Q&A with Barry Devlin

Dr. Barry Devlin is among the foremost authorities on business insight and big data, and is one of the founders of data warehousing, having published the first architectural paper on the topic in 1988.

With over 30 years of IT experience, including 20 years with IBM as a Distinguished Engineer, he is a widely respected analyst, consultant, lecturer and author of the seminal book, Data Warehouse—from Architecture to Implementation and numerous White Papers. He was elected as one of the first Distinguished Engineers in IBM in 1996, based on his work in Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing.

His new book Business unIntelligence—Insight and Innovation beyond Analytics and Big Data is now available at Technics Publications. We spoke to him ahead of Mammoth BI to find out what to expect.

Define Big Data and BI in five words or less?

Information underpins novel Insights.

What is the best piece of advice you can give concerning Big Data and Business Intelligence? 

Don’t get caught in the hype around big data. Yes, it does have some different characteristics and does offer new and exciting possibilities, but all of the challenges of BI also apply to big data. In some cases, the challenges are even greater.

What in your opinion is the biggest misconception around BI and Big Data? 

That big data means the death of BI, in particular the concept of the Data Lake. Big data does NOT replace BI. In fact, it supplements it. In many areas, big data actually needs BI to deliver its value.

Why should people attend Mammoth BI? 

At the risk of using a tired old phrase, we are seeing a paradigm shift in the collection and use of information today. Mammoth BI offers the opportunity to explore the impacts – pro and con – of this change and to consider how it may affect you, in your business and in everyday life.

What is the subject of the presentation you will be delivering? 

“The Myth of Data-Driven Business” takes a contrarian viewpoint to show some of the dangers and misconceptions around big data. Book here.

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