Mark van Rijmenam is the Founder of Datafloq. He is a highly sought-after international public speaker, a Big Data strategist and author of the best-selling book Think Bigger – Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business. He has been named as a global top 10 Big Data influencer. Currently, he is pursuing PhD at University of Technology, Sydney on how organizations should deal with Big Data, the Blockchain and Algorithms.
Recently, we got in touch with Mark to have a quick conversation about the application of machine learning, blockchain and measurement of the value delivered by big data analytics. We enjoyed taking this interview, and we’re sure that our readers are going to love the insights shared by Mark.
[PromptCloud] Tell us about your fascination with big data, IoT, blockchain. How did you come up with Datafloq and how has been the journey so far?
[Mark] I started with Datafloq four years ago and I have always been interested in the latest trends that affect organisations. The world is changing so rapidly at the moment and organisations are having difficulties keeping up with all the disruption. I like to help organisations better understand these topics and how they affect the business, which is why I started Datafloq and why I give keynotes around the globe. So far, it has been a great journey, but we are only getting started.
[PromptCloud] Gradually blockchain will be used to create records of currency exchange, all types of digital and physical transactions—converting uncertainty into certainty in daily human life. What’s your take on this?
[Mark] It will completely change the society as we know it. The potential of having transactions being recorded on the blockchain, indefinitely, taking out the middlemen will change how we develop and build organisations. In addition, when we have smart contracts on the blockchain, it can result in Decentralised Autonomous Organisations, or organisations without management or employees, run completely by code. That is a paradigm shift and will result in new products and services unlike we have seen before.
[PromptCloud] Coming to big data analytics, how should companies measure the business value delivered by its application?
[Mark] Big Data analytics offers a lot of opportunities for organisations and measuring the results can be done in a wide variety of ways, all depending on the application of big data analytics. If you wish to create true customer personalisation through big data analytics, measuring the results can be done, for example, by monitoring customer lifetime value or cost per acquisition. For each application, there are different ways to monitor. In fact, if big data analytics is applied correctly it will reduce costs, increase revenue, improve your bottom line and result in happier customers and employees.
[PromptCloud] What would be your advice to companies looking to extract web data for analytics? How should companies select a vendor for data acquisition?
[Mark] Web data can offer a lot of insights, but it all depends on which data you select, what sort of analysis you perform and with what data you combine it. This can be done in-house, but if you need a vendor it is important to look for a vendor that matches your company profile; do you want a tailor-made solution or can you use an ‘As-a-Service Solution’? Do they have industry specific knowledge and can they grow with you? Selecting the right big data vendor is still difficult, therefore, we have created a big data vendor index on Datafloq that helps organisations with this process.
[PromptCloud] How can companies test feasibility of machine learning application? What would be a dramatic application of machine learning?
[Mark] With any big data, machine learning or other intelligent application, it is important to start small, within a closed environment to understand if the application is suitable for the task at hand. Proof of concepts are important if you wish to start with big data or machine learning. Machine learning can help organisations improve their business and the more it is applied within a business, the more efficient and effective it can become. A dramatic application of machine learning would be of course a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation, where machine learning algorithms in combination with smart contracts and big data analytics run the business.
[PromptCloud] How should companies handle data security?
[Mark] Data security is vital for organisation as I always like to say: If you are not being hacked, you are simply not important enough. So, it is not a matter of if you will be hacked, but when. Therefore, that should be your starting point and you should ensure that if you are hacked, that your data remains encrypted and your customers remain safe. You should ensure that customers and employees use safe passwords and that you have the right processes in place that minimise human mistakes, apart from the required IT measurements such as encryption and IT analytics to know when you are being hacked.
[PromptCloud] According to you, what are some of the big data trends to look forward to?
[Mark] I just wrote an extensive article on this, please visit: https://datafloq.com/read/the-top-7-big-data-trends-for-2017/2493
[PromptCloud] What are some of your go-to big data resources? How should one approach this field while getting started and learning more about it?
[Mark] There is a lot of content available on the web, including on Datafloq. Reading as much as possible, and if you wish to become a Big Data Scientist, practice is vital. I follow a wide variety of blogs and platforms to remain up-to-date with the rapidly changing environment. In addition, because of my PhD on Big Data, Blockchain and Algorithms, I do a lot of research which helps as well.