Data Mining Interview: Philippe Nieuwbourg

PN 1000x1249Here is an interview of Philippe Nieuwbourg, from Decideo. Thanks Philippe for taking time to answer Data Mining Research questions.

Data Mining Research: Could you introduce yourself and tell us how you entered the world of data-driven decision making?

Philippe Nieuwbourg: Long story… Once upon a time… 20 years ago… I discovered what was called “reporting and analysis”, through Business Objects and Cognos. During a press trip in Québec, I met very smart people from Cognos team and we already discussed about “business intelligence”, analytics and even data visualization… in 1995… During these 20 years I wrote hundreds of articles, papers, books and gave hundreds of speeches about this subject. Even if some people today try to explain that Big Data is a “revolution”, I can confirm that companies are working on this since many years.

I began with reporting and analysis, we talked a couple of years after about data warehouse, then business analytics, predictive analytics, today big data and tomorrow… we will see… It’s only words we put on best practices and technologies that evolve every time. But it’s all about Data!

Today I live in Canada, closer to the software developers in BI which are still mainly in the US. I am a lecturer about Big Data at UQAM (University of Quebec in Montréal) and I write every day about my passion: value created by data analysis.

DMR: What is Decideo? Who it is designed for?

PN: Decideo is the first and leading web community of Business Intelligence users. We are published in French (trough in Europe, and in Canada) and in Spanish for Spain and Latin America (Venga sobre si usted habla español)

In French we have more than 40,000 unique visitors every month coming from France, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Africa… and all countries where French speaking people are living, and 11,000 people subscribed our free newsletter.

Our Spanish speaking community have been launched mid-2013 and is now reaching thousands of professional in Colombia, Mexico, Spain or Chile for example. And a lot of them are in USA!

We decided at the beginning, in 1995, to focus on languages. It’s our difference. It’s an exception for me to answer your questions in English. I understood that in Switzerland, as you have three languages… you speak in English when you want to share together 🙂 but I really think that mother language give you the ability to better understand nuances and details that will not appear in “globish” like my answers 🙂

That’s why Decideo decided to publish in French and now in Spanish. I think we will never publish an English version of Decideo. There is many fantastic information websites about BI in English. We could only be worst than them. But we are the most important independent web community in French and in Spanish. That’s why we have so much readers even in US. People can read English, but they always will prefer a web site in their mother language.

Second thing, we are not only a media. We are since the beginning a community. Before “social networks” even used this name, Decideo was a best practices community for all people interested in BI and data analytics. I am really convinced that my readers are smarter and much more competent than me or my team! Our work is not like some web sites where a team of “journalists” decide what readers have to think. Decideo is a platform where everybody can send an article, about any subject, and be published for free. And all the community will share, comment… that’s a crowd community. I will never be a censor and decide that a tribune can’t be published. But if the content is not professional enough, you can be sure that the readers will tell it!

We publish news, user stories, experts articles, press releases, agenda, forum, job boards… everything that is related to data analysis have a space available on Decideo. We organize events in France and Canada, webinars… and we have a lot of ideas for the future 🙂 stay tuned.

Our services are mainly free for readers. You can subscribe free of charge to our weekly newsletter on or download our free mobile application on (available for iOS and Android). We make money with advertising banners and marketing operations, but it’s always done with respect for the readers. We never sell our subscribers list for example. And I deeply believe that my customers are my readers, even if they don’t pay directly for the service they receive. I’m always happy when I meet someone in an event, telling me that he or she’s reading Decideo for years.

DMR: How do you see companies evolving into the journey of data-driven decision making through the lens of Decideo?

PN: You should read Decideo to know that 🙂

What we see is a continuous appetite for analyzing data. And the “Big Data” wave is mainly a word we put on a trend, where companies begin to understand how to create value from their data. But it’s not something new. In the 90’s Microstrategy already pushed a marketing message explaining that enterprises will begin to sell their data and that BI will switch from a cost center to a profit center.

But to be honest it’s only a part of companies that are moving in this trend. For a lot of organizations, static reporting or data warehouses are still on the agenda.

On the other side I am fascinated by innovators that find real value and create money based on smart analysis of their data. And you can find them in Europe, US, and India, Latin America, South Africa, Asia… in Insurance, smart cities, banks, retail, telecommunications, non profit, healthcare… Airbnb, Uber, UPS, Google… all these companies and thousands of others are based on data.

Data analysis is a paradise for innovators and risk takers. Some people told me that Switzerland is too much conservative to be a leading country on data analysis… If it’s true, that’s sad! Because our century is the century of data. You are data, you generate data, you use data, you analyze data… and there’s a lot of opportunities to make money with data! Come on! Be innovative! And join us to better understand our world by analyzing data.

DMR: What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter the field of analytics / Big Data? How could he use Decideo for that purpose?

PN: The best combination of knowledge in analytics is based on three pillars: IT, statistics and communication.

If you want a great job and create value for your company, you have to be an IT monkey! Extract, transform, play with data sets, and be agile every time.

And don’t forget to be a good mathematician. Maths and statistics are the core of all decisions. And today reporting, looking at the past, is not enough anymore. You need lights to show the right direction for corporate decisions. These lights are called predictive analytics.

Third pillar, communication… Statisticians and BI experts are not enough good communicators. Learn Data Visualization and Data Storytelling and you will rock! Don’t forget, Data Scientist is one of the sexiest job for the next decade 🙂

Reading Decideo will help you to understand these trends, discover new tools, methods and best practices. And if you need training, Decideo developed a sister company: Data Science Institute. We offer online and onsite training to help you to acquire new competencies that will be very valuable for your company… and your salary. It’s on


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Comments Icon2 comments found on “Data Mining Interview: Philippe Nieuwbourg

  1. Data mining is knowledge discovery in data. it is used for sophiscated math alogorithms to evaluate the future events.The process is automate to search the large storage of data. Including microstrategy is a leading worldwide provider of enterprise software platforms. Our mission is to provide the most flexible, powerful, scalable, and user-friendly analytics and identity management platforms, offered either on premises or in the cloud.

    Automatic discovery of patterns
    Prediction of likely outcomes
    Creation of actionable information
    Focus on large data sets and databases

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