2 min read

Google Next ‘23 Conference Recap

It’s always a fun time for us Cruxers when we get to go to a conference and show off what our products can do. Google Next ’23, which just wrapped up in San Francisco on August 31, was no exception.

This conference was a bit more notable, though, in that we also got to enjoy being in a bit of a spotlight. The day before Google Next started, Google Cloud honored us by naming Crux a Google Cloud Customer of the Year Award winner for “building new ways forward with the cloud”.

AI/ML developments

As we said in our last blog post, though, it’s not all about us. We were impressed by Google Cloud’s announcements concerning expansions to its Vertex AI capabilities (those themselves augmented with generative-AI support six months ago). The upshot is that Vertex AI can make it a lot easier to train machine-learning (ML) models.

But if the data isn’t good, “AI” becomes more “A” and less “I”. Companies still need high-quality datasets. This is particularly important when purchasing data from external-data suppliers, a process that can require a ton of integration, onboarding, governance, and data hygiene. Accordingly, we expect these developments to further drive the market’s ever-increasing appetite for clean and integrable external data.

Finding partners

And, boy, is the market hungry! We had a lot of people stop by the Crux booth.

For starters, we met with dozens of our partners from across the vast Google ecosystem and our own data-supplier network—which, by the way, recently surpassed 300 data sources.

(It’s worth digressing here to point out that Crux recently increased the number of datasets available in Google's marketplace, The Analytics Hub—with over 1,500 datasets onboarded and with plans to make 2,000 datasets available this year. Thanks to our partnerships with Google Cloud and high-quality data suppliers, it's easier than ever before to access high quality data without spending ages on data-sourcing and integration challenges.)

Many others who visited us weren’t partners yet but likely will be. Repeatedly, we heard, “I have a client who has this exact problem! We should partner ASAP!”

What the engineers have to say

We were also pleased to get a spike in foot traffic and visitors after Carter Page, head of data engineering at Two Sigma, gave Crux a special shoutout at a partner event. In particular, he discussed the importance of external data in Two Sigma's cloud platform—highlighting Crux's role in integrating, transforming, and observing high-quality external-data pipelines. With Crux, Two Sigma has been able to realize fast trials of new data products, rapid data onboarding, automated data workflows with advanced AI and ML capabilities, and lighter workloads for data engineers.

Data engineers, by the way, definitely need the help. The common pain point we heard from data engineers that came by our booth was that of backlogs of data. They are overwhelmed by demands for both internal and external data.

We hear a lot in data science the old bromide about anecdotes not being data. But anecdotes can be useful—and in this case, the anecdotes track with the data. According to Forrester, data leaders report that their data teams spend 70% of their time on prepping new datasets for analysis; only 30% of their time goes to the actual data analysis.

The case for Crux is clear. Data engineers have better things to do than drawn-out data onboarding.

We had plenty of engineering students come to speak with us too, asking questions about the challenges our customers face in data delivery from both technical and business perspectives. Despite being nascent to their fields, their observations were much the same as those of the data and AI leaders that stopped by: that the critical insights that drive business value come from fast, reliable data.

Many of those students were looking for jobs, incidentally. For what it’s worth, Crux is hiring!

If you weren’t among the hundreds of people from across a dozen countries to visit our booth at Google Next ’23, it’s not too late for you to connect with us and learn more about how Crux makes external data easy. Here’s a link to some resources to get you started.

Or, if you don’t want to bother with all of that, just say email us and say hi!

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