Looking Forward to the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit

The Gartner Data and Analytics Summit is one of several highly anticipated conferences coming up. It promises to offer innovative ways of thinking about the new era of data, and is a must-attend for any business dealing in data, i.e., all of them.

Twenty-five years ago, a moderately sized software vendor I worked for had a data dilemma. When the CEO needed revenue data for strategic planning purposes, which was different from the revenue data that the CFO prepared to report to investors, he had to have three different departments which used three different data warehouse and reporting/analytics tools feed it to him. And, because he didn’t “trust” any of these, he had a private data guru of sorts, whose alchemy he did have confidence in. Was this fourth source of revenue data more trustworthy? Not necessarily, but the CEO understood how the data was sourced, understood how the integrity of regional data was preserved and was confident that his data expert knew how to interpret and balance the different sets of reports the company could generate.

Gartner’s Data and Analytics Summit speaks to new paradigms in data

The Gartner Data and Analytics Summit shows that technology and business data culture have made immense progress in the data of business and the business of data. However, the entire context has also undergone its own evolution. The cloud, the imperative for digital transformation, and compliance requirements have increased the complexity organizations face. Perhaps some still long for the days when “one source of truth” and “360° customer view” were rallying cries. Which, by the way, we never attained but seemed to have moved away from as there are new challenges to meet.

The Summit’s agenda reflects the new challenges, problems, and opportunities of today’s data and analytics technology and practices. Even more importantly, the agenda speaks to the various roles and responsibilities that today’s enterprise data culture involves. Today, that means everything including CDOs, CISOs, IT decision makers, line-of-business leaders, and cloud, data, and infrastructure architects. Many events attempt to address this range of experts, but Gartner’s Summit accomplishes this.

The Summit organizes its content into tracks with a clear focus on audience and outcomes. Some examples are Leadership and Skills: Be the Change Maker; Trust, Governance and Privacy: An Urgent Imperative; Data Science and Machine Learning: Unleash Innovation.

The speaker roster includes Gartner analysts who have monitored and dissected the data technology market for years. Most consider them definitive experts in their fields who have had a hand in guiding countless organizations’ data practices. They have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Their presentations promise to provide market insights as well as pragmatic approaches. One of the tracks is even titled Technical Insights: The Art of the Pragmatic.

Some highlights to pique your curiosity and start your summit journey

On to some highlights. Who can resist the Bake-Off: Data Science and Machine Learning hosted by Carlie Idoine, VP Analyst? In this session, vendors will run through scripted demos with a common data set in a controlled setting. The judge? You, the attendee. What are the winning criteria? Speed, simplicity, feature set, integration ease, cloud flexibility?

A session on developing an enterprise strategy for natural language processing (NLP) use cases by Bern Elliot, Distinguished VP Analyst, seems particularly interesting. When new technology is incubated in academic research and tried out in niche scenarios, it can take years to be adopted and fully leveraged in business applications. Understanding how to guide and accelerate that process will be a competitive differentiator for organizations. Customers are crying out for better chatbots and functioning voice recognition systems but let’s not stop there. Elliot previews that the key to taking advantage of NLP is “developing a futuristic outlook.”

Speaking of the future, The Future of Data and Analytics — Reengineering the Decision, 2025 by Frank Buytendijk, Distinguished VP Analyst, will map the drivers for and potential outcomes of changing how businesses will move beyond the table stakes of “data-driven” decision-making and develop new ways of ensuring decisions across the enterprise are cohesive–”more connected, more contextual and more continuous.” 

Be sure to check out the entire Gartner Summit line-up so you don’t miss a single opportunity

It’s difficult to select sessions to highlight, so don’t allow these examples to substitute for perusing the agenda yourself. The mere act of reading through the agenda is a learning and thought-provoking exercise that will leave you with a list of topics for further investigation. Of course, attending the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit in Orlando (August 22 – 24) is possibly the very best opportunity for data leaders and data professionals to gain a deep perspective on what today’s technology and organizational science can offer an organization seeking to differentiate itself from its competition.

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