MDeC CEO celebrates the BIGGEST Big Data Event we have ever seen in Malaysia

MDeC with DSA as their co-organiser has successfully concluded the two day conference and expo billed “Unleashing the power of Big Data, Malaysia’s journey to become a hub for Big Data across ASEAN

Big Data Week is a global celebration of Big Data that takes place in over 40 cities across the globe, and this two day conference has been the centre piece of Big Data Week Kuala Lumpur.


YBhg Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali Chairman of MDeC and YBhg. Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood CEO of MDeC make a presentation to the Data Scientists from around the world that sat on the MDeC Big Data Advisory Panel

The DSA event team were on the event organising committee and witnessed how from the start MDeC had ambitious aims for this year’s conference.
-        Ensuring attendance of 1000 visitors each day of a two day event.
-        Promoting Data Science as a profession and tangibly increasing the number of Data Scientists in Malaysia.
-        Engaging Business Leaders to ensure that Malaysian Business understands that Big Data is business issue not just an IT issue.
-        Bringing in Data Science experts from around the world so that Malaysia can benefit from the global experience
-        Build a vibrant and wide Malaysian Big Data Eco System
In our opinion MDeC has surpassed these ambitious aims with flying colours.

Full House on the first day. 2200 turned up meaning even the 500 seat spill over room wasn't enough Over 2000 people eagerly awaiting the start of "Unleashing the Power of Big Data - Malaysia's Journey to Become a Hub For Big Data in ASEAN"

Some of the highlights of this flagship conference included more than 2,200 people attending on the first day with around 1,500 attending on the second day and more than 400 people signing up for the Big Data Science courses at recruitment desks in the exhibition area. That in itself is a massive boost to MDeC’s aim of increasing the number of Data Scientists in Malaysia from 80 to 500.

We took the time to chat with YBhg. Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of MDeC, with the aim of delving deeper to understand if the support for Malaysian Big Data advancement at MDeC and with the government in general is truly there at the highest level. It is clear from speaking to the MDeC CEO that it is.

YBhg. Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood - CEO MDeC

Her insights into why big data is important and what MDeC is trying to do to support Big Data advancement runs deep within the organisation and the executive leadership.  It is clearly evident from our conversation that Big Data is a serious priority at the highest levels within MDeC.

Whilst obviously pleased with the unprecedented success of the conference Dato’ Yasmin continues to keep her feet firmly on the ground. She understands that event itself is just a starting point, viewing the success of the event as evidence of the appetite from Malaysian academia, business and technical communities to excel in Big Data.  She seemed genuinely motivated to capitalise on the “buzz” from the conference and stressed that the really hard work is now ahead for her and her team.

Speaking with Dato’ Yasmin, we saw some very clear thinking in her approach. As an example MDeC had brought eight globally renowned Big Data experts to sit on a pre-event committee. Dato’ Yasmin chaired that committee and articulated the value that such pooled resource brought to her personally and to the wider MDeC team. She intends to ensure that relations with this group extend beyond this week and become long term deep relationships from which the whole Malaysian Big Data eco system can benefit.

Dato’ Yasmin was also clear on how important education is to Malaysia’s Big Data ambitions. She explained a two pronged approach is required; targeting undergrads is critical for the long term, but in her view the need to move quickly means that Big Data enablement skills training for existing professionals is absolutely vital in fast forwarding the number of data scientists in Malaysia.

Panel discussion on why the future of business needs to be data driven

Perhaps most encouraging point of all is that Dato’ Yasmin is clear that the fate of Malaysia’s Big Data journey cannot and should not rest on government alone. She is clear on government’s role and is not shirking responsibility, but to paraphrase her thinking she subscribes to the philosophy of “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. For Dato’ Yasmin government can facilitate commercial enablement and stimulate educational opportunity but the commercial sector needs to independently embrace Big Data, leverage government support but not wait for it or depend on it.  Ultimately Dato’ Yasmin believes it’s about collaboration and pointed to MDeC’s huge commitment in producing the conference and expo as evidence of this belief. An event organised by MDeC that was wholly inclusive of academia and the private sector.

It is evident that in Dato’ Yasmin we spoke to an enthusiastic and well informed leader. She has a strong grasp of the opportunity for Malaysia if the country can step up quickly enough to develop its Big Data Skills.  We also picked up that she feels a genuine sense of responsibility to the 3,000 or so people whom attended the conference. She intends to build on this wave of enthusiasm. It is apparent that under Dato’ Yasmin MDeC will remain a driving force in trying to ensure that Malaysia’s journey to become a hub for Big Data in ASEAN is a successful one.

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iqbal@myigen.com's picture

Big Data needs strong self service data preparation! Talk to us at iqbal@myigen.com about how this can be achieved.