Facebook CIO Tim Campos delivers keynote at #HPDiscover

During Tuesday’s Keynote presentation at the HP Discover event in Barcelona the HP team welcomed Tim Campos, the CIO for Facebook. Campos discussed the transition currently underway from an industrial age economy to a knowledge-based economy and how Facebook’s partnership with HP has allowed them to explore the frontiers of this emerging business environment.

Facebook has benefited greatly through the use of HP Vertica in maximizing the lifeblood of their company: data. “The thoughts and ideas that come from our workforce are what drive us,” Campos stated.

Offering advice for other companies that are mid-transition, Campos urged them to identify what their specific data assets are. Facebook recognized early on their data asset was relationships. Those relationships are monitored user to user, through the like button and comments people leave for one another. Additional data is derived from the relationship between brands and users. “We derive insights and knowledge based on these,” he commented. This data drives Facebook, allowing for future improvements and monetization opportunities.

Campos next showed a world map, devoid of any actual national delineation, comprised solely of user locations and their connections to other users. The entire formation of the globe came into being by each user being represented by a single point of light. “The mission of [Facebook] is to make the world more open and connected. We want humans, inherently social human beings, to be more connected.” There are currently 2.2bn Internet connected individuals worldwide. Facebook, through their foundation tasked with increasing Internet access worldwide, is aiming to increase that figure by another 3bn individuals worldwide.

According to Campos, the approach companies should employ with regard to Big Data is two pronged. The first aspect deals with scale. The second he identifies is speed. Big Data has allowed today’s businesses to make decisions incredibly quickly. The challenge is to find a balance between scale and speed. Campos concedes before Facebook began working with HP their data they evaluated had a 30 day collection limit.

“We have achieved, with Vertica, more of a balance [between scale and speed] that allowed us to build from a month to a year of data storage and review,” Campos said. Facebook’s speed has seen an increase where they are able to update once per hour. “Analytics that used to take minutes or were unable to complete are now things we can do in seconds.”

Campos advises other CIO’s and IT organizations to embrace Big Data for their businesses. “We are heading into a really exciting time,” he said. “Efficiency is important but we need to create value for our firms.” Through Big Data an organization is more easily able to identify and create data assets that can drive innovation and even possibly become products themselves.

Finishing his keynote presentation, Campos sang the praises of the Facebook/HP partnership by focusing not on the product but on the people HP provided for consultation and operation of the products they utilize. “The people side of this is really, really incredible,” he stated. “This is why we are excited to work with the Vertica team. They have meshed well with our culture. It is a tremendous partnership.”