The Hidden Gems of Data and Analytics: An Interview with Cindi Howson, Chief Data Strategy Officer at ThoughtSpot

The following blog features a Question and Answer session with Cindi Howson, Chief Data Strategy Officer at ThoughtSpot, hosted by Alan Brumley, Chief Technology Officer of Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions. A business intelligence, data and analytics expert with over 20 years’ experience, Cindi is recognized as one of the world’s top analytics and BI influencers by Onalytica, Simplilearn, Solutions Review and others industry watchers.

Alan Brumley, CTO of Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions: Hi Cindi, thanks for taking a minute to talk with us. What’s your role at ThoughtSpot?

As Chief Data Strategy Officer at ThoughtSpot, my role is to be our customers’ strategic advisor on their journey to digital transformation. Some have likened me to a “CDO whisperer”, acting as a sounding board to CDOs and analytics leaders on their vision and challenges. That may mean helping them evolve their culture, measure success, address the talent gap, plan a strategy to leverage the cloud, and of course, position the right analytics tool for the right use case.

Brumley: What do you see happening regarding accessibility to Data in the industry today and in the near future?

As an industry, we’ve done a good job at capturing and creating data, but a mediocre job in accessing it for insight and action. Also, much of the data access has been on small data sets and at a summary level, whereas the “hidden gems” and most valuable insights may require access to granular data

Brumley: How is ThoughtSpot solving those customer experiences in accessing data?

Products like ThoughtSpot open up access to data to the every-day decision-maker by offering a search-based interface, whether by typing in key words or using voice to pose a query. Easy interfaces are an important aspect to broadening adoption, but I also see embeddability – putting insights within an operational context – as another way of improving access to data.

Brumley: How does Dell Technologies assist you with solving those customer challenges?

Dell is a valuable partner in providing high performing servers that power ThoughtSpot’s in-memory engine. As a global technology provider, Dell is also a pre-approved supplier for many customers that can ease the procurement process.

Brumley: When you aren’t finding creative ways to build data and analytics solutions for your customers, what do you like to do in your free time?

I love the beach, any beach, but especially the Jersey Shore with my family. I’m an avid reader so hanging out with my neighborhood book club over the last 17 years has brought me a solid network of friends. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I am also a football and swim mom, married to a Brit, so we travel. If I’m watching the Packers or Rutgers on TV, then my cat is probably on my lap, with the dog at my feet (until someone fumbles, then my cheering scares them both away).

Brumley: Thanks for taking the time with us today, Cindi.

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Join Cindi and Alan for further discussion on their upcoming webinar, Designing Customer Experience for Next Gen Data and Analytics, which takes place September 19 4:00 pm CET. Register now for this insightful event.

  • Find out why customer experience expectations demand innovative solutions that can process data and provide access to real-time insights.
  • Learn how Dell and ThoughtSpot partnered on a solution that took advantage of modern architectures to create a next gen customer experience.
  • Gain knowledge on new and upcoming technologies to help you design creative solutions to address your industry’s challenges.


Cindi Howson, Chief Data Strategy Office at ThoughtSpot

A business intelligence, data and analytics expert with over 20 years’ experience, Cindi joined ThoughtSpot in 2019 as Chief Data Strategy Officer. From 2015 to 2019, Cindi served as Vice President in Data and Analytics at Gartner, where she led the analytics and BI Magic Quadrant, with research in data for good, NLP/BI Search, and augmented analytics. Prior to this, she was founder of BI Scorecard, a resource for in-depth product reviews based on exclusive hands-on testing, contributor to Information Week, and author of several books including: Successful Business Intelligence: Unlock the Value of BI & Big Data and SAP BusinessObjectsBI 4.0: The Complete Reference.

Cindi holds an MBA from Rice University and serves on the board for Rutgers University Big Data Certificate program. She has been recognized as one of the world’s top analytics and BI influencers by Onalytica, Simplilearn, Solutions Review and others industry watchers. Stay in touch with Cindi on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About the Author: Alan Brumley

Alan Brumley is Chief Technology Officer of Dell Technologies OEM Solutions, a specialist division helping customers to grow their businesses by leveraging Dell’s hardware, software and services as part of their own solutions as well as helping organizations take advantage of the rapid evolution in the Internet of Things. With 20-years’ leadership experience in the IT industry, Alan liaises with Dell EMC’s global business units to act as the voice of the customer. He is responsible for leading engagement activities with OEM customers, channel partners and technology partners. Collaborating with his CTO peers in the partner network, Alan and his team evaluate emerging technologies and promote early adoption and integration of breakthrough solutions with customers as well as designing new procurement options. Alan has over 18 years’ experience as an innovator with Dell EMC, previously designing Enterprise Solutions products in the Server Management Firmware group with a focus on modular enclosures that converge storage, networking, and compute capabilities, as well as server management solutions for these products. With a hardware and BIOS background, he holds over ten U.S. patents for the company and has delivered many first offerings in the Enterprise product family, including designing the Dell EMC PowerEdge M1000 enclosure. Alan started his career in a technology startup and has also enjoyed a five-year career as an innovator with Data Performance and Warehousing Solutions at NCR. Alan is excited that the Internet of Things has now merged his work focus with his personal passion for autonomous embedded systems and wireless communications, feeding data into Enterprise solutions for deep analytics.