Cloudera on Cloudera: Our Journey to Becoming More Data-driven

October 20, 2018 0 comments

Cloudera

I’ve spent the last four years here at Cloudera talking with our customers about how to run their businesses better using their data and Cloudera’s products and services. Now I get to put my money where my mouth is – and turn my focus internally on how we at Cloudera can become more data-driven.

We aspire to and are on the journey to be the best-run company on data, and to be our own best reference. We’ve already done a lot, but are now – given our continued accelerated growth and success – investing more time, resources and energy into being as data-driven as our most successful customers.

I do get asked why my role is a Chief Data and Information Officer (CDIO) instead of the more familiar Chief Data Officer (CDO). I credit the vision of our CFO, Jim Frankola for this one. Jim recognized that we, as a fast-growing startup company, need to bring together the critical pieces of our Information Technology: our digital team, front office and back office systems, IT/data center (and cloud!) operations, and our CISO’s team while we invest in and form a stronger data and analytics team. I’m finding this to be a perfect situation – not just because my IT leaders are so strong – but also because we can tackle data quality issues at the transaction/source systems, and we are finding ways to leverage different talent across our team in new ways to deliver more value to Cloudera.

Over the past couple of months as I stepped into this CDIO role, I took the opportunity to speak with a whole bunch of people across Cloudera – from Engineering, to Finance, Support, Marketing, Sales and our Technical Field people – about how well we currently ARE using data to run our company, and how everyone envisions how we SHOULD BE using data to run our company.

We share the same obstacles our customers face – most of which are around data collection, data quality (or lack thereof), data governance as well as misalignment or miscommunication about who is responsible and accountable for managing and analyzing different datasets and analytical outcomes.

And we all want the same things Cloudera’s customers want from their data and analytics journeys to:

  • Look at all our customer interactions, understand our customer journey holistically and from each functional view:
    • Determine which customers are most successful
    • Determine which touch points enabled success
    • Replicate success
  • Understand how our customers are using Cloudera’s products and services to drive their innovation (e.g.; their customer insights, connected products, risk mitigation)
    • Determine where to invest Cloudera resources
    • Identify and influence big bets in the market
  • Mitigate risk to Cloudera’s business – for example in the area of Cybersecurity, and to ensure compliance with regulatory and consumer privacy policies and concerns

Our journey to becoming even more data-driven is exactly the same as what our customers are going through. We think of the journey to being data-driven as falling into three big categories. The first is visibility. The second is productivity and self-service. And the third is business transformation.

At Cloudera, we have lots of work going into creating more visibility into how our business is being run and how we interact with our customers. On the other end of the spectrum, our Engineering and Support teams heavily use this data for our more transformative use cases in delivering predictive support to our customers. These are our most business transformative use cases.

So, we span the field here with use cases across this maturity spectrum. But the biggest takeaway here is that – like our customers – getting to being data-driven doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a multi-year or even multi-decade journey. We are bringing more focus to this now, and are accelerating our journey.

We also have the opportunity to really embody the concept of ‘One Cloudera’ – which is about teaming across our company to find synergies and deliver even more value. Think about it – we have the top experts in the world in this company – experts at identifying use cases, building out clusters, ingesting data, and helping our customers with advanced analytics and machine learning. How spoiled am I that I get to work with these experts to make Cloudera the best data-driven company and our own best reference?

Here’s just one example: some of our Professional Services principal architects built an Apache Spark framework for ingestion that’s being used at some fairly big customers – we are now using this same framework internally to ingest our product diagnostic bundles into our internal Enterprise Data Hub (EDH). And we’ll be doing a lot more to use what our Field experts have built for customers internally – and we will also be sharing back what we learn to those Field teams so that they can take advantage of our internal hands-on experience running Cloudera’s business on the EDH to help our customers in their data-driven journeys.

Look for more from me as we get hyper-focused on using our own products and services to better run our company. Know that we will share what we learn on this journey so that our talented Services team can continue to help our customers profit from their data – all on Cloudera’s Enterprise Data Hub.

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