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Big Data 2017: Top 100 Influencers and Brands

by | May 9, 2017 | Influencer Lists,

Big data analytics is the process of examining large and varied data sets to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences and other useful information that can help organizations make more-informed business decisions. Big data can be analysed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves. The Big Data market is expected to grow to $66.79 Billion by 2021, with investment in analytics hardware, software, services and data scientists pouring in.


We reached out to some of the top 20 influencers to ask them for their views on Big Data. We spoke to Kirk Borne (#2), Ronald van Loon (#3),  Bill Schmarzo (#4), Dez Blanchfield (#9), Mike Quindazzi (#10), Duane Baker (#11), Mark van Rijmenam (#12), Tamara Dull (#13), Russell Walker (#16), Bill McCabe (#17) and Jim Harris (#18). Be sure to follow them to stay up to date on the best content and resources on Big Data!

Kirk Borne – Principal Data Scientist at Booz Allen HamiltonOnalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Kirk Borne
“I believe that the worst of the “big data” hype is now behind us. A lot of growth in the data science and big data analytics fields has already taken place in the past few years, despite all of the negative hype. Now, with the hype being diminished and the algorithms increasing in power and diversity, we are settling down to greater growth, investment, innovation, and value creation in the field.”

Onalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Ronald van LoonRonald van Loon – Director at Adversitement, Advisory Board Member at Simplilearn
“Data has a remarkable impact on the world we live in, and 2017 will only signify increasing emphasis upon the inclusion of IoT and Machine Learning solutions by large tech vendors. With the escalating attention on A.I. and Machine Learning in analytics, the corresponding evolution of Big Data is motivating data-driven companies to ask more significant questions, gain more from their insights, and focus their efforts towards becoming truly customer-centric. The surge in Augmented Intelligence solutions to support humans capabilities, and the rise of IoT applications to procure actions from the massive amounts of data generated by devices, are two trends that will help companies in creating more relevant customer experiences. Deriving value and actionable insights from data, implementing the right technological solutions, and personalizing the customer experience, is the foundation of the modern data-driven company in a digital world.”

Onalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Bill Schmarzo Bill Schmarzo – CTO, Big Data Practice Dell EMC Services

“Organizations don’t need a big data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates big data. When organizations take a business (use case) first perspective on their big data initiatives, then the data sources, analytics, architecture and big data technologies needed to successfully monetize their data (via optimizing key business processes, uncovering new revenue opportunities, and creating a more compelling customer engagement) all fall into place.”

Onalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Tamara McClearyTamara McCleary – CEO & Brand Ambassador at Thulium
“Big Data is transforming marketing through harnessing previously unattainable customer insights. Martech is exploding as marketing departments are tasked with not only building the brand, but increasing revenue. Big data has reinvented the role of the Chief Marketing Officer, (CMO), from one of creative guessworker to the role of creative genius demonstrating measurable impact on the business bottomline.  With machine learning, AI, increased computing capacity, and sophisticated data analytics tools, we are are unveiling a wholistic understanding of the customer experience and customer journey in real time.  We are adapting and personalizing at each customer touchpoint almost simultaneously. Today’s marketers are crafting and capitalizing on omnichannel and account based marketing, (ABM), models which seamlessly interact with customers, offering solutions before they may even fully know they need them.  This truly is the dawning of an Engagement Economy powered by big data and the machines that translate this data into usable information. The speed and computing capacity of machines are freeing-up human beings to focus on building emotionally connected relationships and doing what human beings do best, engage with one another.”

Onalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Dez BlanchfieldDez Blanchfield – Resident Data Scientist at GaraGuru
“We’re just now realising the true value & gravity of data as a direct result of the tools & platforms being brought to the market, in both proprietary and open-source form. The impact of Big Data and supporting Analytics, Data Science and Cognitive Computing is in my mind, a bona fide game changer across the entire spectrum of business, government, and indeed humanity as a whole. The platforms & tools now on offer such as Cloud, Big Data, Analytics, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, have finally empowered individuals and organisations to finally make good and deliver on the long overdue promise of Big Data.
By leveraging the full value of data, through whole market segments, whole industries, the ethos of Big Data and Data Science has transformed the term Big data from a mere marketing coinage, to a behavioural shift, a cultural shift, to an ethos in it’s own right. Someone once said that Data was the new oil. I disagree. I believe that Data is the new Oxygen, and it’s breathing new life into our world, across every possible realm of humanity.
We are effecting changes today through an ethos of our brave new Big Data culture, driven by the value and gravity of data, which are set to have the most profoundly positive impacts on generations to come, such that we can barely begin to imagine them today.”

Mike QuindazziOnalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Mike Quindazzi – Managing Director at PwC

“How do you make big decisions? 61% of c-suite executives surveyed said decision-making is rarely (or only somewhat) data-driven, finds our PwC Big Decisions research. Yet as artificial intelligence (machine learning and more specifically deep learning) continues to mature, these same leaders also say they are sold on the power of big data and analytics to deliver insights and more dramatic course corrections, if necessary, to important strategic direction. As pools of new big data are available from the IIoT, IoT and more broadly IoE, tighter-more-actionable questions are being solved more predictively by new algorithms backed by increasingly more powerful chipsets. Additionally, big data and services are more becoming highly accessible through APIs and on leading cloud platforms with scalable capabilities and easy to use machine learning toolsets. Historically, it has been a lack of trust in big data that slowed the shift-away from steadfast human intuition and experience. Now, leaders in big data are learning to better frame the problem/question and take advantage of the reliable big data currently available to the enterprise. While leaders may start with human judgment, they realize that machine intelligence, scoured by training data, is increasingly aiding cognition in their big decisions. So, how can the enterprise improve decision making? The highly data-driven leaders in our study are now maturing from predictable (38%) to prescriptive (18%) results. Framing the problem, asking the right questions, and understanding the levers to pull are all leading to increased sophistication, speed, and most importantly more valuable results from big data.”

Duane Baker – IT Consultant (Self-Employed)Onalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Duane Baker
has been impacting our world for decades, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It is through the transformation of data to useful information that innovation and problem-solving is fuelled.”

Onalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Mark van RijmenamMark van Rijmenam – Founder at Datafloq
“2017 is the Year of Intelligence and Big Data is becoming more important than ever. Organisations are generating vast amounts of data and with increasingly sophisticated technologies such as machine learning and deep learning, we achieve more and better insights, resulting in more advanced products and services. In 2017, more than ever before, all companies are data companies and for many businesses, the most likely path to creating competitive advantage is via big data and subjecting it to (advanced) analytics such as predictive or prescriptive analytics. The Year of Intelligence is the starting point of a data-driven future, which will see technologies such as Big Data, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence converge, resulting in intelligent and adaptive organisations.”

 Onalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Tamara DullTamara Dull – Director of Emerging Technologies at SAS Institute
“Big data? Are we still using that term? I remember when “big data” was young and gaining in popularity, some quibbled over the name, while others focused on how it was going to impact their business. That’s where I hung out. I was also on the bandwagon that said, “If you’re not in it for the money (making it or saving it), then don’t do big data.” It didn’t take long for me to realize that big data wasn’t the “big” story after all. It was only a precursor to the much larger discussion beginning to brew around the Internet of Things (IoT). Today, my message is: Data, big or small, is the fuel for IoT. Without big data—or whatever you want to call it—we have no IoT.”

Onalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Russell WalkerRussell Walker

Big data analytics is at the core of success in AI, IoT and all automation. It is necessary to manage and leverage your data before adopting new technology.”

Onalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Bill McCabeBill McCabe – Recruiter/HeadHunter/Owner at SoftNet Search Partners LLC
“In our modern world, the data that is around is always growing. There is currently no end in sight to where this big data will go and we will continue to discover and create new ways to store and analyze the data that is there. Perhaps most surprising is that despite the sheer amount of data that is out there, only a small percentage of it is regularly analyzed. That means that there is still a world of information out there that can be processed and the statistics from it can be used to further propel the understanding of data that is there.

