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October 25, 2016
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Joining Hortonworks: Big Data Done Right


I am super excited to be in my first month at Hortonworks, heading up the product and solutions marketing team. In addition to joining a super star team, I am joining one of the leading innovators in the modern data landscape.

My love affair with all things data started in the early 1990’s when I was working at a shipping company based out of South Africa. Market changes led to business leaders asking new questions of our systems and data assets on a daily basis – and we simply could not respond fast enough.

It became clear to me that data is the lifeblood of the business – it contains the insights to win or lose at business.  And that me brings me to  joining Hortonworks and my three reasons why I am excited about the opportunity here.

Reason 1 – Data is Transforming Everything

Even more so than my early experiences, data today holds the key to tremendous business outcomes. But it is even more important because data possibly is one of the last remaining competitive differentiators businesses can exploit. Data is the business.   Data is the product.

For example, better and smarter use of data at rest and data in motion is how retailers improve customer experience and sales; or healthcare providers provide better patient outcomes.

The importance of data has moved on so much since I started.  Now were are talking about data doubling every two years – 44ZB by 2020 – and as the catalyst to transform just about every industry and every business everywhere.

Reason 2 – Companies Still Need Help

While the examples of how data can help our lives are plentiful, it is still dwarfed by the volume of failures and companies that struggle to get it right.

A 2015 survey from PWC found 4% of companies are part of the “information elite.” The main reasons are in the massive change to the data and technology landscape itself – giving rise to various definitions of Big Data. But in essence the volumes, velocity, and perhaps the most tricky, variety are causing our previous generations of data technologies to fail.

Traditional databases and data movement tools firstly cannot handle these well, but secondly it is prohibitively expensive – one of the key reasons why Business Intelligence has failed over the past 20+ years to penetrate more than 25% of any company’s user base.

Now its all about Connected Data Architectures delivered via open source innovation.  That’s what Hortonworks markets, sells and supports.

Reason 3 – Working With The Data Natives

This is why Hortonworks present a very unique opportunity. They have been at the forefront of a new generation of Connected Data technologies that are natively built to live and exploit this new data world. And to do so at a scale and price point that cannot be matched by previous approaches.

To succeed, I believe Hortonworks has the right approach: to work with the open community closely to create and support great technology that will be better at doing the core tasks while providing the essential enterprise-ready capabilities like security, governance, reliability and so on.

Hortonworks helps in a number of ways.

First, the environment that generates our world’s data is adding new devices, new data types at a very rapid pace. Open Source is the best and most efficient way for us to innovate and deliver technology at the scale of new tech being introduced.  It’s the only way to have a very dynamic development approach for the new types of modern applications that can be assembled dynamically on the fly and run anywhere across intelligent networks.

Second, pure speed of query performance and also the pure throughput is vital to achieve the price point where iterative analysis become both viable and valuable. We are rapidly innovating and improving performance. For instance, read more on the relative performance of Apache Hive versus Apache Impala (Incubating).

Third, being able to do all this while providing enterprise grade security, governance and so on.

I am excited about the journey at Hortonworks and our ability to bring data solutions to the market that will help businesses create great outcomes. If you have a moment to share, we would love to hear of your data use cases and solutions.

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