Posted on — 18 November 2021

GoDataFest 2021: The Many Shapes and Forms of Data Technology

GoDataFest is a wrap! During the first week of November, companies like Danone, Heineken, Interfood, Ahold, Bol.com, Funda, Picnic, and Schiphol Group took to GoDataFest’s stage. They shared how they are leveraging the benefits of a data-driven way of working, accelerating their business with data applications, and changing how they are organized. Leading and emerging tech providers were also present. From AWS, GCP, Microsoft, and Databricks to NATS, Coiled, SODA, Fivetran, and dbt.

IT professionals and business executives around the globe immersed themselves in topics such as analytics engineering, data mesh, data democratization, ML Ops, data literacy, strategy, computer vision and deep learning. Over 130 speakers from pioneering organizations discussed the many ways in which data and cloud technology provide industry leaders and disruptors a competitive edge when it comes to time to market, agility, and growth. The hybrid event was recorded and streamed from studios with a live audience, reaching thousands of professionals in Europe, Australia, and the US.

This year, the fourth edition of this data technology festival took place. After last year's edition that took place entirely online, it was great to open the doors again for a hybrid edition of GoDataFest. This year, the event was organized as part of another initiative, the Club Cloud Conference.

Instead of wondering what GoDataFest and the overarching Club Cloud Conference were all about, ask what we didn't discuss! The extensive program that sometimes even took us into the evening covered the basics, like cloud adoption, target operating models, and data literacy. It included deep dives into data democratization, GPU-accelerated data science, data mesh, analytics engineering, and FinOps. Finally, we also talked at length about scaling your business with cloud-native software engineering practices, embedding shared responsibility for a secure cloud environment, and growing your business in new regions like China.

One of the sessions, by Luuk Figdor (Sr. Sports Technology Specialist, EMEA, AWS), showed attendees how AWS uses advanced data applications to enhance the professional sports viewing experience.

"Technology adoption is a challenge. You have to trust technology's ability to take over tasks. Grow this confidence through education and examples of cost-effectiveness, easy scaling, and better sustainability. There is no single solution. However, the cloud does offer many options to automate and boost productivity. For us, this means we can personalize and offer end-users increasingly specific content,” Figdor said.

Being successful with Cloud and Data

Cloud and data are hot topics, but how do you become truly successful? Joost Olieroock (Data & Analytics Lead, Guidion) shared his experiences setting up a data team in a scale-up environment without losing focus on human needs. "Data capability is a huge challenge. It involves developing a data strategy, building infrastructure, and professionalizing the team. Imagine scaling up data that is spread across the entire company; it's tough," Joost explains. "We have set up a data warehouse, established a data team, and changed our way of working. Now we can focus on centralization, increasing data usage, and implement predictive modeling."

Organizational Transformation

Introducing cloud or data impacts every part of your business, and Club Cloud wouldn't be complete without addressing this topic. Among others, we listened to Danone share how it established data literacy organization-wide and partook in a lively discussion with EV Box's CIO Madelein Smit about Google Cloud, data analytics, security, and tech team diversity.

EV Box sees how partners with a specific focus can advance their business, such as Snowflake, whom the company works with for data analytics. But how does one organize this ecosystem smartly and efficiently?

Other challenges that were mentioned during the week include finding the right people (Sabine Scheffer, Data Scientist, Gall & Gall), redefining value, and using data to better serve their customers, consumers, employees, and suppliers, and overall change management (Ciaran Jetten, Sr. Manager Global Analytics Transformation, Heineken).

"To continue to deliver value, you have to change, and change comes with resistance. Evangelization, knowledge exchange and training are urgently needed to help people understand how to work with data. That's why Heineken now has its own data academy, with more and more senior management training focusing on data." - Ciaran Jetten, Sr. Manager Global Analytics Transformation, Heineken.

Club Cloud

"As a host, I feel that I can say that the sheer amount of talks during GoDataFest was truly amazing. Where else can you hear first-hand from end-users in many industries, some of them that are truly fast changing, how data empowers their organizations to accelerate their business. Think of organizations in industries like food (Danone), tech (Kongsberg), and travel and aviation (Schiphol). Other organizations that shared their practical experiences include Funda, Hema, Bol.com GetInData, Königsweg, and Fivetran and dbt." - Renald Buter, COO at GoDataDriven and GoDataFest host

GoDataFest aims to meet the growing demand for data & AI knowledge, insight in the latest data technology, best practices, and a community of like-minded people so companies don't have to reinvent the wheel. This conference would not have been possible without the help of our partners Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Databricks, Alibaba Cloud, Hashicorp, NATS, Cloud Health, Monday.com, Coiled, Fivetran, and SODA.
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Missed the event? Stay tuned for the recorded sessions or register here

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