Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Fastest Version of Windows...Runs on an iPad

In what can only described as the ultimate convergence of cloud computing and mobile device usage, look no further than OnLive Desktop.  It is a small iPad App that let's your run a standard Windows 7 desktop, with the full version of Office right through your iPad.  There is no booting up, license installation, patching, or even blue screen of death.  Simply open the App and start using your Windows desktop, complete with touch gestures.  The article describes opening a Word document in 1 second. 

Underlying this technical marvel is a massive cloud infrastructure connected with a 1-gigabit network connection.  There is an optimization tool running in the background that streams only the necessary data to the iPad, thus ensuring the fastest user experience possible.  There are some drawbacks, as with any cutting edge tool.  There is no Control Panel for making adjustments to the operating environment and transferring files requires a regular PC.  Also, one has to question the soundness of the business model, the outlay of cash to set this up and operate this must be substantial.  It appears OnLive is not funded by Microsoft, so it will be interesting to see their reaction to a product offering that cuts right to the heart of their core business.

Drawbacks and business model constraints aside, a free (or pro) version of fully functioning, speedy, hassle free Windows that runs on an iPad is a pretty compelling offer.  More importantly this is a sign of trends to come, especially in the PC market, where one can access massive computing power in the cloud using a small lightweight device.


Read the article.

(submitted by Judi)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NoSQL, No Kidding: Amazon Launches Updated Cloud Service

Amazon recently announced an updated offering to its suite of online suite of cloud based data solutions.  DynamoDB, an upgrade to their previous SimpleDB offering, is a NoSQL database.  NoSQL databases (previously described here) forgo the rigid structure and cleansing of relational databases, instead opting to make use of increasingly available clustered processing and memory capability to do real time analysis on unstructured data.  Amazon, Google, Facebook and others have been doing this for years as they used these techniques to optimize their operations.  What is quite interesting about the Amazon DynamoDB service is it runs completely on solid state drives (SSDs), which produce significantly faster response times than traditional spinning hard disks.  Anybody that has priced SSDs lately knows this must have cost a fortune to buy a cloud size set of these drives.

Read the article.

(submitted by Bharath)

Mobile Logistics & Supply Chain

This article describes how more and more supply chain managers are using smart phones and tablets to accomplish their work.  Specially designed Apps allow them to control, track, message, and otherwise improve productivity.  This includes anything from basic visibility to transportation management.  As these Apps evolved there is also great potential to deliver actionable information faster and help to improve decision making.  Naturally adoption is limited so far and obstacles remain, such as security, integration w/proprietary systems, and device design.  However, it is clear Apps and smart phones/tablets will increasingly gain traction within the supply chain management space.

Read the article.

(submitted by Jenni)

Aberdeen Report: Optimize Marketing with Predictive Analytics

Aberdeen recently released a study that measures the success of companies using predictive analytics vs. those that don't.  Interestingly, within the companies that did use predictive analytics they found significant differences in results, attributing the differences to use of technology and organizational capability.  Some keys to success highlighted in the article:
  • Enable business users directly w/predictive analytics tools
  • Increase employee skill level
  • Address high levels of unclean data
There are a number of key insights, so definitely a recommended reading.


Read the article.

(submitted by Bharath)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Social Purchasing: Using Social Media in Purchasing

As purchasing and procurement continues its evolution from transactional to strategic there are a myriad of changes that will occur. Naturally some of those changes include technology.  However, something often discussed, but not fully thought out (or understood) is the role of social media in purchasing.  Maastricht University recently undertook an academic study to measure the effect of social media within supply networks.  The results of the study are interesting, though not shocking.  Mainly because, as the results show, the use of social media in this context is still in its infancy.  However, there is little doubt that there will be a role for social media in purchasing in the future, somebody just has to figure out how...

Read the article.

(submitted by Walter)

Airline + Social Media = The answer is Obvious...

