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Understanding Self Service Data Management

Audio version of the article


The core mission of data engineers is to provide the business with a way to ask and answer questions of their data. This often takes the form of business intelligence dashboards, machine learning models, or APIs on top of a cleaned and curated data set. Despite the rapid progression of impressive tools and products built to fulfill this mission, it is still an uphill battle to tie everything together into a cohesive and reliable platform. At Isima they decided to reimagine the entire ecosystem from the ground up and built a single unified platform to allow end-to-end self service workflows from data ingestion through to analysis. In this episode CEO and co-founder of Isima Darshan Rawal explains how the biOS platform is architected to enable ease of use, the challenges that were involved in building an entirely new system from scratch, and how it can integrate with the rest of your data platform to allow for incremental adoption. This was an interesting and contrarian take on the current state of the data management industry and is worth a listen to gain some additional perspective.


  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • Can you start by giving an overview of what you are building at Îsíma?
    • What was your motivation for creating a new platform for data applications?
    • What is the story behind the name?
  • What are the tradeoffs of a fully integrated platform vs a modular approach?
  • What components of the data ecosystem does Isima replace, and which does it integrate with?
  • What are the use cases that Isima enables which were previously impractical?
  • Can you describe how Isima is architected?
    • How has the design of the platform changed or evolved since you first began working on it?
    • What were your initial ideas or assumptions that have been changed or invalidated as you worked through the problem you’re addressing?
  • With a focus on the enterprise, how did you approach the user experience design to allow for organizational complexity?
    • One of the biggest areas of difficulty that many data systems face is security and scaleable access control. How do you tackle that problem in your platform?
  • How did you address the issue of geographical distribution of data and users?
  • Can you talk through the overall lifecycle of data as it traverses the bi(OS) platform from ingestion through to presentation?
  • What is the workflow for someone using bi(OS)?
  • What are some of the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen bi(OS) used?
  • What have you found to be the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging aspects of building the bi(OS) platform?
  • When is it the wrong choice?
  • What do you have planned for the future of Isima and bi(OS)?

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