Welcome to another Percona Live Europe featured talk with Percona Live Europe 2016: Amsterdam speakers! In this series of blogs, we’ll highlight some of the speakers that will be at this year’s conference. We’ll also discuss the technologies and outlooks of the speakers themselves. Make sure to read to the end to get a special Percona Live Europe registration bonus!
In this Percona Live Europe featured talk, we’ll meet John De Goes, CTO at SlamData Inc. His talk will be on MongoDB Analytics & Dashboards. SlamData is an open source analytics and reporting solution designed specifically for MongoDB. SlamData lets anyone build live analytics, charts, and dashboards on any type of data inside MongoDB. Because SlamData runs all queries inside the database, reports are always up to date and can scale to the largest MongoDB deployments.
I had a chance to speak with John and learn a bit more about analytics for businesses:
Percona: Give me a brief history of yourself: how you got into database development, where you work, what you love about it.
John: I work as the CTO at SlamData, where we build open source software that helps companies understand complex data stored in modern databases.
I love my job. We’re solving a huge pain point for businesses, and we get to do that through open source. The technical challenges we’ve had to overcome (and have yet to overcome!) can be really difficult, but that’s what makes it so fun.
Percona: Your talk is called “MongoDB Analytics & Dashboards.” What are some of the more important data sets in MongoDB for people to monitor, and how does SlamData work to provide easy analysis of those data?
John: We use MongoDB to build data hubs, which pull together lots of different types of data into a single database. SlamData’s really useful for that case because you can explore many complex kinds of data, no matter how nested or irregular, then refine the data and build beautiful interactive reports and dashboards that can be used by non-technical people.
Developers also use MongoDB to build web and mobile applications, which tend to collect a lot of data about the product and the users. Normal analytics tools don’t work with MongoDB, because the data model is too complex. But we built SlamData to handle complex data, we make it very easy to do product and user analytics on top MongoDB databases.
Percona: Why are data dashboards important for businesses? How can businesses use the data to improve processes or realize revenues?
John: Analytics serve one of two major roles in today’s businesses. Firstly, tech companies use analytics to build product features. For example, if you built a marketing application for businesses, then your customers probably want their own analytics dashboard that’s embedded into the product. If you built your application on a modern database like MongoDB, then SlamData makes it very easy for developers to add these beautiful, interactive and secure dashboards into their applications.
Secondly, all kinds of companies store user profile, user event and product data inside databases. Businesses can use this information to better understand their customer makeup, what users are doing, how they are using internal or external applications, and how one data set relates to another. These insights help businesses improve business processes, such as allocating marketing spend or directing product development resources. This is the classic use case for Business Intelligence (BI) and reporting software, and SlamData really shines here, because you can just get to work on any kind of data, no matter how much or little structure it might have.
Percona: What is changing in how businesses use data that keeps you awake at night? What tools or features are you looking might you be thinking about to address these issues?
John: Businesses are moving away from traditional data warehousing. They don’t want to spend millions of dollars a year licensing a big clunky piece of technology that never has all the data, and which is always out of date. They want agile solutions that they can point to any source of data, no matter where it is, and no matter what structure it has, and begin answering the questions they have.
This is the single biggest shift in how companies want to consume analytics. The other two important ones are the democratization of analytics, which is a fancy way of saying business users want to do more and bottleneck less on IT, and the increasing use of web and mobile analytics solutions.
SlamData is built web- and mobile-first, and the core technology relies a lot on pushing computation down into data sources to minimize the need to involve IT. But nonetheless, it’s a new paradigm, and building this sort of technology that addresses the need for analytics agility is not easy. It’s taken us two and a half years to get this far, and we’re still barely halfway in.
Percona: What are you looking forward to the most at Percona Live Europe this year?
John: I’m from the USA, so I’m interested in seeing what tools and processes professionals in Europe are using to manage data requirements. I’ll be comparing notes. It’s going to be a blast!
You can read more about John and his thoughts on MongoDB analytics at his twitter handle.
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Percona Live Europe 2016: Amsterdam is the premier event for the diverse and active open source database community. The conferences have a technical focus with an emphasis on the core topics of MySQL, MongoDB, and other open source databases. Percona live tackles subjects such as analytics, architecture and design, security, operations, scalability and performance. It also provides in-depth discussions for your high-availability, IoT, cloud, big data and other changing business needs. This conference is an opportunity to network with peers and technology professionals by bringing together accomplished DBA’s, system architects and developers from around the world to share their knowledge and experience. All of these people help you learn how to tackle your open source database challenges in a whole new way.
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