ITU & TeraData’s Seminar on Big Data

ITU & TeraData’s Seminar on Big Data
January 2, 2015

This week, Information Technology University (ITU) and Teradata Pakistan hosted a seminar titled Leveraging Big Data for Empowering Your Enterprise. This seminar aimed to enable executives and business managers to use data from customer and citizen interactions to create value for their businesses. The two keynote speakers for this event included Dr. Stephen Brobst,  the Chief Technology Officer at Teradata and Dr. Umar Saif,  the Vice Chancellor of ITU.

The seminar opened with Dr. Saif giving the audience a walk-through of the Punjab Information Technology Board’s Open Data Initiative, which is working to make easily accessible the declassified data from public organizations under the 2013 Right to Information Act.  He also related the challenges faced in using the data effectively to enable evidence-backed decision making at all levels of the public sector.

Following this, Dr. Brobst spoke extensively about the importance data-driven decision-making for all organizations, private or public.  Dr. Brobst began his talk with a disclaimer about the adoption of data-driven decision-making; the hard part, he said, lies not in acquiring the technology, rather it is in gathering the right skillsets and organizational culture to enable such decision-making.  Dr. Brobst shared the concept of ‘The HIPPO Principle’; that of reliance of the ‘Highest Paid Person’s Opinion’ where decisions can be more responsibly made using data analysis.  He then related an observation of his regarding the culture clash between those decision-makers who feed on the status-quo, and the new generation of decision-makers who have adopted a more analytical and data-reliant approach.  Organizations are undergoing a very important transition right now said Dr. Brobst,  and quoting the Harvard Business Review, he  stated that the hottest job in the foreseeable future is that of the data scientist. But where will those data scientists come from? He strongly recommended the need for primary and secondary educational institutions to teach ‘statistics in a robust way’.  Dr. Brobst closed off his talk with an appeal for all organizations to realize that the way forward is by “competing on analytics”.

Mr. Ali Hassan Bokhari, Manager Analytics BI and Analytics, at Pak Telecomm Ltd (Ufone) was the last speaker to take to the stage. He spoke about value of meaningful data acquisition and its subsequent analysis as a way to evaluate outcomes as a nationwide corporation.  Mr. Bokhari went on to illustrate the application of big data in the day-to-day sales tracking activities at Ufone.

The seminar was well-attended by individuals from both the public and private sector.