Malaysia needs to accept failure: Teradata CTO

  • Innovation means failure and failing, and learning something from it
  • Don’t need math; hard and social sciences background will do as well

Malaysia needs to accept failure: Teradata CTO MALAYSIA may be ready to become the regional hub for big data analytics (BDA) in terms of technology, but two challenges stand in its way.
The country needs to develop more manpower, and needs to inculcate the culture of accepting failure as part of innovation, according to Stephen Brobst (pic), chief technology officer of data analytics solutions company Teradata Corp.
“The technology is already there. The culture and the talent are the hard parts,” he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur on May 12.
“Innovation requires failure and failing, meaning you’re learning something. It’s a culture that every country should have.
“A lot of companies do not know how to fail gracefully. If you failed, just learn from it and move on. It shouldn’t be viewed in a negative way,” he added.
Meanwhile, the big data talent gap exists not only in Malaysia but around the world as well, with Brobst saying that data scientists are expected to be the scarcest resource.
He advised companies to look beyond people with a mathematics or statistics background.
“Companies should look at people who come from the hard sciences like physics, chemistry, and astronomy – not computer science – because they know how to design experiments.
“Yes, you need to teach them the domain but these people are inherently curious people so there is a good correlation between hard science people and data scientists,” he argued.
And not just the hard sciences, but even those from a social science background can be groomed into data scientists or data professionals, especially those who did quantitative research for their theses, according to Brobst.
Finally, a good data scientist isn’t motivated primarily by money. “They’re motivated by an instinct to solve problems – having said that, you’ll still have to pay them enough to make them feel appreciated.
“But at the end of the day, giving them direct access to the data and good tools are more important to them,” he said.
Deepening relationship

Malaysia needs to accept failure: Teradata CTO

Meanwhile, Teradata Malaysia’s newly-appointed country manager Saqib Sabah (pic above) said the company will continue to move forward in Malaysia, especially with its ongoing relationship with national ICT custodian Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
“We’ve embarked on initiatives with MDEC and will continue to grow the relationship by looking at how we can create a bigger talent pool and support multiple pools of big data value within various industries.
“We obviously have a couple of social projects in the pipeline and we’re still thinking in terms of execution, bringing life to the idea,” he said, without giving specifics.
Last year, Teradata partnered with Multimedia University and Malaysia’s Ministry of Health to use BDA to combat the dengue threat.
Related Stories:
Surviving transformational shifts: Patience and recycling failures
Malaysia’s big data aspirations and the talent gap
BDA awareness growing, but not momentum: Teradata Malaysia

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