It is well past time that we put all of that data to help us to solve crimes, solve waste problems and to create a better way of life for everyone.
What is important to note is that big data isn’t about the vast amount of data is there. It’s true the numbers are staggering, but there is much more to this. But when someone talks about big data, the focus is on what they can take and pull from the information. It is the analysis of the different aspects of it. This information will allow businesses to determine how information can be better processed so they can reduce their standard operating costs, reduce processing time, and discover new ways to optimize the data that they are collecting. Over a period of time, this will also allow individuals to make better decisions and to avoid problematic concerns that may be faced along the way.”

Jim Harris – #1 International Bestselling Author – Disruptive Innovation 
“There’s been more data created in the last two years than all human history combined. That’s why data science is an increasingly critical professional for all organizations. The companies that are experiencing the fastest growth in top line revenue and bottom line profit are data driven.”


We were very interested in seeing which brand and individuals were leading the discussion around big data, so we analysed over 3.5M posts on social media mentioning the key words BigData OR “Big Data” from 1st Jan – 30th April. We then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion. What we discovered was a very engaged community, with much discussion between individuals and brands. Below you can see a network map of the online robotics conversation with the number one influencer Sean Gardner at the centre. This map was created with our Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM). Be sure to click on the map to enjoy the full size network diagram in greater detail.

Below you can see another network map created with our Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM) showing the number 1 brand Dell at the centre and all the robotics conversations to and from the influencers in their field. If you are interested in learning more about identifying, managing and engaging with influencers click here to get in touch!


We were interested in seeing which topics were spoken of the most in the context of big data, so we analysed tweets and blogs from the top 100 influencers and brands between 1st June 2016 – 17th March 2017, and counted the number of times various words were mentioned. In order to provide an accurate gauge of the conversation, we measured the frequencies of all the words used by the influencers in our programme, in conjunction with the keyword “Big Data”. We then applied the tf–idf algorithm to adjust for the fact that some words appear more frequently in general. These words were then weighted and made into the word cloud shown below:

Onalytica - Big Data 2017 Top 100 Influencers and Brands Word Cloud

It’s interesting to see topics such as data science, machine learning and AI being frequently mentioned among the top big data influencers and brands. Also interesting to note is that deep learning, IoT, IIoT, analytics and FinTech and  and are being frequently mentioned by the big data influencers and brands.


We looked at all the individuals engaging on Twitter to bring you a list of the top influencers in big data. Below is the top 50, if you want to see who ranks from 50-100 be sure to download the full report by clicking the download button below.

