Q&A with speaker Jeff Fletcher

Jeff Fletcher comes from a solid technical background, but his main focus is making the numbers work and has been involved in Internet technology all his professional life, but with a strong commercial bent. Jeff is building the next generation of products including the Big Data strategy at Internet Solutions.

When he’s not doing this, Jeff writes for www.limn.co.za, a website dedicated to data visualisation for South Africa and plays bass for electronic funk act One Mighty Atom.

We caught up with him ahead of his talk on Building a Hadoop based Infrastructure as a Service product as an ISP.

Define Big Data and BI in five words or less?

Does not fit into Excel.

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

There is a lot of hype surrounding different analytics and big data platforms. Some are promising to answer the questions you have of your data in a point and click fashion.

Meaningful insight from data is derived from a rigorous process that requires a knowledge of the field, technical and statistical competence and a lot of time going over the data to determine if your results are valid. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this has become easy.

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

That this is a new thing. BI, analytics and the analysis of large data sets has been around for a long time. SETI@Home was the first “big data” project I participated in, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone currently analysing a bigger data set.

Stephen Few put it very nicely on his blog: “Big Data is a rapid increase in public awareness that data is a valuable resource for discovering useful and sometimes potentially harmful knowledge.”

What has been your career highlight thus far?

Starting the first data visualisation meet up group in Johannesburg and presenting an talk on mapping South Africa using d3.js.

Why should people attend Mammoth BI?

The workshops we’re running will take you through some real world examples and hopefully give you sense of where to start and what can actually be done.

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

Building a Hadoop based Infrastructure as a Service product as an ISP.

Check out the video of Jeff presenting then book your ticket to Mammoth BI here.



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