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/The Mercator roundtable event at the Gaidar Forum 2014: Russia and the World: Sustainable Development

The Mercator roundtable event at the Gaidar Forum 2014: Russia and the World: Sustainable Development

22 January 2014 year

Mercator holds a roundtable event on visualization at the Gaidar Forum The Gaidar Forum featured the Visual Communications roundtable meeting in Moscow on 16 January 2014. The panelists shared their professional experience in working with big data and discussed the main trends in data analysis and visualization. Katerina Miroshnikova, Mercator managing director and partner, acted as the moderator of the discussion.

Currently organizations create huge amounts of data — web logs, videos, texts, geospatial data and machine codes. The data is stored on a variety of storage devices, which are sometimes located outside of the organization. Although companies have access to their vast data stocks, they often lack instruments to analyze correlations and make significant conclusions. Opinions and inferences are valuable on their own, without any figures; however, a competition of opinions makes arguments supported by a visualization of large datasets critically important and valuable.

Andrey Skvortsov, Mercator CEO, opened the roundtable session by raising an important issue — which is more important: visualization or data processing and analysis. He spoke about the main visualization trends citing recent cases from the Mercator portfolio. In his opening speech Andrey quite unexpectedly evaluated the speeches delivered of the first day of the Gaidar Forum and divided them into three classes: “Generalities,” “Some figures and figure-based opinions,” and “Attempts to display all information and make conclusions based upon this information.”

Speaking at the roundtable event, Kevin Redmond, IBM Head of Information Management, Central & Eastern Europe, noted that data emerged as the world’s newest resource for competitive advantage. It’s more bountiful, takes more forms as data at rest, data in motion, structured and unstructured. Analytics delivers a more vivid picture of your business and the forces that affect it. It helps you to act more quickly, reducing the time between insight and action. Decision-making extends from the elite few to the empowered many. Analytics helps organizations see not just “what happened?”, but “why did it happen?” and “what is likely to happen?” Even “Tell me, what’s the best course of action based on what you’ve learned?” Analytics empowers team members at every level of the organization, in every role, to make better decisions. Even as organizations recognize the revenue potential from analyzing, acting and monetizing data, their current architectural approaches can’t keep pace with increased demand, volume of data, and IT complexity.

When commenting on the importance of work with Big Data, Kevin Redmond said that unstructured information was largely ignored as too difficult to utilize…and therefore it lay fallow. However, you can’t do without it today, and work with unstructured data has become a vital priority.

Alexander Larionov, BSSL CEO, spoke about the analysis of a corporate “social network” and how adequate visualization helps remove tensions among the staff, cut teamwork costs, boost the effectiveness of communication and eliminate bottlenecks.

Maya Stravinskaya, creative director of the infographics studio at the RIA Novosti design center, presented a detailed and quite emotional report on the news agency’s most exciting interactive infographics projects, including a budget calculator, pension calculator, pensions and population, and MPs’ income statement configuration tool.

Anton Yaremchuk, head of the investment standards management project at the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI), presented the “Investment Portal of Russian Regions” analytical resource. The project displays the key factors making the country an appealing investment destination using infographics. The investment portal builds on requests made by Russian and foreign investors, who required a resource with relevant information about the available infrastructure in Russian regions and instruments to compare business environments in various regions of our country.

Anatoly Stoyanovsky, director of software development at RIA Novosti, spoke about data journalism and opportunities that open data provide for real-time interaction with readers.

Related links:

The Gaidar Forum is one of the major annual international scientific conferences in the field of economy in Russia. The Forum was established in 2010 in tribute to the memory of Yegor Gaidar, the leading Russian economist and the architect of the Russian reforms of the early 1990s.


Kevin Redmond, head of Information Management IBM Central & Eastern Europe:

«I liked very much the involvement and interaction with the audience that were knowledgeable in the field and asked good questions. I also appreciated the views coming from the other attendees, especially the director from Mercator that gave good examples and provoked interest».

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Maya Stravinskaya, creative director of the infographics studio at the RIA Novosti design center:

«I guess it is important that the speakers work in entirely different areas. However, despite the difference in their focus, they all agreed that data visualization is an inevitable corollary to progress, it is the next step in the evolution of communication, which will have to be made by many. However, absolutely everyone will find it helpful and —very soon — necessary to learn to understand and embrace this information».

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Andrey Skvortsov, Mercator CEO:

«I’m happy we have been able to bring together brilliant speakers! These two and a half hours just flew by! That was cool».


Alexander Larionov, BSSL CEO:

«The roundtable was a positive experience. The topic was not really specific, but it seems the audience came there to not only listen, but also communicate. I wish there had been more time, though. I’d like to thank the other panelists for sharing their cases, and Maya’s presentation was the most exciting one».

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Anatoly Stoyanovsky, director of software development at RIA Novosti:

«It was interesting to share our experience in data processing and visualization with our counterparts from ‘related industries.’ I guess we all saw many similar objectives, approaches and we can easily join our efforts».

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Anton Yaremchuk, head of the investment standards management project at the ASI:

«The speeches made by Maya Stravinskaya and Alexander Larionov seemed especially interesting. They have very exciting projects. However, I wish there had been more time for us to address some of the topical issues that were raised at the meeting. It turned out that we had a mini-conference, after all».

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Moderator — Katerina Miroshnikova, Mercator managing director and partner:

«Our roundtable conference was held in a very warm, almost friendly atmosphere. We had it all: exciting presentations by our speakers, good questions from the audience. We had a full house, and no one left the room during those two and a half hours, although there were 19 more roundtable events running at that time!»

Mercator is grateful to RIA Novosti news agency for its support.

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