The very big brains behind EMC Big Data.
The power of Big Data analytics can be jaw-dropping. But there’s a saying; “there’s a human side to Big Data.” At EMC, that’s where you’ll find a big difference. We’d like to introduce you to a few people, so you can see what they do, and could do, for you, too. You can also go check out our Big Data solutions.
Dr. Pedro DeSouza
Senior Consulting Manager, Big Data & Analytics, EMC
I always start with an in-depth understanding of the customer’s industry, and unique business. Once we’re in “business sync”, I explain the concept, and the possibilities of Big Data and analytics, based on their needs. We analyze a range of “use cases”, opportunities or challenges, and which to pursue. Together, we start with a small implementation that lets them see clear results quickly.
After we’ve run our first project, I often partner with my customer to help them expand the value of their first project, giving demonstrations to their organization that shows exactly what we can do, why, and how.
Many customers tell me I make “harnessing Big Data” a lot simpler than they thought it would be.
“When I’m not deep into algorithm design, data modeling, or analytic visualizations, I really like to ski.”
One customer was able to save tens of millions of dollars. We looked at five billion cell users’ CDR signals per day. Running analyses, we identified who was actually having service issues. Before that, thousands of customers were receiving needless, costly repair work.
Another great result was a data-driven “churn algorithm” that helped predict and prevent account closures at a bank. Attrition dropped 30%.
Finally, I helped reduce the cost of Big Data analytics from $10MM to $100K per year. The customer was shocked. It was a simple change to their technology that nobody knew was possible.
Global VP, Big Data & Analytics
Capgemini, EMC Partner
My role comes with real pressure. Basically I’m accountable for a customer’s success with Big Data. Did we solve something, knock their goal out of the park, or not? I like that pressure mostly because I love Big Data. Done right, it can deliver on every promise. My job is to make sure it does.
Customers give us their data and I’m responsible for giving it back to them as a “Business Data Lake” that’s ready to use and create serious value. Needless to say, I stay involved in everything. Strategy. Technology. Software. The build. The way the solution looks and feels and works. Everything.
“In Big Data, a journey of a 1,000 miles starts with a single step. My job is to know where you’re going and exactly how to get there.”
Creating the first-ever “Business Data Lake” was actually exhilarating. We took a giant breakthrough in Big Data science, and transformed it into a huge business asset.
It was a sea change. The data lake was always high-concept and cool, but never fully baked. There were limitations. It wasn’t ready to do what businesses wanted.
We pulled everything together, worked out the kinks, and gave it enterprise-class capabilities. We made it fast, secure, compliance-ready, governable, and very, very valuable. In my years as “the guy that’s responsible for customer success”, I’ve worked hard to do a good job. There’s no doubt, creating the “Business Data Lake” has made it much, much easier.
Director of Data Science, Morecambe Missile
Director, Marketing Science Lab, EMC
Whether we’re analyzing motorcycle racing data, figuring out how it fuels business, or leading the fight against climate change, I work at what you could call EMC’s Big Data think tank. We explore, research, and apply Big Data analytics and ideas to a huge range of initiatives, from consumer predictive modeling to population analyses across entire countries.
In terms of our Marketing Science Lab, it consists of a team of data scientists working on a unified analytics platform. What it does is lets us analyze and solve problems, or seize opportunities, using both structured and unstructured data. (Say that ten times fast).
My team and I are also responsible for meeting with customers and partners to show how the Marketing Science Lab can help them apply predictive analytics to support various initiatives they have, with a focus on marketing.
“Learning the secret behind what makes one motorcyclist the fastest has proven to be a monumental Big Data challenge, but the insights we’ve uncovered are fascinating.”
I’d say our most ambitious effort has been collecting and analyzing large volumes of data on champion motorcycle racer John McGuinness, to find out what makes him so fast, and apply that data to business. Working with hundreds of data scientists around the world, we learned some amazing things. And John’s been a real sport, considering all the sensors we hooked up to him!
We set up EMC’s Marketing Science Lab, plus our Big Data Analytics system in less than 6 months. Customers love knowing that since it proves harnessing Big Data doesn’t have to be a giant upheaval, or take forever.
We had a campaign called The Human Face of Big Data that delivered another amazing outcome. We found a way to use enormous quantities of totally rough, unstructured data to help a whole country understand its people better.
One of my favorite initiatives involved using Big Data to support a dream, and effect change. We created data visualizations for the Parker Antarctica Expedition, led by a 19 year old adventure scientist. They were beautiful and impactful. They gave a young person a really strong voice to communicate the work he’s been doing on global warming. As they say, Big Data can change the world.
