Datanova for Data Analysts: The Past, Present, and Future

Published: May 28, 2021

After the stupendous success of Datanova back in February, we couldn’t wait another year! On May 19, we took the show on the (virtual) road – this time a summit format geared towards the data analyst persona. At Starburst, we believe that the analyst community is integral to unlocking the value of data and propelling the business forward. 

Packed with carefully curated educational and thought leadership content, the half-day event explored the past, present and future of the data analyst role in a world where “old meets new.” While the 47-year-old SQL continues to be the lingua franca of modern analytics and the 100-year-old global confectioner Mars continues to innovate, Starburst is fast becoming the SQL query engine of choice and the ‘Data Mesh’ paradigm is gaining traction. 

We got an impressive lineup of subject matter experts from Adobe, Bank of America, Mars, New Balance, Slalom, Starburst, Tableau, ThoughtSpot, and University of Maryland to share their insights with our 700+ registrants. Starburst’s CMO Jess Iandiorio and Director of Product Russell Christopher (a self-confessed recovering data analyst) kicked things off and wrapped the summit with an exclusive Galaxy projector giveaway. Some highlights from the sessions are captured below:

Mars: Enabling Profitable Growth by Leveraging Data and Analytics

Mars, best known for its M&Ms and Snickers brands, is in the midst of a major digital transformation with a very specific focus. In this session, Deepak Jose, Head of Business Strategy and Advanced Analytics at Mars, talks about putting their data and analytics approach into practice, including designing the Mars Digital Engine, an effort broadly focused on leveraging data and analytics to drive growth. 

The talk provides a great inside look at how a large, storied brand is approaching our data-driven future, and where data analysts fit. Deepak has some cool advice for those of you encountering colleagues with a stubborn traditional mindset and why today’s data analysts need to stand their ground and support new tools if they want to deliver truly transformational results.  

Stream it on demand here.  

The State of Data Analysts 

Moderated by Andy Cotgreave, Technical Evangelist at Tableau and Co-Author of ‘The Big Book of Dashboards,’ this session reviews how the role of the data analyst has evolved over time. The demands of modern analytics, the advent of AI and ML, and the emergence of SQL-based MPP query engines like Starburst have altered the way analysts have traditionally operated. 

The panel features Charles Wilson, Senior Manager of Customer Insights and Analytics at New Balance, Manav Gupta, Head of Analytics and Insights at Adobe Stock, and Parker Dillon, a Senior Consultant at Slalom.

The speakers make bold predictions about dashboard usage, examine whether AI is overhyped, share advice for budding analysts, and even get into a somewhat philosophical debate about whether data analysis is an art or science. Or is it a scientific art? The highlight of this discussion is the mix of participants and perspectives, and it’s a must watch for every data analyst.

Stream it on demand here.  

What Data Mesh Means for Data Analysts

The focus is on the increasingly popular data mesh approach to enterprise architecture which calls for distributed, domain-oriented ownership of data. But what does data mesh actually mean for data analysts? Is the concept of data warehouse hypocritical? Is there a paradigm shift happening in the data architecture landscape?

Our panelists Zhamak Dehghani, Founder of Data Mesh, Daniel Abadi, Darnell-Kanal Professor of Computer Science at University of Maryland, College Park, and Gareth Stevenson, Director, Senior Quantitative Analyst, Bank of America answer these pressing questions in a discussion moderated by Sean Zinsmeister, VP Product Marketing at ThoughtSpot. This fun and informative discussion is worth watching in its entirety.   

Stream it on demand here.  

SQL & Trino: The Golden Language Prevails

SQL remains to be the dominant language for analytics and new SQL-based solutions like Trino are helping world’s leading organizations gain fast access to new and critical data to make informed business decisions. If you’re relatively new to this space and the value of distributed query engines, this session has everything you need to get started. 

Starburst’s Brian Luisi and Tom Nats deliver an impressive overview of why enterprises need such platforms in the first place, how they work within large organizations, and transition right into a great live demo. 

Separately, we also have brilliant lightning demos of how Starburst integrates with Thoughtspot and Tableau delivered by ThoughtSpot’s Todd Beauchene and Starburst’s Ben Lumbert. 

There’s More to Come… Stay Tuned!

One of the things we learned after our first Datanova is how hungry this space is for quality educational content. Datanova for Data Analysts is only the first in a planned series of summits targeted to specific user personas. Datanova for Data Scientists is up next, preparations are in full gear, and we’re working hard to bring to you an awesome content experience. If you’d like to learn about current and emerging trends, innovations, and best practices for data scientists from pioneers in the space, you may register here.

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