John O’Brien on Lessons Learned from Data Summit 2019

As Data Summit 2019 comes to a close, John O’Brien, principal advisor and CEO, Radiant Advisors, looked at lessons learned from this year’s conference during his closing keynote.

Companies are not lacking in technology options; in most cases, more advanced technologies exist than can be absorbed into the organization all at once.

Data and analytics leaders need to determine how to make the biggest business impacts with advances in AI and ML for analytics, enable self-service with governance, and support BI and data engineering processes with the data lake.

To establish this solid enterprise foundation, it is essential to recommit to data management principles and prioritize platform technologies and ecosystems accordingly.

AI is becoming part of the overall analytics strategy. The challenge coming out of this emerging scene is keeping up with an abundance of data.

“A lot of people have AI on their mind,” O’Brien said. “What I’ve seen here at the conference is a lot of good and relevant sessions.”

To deliver on a strategy, companies need to begin with understanding their customers’ behavior pattern.

“From understanding our customers better we build better products,” O’Brien said. “We build things based on data for what they’re looking for.”

Companies need to increase their operational efficiency when it comes to this data, he explained. New business models are where the digital disruption is coming in.

Though AI is steadily gaining traction, it still needs humans to function. As engagement happens in real-time and this is where chat bots can help on the spot, he said.

“AI is better at complexity, it will find patterns in things,” O’Brien said.

Radiant Advisors’ has found that a conceptual architecture for analytics works best. It combines an analytic and modern data platform. The platform should drill down into BI and reporting, offer enterprise self-service data analytics, and utilize data science and AI.

“The business will tell you the priorities,” O’Brien said. “Align those analytics to do that to deliver things to business as we go.”

AI and machine learning go hand in hand, he explained. Machine learning is one branch of AI and it’s a way of solving problems without codifying the solution.

“It’s a way of building systems that improve themselves over time,” O’Brien said. “The machine learning and AI is only as good as we train it.”

Other areas of impact on the business include:

  • Cloud architecture
  • Data management
  • Data science
  • Polyglot persistence
  • Data lakes
  • Spark for data integration/data science

Many Data Summit 2019 presentations are available for review at