Tuesday, May 13, 2014

MassTLC Hosts Inaugural Women in the Workforce Event

On April 18, 2014, MassTLC and event partner, Carbonite, brought nearly 150 women together for its Inaugural Women in the Workforce event. The evening session, “How Do You Reach the Top?” was comprised of four accomplished panelists (below) and Danielle Sheer, VP and General Counsel of Carbonite, who served as Moderator.

The night began with the panelists delving into how and why they worked towards securing their current roles at the CXO level. Amy Villeneuve, President and COO of Kiva Systems, emphasized strategic planning and urged her eager listeners to always think tactically. “To think strategically, ask yourself what you want to say in an interview with The Boston Globe in two years.”

After an enlightening Q&A session Sheer opened a more informal discussion between the audience and panel. The conversion ranged from how to utilize mentorships to set and achieve career goals to how to navigate an industry with the majority of CXO and management positions held by men.

As MassTLC continues to explore important issues regarding women in the workplace and technology sector, we invite you to share your thoughts about the panel discussion on our blog. Feel free to also send ideas for future forums to Member Relations Manager, Logan Goulett, at

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014 Big Data Summit: You Have the Data, Now What?

Over 200 people packed into the Microsoft NERD Center on May 1st for the MassTLC Big Data Summit, You have the data, now what?  At the onset of the program, MassTLC released three research reports on the intersection of big data and connected cities, life sciences, and healthcare. Each detailing the need for the talent and technologies related to big data and complex analytics to push these industries forward.

Oracle Big Data Strategist, Paul Sonderegger’s keynote that followed fired up the audience for the rest of the day. Somehow, Paul was able to redefine big data in ways that I’m sure the data scientists in the room never thought of before. From put a stop to and outbreak of Cholera in the 1800s and inventing electricity, his examples of using data were quite unique and attention grabbing.
Some key take-aways from the keynote:  Use structured and unstructured data from both internal and external sources, marry them all together and create competitive advantages. Doing this correctly will yield: 1) getting faster answers to new questions; 2) predicting more and more accurately; 3) enabling you to create data reservoir; and 4) accelerating data-driven action.

How are the leaders doing it?
From there, we moved into our data scientists panel, How are the leaders doing it?, which included: Chris Baker, Data Science Lead, Dyn; Joe Hendrickson, Vice President, athenahealth; Pete Martin, VP of Engineering, Pixability; and Ingo Mierswa, CEO and Founder, RapidMiner.

Each of our panelists hailed from a different industry and company size. But they had many things in common, primarily a focus on team approach is the best approach.  That there is almost nobody with the breadth and depth of skills it takes to carry-out the tasks of a data science team. They also agreed that to use big data most effectively you don’t want to go out in search of the needle in the haystack, you want instead to try and identify where you can begin to see patterns or anomalies and then work from there. And then finally, they provided some wise words with respect to using the information that you gain from data in a thoughtful and careful manner. Nothing is 100% but you must not let your executives jump to rash decision making without weighing in all circumstances.

Privacy and Governance
A fireside chat with Paul Barth, Co-Founder of NewVantage Partners and Justin Holmes, Interim CEO of the City of Boston provided views into the early stages of the why’s, what’s, and how’s of looking at and putting into place policies around privacy and governance. With the constant push pull of wanting transparency and access versus ensuring privacy this is quite a heady topic. Paul provided some very interesting (and cautionary) examples of how information gleaned from data may seem harmless to some but cause some issues with others, so all stakeholders and potential stakeholders need to be thought through. Also, within many industries (financial services, healthcare, etc.) combining different data sets may cause legal ramifications, such as taking a data set that is only meant for anonymous use, with a data set where personal information can be obtained.
While Justin had some views on the other end. For the City of Boston, a primary goal of opening data and making it accessible is to enable to its citizens, constituents, and visitors to gain value (speed bumps, snow plow tracking, restaurant inspections). And at the same time, they must always find a balance between impacts that making the information public could cause versus the value that it provides. The City is consistently looking for new opportunities as they pursue their efforts in making many more data sets available to the public and they have just recently embarked on their Privacy and Governance policy process. Be sure to check it out and provide your feedback.

