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DDBD Afternoon Tutorial

Alistair Croll (Solve For Interesting)

Strata’s Data Driven Business focuses on how to solve some of today’s thorniest business problems with Big Data, new interfaces, and the advent of ubiquitous computing.

In a day of thought-provoking presentations and fast-paced panels, we’ll tackle how Big Data is challenging some of the underlying models of business strategy. Past DDBD sessions have looked at fundamental issues, including:

  • How would Big Data change supply chains, inventory, and Just In Time?
  • Could companies use data-driven methods to improve their managers’ effectiveness?
  • What changes to compliance and governance would an increasingly data-driven business strategy bring?
  • How could data show marketers non-obvious things about their campaigns, allowing them to improve?
  • Do we need to revisit age-old strategic models like those from Michael Porter?
Smart companies can’t run on anecdotes and gut instinct. But they also can’t follow the data without understanding their business ecosystem or the realities of their current state. They have to strike a balance between the arrogance of opinion and the myopia of a rigid adherence to metrics alone. Rather than data-driven, they need to be data-informed. This year, we’ll focus on actually producing change. While Big Data can inform business, if it isn’t tied to an organization’s goals, objectives, and culture, it won’t have an impact. We might think ourselves rational creatures, but as individuals or organizations, most of our decisions are made through moral reasoning, quick-reaction instinct, and guts. That’s orthogonal to the data-driven model, and these two worlds—the rational, scientific mind and the instinctive, quick-to-judge heart—are about to collide in the boardroom. Big Data is teetering at the apex of Gartner’s hype curve. Soon, we’ll realize it isn’t a panacea; that while it upends many business assumptions, it must deal with traditional obstacles to business—scale, culture, and span of control. We’ll consider:
  • How are specific disciplines changing because of the advent of data?
  • What are the biggest obstacles that companies have to overcome to go from data-flooded to data-driven?
  • What fundamental assumptions—supply and demand, models of competition, innovation, and so on—are no longer true in a world where everyone and everything is connected?
  • What new interfaces should be used to collect information from employees, competitors, and customers? How should organizations “keep score”?
  • What new interfaces will democratize data, making it easier to grasp and exposing it to a wider audience?
  • What technologies are most likely to disrupt business in the coming 24 months, just as MP3s disrupted music or electronic readers disrupted publishing?
It’s a packed lineup of sought-after speakers, real-world case studies, and strategic discussions you can’t afford to miss. If you’re an executive, entrepreneur, manager or innovator, DDB gives you the tools you need to reap the Big Data harvest—getting not just more information, but more of what really matters: business results.
Photo of Alistair Croll

Alistair Croll

Solve For Interesting

Alistair Croll is an entrepreneur with a background in web performance, analytics, cloud computing, and business strategy. In 2001, he cofounded Coradiant (acquired by BMC in 2011) and has since helped launch Rednod, CloudOps, Bitcurrent, Year One Labs, and several other early-stage companies. He works with startups on business acceleration and advises a number of larger companies on innovation and technology. A sought-after public speaker on data-driven innovation and the impact of technology on society, Alistair has founded and run a variety of conferences, including Cloud Connect, Bitnorth, and the International Startup Festival, and is the chair of O’Reilly’s Strata Data Conference. He has written several books on technology and business, including the best-selling Lean Analytics. Alistair tries to mitigate his chronic ADD by writing about far too many things at Solve For Interesting.


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