The career you have in technology today will most likely be completely different in 10 years’ time.
Nine years ago when I joined Accenture I’d never heard of “Big Data”. It didn’t even exist as a concept in data-centric discussions. I’d joined the company with a very hands-on and technical role as a developer and thought that would be my career for life.
However, in 2013 I moved to Australia and worked with a lot of visual analytics tools in reporting and design. That was my introduction to Big Data. I discovered it from the front end, realising that all the reporting and analytics could be greatly enhanced by leveraging powerful back-end data engines – such as Hadoop.
Back in 2013, it was just getting under way and people were beginning to see all the cool things you could do with visual analytics and real time reporting.
Since then I’ve focused on Big Data and in those five years we’ve seen the technologies and practices moving faster and faster. Here are some of the key trends I’ve noticed during my time at Accenture:
Companies are creating Data Hubs
We find our clients are constantly looking for new strategies to make innovative use of Big Data. Originally Big Data was a platform that allowed people to ingest a lot of data into it and work with that data really quickly. But five years on, what I’m seeing is a lot of companies are finding real use cases for big data and are using it at an enterprise level. They are creating data hubs and are sharing data across different teams and business units in the company so that they can generate new insights. They are working with data in ways that wasn’t possible before. Due to improved technologies they can combine data sets from all different areas and perform large scale analytics on their data.
Whether that is Governments, retailers, the mining industry – every company has huge amounts of data.
Big focus on Data Governance
From these growing data hubs comes an increasing need for data governance and we are seeing a big focus on that with our clients. Originally people were pulling data in from wherever they had it, playing around with it and seeing what happened. They would end up with what we call a “data swamp” which meant a lot of data in it but they don’t know what it is or what to do with it. Now there is a need for data governance frameworks around these “data hubs”. Without proper governance frameworks, companies find it difficult to keep track of data and in turn use it to make informed decisions.
Big Data enables new and emerging technologies
Big Data has made working with all the latest technologies possible. We are seeing Big Data platforms being used as a base for a lot of the new and interesting technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. So for our teams in Accenture doing AI work – yes they have the algorithms to do the AI work but they’ve got this big powerful data platform sitting at the back that allows them to actually crunch large numbers of data and use the power behind the big data engines to run those algorithms to perform machine learning and AI.
Also, these days you can see that everything is connected. You’ve got smart watches, you’ve got sensors everywhere - in cars, in industry workplaces, in mining companies. Everything is censor-based and there is a lot of data coming in from everywhere. It’s called the Internet of Things (IoT) - lots of data coming through sensors being fed into big data engines and used for live reporting and analysis. It’s a trend that’s going to grow and grow and it’s all powered by Big Data engines.
Before I came to Australia in 2013 I thought I would be a developer for life. It was only when I moved into different roles and met different teams around Accenture and got to see all the exciting projects people were working on that I found I was interested in other things.
And that’s the best thing about Accenture. You get the exposure and opportunity to work on different products and new technologies. You don’t just sit in one place. If there are new technologies – which are appearing at an astonishing rate – you can learn about them and explore them within Accenture.