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September 02, 2014
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The Power of Partnering with Hortonworks: T4G President

Geoff Flood is president of T4G Limited and co-chair of the province of New Brunswick Research & Innovation Council. In this guest blog, Geoff elaborates on why “partnering with Hortonworks was simply a no-brainer for us. It’s a decision that will deliver prized and measurable value to our customers.”

Big data is more than just buzz; it’s a big deal. It’s changing everything in our lives and all around us. As president of a successful technology services firm in Canada, I knew we had to change, too, when it comes to designing, developing and implementing solutions for our customers across North America.

Sure, for two decades we’ve built up great business intelligence and analytics expertise in industries like retail, healthcare, telecommunications, financial services, energy, travel and tourism and more. And by business intelligence I’m not just talking about BI solutions, but more than that. Through our customers, we’ve gained knowledge and experience in their individual businesses and their industries in general; what they sell, how they sell, what they need, what their customers need.

For example, in retail, we can capture sensor data to track how people shop in-store, so that store layout can be optimized. This is good for everyone; the shopper finds things easier, and the retailer sells things easier. Like everything else, big data is reshaping the retail industry and our experience steads us well. But we also know we need to be aligned with the right technology partners.

After much research and lots of discussion, including a major international big data conference we’ve hosted the past two years, we decided to go all in with Hortonworks and its Apache Hadoop enterprise data platform.

The reason is simple: Hortonworks is open and doesn’t require us – or our customers – to face the daunting “either/or” decision when it comes to our investments in technology. Apache Hadoop, and its open source ecosystem, is a core component of a Modern Data Architecture, integrating and complementing existing systems to create a highly efficient, highly scalable way to manage all enterprise data.

The approach to enabling a Modern Data Architecture with Hadoop matches what we see in our customer base every day. Our customers, like us, have made major investments in technology over the years and none of us want to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are alternatives and the Modern Data Architecture with Hadoop provides those choices.

Beyond the technology itself, the alignment with our ecosystems made Hortonworks a simple choice, too. Major players like Microsoft, HP, SAP, Red Hat, Accenture and Teradata have all standardized on Hortonworks for much the same reasons as us. And as a gold certified partner in the Microsoft ecosystem and a firm with a formal working agreement with SAP, we were delighted these critical partners came to the same conclusion on Hadoop.

So, what have we done at T4G? We’ve entered into an agreement with Hortonworks making us Hortonworks’ first professional services partner in Canada. Already more than one-third of T4G’s BI professionals are Hortonworks certified, many of whom are travelling North America and working on exciting new Hadoop solutions for some of the largest corporations in telecommunications, retail, healthcare and energy.

Partnering with Hortonworks has driven immediate benefits for T4G, but it’s what lies ahead that will have even greater impact. Since we have a large legacy BI practice, we can grow our skills in Apache Hadoop by cross training the team—not starting from scratch. Our legacy experience, combined with the speed at which we can grow new skills, brings us closer to the bigger challenges presented by complex data. And I am excited by that prospect.

Our philosophy at T4G is based on The Intelligent Application of Technology™, and partnering with Hortonworks was simply a no-brainer for us. It’s a decision that will deliver prized and measurable value to our customers. We may be one of the first professional services firms to come to this conclusion, but we certainly won’t be the last.

There’s a revolution in the data landscape and by adding to existing legacy architecture, not replacing it, Hortonworks is clearly the partner we want in the modern world of new data-driven applications.

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