Over the past six weeks I participated in three Gartner BI and Analytic Summits in Sydney, London, and most recently Las Vegas.

I love going to these events, as they are a great opportunity to:

  • Stay abreast of the latest trends through the lenses of the Gartner analysts who cover BI, analytics, data management and integration, and big data.
  • Evaluate how Cisco’s Data and Connected Analytics Portfolio addresses market needs today and how we need to evolve our portfolio to meet tomorrow’s requirements.
  • Catch up with many friends including Gartner analysts, industry peers and most importantly, our customers.

Let me share my takeaways.

Big Trends from Gartner’s Point of View

In promoting these Summits, Gartner published a fabulous infographic. In it Gartner highlights key research facts that urges their clients to “Cross the Analytical Divide” by investing in the new technologies and skills need in today’s digital businesses. For CIO’s this is a top investment priority, and rightly so given the challenges this transformation requires.

Organization and Skills Challenge

From a people point of view, the Gartner infographic points out that today; organizations are only able to fill about a third of the 4.4 million big data jobs needed. But how can organizations close this gap?

In the Summit keynotes, Crossing the Analytical Divide: New Technologies, New Skills, Gartner addressed the organizational transition required. Through a series of clever video vignettes led by Frank Buytendijk, Dan Sommer, Debra Logan and Alan Duncan, Gartner described the need for a Bi-Modal approach to big data analytics that embraces both the traditional “industrial IT” mode, as well as a new “discovery-driven” mode led by business. This allows organizations to optimize each mode and avoid one-size-fits-all thinking. In a word, “synergy!”

On the staffing development front, Gartner analysts such as Rita Salaam in Self-Service Data Preparation: The Next Big Market Disruption and Yefim Natis in How New Technology Will Deliver Real-Time Context to Digital Business Decisions, called for vendors to help by providing easier and more intelligent tools that will empower more people to do more things.

Cisco has successful navigated myriad IT transitions such as this over the past 30 years. Watch this video to see John Chambers’ intentions on how we plan to help our customers with their big data and analytics transition.

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Data Integration Challenge

At the Summits Gartner informed us that by 2017 “90% of big data information assets will be siloed and inaccessible across multiple business processes.” Lakshmi Randall in Renew Your Data Integration Strategy to Get Ready for Digital and Donald Feinberg and Mark Beyer in Do You Still Need a Data Warehouse? provided roadmaps for addressing this problem. Data virtualization was highlighted as a key enabler in both presentations.

In Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility, I wrote about how ten innovative enterprises are already using data virtualization to successfully integrate not only big data, but also enterprise, cloud and multiple other sources. So while this data silo challenge is growing, its solution path is proven.

Streaming Data Challenge

In various presentations, Gartner noted the rise of device-driven data, citing that by 2017 “50% of analytics implementations will include streaming event-based data of some nature.” This is a major disruption to the status quo where most data is transaction-driven. In Business Analytics: 2020 Market Trends, Dan Sommer noted how these billions of devices will upend traditional data consolidation approaches in favor of data connection approaches.

This is certainly good news for Cisco’s Connected Data and Analytics portfolio in general. And for my colleagues on the Cisco Connected Streaming Analytics team whose platform delivers insight from high-velocity streams of live data, this is great news.

Smart People, Sharing Insights

For me, the time I spend at these Summits is as much about the people as it is the content. Beyond attending nearly two-dozen sessions, I was able to meet 1.1 with eight analysts and have lunch or dinner with two more. These are the times when I can dig deeper, brainstorm, and test different ideas.

Further, over coffee and drinks with IT-industry colleagues such as Jill Dyche of SAS, Donald Farmer of Qlik, Shawn Rogers of Dell and Glen Ramey of Yellowfin, I get to see our fast evolving market, through their insightful lenses. By the way Jill, thanks for the shout out in your new book, The New IT: How Technology Leaders are Enabling Business Strategy in the Digital Age.

Finally, I enjoyed the many conversations with all the great Cisco Data Virtualization customers including Medline, Monsanto, Sky and more. It is always energizing to hear about their successes and next steps.

To get additional insights on these Gartner Summits, search Twitter using #GartnerBI.


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Learn More from My Colleagues

Check out the blogs of Mala AnandMike Flannagan, Rohit Shrivastava and Nicola Villa to learn more.


Bob Eve

No Longer with Cisco