IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

Exclusive interview: Democratising data science & making AI more accessible

By Julia Gabel
Thu 20 Jul 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

2017 has been a big year for Progress.

So far, the company has completed two acquisitions, relocated its APJ headquarters to Melbourne, and is now in the process of expanding its cognitive computing and machine learning footprint.

Mark Armstrong, vice president and managing director of international operations for APJ and EMEA, for Progress, discusses the company's mission to democratise data science and make technologies such as machine learning, predictive maintenance and Artificial Intelligence more accessible so businesses in Australia and New Zealand can succeed. 

What are the main contributing factors to Progress’ success in A/NZ?

One of the reasons for our success in the region is the strong collaboration with our local channel partners. We have a strong partner program, and our A/NZ partners have delivered incredible value to the Progress’ ecosystem in the past year.

Actually just last May, three of our Australian partners were awarded by Progress’ Global Partner Awards, amongst the 18 winners across 10 countries.

Markinson and SuperConcepts were recognised as top channel partners in the Highest Revenue and Highest SaaS Revenue categories respectively. Revolution also received the Innovation Award.  

Can you comment on Progress’ cognitive capabilities expansion strategy?

We live in a data world, with an increasing demand for digital services and digital experiences from end-users.

Businesses who fail to adapt to this new set of expectations will lose their competitive edge, and struggle to create operational efficiencies and find new revenue streams.

Our vision is that business applications of the future need to be cognitive first. Our strategy is to enable both current and future business applications - whether they be systems of record, micro services or extensible websites - to co-exist and integrate with each other.

By using machine learning and predictive analytics businesses will become smarter and take advantage of a connected world to drive business forward.

The recent acquisition of DataRPM last March and Kinvey last June will also be instrumental in expanding our machine learning and predictive analytics expertise, as well as strengthen our cognitive capabilities offering.

What are some of the challenges A/NZ businesses are facing today – in regard to dealing with the large amounts of data they have available?

Data today comes in different formats and from different sources. It can come from systems of record, cloud-based ‘Big Data’, real time feeds, as well as through the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT).

The challenge is to structure this data, and make sense of it.

A/NZ businesses, especially SMBs, are still struggling to bring their data strategies to the next level by adding an intelligence layer to it.

What is happening in the retail space at the moment is very interesting, as we see Australian retailers from all sizes – even the most established players – worried about the arrival of Amazon which is known for its advanced machine learning and recommendation capabilities, and aggressive delivery/logistics strategy.

Progress believes that democratisation of data science is the key to including all organisations, including SMBs, in the machine learning equation.

We need to open the conversation, raise awareness about the benefits of data science, and help A/NZ organisations find ways to incorporate this element in their everyday operations.

In what ways have the DataRPM and Kinvey acquisitions strengthened Progress’ ability to serve the A/NZ market?

A large part of our core revenue comes from enterprises and ISVs in manufacturing and associated industries. According to McKinsey, savings of $630 billion can be made in predictive maintenance by 2025.  

We see many growth opportunities in the manufacturing space in A/NZ, as the industry is looking to tap into the industrial IoT opportunity and continually improve operational efficiencies.

We believe that the unique meta-learning capabilities of Data RPM and the market leading BaaS position of Kinvey will enable our customers to take advantage of this opportunity.

How are these companies helping Progress build its next-gen predictive maintenance capabilities for the manufacturing industry?

Data RPM and its meta-learning approach to machine learning will enable us to democratise data science by making it scalable, which will allow businesses to build models without the need for an army of data scientists.

Kinvey will provide the speed to market and the scalability needed to make this work at scale and on a global basis.

Going forward, what are your plans for the A/NZ region? How will progress continue to expand its footprint in this region and which industries would Progress like to expand its operations into?

Our focus today is on our core customer base, especially in the predictive maintenance market.

Looking forward, we also see healthcare as a key market. DataRPM’s capabilities will also help us to drive new revenue sources in the healthcare market as predictive maintenance plays an increasingly important role in this industry that is actively digitising.

Other verticals we are interested in growing into are the retail and financial sectors, as well as helping a new generation of marketers to deliver digital experiences to their audiences.

How is Progress making emerging analytics technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence more accessible for Australians?

Making machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) accessible is exactly why we acquired DataRPM.

As mentioned, democratising analytics and helping businesses of all sizes to be part of the data revolution equation is one of our priorities.

Our goal is to make analytics available to businesses in the mid-market that don’t necessarily have the deep pockets that large enterprises have, and can’t afford hundreds data scientists.

For small and medium organisations, investing in the right platform is vital to make sense of the data and build smart and auto-learning models. Many companies end up piling up data mining and analytics platforms, which makes the whole analytics engine overly complex and inefficient.

What we offer are platforms that can combine smart app development features and data analytics capabilities, and that can be used by both IT and non-IT staff.

In Australia, is it the manufacturing industry that you believe has been most impacted by Internet of Things? Where do you see this market heading in the future as certain technologies become more accessible?

Whilst we have a large customer base in the manufacturing market predictive maintenance in itself is a horizontal solution. 

