I returned today from a two week trip to Australia that included client meetings and roundtable presentations in five cities – Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. I finished my trip at the Gartner Data & Analytics Summit in Sydney which exceeded over 1,000 attendees and became our biggest D&A Summit in the APAC region so far. The popularity of the Summit was not a surprise to me as I witnessed a pent-up surge in our clients’ and prospects’ desires to learn more about data related topics.
My assessment was that many Australian clients have been slow to adopt newer technologies but are now exploring options to enhance their data infrastructure. The level of engagement was very high as we delved into architecture discussions. It was refreshing to see that the business cases were clearly defined and organizations were taking a very structured approach towards building their next generation initiatives.
Data Governance is top of mind for most organizations. In fact, I noticed an interesting dichotomy in the country. On one hand, Australians have feverishly opposed numerous attempts to create a national ID yet organizations are looking to link identities across various data sources. Most Australians are very guarded about protecting personal data yet companies are looking to match multiple identities by investing in projects such as master data management (MDM) and Customer360. Ethics topics kept creeping up in our discussions. It is clear that our mandate as data and analytics professionals is leading us to become data ethicists.
Last week, Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Act 2017 (https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy-law/privacy-act/notifiable-data-breaches-scheme) came into effect in Australia. However, most data privacy discussions veered towards the EU GDPR (https://www.eugdpr.org/) which is now less than 100 days away from enforcement (May 25, 2018).
Data warehouse modernization was a common theme followed by developing data lakes. I also met with many utilities that have deployed devices and sensors for decades and are now looking into Internet of Things (IoT) use cases to handle very old devices along with smart meters. Migrating to the cloud was very high on everyone’s priority. Interestingly, many companies and government departments I met were using Microsoft solutions and were looking into the Azure cloud offerings.
On the non-technical front, I handled the Aussie accent quite well even though while I talked about “day-tuh”, my audience talked about “daa-ta” (you have to say it with a twang). I had some harmless accent-related incidents. At one venue, I couldn’t understand why I was being introduced as the “richest” Gartner analyst only to realize I was being introduced as a Gartner “research” analyst.