Sourcing the Next Big Thing
Wrapping up our day, were the folks that put everything we discussed into action. Sourcing the Next Big Thing, was meant to show how the next big thing in data is how the industries are putting it to use. Richard Dale, COO of Optum; Steve Dodson, CTO of Prelert; Robert Nagle, VP & GM of Data Platforms; and moderator, Chris Selland, VP Marketing & Business Development for HP Vertica each talked about their own experiences and how they have been able to achieve positive outcomes. Again, a common theme through the day was to assemble and use a team approach. Another theme through this panel, capture and keep as much data as you can. You will never know when you might want to use it. And again, execution on the findings is key.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

MassTLC Releases New Reports: Big Data Can Transform City Services, Life Sciences, Healthcare in Massachusetts

MassTLC Leads Efforts to Connect Promise of Big Data
with Key Community and Industry Leaders

BOSTON, MA, May 1, 2014 – Big data can transform the City of Boston’s services and Massachusetts leadership role in life sciences and healthcare, according to three forecasting reports released today by Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC). The report recommendations, announced today at MassTLC Big Data Summit, are part of MassTLC’s ongoing effort to foster greater collaboration between sectors in order to position our region at the forefront of the big data revolution.

“Massachusetts is poised to lead as big data transforms every aspect of our lives, from how we care for each other to the way we deliver public services,” said Tom Hopcroft, President and CEO of MassTLC. “By bringing together public sector officials, academics, tech innovators and business leaders in areas like healthcare, life sciences, and urban infrastructure, we are creating a better future while powering economic growth and opportunity in the region.”

The reports include Big Data & Connected Cities, Big Data & Life Sciences, Big Data & Healthcare. They build upon MassTLC’s 2012 report, ‘Big Data and Analytics: A Major Market Opportunity for Massachusetts’, which found that Massachusetts had become a major hub for companies that create and use "big data" and analytics technologies, a burgeoning technology sector that is expected to continue its explosive growth over the rest of the decade. Today’s reports connect the region’s big data thought leaders to those in other key strength areas, including urban infrastructure, life sciences, and healthcare.

Big Data & the Connected City

The Connected City concept involves harnessing a broad set of information flows to improve the quality of existing city services, to enable new services, and to create a substantial growth engine for the local economy. The report recommends the ongoing engagement of Boston City officials, industry leaders, and academics, in defining the Connected City vision for Boston, and to then identify responsibilities for directing and managing the process of migrating Boston towards becoming the leading Connected City.

The report finds that big data can:
  • dramatically improve the quality of existing city services;
  •  enable new and better services;
  • provide existing services at lower cost;
  • and provide greater transparency of government services, enabling a more informed citizenry and inclusive form of government.
 “Boston is making great strides in using technology to improve how city services are delivered but we can and will do more,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.  “We are making vast amounts of the city’s big data available online to the public to not only increase transparency but to also spur innovation. Today’s report offers a roadmap for how we can expand these efforts to make Boston the nation’s top connected city.”

Big Data & Life Sciences

The Big Data & Life Sciences report found that, despite success with big data technologies in other industries, such as e-commerce and financial services, the life sciences have been slower to adopt new technologies that enable analysis of a richer mix of data sources. The goal of the report is to help researchers cut through existing barriers by identifying target segments that are more open to data sharing and to incentivize the development of new data science technology that will lead to breakthroughs in life sciences research.

“The effective use of big data offers tremendous growth opportunities in Massachusetts’ life sciences sectors,” said Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President & CEO Susan Windham Banister. “Building upon our global leadership in life sciences, we hope to utilize analytics technologies to optimize drug discovery and development and to create the next biomedical breakthroughs. This report lays out some fascinating recommendations to make this vision a reality.”

The report recommends leveraging Massachusetts’ technology leadership position to advance innovation in life sciences research and development. According to the report, a first step could be identifying a cohort of patients to provide portable consent of their data, which will be used to support better patient stratification and identification of predictive biomarkers for biomedical research, clinical trials, diagnostic test development, drug discovery, and drug development.

Big Data & Healthcare

The Big Data & Healthcare report details how pervasive connectivity, data analytics, and other information technologies will transform the way we conduct research, deliver healthcare, form public opinion, and manage our wellbeing.

“Massachusetts has already set the standard when it comes to e-health but we are just getting started,” said Massachusetts Technology Collaborative CEO Pamela Goldberg. “Bringing together leaders in healthcare, life sciences, and IT to build a framework to maximize our great strengths is the smart and right thing to do.”

The report recommends convening public and private sector stakeholders to create a plan, modeled in part upon Governor Patrick’s 2007 $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative, to accelerate and expand the Massachusetts e-health cluster’s global leadership. Examples include developing an e-health accelerator program to build upon the Commonwealth’s qualities as a leader in entrepreneurship in healthcare, life sciences, and information technology.

The full reports can beviewed here.

About Mass Technology Leadership Council

The Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) is the region’s leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy leaders. MassTLC’s purpose is to accelerate innovation by connecting people from across the technology landscape, providing access to industry-leading content and ideas and offering a platform for visibility for member companies and their interests. For additional information and the latest updates, please visit http://www.masstlc.org.