A Pivotal Piece Of Big Data

Big Data can only make a positive impact if it’s transparent to a business process or practical for the end user.  A Big Data Application provides this usability, as it connects that last dot of a Big Data journey – from the back-end data/analytics layer to the front-end application layer.

A Big Data Application can be as simple as a mobile application that queries nearby restaurants with real time table availability or more complex such embedding real time targeted offers within a call center web application. Regardless of the use case, EMC is positioning its recent acquisition of Pivotal Labs to quickly deliver these world-class applications. With the addition of the Pivotal Labs, EMC now delivers a complete Big Data offering –industry leading data platform to scale-out, agile analytics to transform data into insight, and gold standard application development expertise to make Big Data actionable and transform the business.

I decided to break up my morning routine and take a detour to the Pivotal Labs office in San Francisco. I met with Parker Thompson, Director of Business Development at Pivotal Labs, to gain some insight into this well-oiled machine. Parker was kind enough to show me around the office and point out all the exciting customer projects each development team was working on (my future blog posts will feature some of these customers!).

A key aspect of Pivotal’s development methodology is collaboration whereby developers are paired up for code development and use social features within their agile development software called Pivotal Tracker.  But what impressed me most about their methodology was the 9am “stand-up” – a 5 to 10 minute daily meeting where developers are updated with new issues and best practices.  The scene reminded me of Star Trek where everyone attentively stands in front of a large screen displaying a visualization that I couldn’t even begin to decipher.

Here are the highlights of my discussion with Parker Thompson:

What is your role at Pivotal Labs?
I meet with customers to understand their requirements to determine if Pivotal is the right fit. Many of these customers have short timeframes so it is important that if we accept the project, we can deliver quality code on time.

In thirty seconds, describe Pivotal Labs and the value you bring to customers?

Pivotal is a software development company that rapidly delivers high quality software with an agile methodology. The real value to customers is that we train their people on this methodology so that they can continue on their own to build on top of the code we deliver.

Without an effective methodology, you end up having issues down the line such as routines not scaling or high regression rates. We have a test driven methodology to ensure the code is solid and does not break down the line. This has a huge impact on a company’s bottom line when you are trying to quickly deliver new features to the market to stay competitive.

Twitter is one of your best success stories. Why?

Twitter has certainly been our most well publicized success story due to the coverage of our work with them in the tech press. But, what we did for them is exactly what we do for all of our clients. So, in that sense I’d say that Twitter was a pretty standard engagement for us. From my perspective that’s a great thing. One of the most important things for us is that we deliver every time, not just the few where the press is there to cover it.

What is in the Pivotal Labs developer toolbox?

Our developers use Pivotal open source tools believe it or not! For example, we have built our own rapid, agile testing tools and have made them open source so our developers and customers can continuously improve the code. We have written these testing tools for Ruby, Javascript, and Objective C, and Java/Android. Making them open source is a win-win for us since the community maintains the code for us.

To learn more about Pivotal Labs, visit http://pivotallabs.com

About the Author: Mona Patel