One step ahead: NYC data teams explain how they stay on top of industry trends

by Liz Warren
April 12, 2019

Before the days of real-time data, analytics results could sometimes take months to produce. The business intelligence and analytics industry has transformed since then, and now, it’s up to today’s data teams to continuously improve upon these advancements. 

To do so, they’re tasked with ingesting as much information as they can get their hands on — and then going a step further and putting those findings into practice. We caught up with NYC tech teams to understand their strategies for staying one step ahead.

 

sisense
image via sisense

BI analytics company Sisense has become a leader in its space since being founded almost a decade ago. In order to maintain its status in the industry, the team employs a number of strategies, both teamwide and individually, that keep them ahead of trends. Sales Engineer Edward DiCosmo went over those strategies.

 

How do you stay up to date on the latest data trends in your industry?    
The BI and analytics industry has evolved at an extreme pace since I got involved in it. When I started, companies had BI teams dedicated to preparing data, transforming data and deploying analytic solutions, and delivering results could take months. Today, technology has bridged that gap, and it’s become affordable enough for companies of all sizes to deploy their own analytic solutions. Clients want rapid deployments, scalability, predictive solutions and the ability to embed their solutions to empower their customers. This makes it extremely important to always be current with technologies released in the market. Following different sources, such as the Gartner Magic Quadrants for BI, Machine Learning and Data Management are great ways to keep up to date on what is available at your fingertips.

 

How do you adapt your methodologies or technologies as trends evolve? 
The best way to adapt to the trends in the market is to listen to your clients. Listen to their stories and identify the challenges and pain points they are seeking to overcome. As the market continues to evolve, businesses grow and become more complex. Knowing the technologies that are available and understanding the use case will allow you to tailor the architecture of a solution to effectively overcome their challenges. 

 

Can you share a specific example of a time when new trends influenced your work?
Once, we were working with a client whose current analytics solution was inadequate — their client base was growing too fast and the solution they had wouldn’t scale. The client had an immediate need for a new solution but was in the process of migrating their data to a Snowflake instance which was expected to take months. We were able to leverage the Elasticube in Sisense as a sandbox to mash different data sources together and perform ETL. At the same time, we leveraged our live connection to Snowflake to harness what has been moved to the cloud. We were able to rapidly deploy Sisense by utilizing the Sisense REST API to automate their security, dynamically change data sources and embed into their site using an iFrame. 

 

 

vts
image via vts

Leasing and asset management platform VTS was founded in 2011 and quickly became a crucial part of the real estate tech industry. Their data team stays up to date on trends not just as they relate to the industry, but as they can be applied to their service. Engineering Manager Cyriel Dikoume walked us through the ways they stay informed.

 

How do you stay up to date on the latest data trends in your industry?   
I'm an avid Medium reader, and I periodically look up several commercial real estate (CRE)-related tags and focus on the articles that are relevant to us. As a manager to teams responsible for data products at VTS, it's important that I stay up to date with data trends in general, irrespective of the industry. I usually start with Towards Data Science as my root source of information and follow up on references that pique my interests.

 

How do you adapt your methodologies or technologies as trends evolve? 
Although keeping abreast of the latest trends is essential, it's even more crucial for us to properly evaluate new solutions before applying them to our methodologies. When a new status quo surfaces, we run it through a robust architectural review that involves authoring a detailed proposal, outlining pros and cons and calling out the bright minds of our engineering team to help ensure all critical considerations are addressed.

 

Can you share a specific example of a time when new trends influenced your work?
Without revealing inner workings, I can mention that two of our upcoming offerings (MarketView and MarketPlace) came about partially as a result of paying attention to external trends while exploring the data usage of our own product.

 

crossix
image via crossix

Healthcare analytics company Crossix makes sure they stay ahead of trends in the BI space not just by reading educational materials, but also by keeping an agile mindset. Technical Product Manager Kevin Porsolt explained how agility is more than just a buzzword for his team.

 

How do you stay up to date on the latest data trends in your industry?   
I make it a habit to regularly read articles related to healthcare, finance and marketing, so that I can be more informed of important events and trends that could shape the industry I work in. I am also surrounded by a wealth of knowledge every day from the people I work with. I constantly challenge myself to learn new skill sets that emerge with technical innovation. I am a huge advocate of online learning resources such as Udemy, Coursera and LinkedIn Learning where you can watch educational videos for a wide range of concentrations. 

 

How do you adapt your methodologies or technologies as trends evolve?
Being agile has become a buzzword within technical development for many reasons, but that is the approach that we need to take when it comes to managing methodologies and technology. We try to build in small iterations to meet the needs of our consumers, while also allowing for flexibility as requirements pivot. Like any good development team, we ensure a center of excellence when it comes to methodologies and best practices. This includes constant communication with internal stakeholders, implementing processes for due diligence, ensuring a resilient technical stack that can scale, and constantly looking to upskill our team when it comes to critical technical competency.

 

Can you share a specific example of a time when new trends influenced your work?
Because of the expanding industry, consumers of our data analytics are constantly looking for new ways to leverage health and consumer data to measure marketing success in unique ways. This has challenged us to review previously implemented methodologies to deliver on more complex use cases, while simultaneously identifying areas for automation to meet ever-increasing demand. We also need to ensure that we understand how these trends affect our deadlines, cost of production, technical latency and of course, the bottom line. We are investing a substantial amount of effort to ensure that we have the operational intelligence needed to make important business decisions.

 

 

optimove
image via optmove

At AI marketing tech company Optimove, researching emerging data trends isn’t just a nice to have — it’s a necessity. Director of Strategic Services Yoni Barzilay walked us through the requirements that are in place for his team.

 

How do you stay up to date on the latest data trends in your industry?    

In our department, it’s required that we conduct ongoing research to uncover new trends and best practices, as we are expected to be experts in both the fields of data and marketing. The ability to stay on top of the recent data trends enables us to excel in our marketing consulting. I’m constantly meeting with clients, and discovering new technologies and vendors. We also attend conferences with awesome content we can put into practice right away. 

 

How do you adapt your methodologies or technologies as trends evolve? 
We build models and algorithms that we apply in our projects, and continuously update and tweak them based on different learnings and insights. Our strongest insights come directly from our clients. When an approach we propose is tested out and proves efficient, we take back the findings and re-apply them. 

 

Can you share a specific example of a time when new trends influenced your work?

We recently built a product recommendation model for one of our clients. After applying it and monitoring the results, we identified an opportunity to optimize the model by layering in new business logic and third party data. From the initial results, we found that some demographics tend to purchase certain product categories more than others, and these were replenishable products. From that understanding, we layered in a replenishment model that predicts when a customer is expected to purchase from those replenishable categories and only recommends these items within a certain relevant timeframe.

 

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