“A change from the status quo is a difficult cultural shift to overcome, especially for public sector agencies–but not impossible.”
EM: You’ve been at the intersection of technology and business as professional in the public sector for over 15 years. Can you tell our readers about your work experiences that have brought you to where you are today?
Shaun Bierweiler: My journey has given me the unique opportunity of seeing this industry through the lens of different perspectives across various roles and functions. I started my career within the FSI community as a software engineer and system developer where I learned how to translate requirements into capabilities and technologies into architectures and solutions. I was given the opportunity to perform field deployment and systems operator roles where I was able to witness those capabilities and solutions coming together to meet the customer’s mission. From there my career transitioned to the business side of the house through the Project Management Office as both a Program Leader and a Business Development Executive. In these roles, I gained an intimate understanding and appreciation for the Public Sector’s requirements development, acquisition process, and program lifecycle.
In 2013, I was given the opportunity to join Red Hat’s growing team to help Public Sector customers realize the technical, programmatic, and cost benefits of Enterprise Open Source products to meet their OS and middleware requirements.
Today I am humbled to serve as the Public-Sector Leader for Hortonworks where we are able to provide our customers with the same Enterprise Open Source value proposition for their data platform systems, including Enterprise support for Apache Hadoop and Apache Nifi technologies.
EM: With the proliferation and increased complexity of data today, what do you think is the biggest challenge the public sector has to face in managing data?
Shaun Bierweiler: The sources of data, formats of data, and sheer volume of data continue to grow exponentially and show no signs of slowing. The costs associated with storing, accessing, and utilizing this data using traditional approaches and proprietary technology is simply inefficient and unsustainable. A change from the status quo is a difficult cultural shift to overcome, especially for public sector agencies–but not impossible.
EM: Within the public sector, where does Hortonworks need to drive the most attention to delivering open source software?
Shaun Bierweiler: Open source is undeniably driving innovation and technical advancements. Companies like Hortonworks enable customers (like the Public Sector) to reap the benefits of the open source community and open development model within an enterprise consumable product supported by a network of global experts. But not all “open source” is created equal and this is a topic of increasing frequency and confusion as of late. Unlike a FOSS (“free and open source”) project, Enterprise Open Source products (like those offered by Hortonworks) are tested, validated, and supported to ensure that they are safe to sit on Public Sector networks. This is an essential distinction for public sector customers to recognize and acknowledge.
EM: In developing and ‘rolling out’ solutions for the public sector, what kind of challenges have you faced recently?
Shaun Bierweiler: The term “Big Data” carries so many different definitions, interpretations, and biases that the first step in many discussions is acknowledging the fact that a data problem exists. It is important for us to help our customers understand that they don’t need to be ‘forward leaning’ in order for them to benefit from our capabilities. Through our EDW and ERP modernization offerings, we have helped customers increase their storage capacity and improve their processing capability within legacy applications and environments at a fraction of their traditional operational costs.
EM: Where do you see Hortonworks public sector heading in the future and where do you see the greatest market opportunity?
Shaun Bierweiler: We like to say that every organization is a ‘data company’ and that could not be more true than within the public sector where data sets are growing at rapid rates and the actionable intelligence from this data is more important than ever. It is incredibly exciting to see the evolving new use cases and problems that our customers are solving with our data platforms – from predictive analytics to condition-based maintenance to providing a single view capability across previously disparate systems, just to name a few. The opportunities are endless. As such, it’s difficult to predict exactly where the public sector will be in the future but I am confident that Hortonworks will enable them to manage and unlock the transformational value from their data.
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