Large factory plants, manufacturing organisations, IoT sensors and so on will all benefit from predictive maintenance models by being able to determine when failure might occur. 

Think of the automotive industry and car recalls. What if you could prevent machine and digital systems from failing in the first place? 

What if you could, in the case of a potential issue, be able to recall only the cars that need to be? 

That is what predictive maintenance can help achieve.

We see a lot of potential in the A/NZ market. The cognitive computing market is growing, and we believe organisations in Australia and New Zealand have a chance to lead the way in this new cognitive revolution.

But to do so, they need to make the right decisions and invest in the right technologies now; technologies that will democratise data science and be the foundation for successful machine learning and AI strategies.   

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Hawaiki Cable
BW Digital completes acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable
BW Digital has completed its full acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable, with all applicable regulatory filings and approvals now received.
Story image
Adyen
Adyen expands partnership with Afterpay as BNPL payments increase
Adyen has expanded its partnership with AfterPay allowing more of Adyen’s merchants in more countries worldwide to use the BNPL provider.
Story image
Ivanti
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
SaaS
Atturra partners with Focus HQ to support Aus organisations
Atturra has executed a partnership agreement with Focus HQ, to resell and support the company's Australian developed SaaS-based portfolio management platform.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Databricks strengthens AWS partnership with new Lakehouse offering
Customers will experience faster onboarding and unified account administration to make building a Databricks Lakehouse on AWS easier.
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
Power / Energy
SmartCIC report reveals top five 5G carriers in the world
The Global Cellular Performance Survey also found that 5G networks are delivering high download speeds but lagging in upload speeds.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Unlocking the next digital frontier for educational institutions
Understanding where to invest in technology can be challenging for education institutions, especially after the COVID-19 disruptions.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Manufacturing
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ANU and Seeing Machines to use AI to improve driver safety
The Australian National University and Seeing Machines have won a grant to develop AI systems monitor human behaviour while driving.
Story image
Employee Experience
Zendesk launches customer service and employee experience offering
"Zendesk is helping businesses embrace this new generation of conversational customer relationship management and turn customer service into growth.”
Story image
Veryfi
Veryfi announces Mobile Receipt Capture for D2C marketing apps
Veryfi has announced a new enhancement to its portfolio, with Mobile Receipt Capture for direct-to-consumer marketing apps.
Story image
Ransomware
Zerto unveils updates to ransomware recovery capabilities
"Organisations face increased risks from the volume and sophistication of ransomware attacks prevalent today."
Story image
Cybersecurity
ThoughtLab reveals 10 best practices for cybersecurity in 2022
The benchmarking study reveals best practices that can reduce the probability of a material breach and the time it takes to find and respond to those that happen.
Story image
Microsoft
Avaya expands Microsoft partnership to deliver OneCloud on Azure
The joint technology and go to market agreement will help customers accelerate their digital transformation initiatives in the cloud.
Story image
Kodari Securities (KOSEC)
NFT trends and opportunities: expert reveals all
The NFT market is growing at an exponential rate, with unprecedented liquidity. Here we explore how businesses can profit.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Telstra
Telstra and Silver Trak Digital delivers 5G to the cinemas
Telstra and Silver Trak Digital say they've launched Australia's fastest and most secure delivery of content over 5G for cinemas.
Story image
Wasabi Technologies
Wasabi opens new cloud storage in Australia with Equinix
Wasabi Technologies has opened a new hot cloud storage region in Sydney, Australia, using Equinix services. This is the company's 12th global storage region.
Softiron
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Sustainability
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
MongoDB
Tech innovation crucial to growth, but barriers remain
Businesses in the A/NZ region believe tech innovation is crucial to drive future growth, but 76% say they’re being held back by complex data architecture.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
Storage
Energy storage demand momentum continues, says BYD
BYD has announced an expansion of its production capacities and will deliver 250,000 units of its energy storage system, BYD Battery-Box Premium.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Why enterprise records management should be part of any digital transformation strategy
Modern organisations create and rely upon an enormous volume of content, and digital records make up a significant proportion of that content.
Story image
Employee Retention
Company values increasingly important in post-pandemic world
New research released today reveals that company values are the new currency when it comes to employee retention in a post-covid economy.
Story image
Excel
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Wireless
SmartCIC, BICS partner to expand wireless service options
SmarCIC has partnered with BICS to increase choice for organisations using fixed wireless services, expanding existing carrier relationships for its CELLSMART division.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Sustainability
Siemens showcases new automated solutions for data centers
Siemens has implemented new automated solutions and AI in the Baltic region's largest data center, providing insight into the future of data center management.
Story image
Sustainability
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
Avaya
Avaya OneCloud sees 118% ARR growth for second quarter 2022
Avaya Holdings has reported $750 million annual recurring revenue (ARR) for its OneCloud offering, up 21% sequentially and 118% from the same period last year.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from IronNet
Michael Ehrlich joins us today to discuss the history of IronNet and the crucial role the company plays in the cyber defence space.