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Highlights from Snowflake Summit 2021

June 9, 2021 By: Alex Torres

Snowflake Summit 2021 featured two days of 60 sessions with more than 50,000 attendees. Conference participants heard from Snowflake CEO and Chairman Frank Slootman, Snowflake Co-Founder Benoit Dageville, and executives from other companies, including AT&T, The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, Capital One, JetBlue and Quantum Metric. 

Snowflake CEO talks about breaking down data silos

“Data is a dynamic, real-time thing,” Slootman stated in his keynote conversation with Geoffrey Moore. But, the question is, “How can we take action on these signals?”

When cloud services such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Salesforce launched, “data [became] fragmented, siloed.”

Slootman deployed Snowflake to address that problem and to create a world where we have “data without boundaries, without frontiers.”

Snowflake’s CEO spoke about a future where we break down data silos, empower data scientists with new platforms, and invest in new technologies such as machine learning & AI.

Currently, Snowflake has impacted a number of verticals, including media, financial services, and insurance. “We can’t understand the world through anecdotal observation anymore,” Slootman explained. “We need data.”

“A lot of what we do in the early stage for customers is modernization, not transformation,” Slootman said. Enterprise companies need to migrate their on-premises databases to the cloud. Many of the newest startups don’t have this problem because they were born in the cloud.

“Data is becoming the beating heart of the modern enterprise,” Slootman said, “the digital enterprise.” 

Highlights from Snowflake Summit

Benoit Dageville and Christian Kleinerman spoke about how Snowflake continues to help customers like BlackRock and NBCUniversal enhance business outcomes by seamlessly and securely accessing data from across the data cloud. 

Rosemary Hua, Global Head of Retail & CPG Strategy at Snowflake, spoke with Andy Burke, Associate Director of Analytics at the Kraft Heinz Company, about how “data sitting in different locations” caused “a lot of friction.” By partnering with data-focused companies, Burke said that Heinz was able to leverage data sets like Johns Hopkins Covid-19 data to understand the impact of the pandemic on their business model.

Anuj Dhanda, EVP & CIO of Albertsons Companies, said that they are moving toward “a transaction-based model to a more personalized model.” And the foundation for that personalized customer experience is data. As Dhanda put it, data helps teams understand “what the customers need, when they need it.”

Dustin Pearce, Vice President of Infrastructure at Instacart, spoke about developing machine learning models to predict inventory levels after the pandemic struck. With the help of Snowflake and other data tools, Instacart was able to integrate its various data sets to create one source of truth. This visibility enabled Instacart to deliver a superior customer experience. 

Snowflake and its partners, including Quantum Metric, are also helping financial services organizations eliminate data silos and address the industry’s most pressing challenges, such as  meeting regulatory requirements. 

Harveer Singh, Chief Data Architect & Global Head of Engineering at Western Union, spoke about adapting to digital solutions and accelerating that transformation to keep up with the latest fintech startups that were born in the cloud. Singh explained that partnering with Snowflake and other cloud providers has enabled Western Union to “move money for our customers in a way that allows them to access it faster.”

Prakul Sharma, Managing Director at Deloitte Consulting LLP, said that when clients start to leverage data, they “focus on 5 key areas: strategy, people, process, data, and technology.” It’s not just about the software, but about finding the right platforms to empower and train people. According to Sharma, “Data is the lifeblood. The right data at the right time is critical.”

“Northern Insights: How One Retailer Activated 4% of Canada on Digital”

Quantum Metric CEO Mario Ciabarra spoke with Canadian Tire Corporation executives Martin von Wenckstern and Ishan Parikh about leveraging real-time customer data, unlocking personalization use cases, unifying online and offline datasets, and managing other considerations, including security, privacy, and scalability. 

You can read about their session, “Northern Insights: How One Retailer Activated 4% of Canada on Digital,” in our blog.

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