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RankTwitter HandleNameCompanyInfluencer Score
1@2morrowknightSean GardnerWorld Communication Forum100
2@KirkDBorneKirk BorneBooz Allen Hamilton83.03
3@Ronald_vanLoonRonald van LoonAdversitement73.92
4@schmarzoBill SchmarzoDell EMC69.8
5@chadjsandersonChad SandersonOracle Maxymiser58.57
6@TamaraMcClearyTamara McClearyThulium53.55
7@marcusborbaMarcus BorbaBoulder BI Brain Trust42.67
8@MariaBartiromoMaria BartiromoFox Business Network40.61
9@dez_blanchfieldDez BlanchfieldCPT Consultants39.48
10@MikeQuindazziMike QuindazziPwC38.79
11@DBaker007Duane BakerDuane Baker37.43
12@VanRijmenamMark van RijmenamDatafloq36.55
13@tamaradullTamara DullSAS Institute33.7
14@Primary_Immune1Yoni MaiselPrimary Immuno Deficiency32.11
15@GlenGilmoreGlen GilmoreGilmore Business Network31.62
16@RussWalker1492Russell WalkerNorthwestern University31.41
17@IoTRecruitingBill McCabeSoftNet Search Partners LLC30.11
18@JimHarrisJim HarrisBlindsided29.58
19@andi_staubAndreas StaubFehrAdvice29.5
20@alevergara78alejandro vergarainjause29.17
21@danielnewmanUVDaniel NewmanFuturum Research + Analysis28.26
22@bobehayesBob E. HayesAppuri28.25
23@SpirosMargarisSpiros MargarisInsureScan27.38
24@gp_pulipakaDr. GP PulipakaDeepSingularity LLC27.23
25@geoff_deweaverGeoff De WeaverGeoff De Weaver Inc26.7
26@DiegoKuonenProf. Diego KuonenStatoo Consulting26.23
27@furrierJohn FurrierSilicon ANGLE26.05
28@DrDataScientistDr. Craig BrownBig Data Consultant26.01
29@JimMarousJim MarousDigital Banking Report25.69
30@GilPressGil PressgPress25.35
31@ricknotdelgadoRick DelgadoIndependent Professional23.15
32@jeffsheehanJeff SheehanIBM22.98
33@OttLegalRebelsMarc R GagnéPACC22.83
34@jose_gardeJose Javier GardeBAEZA S.A.22.8
35@LouisColumbusLouisColumbusIngram Micro Cloud22.49
36@YvesMulkersYves Mulkers7wData22.4
37@ThorOlavsrudThor OlavsrudCIO Onlin21.88
38@simonlporterSimon PorterNGA Human Resources21.71
39@rwang0R Ray WangConstellation R21.68
40@scottguScott GuthrieMicrosoft21.52
41@adamsconsultingDiana AdamsAdams Consulting Group21.08
42@GoogleExpertUKSusan DolanThe Queen’s Young Leaders Programme20.71
43@sandy_cartersandy carterAmazon Web Services20.4
44@MDMGeekPrash ChanInformatica20.33
45@data_nerdCarla GentryTalent Analytics, Corp.19.97
46@RichSimmondsZARich SimmondsCliffCentral.com19.5
47@lisabriercliffeLisa BBriercliffe Associates (Services) Ltd18
48@BigDataGalLillian PiersonData-Mania17.9
49@akwyzAntonio SantosAtos17.68
50@LouisSergeLouis Real del SarteYLFLY17.52


We analysed all the big data conversations on social media to bring you a list of the top 100 most influential brands in big data. Below is the top 50, if you want to see who ranks from 50-100 be sure to download the report to get the full top 100 list!

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RankTwitter HandleNameInfluencer Score
2@DellEMCDell EMC66.01
6@IBMAnalyticsIBM Analytics42.71
10@thomsonreutersThomson Reuters36.9
13@innovateukInnovate UK35.42
14@CsharpCornerC# Corner34.49
15@techreviewMIT Tech Review33.7
17@maprMapR Technologies30.77
19@awscloudAmazon Web Services28.56
22@AzureMicrosoft Azure26.37
23@IDCAPIDC Asia/Pacific25.99
30@IBMBigDataIBM Big Data24.44
31@DataScienceCtrlData Science Central23.67
34@HuaweiHuawei Technologies22.71
35@NetworkWorldNetwork World21.87
36@strataconfO’Reilly Strata21.46
37@McKinsey_MGIMcKinsey Global Inst20.97
40@RedHatNewsRed Hat, Inc.19.04
42@Data_InformedData Informed18.83
47@BoozAllenBooz Allen Hamilton17.49
48@MSLearningMicrosoft Learning16.95
50@SmartDataCoSmartData Collective16.33

At Onalytica we love building these lists and want to give back to our loyal readers as much as we can. If you’re interested in other topics (such as Virtual Reality, Digital HealthDigital Marketing) be sure to have a gander on our blog or why not propose some topics to us on twitter? We also build some very cool software to manage all of these influencers. Get a free trial today by clicking the button below!


Disclaimer: As ever with these lists, it must be stressed that the ranking is by no means a definitive measurement of influence, as there is no such thing. The brands and individuals listed are undoubtedly influential when it comes to driving discussion around Big Data.

The PageRank based methodology we use to extract influencers on a particular topic takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives. These calculations also take into account a user’s relevance (number of tweets on topic) and reach (number of followers). If you want to learn more, please read our article that outlines influencer identification.





Download this free report which reveals the top 100 big data influencers and brands in 2017