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Dean Olmstead Senior Vice President Avanade Canada: Managing the Big Data Flood Prevalent in Business

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Dean Olmstead.

Dean OlmsteadDean Olmstead, Senior Vice President, Canada Operating Unit, Avanade.

Dean is responsible for all of Avanade’s business in Canada. Prior to this role, Dean served as Vice President of Americas Market Development and Sales Strategy, overseeing Avanade Americas’ vertical solutions and alliance alignment with Accenture and Microsoft.

Prior to joining Avanade, Dean spent over 18 years with Accenture where he was a Partner in the Communications & High Tech Industry group. Dean worked on delivering customer projects to the communications industry primarily focused on large custom development implementations in the Customer Care and Billing area. Dean also was responsible for one of Accenture’s mobility labs and helped drive the incubation of this technology in the enterprise.

Dean has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematical Economics from Pomona College.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:46: Dean, can you profile your key roles throughout your career and important findings you wish you to share from your challenges and successes?
"....A challenge is the constant and ever-changing marketplace and the demand that business has for technology solutions. When you couple that with the rampantly changing technology roadmap, anyone in IT really needs to embrace change to be successful...."

:01:40: From your current role, what do you hope to achieve and how do you bring value to your stakeholders?
"....From my history and the breadth that Avanade has going globally, I am trying to bring that to Canada to solve some localized problems that our customers are facing...."

:02:48: What specific qualities and attributes make for career success in companies like Avanade, Accenture and Microsoft?
"....It’s really about putting the customer first...."

:04:39: What was the purpose of the global survey conducted by Avanade?
"....We noticed this trend, that access to data and to the right information to make business decisions has been a problem. Recognizing that this was something we have been seeing in our customers on a regular basis, we decided to do a more formal study to really understand what was behind it...."

:05:23: What real business challenges are created by big data?
"....With the big influx of data it can be challenging to decipher what information is important and what is not when making business decisions. Executives want to make informed decisions and they need the latest and greatest information to make this happen...."

:06:13: Can you talk more about data addiction amongst executives?
"....Our survey found that 65 percent of C-level executives and IT decision makers reported that they are overwhelmed by the amount of data that their company manages. But they also said that they want this data faster and they want more of it...."

:07:15: What kinds of data are important for executives in their strategic decision-making and why is this so?
"....Everyone in an organization is creating data. Historically that kind of data was for certain areas within a company so it was bounded. Now you have almost an unbounded source and executives are wondering where is the latest and greatest information to help them....If everyone has access to this data and is potentially sharing this data, whether they know it or not, security becomes another great concern...."

:08:14: Can you profile the big data disconnect?
"....The companies recognize that they need more of the data faster and but they realize that what’s happening today isn’t enough. To bridge that disconnect we find that companies would really benefit from creating what we call a ‘data culture’ where they are linking people, processes and technology to manage this big data in a holistic way...."

:09:35: What additional thoughts can you share on data?
"....One of the overriding aspects of big data is that ‘search’ is a key component of it because of the quantities of data and the unique data stores that are all over a business enterprise....I find ‘search’ an interesting term because I really prefer to call it ‘find’. What I want to do is find information not search for it...."

:10:22: What are your thoughts on computing as a recognized profession like medicine and law, with demonstrated professional development, adherence to a code of ethics, and globally recognized credentials? [see]
"....As computing evolves it’s not going to just be about technology. It’s a whole process; it’s interacting with the business, people, and understanding how a company will benefit from computing, access to data, etc. It’s really going to take professionals in that organization...."

:11:05: You choose the areas - provide your top predictions of future trends and their implications/opportunities?
"....Cloud computing is going to take on a broader life especially around an enterprise perspective....Another trend that’s continuing is the proliferation of devices...."

:14:01: Dean shares a story from his many experiences and his work.

:15:55: If you were doing this interview, what question would you ask and then what would be your answer?
"....’What are you seeing customer’s problems as being?’...."