Putting value at the core of your business: Data-driven vs Data-centric

A data-driven or data-centric company?

We’re always hearing technology companies claim that the future lies in becoming a data-driven organisation: “Five steps to becoming a data-driven company”, “Build a data-driven business”, “Becoming a data-driven enterprise takes dedication”, “Apache Hadoop and big data platforms for a data-driven enterprise.”…

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Numa – a disruptive form of education

A few days ago, Stratio asked if anyone from the Numa Team wanted to write about this exciting experience. Rather than writing about it alone, we preferred to sit together and mix our thoughts and feelings about our journey through Stratio – Because we are all equals and one of the main values we are learning about here at Stratio is team work.

Numa is Stratio’s innovative educational center in all things Big Data & AI. The name derives from No-University, No-Master because that’s what it intends to be: A disruptive method of learning that does not follow the usual academic rules and aims to nurture the talent of its participants to prepare them for the professional world.

Numions&NumaTrainers
Numions & Numa Trainers at our offices in Madrid

Why did you apply to join Numa?

When we first heard about Stratio and visited its company website, what struck us was the fact that it was a pioneering Big Data company with its main office in Spain. We have all been interested in Big Data for a while now and we were surprised and pleased to find a company based in Madrid. Stratio also uses the most up-to-date technologies, that are very innovative today and we are all very interested in learning about these.

A special mention to the work values of the company is a must: Make mistakes, Try new things, Dream big, Work hard, Be nice to people, Help each other, Be a team player, Laugh out loud, Play fair, Do the right thing.

At first, they seemed too good to be true. But these values are a core part of daily life at Stratio and are as real as anything! We think that being comfortable at work is as important as having a good salary, in some cases even more important. It has been a very positive experience to see a company that sticks to its values even when it grows to over 300 members of staff.

The idea of dedicating some weeks to learning before incorporating the workforce was a big deal because most of us are recent graduates and this will be our first work experience.

What is different to a usual master’s program?

For us, the main difference about Numa is the practical nature of the course, the immediate application of knowledge and the flexibility that the program offers. During traditional master courses at university, we had to stick to the traditional curricula chosen by the head of department (that sometimes didn’t match the knowledge that the teachers wanted to share or even real-world problems). When you tried to suggest something different or to move away from an out-dated technology on to a new one (so many hours programming in assembler…), it was usually impossible to modify a subject.

It’s great to have the opportunity to learn about what you really want to and to be able to put it all into practice. We have the extra motivation that every technology we are learning in Numa will be applied in a near future at StratioBD.

What have you covered so far?

Even though the project has only just started, we have already had a number of modules which have provided us with an in-depth knowledge of the culture and philosophy of Stratio, its product, its organization, methodology and of course our colleagues. All this just in the first week!

During the second week, we started with more technical modules, such as JIRA, MAVEN, AWS and so on. We are facing the coming weeks with mixed feelings because we are going to start with Scala. Though we are very enthusiastic about it, we are also a bit frightened!

Would you recommend someone to apply to Numa?

At this point, we all have someone in our minds that we think would thoroughly enjoy Numa and the Stratio experience. We think this no-master’s is a great opportunity to get close to a new way of working in a progressive way.

Data quality considerations in a data-centric platform

Over the last few years, the volume of data that is generated daily has grown exponentially, sources of information are getting more heterogeneous and data has all kinds of formats, both structured and unstructured. In this sense, the irruption of Big Data has caused a great technological revolution, which has allowed us to exploit all these types of information and to do it in real time, something that was totally unimaginable until this moment (I expect I have not told you anything new so far!).

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Argos Tour 2017

Last week, we introduced Argos Framework in our blog. It is a frameworkcreated to develop independent products which are integrated into a single final product. It is a framework that, among other things, brings together best practices from other frameworks such as SAFe and Nexus. As it makes use of Scrum and Lean Kanban, it works with different Product Backlogs, giving great importance to the management of interdependencies, providing a very deep refinement, which helps define a transparent and aligned Roadmap, which can generate the greatest possible value for the suite of products.

