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December 5-6, 2016: Training
December 6–8, 2016: Tutorials & Conference

First mover or fast follower? Santander UK's big data journey

Antonio Alvarez (Santander Group)
4:15pm–4:55pm Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Becoming a data-centric company
Location: 328/329 Level: Beginner
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 1 rating)

Prerequisite Knowledge

  • Basic knowledge of the Hadoop ecosystem

What you'll learn

  • Learn how Santander built a data-centric company on the Hadoop stack


Santander UK started its big data journey in September 2014 with a PoC to test Hadoop and understand its potential and limits. Very quickly, it moved into a near-real-time customer-facing use case using Flume, Kafka, and HBase to serve customers with value from their data. In July 2015, the service was in production. Nine months later, Santander is in full implementation of the platform for data analysts and scientists, with the goal of providing guided self-service analytics to around 500 people by the end of 2016.

In parallel, Santander has developed a strategy to make the most of the technology for customer value but also for efficiencies and change in some of the old IT paradigms (NRT MI, for example). This is all possible because the technology is closing the gap with legacy frameworks in terms of governance, security, and usability.

Antonio Alvarez shares Santander’s Hadoop journey and presents some of the difficulties and challenges and their solutions, showing other late entrants what they can learn from this experience.

Topics include:

  • Organizational challenges: From building the team to prioritizing the use cases
  • Technological challenges: From implementing Sentry to creating an accessible analytics environment
  • Procedural challenges: From understanding the existing data ecosystem to creating a collaborative community
  • Cultural challenges: From on-boarding the masses of analysts to changing the mindsets of executives and lower ranks
Photo of Antonio Alvarez

Antonio Alvarez

Santander Group

Antonio Alvarez is the head of data innovation at Isban UK, which aims to spearhead the transformation to a data-driven organization through digital technology. In partnership with the CDO, Antonio is creating a collaborative environment where innovative strategies and propositions around data from all sides of the business can create value for customers more quickly. With a quick pace of adoption, Santander UK is now implementing different frameworks for scaling and broadening the impact of data to disrupt the bank from inside through the adoption of a guided self-service approach. Antonio has a background in economics and 18 years of experience in financial services across four countries in business, technology, change, and data.

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Picture of Antonio Alvarez
12/08/2016 3:02pm +08

It was great being able to share our experiences yesterday. I thought it was quite a good conversation and hopefully the attendees got a few useful ideas out of the discussion. Thank you for the privilege.