Late last year Qantas Airways experienced a social media fail when it sponsored a Twitter contest that asked people to tweet their dreams for luxury air travel, including the hashtag #qantasluxury.  Ignoring the then labor standoff between the company and pilots, engineers, baggage handlers and caterers.  Anybody that has experienced flying coach for more than 4 hours recently will tell you that there are plenty of things to complain about if given the chance.  So Qantas poked the proverbial bear by asking its passengers to publicly tweet what they would like to see in air travel.  Add this as yet another example of companies, celebrities, and politicians not truly appreciating the nature of social media.


Read the article.

(submitted by Helen)

Debunking Collaboration Myths, Gartner Style

cFor the last few years we have heard all about enterprise collaboration.  Most of this comes from software vendors trying to sell the latest and greatest tool.  This article highlights 5 myths about collaboration as identified by Gartner:

  • The right tools will make us collaborative
  • Collaboration is inherently a good thing
  • Collaborating takes extra time
  • People naturally will/will not collaborate
  • People instinctively know how to collaborate
While it is a quick read, the conclusions are logical.

Read the article.

(submitted by Walter)

Another Dot Com Boom...This Time in Vietnam

Perhaps the title is a bit overstated, but it reflects the rapidly emerging tech market in Vietnam.  With a country of 88 million people, an estimated one-third online, most of whom are young and seeking to buy, the technology market is ripe.  Venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are expressing a lot of interest in this market.  Boasting sites like VietnamWorks (similar to monster.com) and NhomMua, Muachung, and Cung Mua (Groupon copycats) the online Vietnam marketplace is growing rapidly.


Read the article.

The Battle Rages On: Apple vs. Google

The mobile wars between Apple and Google continue.  While Google is the leading OS provider for smart phones, there is more to the story.  The value and robustness of the smart phone market is not the OS, but rather the Apps.  To that end Apple not only remains ahead, but it is gaining ground.  Developers, by a margin of 3 to 1 are choosing Apple's iOS over Android.  Signaling a major shift, that ratio was 3 to 2 just a year ago.  The reason being is financial rewards and complexity.  Simply put, developers make more money developing on iOS.  Also, because of Apple's controlled hardware, it reduces the complexity of development.  Apple only has a couple models of iPhone and iPad compared to over 500 plus (and growing) of Android based gadgets.  This is a maintenance and support nightmare for developers.  Of course this dynamic, closed hardware vs. open hardware should sound familiar to those who remember the PC wars of the 1990s.  The difference here is that the strategy seems to be literally paying off for Apple.  How this plays out over time remains to be seen, but for now Apple is doing well. 

Read the article.

We Know You Are Pregnant Even if You Haven't Told Anyone

As a follow up to the previous article on Target's use of predictive analytics.  This Forbes.com article describes how Target started sending pregnancy related advertisements to a teenage girl they "predicted" was pregnant.  Her father, who didn't know why she was receiving these ads, complained to the local store manager.  Turns out the predictors were correct, guessing that the sudden purchase of things like "cocoa-butter lotion, a purse large enough to double as a diaper bag, zinc and magnesium supplements and a bright blue rug" would presume an impending pregnancy.  The more shocking statistic from this article is that estimates suggest that use of advanced analytics has raised Target's revenue growth $23 billion in the last 8 years.


Read the article.

Somebody is Tracking You: Well Target Stores that is...

This New York Times article is a rare behind the scenes look at how Target uses analytics to drive its business decisions.  While not surprising to those in the analytics field, the breadth of data they collect is pretty amazing.  Whether using a credit card, coupon, filling out a survey, submitting a refund, sending an email, visiting their web site, etc…provide them data to collect.  Then that information is matched up to other information such as "how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit."   Combine that with other publicly purchasable demographic information and they have a powerful set of data to work with. The article goes on to describe how Target's Guest Marketing Analytics department uses this data to do predictive analytics.  Definitely a must read.