In order to make Argos framework known, we decided at Stratio to start out by showing it to the rest of the Agile community. We not only wanted to showcase it, but we also wanted to get feedback to improve the way we work as much as possible. In this post, we will summarize the different events we have attended and the feedback we obtained in each of them.

Agile Open Space 2017 (AOS)

AOS is a conference in which the Agile community gathers. We travelled to Segovia to present the Argos framework for the very first time. AOS has an Open Space format so firstly, each candidate gives a short pitch on what they want to give a talk on, and then the attendees vote on which talks they would like to attend. After processing the results, the agenda is generated. The talk “Argos! Building a universe of products”, was a success and was selected. It was Alberto Serrano, former Agile Coach, who introduced it. The feedback that was given was pretty good. People were mainly interested in the frameworks we considered before creating Argos. Frameworks such as SAFe, LeSS, Nexus… They also showed special interest in how we carry out the reviews with the clients and how we fit the framework in teams such as support and sales.

Part of the Stratio Agile-Team

BBVAgile Conference 2017

The BBVA-Agile is an internal and annual conference held by BBVA at its headquarters in which hundreds of people from different countries attend. We have been working with BBVA -one of the top banks worldwide known- to transform and build its digital strategy around Big Data and AI. Stratio’s Agile Team was invited to this event to explain the Argos framework and also we were lucky to be the only ones who did not belong to BBVA. Here is where we showed the actual poster for the very first time, which helped us explain Argos better.

Argos
Argos framework Big Picture

Conference Agile Spain (CAS) 2017 – the most voted talk!

The last event we attended in which we introduced Argos was CAS. This is an event that takes place in Spain and that focuses on all things related with the Agile world. It is held in Seville, in the Fibes Congress and Exhibition Center, and more than 700 people attended. As in other Agile conferences, the agenda was also created using a voting system where all attendees participated. In this case, the name of the talk was “Argos, when Scrum is not enough” and the speakers were Alberto Serrano, former Agile coach, and Esther Peinado, Agile coach at Stratio. This time was again a success and the talk was one of the most voted out of over 250 talks. It was exhibited the first day of the conference in the Ronda room and we had a very large audience. We managed to get the attention of people like Jerónimo Palacios, an Agile example who is known worldwide. One of the particularities of CAS 2017 is that there was a very original way of giving feedback. It was a mailbox in which attendees introduced their feedback at the end of each talk. The feedback consisted of rating the talk out of 5 and adding a short text with ideas or ways to improve. We obtained an average score of 4! In the following picture you can see our feedback:

Argos feedback at CAS

All attendees agreed that we have come up with an excellent work solution for large teams and complex products. Many attendees were also inspired to apply it to their use cases and some attendees also confirmed that, in general, many conventional frameworks do not work. In summary: very good solution and very well explained.

Conclusions

Although at Stratio we have already found the structure to work with, we are sure we must continue growing and improving our product. This Kaizen mindset has brought us to the road we are on at this moment and we hope to continue like this!

Introducing Stratio’s new Agile Framework: Argos

Stratio is a technology company that was born in 2013 with the aim of creating a product that solves the main challenges faced by a company when implementing a Big Data solution. Stratio is firmly committed to agile frameworks and, right from the start, its hallmark has been the self-organization and multi-disciplinarity of the teams that the Scrum methodology proposes.

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Ganesha, the Scrum Master’s God

Ever felt daunted by a new role? Remember that feeling when you have just started at a new company? As Scrum Master, having started recently at Stratio, a pioneering Big Data company, the feeling is still relatively raw. While pondering how to best fit in, I received a small gift from a friend that got me thinking. It was a small representation of Ganesha. I began researching about this Hindu deity and found some curious information that I would like to share!

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Big Data Spain 2014 summary

Once Data Sources API  has been released, we’ve wanted to take advantage of these new features and, for this reason, we have developed a Spark-MongoDB library. With this new connector we help the growing MongoDB community to simplify the interaction with this datasource via Spark.

This library provides the mechanism for accessing MongoDB collections in a structured way from SparkSQL, accesible from Python and Scala API’s. Since MongoDB is an open-source document database leader among NoSQL databases and is highly used in several projects [http://www.mongodb.com/leading-nosql-database] we find this connection with all the operations permitted by SparkSQL not only useful but necessary.

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