Is It All About The Data Scientist?

The answer is no. It is a holistic, team effort that involves expanding the mind and skill set of executives, business users, IT implementers, data scientists, and application developers to all work collectively to define a strategy and derive newer insight from big data.

And that is why EMC is so heavily focused on breaking down organizational silos and training professionals to become data scientists or at least think like data scientists, so that organizations transform into data savvy professionals with a data-driven culture working towards the same goal – competitive advantage.

I spoke to Louis Frolio, Advisory Technical Ed Consultant for EMC Big Data Solutions, how as part of a team in EMC Education Services is creating a massive professional transformation through a MOOC – Massive Open Online Course. Data Lakes for Big Data MOOC gives you an opportunity to become a data savvy professional and take on a big data or data science role in your organization at absolutely no cost.

The course kicked off May 11, but you still have plenty of time to enroll and complete the course to earn a certificate before June 8. The top 500 students (based on cumulative grade for the MOOC) will receive an electronic copy of the Data Science book just released by EMC Education Services.

1.  What is a MOOC and what is the goal of this education format? Why was it used for this course?

Over the past several years, a new trend in Education Delivery has slowly gained traction. “Classroom Flipping”, aka MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), involves delivering courses to very large numbers of students (upwards of 40,000), all at once via the internet. The term “flipping” is used because the students consume the lectures and materials at their leisure and use the MOOC platform to do homework, assignments, and interact with other students and instructors – The opposite of a traditional classroom experience.

In a MOOC, instructors develop the curriculum but do not teach it live. The educational material can be video, interactive eLearnings, literature, plus much more. The content is delivered asynchronously, meaning the students can consume the material at their convenience. What makes a MOOC so great is that it provides a place for students to engage and learn from each other.

My role as an instructor in the “Data Lakes for Big Data” MOOC is to engage students in the forums, answer questions, and foster collaboration between the students. The Emerging Technology Education group within EMC Education Services chose a MOOC for its “Data Lake for Big Data” course because it fits into a blended learning model approach to technical education and training.

2.  Who should attend this course and what value will this education bring to the organization after the 4 week course?

This course was designed with a single demographic in mind – Anyone who wants to know more about Big Data and Data Lakes. There are no pre-requisites for this course outside of a genuine interest in these emerging technologies and a desire to learn.

At the conclusion of this course students will have a solid foundation of knowledge to build upon which can include the EMC Certified Data Science and Big Data Analytics track. More importantly, students will be fully equipped to recognize and speak to big data challenges within their organizations. We fully expect that students completing this course will be able to demonstrate the value of big data and data science to their management teams.

3.  What is your role at EMC and what other EMC Education is available for burgeoning data scientists and professionals looking to expand their skill set for big data?

I have a pretty cool job. I am part of EMC’s Big Data Solution’s team where my primary objective is to distill and impart the seemingly complex subjects of Big Data Analytics and Data Science to both technical and non-technical audiences. This is made easier for me because I am also embedded in the Data Science team in the Emerging Technologies Education group within EMC Education Services. There I help develop technical training material for EMC’s Certified Data Science curriculum. If I could sum up what I love and do best it is this: I craft and narrate the story of Big Data Analytics and Data Science for everyone.

EMC Education Services has a full complement of courses for Big Data Analytics and Data Science. This includes certification in data science at the Associate level and, most recently, at the Specialist level. There is also training on Hadoop administration, Hadoop programming, and much more.

4.  Week 3 of the MOOC dives into the EMC Federation Business Data Lake. Explain to the readers what value this solution brings to Data Scientists, IT Implementers, and Executives.

The EMC Federation Business Data Lake (FBDL) is leading the vanguard in Big Data Analytics enablement, bringing together data, analytics, and applications into a fully-engineered solution. IT can deploy faster, data scientists gain insights faster, and executives see value faster.

With the rise of Big Data, we are seeing more and more software applications being defined by data and data analytics. With FBDL, it is possible to quickly build the data driven applications needed to empower organizations to extract more insights and realize more revenue from the data that is already in their data centers.

5.  What feedback have you received so far from the MOOC? Is it too late to enroll?

The feedback from the “Data Lakes for Big Data” MOOC has been nothing short of extraordinary! The overwhelming sentiment from the students has been extremely positive. A common thread amongst the feedback is that the material is extremely interesting and that the students are learning things about big data of which they were unaware. They are thrilled that this course is being offered now and that it is free. It is the right course at the right time.

It is not too late to join the MOOC. Students can complete the required tasks at any time during the four week period. The only caveat is that all the tasks have to be completed by the close of the course. Although, we are now in Week 2 and new students may feel that they may not be able to catch up, I can assure you that this is not the case. Week 1 can be completed in as little as 2-3 hours. We purposely kept week 1 light in material to give students time to familiarize themselves with the MOOC environment.

I strongly recommend that you sign up today at:!

