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Strata + Hadoop Interview Series – Gopal GopalKrishnan, P.E., OSIsoft

Mr Gopal GopalKrishnan, Solutions Architech at OSIsoft, had graciously agreed to sit down with Big Community for a few minutes during the Strata+Hadoop Conference in Singapore to talk to us about Big Data initiatives from OSIsoft as well as to give us his views on how Big Data is being adopted in the region. He was talking to us in between his busy schedule at the conference held from the 5th till the 8th of December at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition centre.

He gave a quick background as to how OSIsoft are a Big Data Analytics solutions provider. “Think of us as an equivalent of a black box. Except instead of writing over and over again, we just continue to fill up storage. Which means it is essentially a history of whatever you did”, says Gopal as we sat down to begin the interview.

He gave an example of what OSIsoft provide as a solutions provider. In baking cookies for instance. Starting from the recipe, to oven temperatures, to when will the oven be at its hottest or the point at which the oven temperature is ideal for baking. All this data will be collected and played back. The magic then happens in the recollection of the data where one can analyse in detail what might have gone wrong, or what went right, or even how to further improve the baking process.

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“Even the Kellogs you had this morning, they use our software. Almost every pharmaceutical company uses our software”, he says, giving examples of who their clientele are.

Marketing and Partners Director Jaslyn Ling was also available to give us a comment on how the ASEAN countries are looking in terms of adopting Big Data.

“Having both developed and developing countries throughout ASEAN, we see some countries adopting IoT whereas others are adopting smart manufacturing or smart cities. So there are many different ranges of adoptions happening throughout the region”, she said.

She added that the solutions provided by OSIsoft gives them a unique opportunity to be part of the individual countries development and growth into adopting Big Data, such as the smart city development in Vietnam, or in Japan and Korea where it is more developed and are pursuing smart manufacturing.

Therefore, being a growing field full of opportunity, we asked Gopal what should a budding enthusiast of Big Data do to be more involved and maybe become a data analyst.

He encouraged enthusiasts to improve their domain knowledge by taking up internships at the various tech companies dabbling in Big Data Analytics. His advice would be especially true given the industry he is involved in as a manufacturer, he says it will be good to take up an apprenticeship where one can observe and absorb from the people with the expertise.

OSIsoft also provide a 12 week academic program for students. OSIsoft, who are the developers of the PI System, develops and supports software used to capture, process, analyze, and store real-time data. The analytics collected is shared freely with the students for educational and teaching purposes

The other area that is developing exponentially throughout the region is where vendors play a big part.

“Vendors who are extremely agile in whatever they do, will make the biggest impact”. Gopal warns however, that taking on a project that could take up to 6 months with no way to see what will happen in that six months, will not be wise in today’s fast paced environment. Instead vendors who take up projects that shows results within 2 to 3 weeks would do much better as this will give them the opportunity to quickly remedy the situation or back out.

To our question on what are the challenges facing companies in shifting to data analytics and enabling big data driven decisions, Gopal firmly believes that the misconception that big data can do it all, is the biggest challenge that companies are facing.

“People think that they can just dump their data into a lake and everything they want will come out. It doesn’t work that way. Even if I tell you what you need, the ability to implement it might be lacking.”

He says that in most companies, this is what he sees when dealing with some customers they handle. The CIO tells the IT manager that he wants to implement Big Data Analytics because he has heard it is the next big thing. They then take on a project, spend the budget and in 6 months time, they are still at square one.

In this regard, he adds that these companies are not alone. Many are facing this same situation. They need to connect to the right vendors to guide them through and bring them out the other side. Otherwise, it will just become another project and a very expensive one at that. He wasn’t able to name names, but says that there are at least 10 companies who were in that predicament before finding a consultant vendor such as OSIsoft, to help implement the proper solutions.

 

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