Cloudera Event Shows the Speed of Transformation in 2020

Data Impact Awards celebrates success of data projects

The unique challenges of a tumultuous 2020 have certainly elevated the importance of data to businesses around the globe. More than 80% of respondents in our C-Suite IT Investment Survey this year, for example, said they’re either trialling or have put artificial intelligence (AI) into production, up from 55% in 2019. Additionally, 58% are planning to increase their spending on data projects in the coming year.

I’ve been tracking the impact of the pandemic on how companies use data, so I was delighted to be invited to judge Cloudera’s 2020 Data Impact Awards. First held in 2013, the event has grown to become one of the most significant windows into how companies worldwide are putting data to work.

A Quick Glance at Cloudera

Cloudera bills itself as a specialist “enterprise data cloud platform” providing a suite of tools that help companies manage the entire data life cycle, spanning collection, ingestion, preparation for analysis and making predictions, as well as reporting and data governance.

Its flagship product, Cloudera Data Platform, works on a range of infrastructure environments: on-premises IT, hybrid cloud and multiple public clouds as well as edge devices and open source. It enables data to be used in many ways including for predictive analytics, stream processing and machine learning.

This breadth means flexibility for businesses that, above all, want to unify their often siloed data sources, operate at scale with their data and bring multiple users together on data projects.

Prior to the pandemic, many companies had to yet to build a strong data foundation for their business and were held back by numerous cultural and technical challenges. Cloudera’s breadth and flexibility are also important reasons why many of its customers showcased at the event are among the most advanced in their journey to transforming their businesses with data.

The Data Impact Awards

This year, the event covered close to 100 nominations judged by 40 experts and spanning eight categories. Let’s take a look at the categories and winners. They reveal some important insights on how data is helping companies transform their businesses in 2020.

1. Connect the Data Life Cycle

The opening category looks at how businesses are best implementing the data life cycle and fostering collaboration on data projects between multiple units and roles. The winner, Globe Telecom, is an operator in the Philippines that’s using Cloudera Data Platform to interpret data analytics across its departments. Impressively, Globe managed to triple its revenue from airtime loans in its first year using data analytics, and followed this feat by doubling revenue in the first half of 2020.

2. Data Champions

This award focuses on the balance between delivering agility in several uses and risk mitigation and good governance in multiple data projects. Winner OVO, a leading digital payment, rewards and financial services platform in Indonesia available on 115 million devices, collects tens of millions of data points every day in real time and uses analytics and machine learning to personalize the customer experience. It has scored a 15% boost in revenue since using the capability.

3. Data for Enterprise AI

Experian Business Information Services took home the gong for best use of AI this year. The firm sifts through hundreds of millions of records daily to serve consumers and businesses with vital credit scores, and its data team helped launch more than six different data-maintenance apps using Cloudera’s Data Science Workbench. Remarkably, it has seen a 3,000% productivity gain with average unit cost reductions of 99% when compared with the previous manual processes, according to the company.

4. Data for Good

One of my favourites, this category recognizes organizations that have tackled some of the most pressing issues facing society and the planet in 2020. Rush University Medical Center, an academic health system in Illinois, built a data pipeline to automate the ingestion of real-time data about Covid-19 patients in less than two weeks. And by doing so, it was able to cut the time it took to process data from days down to a mere 15 minutes, allowing its clinicians to accurately predict case volumes.

The award is a great reminder of the technical heroes within the corporate ranks, who have worked behind the scenes to fight the pandemic by building some fantastic and enduring solutions with data.

5. Data Security and Governance

The rapid shift to remote operations and accompanying rise in cyberattacks in 2020 have pushed businesses to prioritize security and governance more than ever. Under tough regulatory conditions, the analytics team at German healthcare company Merck, the winner in this category, was able to set up a data governance framework that not only prevents unauthorized access to its data, but also makes data more widely available within the organization.

6. Enterprise Data Cloud

In CCS Insight’s latest C-Suite IT Investment Survey, 46% of senior leaders said they’re adopting multicloud as part of their strategies for the public cloud. The enterprise data cloud award represents moves by many enterprises to modernize their data infrastructure for private, hybrid or multicloud environments. West Midlands Police, the second largest police force in the UK, scooped the award for its data and predictive analytics capability that stretches across a highly distributed environment.

7. Industry Transformation

This is the category I focused on as a judge. It highlights companies that are shaking up their industry by applying data toward creating new business models, skills or operational processes. Another telco winner, Telkomsel is an Indonesian wireless operator serving 160 million subscribers. Every day it ingests an astonishing 25 TB of data into a single data platform to provide analytics and generate customer insights in real time.

The level of transformation happening in the telecom space is perhaps some of the greatest change we’re seeing in any industry at the moment. Telkomsel is a great example of how data is helping to accelerate this transformation, with customers at the centre.

8. Data Impact Achievement

Finally, the event’s highest honour, and a new category this year. It distinguishes companies that have achieved significant digital transformation, creating a culture of data-driven innovation throughout its business. United Overseas Bank, a three-time award winner, has successfully implemented a single platform for enterprise data and governance that’s being used for more than 150 different projects and accessible to over 200 users in the organization. The platform has increased revenue and lowered risks for United Overseas Bank, and most importantly, accelerated innovation for the firm by widening access to data in the organization.

The Final Take

I’m always on the lookout for success stories of companies transforming their businesses with data, particularly in the current climate, and Cloudera’s Data Impact Awards produced an exciting crop, offering an insightful window into the market.

What stood out above all, is the sheer level of transformation that several industries around the world are going through, as well as the significant benefits companies are getting from their data projects. Despite the challenges in a difficult environment, enterprises are identifying clear paths to success, when they get the platform right, put customers at the centre and break down siloes by enabling the wider business with secure access to data.

I want to congratulate all the entrants this year and can’t wait to see what 2021 brings for companies putting data at the heart of their business strategies.