Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Getting Started with Analytics- Easy as 1,2,3

How to get started with analytics?  This is a seemingly basic question, but one that many companies struggle with.  IBM has published its "key steps for success with analytics."  These "keys" include attention to data, quality, governance, business goals, implementation rate, tracking usage, and planning, among others.  While there is no definitive guide, this provides a nice simple wireframe to expand on.

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(submitted by Mike)

The End of Relational Databases?

One of the benefits of technology innovations is it forces the community re-think the most basic of assumptions.  For three decades now the prevailing assumption for managing data is to use a relational database.  But what if it didn't, what if data could be more efficiently processed with a different method.  This is the promise of no-SQL (or key/value) databases.  Instead of highly structured databases managed by relational database software (SQL Server, Oracle, etc...), key/value databases use application logic to manage data. While this concept is not new exactly, the size and speed requirements of cloud computing are giving this concept a new look.  Without the overhead of a relational database, key/value applications can produce response times exponentially faster.  For those interested in the future of databases read this article.

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(submitted by Bharath)

Amazon's Cloud- Not so Fault Tolerant

With all the hype and excitement around cloud computing, companies have been moving their operations to Amazon's cloud computing environment with reckless abandon.  The operating word is "reckless."  Most of these early adopters were burned by abandoning the principles of successful IT in lieu of cost savings and speed.  Amazon's cloud solution is great for many things, but fault tolerance and SLAs are not two of them.  As users found out, with the recent 4 day outage, Amazon's architecture is not designed for failure.  Oh and in case of failure do not expect to get compensation.  Ultimately this is a minor bump in the road of cloud adoption, but it should serve as a stark reminder that due diligence and business planning cycles need to accompany the adoption of new technology no matter how cool or cheap it is.

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(submitted by Joel)

It's Cloudy in the Online Productivity Software Space

In what appears to be a big head scratcher, Oracle has entered the online office tool space.  Oracle Cloud Office is just that, a cloud based office productivity suite.  It includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, and drawing applications.  Oracle also announced its release of OpenOffice 3.3 office productivity suite.  OpenOffice is a desktop based office productivity suite.  It includes connections to Oracle's E-Business suite and Business Intelligence Solutions.  Oracle's play here is anybody's guess.  But, this could potentially drive cost and complexity out of office productivity applications.

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(submitted by Mike)

New PC or Bust

In a recent survey of European office workers, researchers found that 40% of office workers are tempted to smash their existing computers in order to get an upgrade.  Interestingly, twice as many workers considered this method when their work computer was slower than their home computer.  While wide-scale computer smashing is probably not to consume the workplace anytime soon, the broader point should not be lost.  In order to be productive, workers need computing resources to enable their work.  Being forced to use equipment that is 2, 3, 4, even 5 (UK average) years old can seriously limit productivity and engender frustration that leading to workplace computer violence.  The speed of innovation should force companies to re-think PC refresh rates.  Now if you will excuse me, I am off to smash my Storm 2 so I can get an iPhone.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Facebook Data Visualization- Amazing!

Want to see what 10 million Facebook friends looks like, then check out this data visualization.  Paul Butler, and engineering intern at Facebook, took a sample of 10 million friendships from the Facebook database and mapped the geo-locations of each friend.  The results are stunning as is the quality of the image.  Click on the image in the article to get a hi-res version.  The amazing piece is there is no underlying map, but result of these connections created the illusion of a map.  Definitely worth checking out.

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(submitted by Helen)

What to do with all this Information - Social Media Inside IBM

Yes another article about wikis, blogs, social bookmarking, social fill-in-the-blank tool at an enterprise company.  Yes these stories have become blasé in the last 4 years, but this one about IBM takes a slightly different angle.  Instead of discussing the technology, this article discusses how IBM manages information gathered from over 200,000 users contributing to their internal wiki.  This means IBM knowledge managers have to help employees navigate the tidal wave of information.  Most companies struggle with the reverse problem, getting people to use the tool.  So here is a look at to handle the problems that come with success.

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(submitted by Helen)

On the Move Again - Global Crossing Acquired

Global Crossing is once again back in the news.  Yes the same Global Crossing from the late 1990s that invested Internet backbone across the globe without a solid business model.  And executives who treated themselves as kings until the entire company went bankrupt in 2002.  Global Crossing, bought out of bankruptcy by Singapore Telecom in 2003, has now been acquired by Level 3.  Level 3, like Global Crossing, is an Internet backbone provider and this acquisition expands their global reach, especially into Latin America and England.  Forget oil and water, with the information age upon us, bandwidth is the commodity of the future.  These developments are worth tracking very closely.

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(submitted by Mike)

Vast Fields of Green(plum) Data

Data, data, data, the future is all about data; data processing, data cleansing, data visualization, so on and so forth. However, what is often missing from the discussion is a clear articulation of the tools.  How are users going to publish all this data?  Excel? Access? Sql Server? Oracle?  More importantly, with the explosion of data, are these the right tools to be using for large sets of data?  EMC, the leader in storage solutions, has introduced a free new database software called Greenplum.  Greenplum uses massively parallel processing technology (MPP) software, which is architected and optimized for processing of large data sets.  Not only is the database free, but it includes free analytic algorithms and data mining tools.  Of course one may wonder why EMC is doing this, well they are betting that with bigger data sets, companies will require (yes you guessed it) more storage, which they are happy to provide.  More importantly, this is another example of how the cost is being driven out of IT and at the same time enabling a new user base.

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(Submitted by Bharath)

The SaaSy CIO

Software as a service (SaaS) has been around since the early days of the dot com bubble.  All sorts of individual non-integrated point solutions littered the landscape.  But few had the robustness to make a dent into Enterprise.  However, in the past few years, the number, types and sophistication of SaaS applications, along with the underlying infrastructure, has exploded.  These days CIOs can find fully featured and integrated (both inside and outside the firewall) CRM, ERP, Exchange, and Collaboration software, to name just a few.  This has forced CIOs (or perhaps CEO/CFOs) to step back and reassess what is the value the IT department brings to the organization as a whole.  This blog posting predicts that SaaS will shift the CIO value-add to generating cost savings strategies.  While this is true, and the author makes good points, there are other areas of CIO value.  The question is finding them, something that will likely unfold throughout the rest of 2011 and into 2012.

Read the article.