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From Zero to Tensorflow: Building an Analytics Dept.

YOW! Data 2019

Day 1: one engineer vs. a heap of time-series data on a 1990s-era database
Four years on, there's 8 of us, we run TensorFlow analytics on a Hadoop cluster to detect subtle signs of a potential breakdown on earthmoving equipment. We've prevented million-dollar component failures, and reduced a lot of "parasite" stoppages.

This talk details the strategy and lessons learned from building an analytics department from scratch, in particular:

  • Many analytics depts. were created as a "Flavour of the month". How do you approach this perception, survive and go beyond?
  • Choosing the right projects to create a credible and sellable offering as quickly as possible to build your reputation.
  • Expectation management, and choosing projects: Dealing with those who think "it won't work", and those who think you can solve all problems,
  • Growing from a "start-up in a large company" to a more mature group. Change management, scaling, velocity, etc.
  • Approach to R&D and launching new projects, dealing with the "shiny toys"