The Data-driven Business and Other Lessons from History

Executive Summit
Location: Mission City B1
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This presentation is part of the "Executive Summit":

While the idea of supporting decision making with computerized data stretches back to the earliest days of computing, the first formally defined architecture for decision support dates to the mid-1980s (Devlin & Murphy, 1988) with the definition of the data warehouse. The primary driver was the need to integrate data from diverse sources to provide executives and other decision makers with a “single version of the truth”. And among the first challenges it encountered was big data, at least in the context of the computing power and storage technology of the day.

Today, over two decades later, the architectural concepts and methods continue to form the basis for modern implementations, despite radically expanded business expectations and enormous advances in the available technology. The fundamental questions remain:

  • How can business leaders derive valid knowledge from electronically generated, stored or mediated information?
  • How far can data, in all its now diverse forms and from its disparate sources, truly inform modern decision making?
  • What new concepts for and approaches to decision making and information usage are required to drive return on investment in mega-volumes of data?
  • Where are the real challenges in organization, management and technology?

Based on almost 25 years of consulting, architectural and implementation experience, Barry will share his views on where we’ve come from in information management, the lessons we can hope to learn, the implications of where we come from and an overview of a new conceptual architecture we need to create a data-driven business.

Devlin, B. A. and Murphy, P. T., “An architecture for a business and information system,” IBM Systems Journal, Volume 27, Number 1, Page 60 (1988)

Photo of Barry Devlin

Barry Devlin

9sight Consulting

Dr. Barry Devlin is a founder of the data warehousing industry, defining its first architecture in 1985. A foremost authority on business intelligence (BI), big data and beyond, he is respected worldwide as a visionary and thought-leader in the evolving industry. Barry has authored two ground-breaking books: the classic “Data Warehouse—from Architecture to Implementation” and Business unIntelligence—Insight and Innovation Beyond Analytics and Big Data in 2013.

Barry has over 30 years of experience in the IT industry, previously with IBM, as a consultant, manager and distinguished engineer. As founder and principal of 9sight Consulting in 2008, Barry provides strategic consulting and thought-leadership to buyers and vendors of BI and Big Data solutions. Customer offerings include Readiness Assessments for Digital Transformation and all information-driven undertakings, Evaluations of Data Warehouse and Data Lake implementations, strategic and architectural recommendations. Vendor offerings run from webinars and keynotes to blogs and white papers.

He is an associate editor of TDWI’s Journal of Business Intelligence, and a regular keynote speaker, teacher and writer on all aspects of information creation and use. Barry operates worldwide from Bristol, UK.


  • Thomson Reuters
  • EMC Data Computing Division
  • EnterpriseDB
  • Microsoft
  • Gnip
  • Rackspace Hosting
  • IBM
  • Windows Azure MarketPlace DataMarket
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Aster Data
  • Cloudera
  • Clustrix
  • DataStax, Inc. (formerly Riptano, Inc.)
  • Digital Reasoning Systems
  • Heritage Provider Network
  • Impetus
  • Jaspersoft
  • Karmasphere
  • LinkedIn
  • MarkLogic
  • Pentaho
  • Pervasive
  • Revolution Analytics
  • Splunk
  • Urban Mapping
  • Wolfram|Alpha
  • Esri
  • ParAccel
  • Tableau Software

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