Defying Gravity… Data Management in the Cloud

Oli Bage

Oli Bage

Distinguished Engineer and Head of Architecture for the Data and Analytics division at London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG)

On the 13th of July, LNETM went virtual with an event on Cloud Data Management: ‘Defying Gravity… Data Management in the Cloud’. I was impressed by how smoothly the webinar ran, and of course, by the wonderful panel: Sarah Catanzaro, and Stijn (Stan) Christiaens, and presentations from speakers, Anthony Cosgrove (Harbr), Maarten Masschelein (Soda), Seif Lotfy (Axiom), and Jorge Gomez Sancha (Tinybird).

Sarah is a former data scientist and now Partner at the venture capital firm, Amplify Partners, and Stan is the CTO and Co-Founder of Collibra. Altogether, the group had an immense wealth of experience and years in the industry, and their expertise was put to good use, creating a very interesting and informative conference. Read on to find out more about this month’s event.


1. Cloud Data Management is big right now!

The transition to Data Management in the Cloud has complex implications on the various data security regulations recently put in place, such as GDPR. I personally hold a co-chair position at the Enterprise Data Management (EDM) counsel’s Cloud Data Management Capabilities (CDMC) working group. The group is growing quickly, partnering with leaders in the field and currently boasting a membership comprised of 100 individuals across 56 different organisations. So far, the working group has put together a developer guide of 19 standards required for the Cloud migration process, needed due to the fact that cloud control environments are much less mature than traditional controls. Over the summer, the CDMC group aims to transform their work from a set of standards to a tangible, real, working software that implements these controls in the real world.


2. There is still much work to be done! e.g. in data valuation

Anthony Cosgrove, Co-Founder of Harbr, presented the company’s platform which aims to assist companies in extracting value from data in the Cloud. What is clear from the very helpful questions put to Anthony by Stan and Sarah, is that the effectiveness of Harbr’s methodology is of no doubt, but the mainstream appreciation of the value of data and its potential, is the real problem. Anthony described the issue as a need to ‘bridge the divide’ between someone’s having an idea and then having to prove its value. Harbr assists in this situation by connecting the data product designer to potential customers on the platform, demonstrable use cases, and encouraging crowdsourcing and collaboration with the market. There is though, still a long way to go in quantifying and qualifying data and the difficult value class which it exists in.


3. Much of the work still to be done involves improving general understanding of the sector.

From confusion around the concept of ‘serverless’ (see LNETM’s other blog on the subject), to a lack of understanding regarding the work which takes place in relation to data quality, transparency and comprehension of the Cloud Data Management industry is the obvious next step for its growth. After Maarten’s presentation of Soda and their work, Sarah posed the question: where has the drive for data quality, which we have seen in recent years, come from? Is it based in an increasing awareness of existing issues, or a proliferation of data quality issues? In Maarten’s response, that much-used phrase came up again: there is work still to be done. Indeed, the Data Management community is educating people involved with data as to what can go wrong. However, another element which sparks the push for data quality is the growing importance of the data. With companies automating more and relying on their data, it must be kept in perfect condition.

Another very clear point raised by Maarten is that there is already a lot of work in data quality going on unnoticed or acknowledged. Soda aims to open up visibility in regard to this work, making it clear what work is being done, and by who, and giving some credit to those working tirelessly to maintain data quality.

Both Axiom and Tinybird are contributing to the efforts making Cloud Data Management more useful and useable. Axiom’s SaaS which is making data management cheaper, and thus more accessible, is surely a step in the right direction. Similarly, Tinybird’s real-time data analytics will demonstrate the usefulness of such processes, increasing demand within the sector.

Harbr, Soda, Axiom, and Tinybird, are key players in a fast-developing industry with much more development still to be realised, and the CDMC work group clearly demonstrates the prominence and importance of this sector at the current moment. This month’s LNETM provided great insight into the challenges and exciting developments in the world of Cloud Data Management today!


LNETM is proving an absolute success in the new-normal that is virtual, online, events. Their next event is currently pencilled in for Monday 24th August, don’t miss it! Thanks so much to Ian, Sarah, Stan, Anthony, Jorge, Seif, and Maarten for a brilliant webinar.