Just a few years ago, when big data was associated primarily with Hadoop, it was like a precocious child…fun for adults, but nobody took it seriously. I attended Strata in San Jose this February, and I can see things have changed. Attendance doubled from last year and many of the attendees are the business casual managers – not the blue jeaned developers and admins of days gone by. Big data is maturing and nobody takes it lightly anymore.

Most impressive was the data science focus and tracks, with experts like Joe Hellerstein from Trifacta and UC Berkley, and DJ Patil, the United States’ first Chief Data Scientist. Lisa Hammitt from Salesforce gave the best keynote where she posited that emerging systems of engagement would eventually become systems of intelligence through analytics. Brilliant! While I’m gushing, I have to call out to the extraordinary amount of vendor innovation going on in data science, preparation, and real time big data, mostly from startups. Firms like Paxata, Trifacta, Skytree, Dato, WebAction, and Snowflake Software are doing amazing things.

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