Thursday, 14 April 2016

Podcast Interview with Nicolas Rouyer, Orange

It's been a few crazy busy weeks and therefore a bit slower on the Podcasting front, but I still want to keep up this community effort, and so here we are again. I spoke to a dear community member from Toulouse, France: Nicolas Rouyer. Nicolas has been a driving force in the local community in Toulouse, and has also presented his experience with Neo4j at numerous meetups and GraphConnect conferences:

So I definitely wanted to have a chat with him, and here's the result:

Here's the transcript of our conversation:
RVB: 00:01 Hello everyone. My name is Rik, Rik Van Bruggen from Neo. And here I am again recording another episode of our Graphistania podcast. It's been a while since we've had some European guests on the podcast, so I'm very happy to have Nicolas Rouyer from Orange in France on the podcast. Hi Nicolas. 
NR: 00:23 Hi, Rik. How are you?
RVB: 00:25 I'm very good, very good, and it's great to have you on the podcast. I know you've been doing some wonderful work with our community in Toulouse. Well, most people won't know you yet, so would you mind introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about your work there?
NR: 00:40 Yeah, so I am a Big Data Architect at Orange company. We try to design big data architectures that don't fall down. This is a challenge, and we try to analyze all data, all telecom data. I was interested two or three years ago, I can't remember, by graphs because I was I was working on a graph traversal problem and I met Cedric Fauve in Paris at a meet-up. And then I couldn't do anything but work on graphs and Neo4j. 
RVB: 01:36 It was just too compelling, huh [laughter]? 
NR: 01:39 Yeah. It was. I fell in love with I was graphs, I guess. 
RVB: 01:43 That's great. Many people don't know yet, but Orange is actually a telecom operator, right? You're a telecom operator in France, but also, in the UK, I believe, and across Europe I think. Right? 
NR: 01:55 Not in UK anymore, but in Europe, and also in Africa. 
RVB: 02:01 Yeah, exactly. So what attracted you to graphs? What was the use case that you thought was so fascinating that you thought, "You know, I have to get my hands on this?" 
NR: 02:13 Really, I was thrilled by the connections between data. I am really convinced at the call of my heart that connections between data bring value. This is really a mantra and I really believe in that. And so are the easiness to make connections between data and a graph really fascinated me with the user cypher which was very pleasant. I happen to to find new use cases with telecom data and then I did it. 
RVB: 03:06 Were there any particular use cases that attracted most attention for you? Was it more network management, or what was it exactly? 
NR: 03:14 Yeah, in the beginning it was it was network management, you're right, and IT management. So we beat a use case on IT supervision, and we adjusted into Neo4j IT data such as applications, flows, but also incident management, the incidents that occur on applications. So with this very simple data model, at the beginning so, applications-- there are incidents occurring on those applications and those applications exchange flows together. And we try to beat some use cases on incident prediction with Neo4j inside. 
RVB: 04:07 Wow, okay. Since then you've done a lot of work in the local the community in Toulouse. That's going really well, isn't it? 
NR: 04:19 Yeah, we are over 300 graphistas now, and-- 
RVB: 04:24 That's pretty amazing for-- I mean, Toulouse is a big city but it's not like Paris, right?
NR: 04:32 Yeah, you're right. It's not like Paris. We eat very well in Toulouse, not in Paris. 
RVB: 04:38 [laughter]. And you drink well because I remember the beers that you were serving at the meet-up. That was so good, it was really great. 
NR: 04:46 Yeah, but after twenty-two hours, we cannot relate what happened [laughs]. 
RVB: 04:53 Exactly, so you also participated in the writing of the new French Neo4j book, right? 
NR: 05:04 Yes, this is a book in French written Sylvain Roussy who is organizing graph database meet-ups in Lyon. And Sylvain propose me to write some chapters is this book. I happened to write a chapter on graphgists, and it took me a lot of time because-- 
RVB: 05:36 I know [chuckles]. 
NR: 05:37 -- I had not written books before, and it's crazy work. But anyway, I'm pretty happy with the with the result. We want to write the second edition which will deal more on the portion of how to operate it. 
RVB: 06:08 Okay, well Nico, I am having some trouble hearing you. I'm hoping the recording is still happening okay. But that book that you guys wrote, it's popular in Belgium as well, I can tell you. I was talking to some graphistas here in Belgium, at the meet-up and they know about it as well. So really top job, thanks for doing that, really appreciated. 
NR: 06:33 So it's on D-BookeR Edition, if I can advertise a little bit. 
RVB: 06:41 Yeah, I'll put some links to it at the transcription at the blog. So don't worry. 
NR: 06:50 On the graph keys chapter, I tried to explain the spirit of it. Which is to share the graph data model you're building on some data. And sharing you cases is the best way to offer a space of creativity for other graphistas. Because, If they know that a use case is possible in a given sector of activity, they are able to transpose it to their own sector. I mean for example, there is a very well-known use case on telecom, which is churn reduction. We want to keep our customers, and we can use graphs for that. Because interactions-- communications are interactions, are connections between our users, and we can find influences in the telecommunication community. As well, we can transpose it to a human resource. Why do people turn? Why do people leave the company? And we could try to get inside from their interaction, inside the company, and try to find why people leave, and which people could be influencers. 
RVB: 08:21 Couldn't agree more. So, Nico,  maybe I can ask you one more question, right? Where do you think this is going, what does the future hold, both for you and the meet-up, and maybe also the industry? What's your view, what's your hope, what's your expectation there? 
NR: 08:40 I'm pretty convinced that more and more people are going to use graphs because, really, they can find a new ways to build use cases and business models to be able to find more things than before with graphs, because there is a deep insight into the data and into their connections. I'm pretty convinced it's going to work for Neo4j and graphs in general. I expect that the openCypher initiative will bring more actors working on graphs, and on graph traversal with data bricks and oracle, for example. And I expect that /the standardization of drivers will help adopt Neo4j for the global community of developers. If developers find an easy way to ingest and query data, then the graph-based use cases will multiply around the world. 
RVB: 09:59 I could not agree more. Absolutely. Those are really key initiatives, you know, the drivers and the openCypher. And as you know, we're to be announcing a lot more of that stuff at GraphConnect, which is only a month away. I'm hoping I will see you there? 
NR: 10:18 Yeah, of course. I will be a tourist at this GraphConnect because I don't-- I won't present anything. So I won't be a speaker, but I will listen all the while. 
RVB: 10:34 Exactly. I'm sure it will be a really fun conference. Look forward to to seeing you there, I want to thank you for coming online and doing the podcast recording with me, Nico, it was really great. And I look forward to doing lot more stuff together in Toulouse and elsewhere. 
NR: 10:50 Yeah, yeah. Thanks a lot, Rik. 
RVB: 10:53 Talk to you soon, bye. 
NR: 10:55 Bye.
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