Big Data, Data Science, Machine Learning, EMC
In my role I run lots of customer counsels where I look at their architecture and strategize about business objectives. Then I go off and think way out of the box. My goal is always three-fold. Meet their need. Meet a need they didn’t know they had. And roll up my sleeves, and build the solution. I love building.
I also love operationalizing pilot initiatives customers start but can’t use. I add the enterprise features they need, security, compliance, reporting. You could say my specialty is “making Big Data work”.
“Every customer has a Big Data engine. I like to get under the hood and show them where the turbocharger is.”
A project I loved was building a “Climate Data Lake”. It analyzes huge quantities of seemingly unrelated science data. It outputs predictive models and insights nobody would ever think of. It’s getting us closer to understanding, and potentially addressing climate change.
Another favorite project came out of judging an EMC competition. I ran numbers on applicants, gender, age. But I saw something. Ultimately, I made a model that could identify young people that wanted to be “innovators”. This rolled into HR, and it took off. I was floored. Big Data can increase human self-realization and potentially save the planet. I don’t know anything else that can do both.
Principal Data Scientist, Pivotal, EMC Federation
A big part of what I do is build “solution simulators” that let customers touch and see what a Big Data solution can do for their business. Hands-on tools, apps, and visualizations go on a dashboard they can play with. It uses their own data, so they run real analytics, get real insights, and see what’s truly possible.
Customers love how tangible it is. And for me, it’s very rewarding to see their excitement when they realize how much they can do, and how easy it can be.
“Demonstrating the power of Big Data is ten times more valuable than describing it.”
Right now, two projects stand out as my favorites.
A customer in agriculture was trying to understand commodity fluctuations, and getting nowhere with official data reports. So we turned to a very unexpected data source. Twitter! The highest value commodity MLP signals were in tweets. We wrote algorithms, built a predictive model, and voila! Problem solved.
My favorite, though, was working on a “Climate Data Lake”. It collects huge quantities of climate change data, and outputs highly accurate insights. The best part is that virtually anybody can add data, not just scientists and PhDs. Climate change impacts everybody. So we created a way to let everybody help find a solution.
Chief Technology Officer
CTO, Enterprise Information Management & Analytics, EMC
One of the most exciting things I do as Big Data CTO is watch what I call “magical moments” with customers. That instant when they realize they can solve the unsolvable, or reach an unattainable goal.
Sometimes these epiphanies are technical. “Wow! Machine learning will make that market mine!”
Other times, the epiphany is a paradox. 15 years of highly detailed grocery data revealed that after an economic downturn, the least profitable customers turned into the most profitable customers. Helping them through hard times made them so loyal they never shopped anywhere else. That “magical moment” was a lesson for us all; “You can do well by doing good.”
“Big Data shows that you can do well by doing good.”
Preventing patients from getting sick during hospital stays was a highlight. We collected terabytes of data from server farms, tapes, doorknobs, floor tiles, bathroom walls. Big Data helped us prevent infections and saved the facility money, all through shorter, healthier, happier hospital stays.
Something I’m proud of is helping change how people think. For instance, people have stopped thinking of data as a corporate cost, and many know it’s actually their most valuable asset. Data costs 1/50th what it once did. Frankly, it should be horded like gold.
Marketing Science Lab, EMC
Working with champion motorcyclist John McGuinness was amazing. The “Morecambe Missile” as he’s known, is the fastest racer in the world and we at EMC were determined to figure out why. With sensors on the bike, the track and John himself, we gathered terabytes of data from multiple sources and had our team – and 750 data scientists around the world – make sense of it in a way that you can actually see, react to, and be inspired by. The best part was, John was as intrigued about the results as we were.
But that’s why I joined EMC’s Marketing Science Lab: they do more than just gather and analyze data – they’re passionate about humanizing it; getting people to truly understand what it all means. Most organizations aren’t like that. And this ability to take the theoretical and turn it into the practical – and follow through from analysis to modeling to packaging – had me hooked from the start. You can imagine how valuable this process is to clients.
“The only thing more satisfying than discovering why champion motorcyclist John McGuinness is so fast, was realizing how valuable that knowledge was to him.”
One big challenge was normalizing scads of sensor data from so many manufacturers. Not only was the data unstructured, some of it was received weeks later. And because of extreme conditions on the track, a few sensors failed and parts of the data were missing. I’m particularly proud that we found work-arounds and still gleaned so much insight.
Figuring out why John’s quicker through the course than other riders was no small task. It took dozens of terabytes of data, yet it came down to just 14 of the 55 variables – the sensors placed on both John and the bike included variables like heart rate, front vs rear wheel speed, and turning consistency. But despite 40 million rows of raw data, we pulled it all together in only eight weeks.
How visionaries are becoming data experts.
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