Lessons Learned: Sharing TEAM’s Knowledge of Cutting-Edge Technology

TEAM employees present at HDC.

If you tried to talk to any ol’ Joe on the street about the Azure Data Lake and U-SQL, you’d probably be met with a blank stare and a “huh?” in response. But, fill a room at an event like the Heartland Developers Conference (HDC), and you’re bound to be met with overwhelming interest and lots of feedback.

That’s exactly what happened after TEAM employees Sarah Riley and Steven Williams completed their break-out presentation, “Scalable Data Processing using the Azure Data Lake and U-SQL,” during HDC held in September 2018.

“It was really exciting to be able to share our experiences and the lessons learned with other colleagues,” explained Riley, TEAM’s Data Architect. “What we’re doing with this technology is pretty objectively innovative, and it’s really cool to see how it makes ‘big data’ more accessible than ever.”

Riley and Williams showed conference attendees how the Azure Data Lake and U-SQL is a highly scalable solution suitable for processing structured, semi-structured and unstructured data workloads, both big and small. TEAM’s data group is incorporating Azure technology that’s still in beta — meaning they’re interacting with features in real-time as Microsoft is building them.

“We’re defining what’s next by doing things that are on the cutting edge, defining patterns that don’t exist,” said Williams, a Senior Software Developer at TEAM. “We’ve been able to influence the direction of the Azure platform not just for us, but for everyone.”


And, it was obvious the technology wasn’t just exciting for TEAM. Despite well-known speaker among technology folks, Cory House, who was presenting his session on React at the same time, Riley and Williams’ break-out session — a first from employees at TEAM — was a full house. One attendee even said that while they may never use the technology, the session made them want to go and learn more.

“We have incredible technical talent at this company, and we’re given the freedom we need to excel. TEAM values us as individuals, not just as technologists, and the support allows us to pay the knowledge forward,” added Riley.

When asked if they would present together again? One hundred percent, absolutely. They explained that, while the information they presented was exciting itself, what made the experience even better was the interaction with each other.

“This project was fun because we work really well together. At one point during the presentation, we even had a back-and-forth conversation that wasn’t rehearsed or intentional — it was just a natural part of our work style,” said Williams.

Leveraging the power of shared data and information isn’t a new concept for TEAM; it’s core to who we are as developers of integrated software. We encourage our employees to participate and support events like HDC because we understand the value gained from listening and learning others.