When Big Data Becomes More Valuable Than Your Products/Services

A recent global study across 1000 executives conducted by EMC and Capgemini reports the following: “64% of respondents said that big data is changing traditional business boundaries and enabling non-traditional providers to move into their industry, and over half (53%) expect to face increased competition from start-ups enabled by data.”

My take: Eventually any company expecting to compete effectively must become a software company, where data is the primary asset driving business strategy and revenue. Going a step further, by monetizing big data, companies are creating new revenue streams that will actually eclipse the value of a company’s existing products or services over time. This is supported by the EMC and Capgemini study as well: “Among our respondents, 63% consider that the monetization of data could eventually become as valuable to their organizations as their existing products and services.”


The question is how to find gold in the flood of data flowing in and out of the organization to compete effectively, especially against new digital startups. To answer this question, I spoke to Capgemini’s Global Vice President for Big Data Steve Jones who strongly believes the answer lies within the power of a business data lake.

1.  As an industry leader in big data, what is so exciting about a data lake solution?

I’d like to first define what we coined a ‘business’ data lake back in 2013, which is an architecture that supports big, fast, and managed data. Managed data is key since it is the data that is managed or governed in line with business objectives.

What’s exciting about a business data lake is that enables organizations to achieve a very important goal – uncovering new business models through big data analytics. Generating new revenue streams is the primary differentiator between a successful and unsuccessful business.

Because the data is governed in line with the business, organizations have more flexible control of the data to make it accessible for analysis across the entire organization. Business units are no longer constrained by traditional reporting platforms, but rather, can freely discover and distill the information they need to uncover insights. These traditional reporting platforms were sufficient for specific uses in the past, but now there is a new generation of data driven companies creating unprecedented competition. This is why companies need a fundamentally new architecture such as a business data lake to challenge the competition.

2.  Tell us why customers looking to transform their business with big data should work with Capgemini.

Through our experience with big, fast, and managed data, we were the first understand the changing landscape and create the ‘business data lake’ approach. We published the first reference architecture that not includes the technology components, but also the business factor or change that needs to occur to make the business data lake effective.

So not only do we have the experience, but we also have the vision that is needed to help organizations make a fundamental transformation in how they manage, execute, and derive business value from data. This is a multi-year transformation that requires you to work with an experienced partner that helps set the vision and closely works with you over time to achieve results. Again, this includes both the technology and business transformation that needs to occur across the organization.

3.  Why has Capgemini become a premier partner of the EMC Business Data Lake?

Back in 2012 we recognized that big data transformation wasn’t happening fast enough because our large customers were not achieving business results and needed more support. Unlike technology powerhouses such as Facebook, Yahoo, and Google, a typical customer is not equipped to custom engineer a big data solution to support their business needs.

We knew an industrialized approach was the answer to get our large customers transformed and compress the time to value. The EMC Business Data Lake is this approach, providing fully-engineered solution that is simple to deploy and operate. We also like its open partner ecosystem approach since it allows our customers to use products and tools they already have.

4.  What makes EMC Business Data Lake a successful, fully-engineered solution?

EMC recognized that a single company alone is unable to provide an industrialized solution. Instead, they utilized the Federation and developed a partner ecosystem to collaborate and engineer a business data lake solution to remove the headaches and cost of integration. Pre-configured building blocks, core Federation technologies and an open ecosystem allows a typical customer to quickly adopt and subsequently transform.


5.  What customers are the ideal candidates for the EMC Business Data Lake?

Any customer that doesn’t want to set up a specialized IT team just to handle data such as setting up and managing a Hadoop clusters since this requires huge budgets and resources. Also, an ideal customer is one that prioritizes business innovation over technology innovation, since this solution compresses the time to value through rapid deployment.

Destination Data Lake: Accelerating the Big Data Journey

Most people understand that big data and analytics can have a positive impact on their business. What trips them up is how to make that happen. EMC’s answer to that complex challenge is the EMC Business Data Lake, the industry’s first fully engineered, enterprise-grade data lake that’s redefining big data.  For details, check out the virtual launch event.


I spoke with Aidan O’Brien, Senior Director of EMC’s Strategic Big Data Initiative, and asked him why he’s excited about EMC Business Data Lake and why it sets precedence in the world of big data analytics.

1.  What are extraordinary outcomes companies may achieve with big data analytics?

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Innovating The Marketing Process With A Data Lake

Like many global companies, EMC depends heavily on a CRM to manage sales and purchasing data about its vast global installed base. Over time, we realized that without big data analytics, this customer data was trapped inside our systems and providing limited value.


EMC decided that offering analytical capabilities through a data lake architecture would substantially increase the value of this data. To get there, EMC hired Todd Forsythe, EMC Vice President, Corporate Marketing, to create the Marketing Science Lab. I spoke to Todd about why he is so excited about the impact of big data and the Marketing Science Lab on sales and marketing:

1. What is the Marketing Science Lab?

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