virtualization helps leverage prior IT investments and closes the loop between the business and IT.
  • Data Prep’s massively scalable Hadoop and Spark-based architecture ensures that Data Prep users won’t be constrained by size of data sets or complexity of analysis.


Plus, a complete set of Cisco and Partner provided “Plan” and “Build” services ensure Data Prep implementation success.

Learn More About Cisco Data Preparation

There are lots of ways you can learn more about Data Prep. You can:

  • Join us at Strata+Hadoop World this week from September 29 through October 1 at the Javits Center in New York. Stop by Cisco Booth 425. There you can get a Data Prep demo from Cisco Sales Engineer Bill Kellett as well as attend with Cisco Data and Analytics Director Bob Eve and Paxata Product VP Nenshad Bardoliwalla.


  • Join us at the 2015 Data and Analytics Conference, October 20-22, at the Hilton Chicago. Register now and join my breakout session, “Data Preparation for Self-Service Analytics.”
  • Review the Cisco Data Preparation data sheet to learn more about Data Prep functionality.
  • Talk to your Cisco or Cisco partner account manager to arrange a conversation with a Cisco Data Preparation product specialist.
  • And look for upcoming blogs relating Cisco Data Preparation with Cisco UCS, Cisco Data Virtualization, Advanced Services and more. Stay tuned!


Join the Conversation

Follow @CicsoDataVirt and @CiscoAnalytics, #CiscoDAC.

Learn More from My Colleagues

Check out the blogs of Mala AnandMike FlannaganBob Eve and Nicola Villa to learn more.

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