'In the end, everyone works with data. BDE is the expo for anyone who's concerned with data'

"The name Big Data Expo says it all. Whether it is the chief of the mail room, a manager of a refugee organisation or an analyst; everyone benefits from data." Diederick Beels – sales direct Benelux of Tableau Software – sees opportunities for his company, as ambassador of BDE 2018. "For us and our tools, it's a platform to help people see and understand data."

The growing availability of data causes major developments in the field of companies and IT. Big Data Expo plays into this well, according to Beels. "The larger amount of data and types of data – it is estimated the total will multiply tenfold over the next six to seven years – used to be interesting to technicians only. Today, a much wider target audience is concerned with data; all with their own activities and interests. BDE serves all these people.

'Understanding what data and analyses can lead to'
The bar in regard to accessibility and the insights data and analyses can provide is lower now, than it was a few years ago. However, Beels still sees more than enough opportunities for a growing group of people to "gain new insights from data." Consequently, this is exactly what he focuses on specifically with Tableau. "We want to help people see and understand data. We do this at the expo as well, by presenting our products: an enterprise platform for visual analytics and collaboration." The fact a wider target audience is interesting in data is beneficial in another way, according to Beels: "If you have data as a company, you can ask follow-up questions. It is not always the IT-people who are able to ask these questions. With visual aids, we try to offer everyone the opportunity to ask questions and gain new insights. Interestingly, it is actually the operational-minded customers who are becoming more and more interested.

Understanding the value of data
IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing are the hottest trends in the upcoming months and years, according to Beels. These themes are addressed at BDE. The sales director explains these developments provide insights in patterns, give suggestions and show the value of the different elements. "AI and Machine Learning already provide people with more and better insights. NLP will give end users the opportunity to ask questions more easily, through text or speech, and receive answers faster as well. Especially important is the fact companies can apply this type of technology to the entire company. Tableau anticipates to this by having people cooperate while making analyses and focusing on specific roles with organisations.

'Laid-back environment'
In addition to serving technicians, Tableau especially targets new end users; the business users. People who are not 'enabled' yet, with regard to visualisation and analysis tools. "I expect we can do this in the usual laid-back fashion, just like we have done previous years." Beels explains he aims to speak to customers and partners, meet colleagues and business relations, and listen to presentations and customer experiences at the event. "It is interesting to see what a customer has achieved so far and to which new insights this has led the company. The same counts for people who got to work with something and were not only able to make this visible, but were more exposed themselves as well." Anyone who wants to work with data, or more specifically with Tableau, is advised to start small, by the sales director. "For instance, with one or two examples. Make it specific; not only from an IT point of view, but also from a business angle.

The number-one expo
"At BDE we are able to talk to the most interested people. Many people visit us at our stand. It is an event where you can invest your time valuably and this is definitely not always the case at other expos. This is the number-one expo of the Netherlands regarding data."