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April 05, 2017
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Introducing the 2017 Data Heroes – EMEA!

In January we announced the Hortonworks Data Heroes initiative. It’s our way of recognizing the Data Visionaries, Data Scientists, and Data Architects transforming their businesses and organizations through Big Data.

Hortonworks has over 1000 customers ranging across every industry imaginable. But that number is a mere minutiae of the Big Data success stories in the world. Data is a critical element to the modern enterprise, yet despite its importance and prevalence, those who champion data within their respective enterprises often go unnoticed.

It’s our delight to take notice and recognize these Data Heroes. Today in Munich we announced the first three: Daljit Rehal of Centrica, Tobias Bürger of BMW Group, and Rene Castberg of DNV GL. A panel of industry experts selected these 2017 Data Heroes across the EMEA region.

From left to right: Rajnish Verma (Hortonworks), Daljit Rehal (Centrica),
Tobias Bürger (BMW Group), Rene Castberg (DNV GL), Joe Morrissey (Hortonworks)

Data Visionary –  
Daljit Rehal, Global Director, Digital & Data Services at Centrica

Centrica manages structured, clickstream, sensor, geo-location, server logs and social media data. It produces batch, interactive SQL, search, streaming and AI/Deep Learning analysis using the results and leverages Hortonworks both in the data center and cloud. Centrica has used Hortonworks to create the Customer Information App (CIA) which has transformed customer service across millions of homes in the UK. The App started with team members using Raspberry Pis to develop a Hadoop Cluster which formed an initial business case – the data lake is now supported by 250 nodes and enables Rehal to draw correlations between millions of customer records.

HDP has reshaped the way datasets are analysed and paved the way for new products and services. One of Centrica’s uses for Hadoop is engineers consulting the CIA to understand each individual customer’s history, needs and overall satisfaction level. The resulting data means customers are provided with smart energy bills which are more accurate. This has led to higher levels of customer service and satisfaction. Additional benefits include better correlation between isolated datasets, leading to lower operational costs, improved billing accuracy and monitoring and identifying energy theft in real time – something which wasn’t possible at all before HDP. All of this is one third less of an investment compared to the legacy system.

Read more about Centrica’s use case here.


Data Architect – Tobias Bürger, Lead Big Data Platform & Architecture, BMW Group

BMW Group manages structured, sensor and server log data and produces batch, interactive SQL, streaming and AI/Deep Learning analysis. Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) is one of the enabling technologies for BMW Group and the team at BMW has implemented uses cases which generate autonomous driving insights from sensor data, save costs in the research and development stage, streamline the manufacturing process and improve after sales customer care. Over 100 use cases have been developed on top of the platform, and it is used far more widely than the original central users. The use cases have brought architectural improvement around the technology stack bringing in analytical capabilities not available before.

Bürger is the chief architect for overall architecture and together with his team has established HDP within the BMW Group, driving the 100+ use cases and is also providing training for others within the company.


Data Scientist – Rene Castberg, Senior Researcher at the DNV GL

DNV GL manages structured, sensor and image data and produces batch and AI/Deep Learning analysis. The company uses Hortonworks both in the data centre and on the cloud. Through using Hortonworks, DNV GL has developed Veracity, an industry data platform designed to help companies improve data quality and manage the ownership, security, sharing and use of data. This was borne from successful use of data platforms running on Hadoop. Castberg has overseen many successful use cases within DNV GL from the oil & gas, life sciences, energy and maritime sectors with results including improvements to services and forward planning; automation of manual visual exploration; efficiency gains; monitoring and improving ship efficiency; optimising surveyor utilisation and automating data ingest in a standard format for all datasets.

The most important use case Castberg has worked on was a joint development project to create an assurance framework enabling the use of big data analytics for condition monitoring and failure prediction for key systems and components from sensor data. The analysis identified that data quality was a barrier to gaining trustworthy intelligence from IoT products. This has broadened to the whole company as everyone is aware of the risk of making critical decisions based on data. Improving data quality has subsequently become a key part of DNV GL’s digitalisation strategy.


With the 2017 Data Heroes of EMEA announced, six remain in the Americas and APAC. There’s still time to nominate Data Heroes in these two regions!

To learn more about Hortonworks Data Heroes, and to nominate a Data Hero for the upcoming DataWorks Summits, visit

To read about how other Hortonworks customers have transformed their enterprise through Connected Data Platforms, visit

To register for the upcoming DataWorks Summit/Hadoop Summit in San Jose (June 13-15), visit

I hope to see you at the San Jose DataWorks Summit!


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