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Big Data LDN (London) 2023, Olympia, London, 21 September 2023: The first day of 2023’s packed conference programme was opened by Conference Chair, Mike Ferguson, who summarised the top ten critical trends in Data Management and Analytics in the Big Data LDN 2023: Chairman’s Opening Address and Welcome. Headlining his top five were Generative AI spearheading innovation, the commodification of Hybrid Cloud, architecture modernisation, the rationalisation of the software stack and FinOps which is now seeing a focus on greater financial transparency and consumption-based pricing.
The event's popularity has seen it grow to accommodate not one but two keynote theatres this year. On the X-Axis Keynote Stage the audience was treated to a presentation from Peter Jackson, Chief Data and Technology Officer, Outra – The Perfect Blend of Smart People and Smart Technology for Transformation. He and Caroline Carruthers are the brainchild behind the bookstore now on site, helping to quite literally promote the concept of data literacy. Peter shared his vision for the next 18 months saying, “The next big thing in data is not going to be technology – it’s going to be data ethics. We’ve got bills going through parliament around data privacy and data security and people are very concerned over how Gen AI, ML and data science are being used, so data ethics is going to become increasingly important.”
The X-Axis stage also saw notable sessions from Dr Katie Russell, Data Director, OVO Energy; Barr Moses, CEO and Co-Founder, Monte Carlo – Driving Customer Empathy with Data: How OVO Generates Cost and Energy Savings for Customers through Data Observability as well as panel debate Panel Debate: Gen AI: What’s Now? What’s Next? with guests Simon Whiteley, Director of Engineering, Advancing Analytics; Olivia Duane Adams, Chief Advocacy Officer, Alteryx; Professor Ashok Jashapara, Professor of Innovation Studies, Royal Holloway University of London.
Over on the Y-Axis Keynote Stage, we saw sessions by Hilda Davies, Field CTO, Snowflake – Setting the Foundations of Your Data Strategy to Maximise the Power of AI/ML , the controversial Scott Taylor, The Data Whisperer, Meta Meta – Data is the New Bullsh*t , and Mike Ferguson, Conference Chair, Big Data LDN; Barr Moses, CEO and Co-Founder, Monte Carlo; and Robin Sutara, Field Chief Technology Officer (EMEA), Databricks in the hotly anticipated – The Great Data Debate 2023. Sutara commented: “Big Data LDN is the best place to learn from your peers and about new technologies. The data space continues to move rapidly and we all have best practices and known issues that we can share with each other. It’s a great opportunity to connect with those peers and diverse peers that you may not have within your own team.”
The under representation of women in the industry is an overarching theme at this year’s show with Roisin McCarthy, Founder of Women in Data, looking to challenge the status quo. Male analysts and data scientists currently outnumber their female colleagues 4 to 1. She said “Today feels truly inclusive and it’s amazing to have so many diverse thoughts, opinions and experiences all coming together for the greater good. At Women in Data we’re not just representing, but elevating and celebrating women, so that they can truly be heard and contribute to the progress of the data industry.”
Many of the other conference theatres also enjoyed full houses during the day. At the Modern Data Stack Theatre sessions explored reducing friction, cost and technical debt. Presentations focused on data warehousing (NeuroBlade, Snowplow), data lakes (HSBC, Starburst), boosting business performance and customer relations (Fresha/dbtLabs, CastorDoc/BackMarket, Monzo), and Gen AI and stack investment (Snaplogic. Fivetran).
In the Gen AI & Data Science Theatre, Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) shared its experiences of scaling data driven decision making with augmented analytics and Gen AI. Chris Potter, Global Applied Analytics at CPW said “AI is not something to be feared. It’s not about taking people out; it’s about enhancing their role. For us, it compliments what our business analysts are doing and allows us to access different data sources and translate that into meaningful business insights. Generative AI will provide business the opportunity to take their data further, to really understand it, to tell a story and use it to drive their business and create a data driven culture.”
Bill Hammond, Event Director at Big Data LDN, commented: "The show has got off to a great start, with people streaming through the doors, eager to explore what’s new and learn from the industry experts. With record numbers of exhibitors and visitors compared to previous years, Big Data LDN 2023 is the largest yet. There’s a real buzz on the show floor and a palpable sense of excitement in the show theatres. Our visitors are making the most of the talks, sessions and networking events to get to grips with some of the most exciting aspects of data science today – Gen AI, data culture and governance – while learning how to address the challenges they bring.”