September 20, 2014

The Perfect Storm: Service Aggregation, Automation and Management
Generic IaaS portfolio’s with little creativity. Limited to no service automation capability, a huge skills shortage in the areas of service creation, demand creation and workload integration / technical planning and a gross under estimation of how quickly the demand side of this market would develop because reality is, most of these organisations likely to use Cloud (Read : Demand) are still trying to work out how to virtualise and deal with the costs and complexity of consolidating legacy and physical systems in an intelligent and coordinated way.

Design your own KPIs, like this bar manager did with limes
Some vendors of CRM applications might be dismayed to hear such advice, entertaining as the story is. For an emerging trend among some of these companies is to coax users of their product into sharing metrics -- from sales to compensation -- with the other users of the product to establish very specific benchmarks for these indicators. One example is Xactly's recently rollout of Xactly Insights. Xactly offers an application that supports sales compensation and Insights is an add-on that compiles the compensation data of the customers that the flagship applications is managing -- and then releases it in anonymized form to the users. Users have to opt in and most have, according to Xactly.

The Growth of Data Science
Data Science is a discipline that has been evolving rapidly over the last couple of years as a large number of companies have embarked on Big Data projects that seek to put the vast stores of data that they are collecting to good use.  Software such as the hugely popular Splunk has made it easy for non-specialist staff to carry out rudimentary Big Data analysis - a recent CompTIA study found that staff in both sales and research departments have seen a rapid rise in involvement in Big Data projects. But to get the full benefit from all this data companies are increasingly recruiting from the small pool of highly skilled specialist Data Scientists.

Detroit's IT Systems “Beyond Fundamentally Broken”
Detroit’s financial IT systems are so bad that the city really hasn’t known what it is owed or in turn, what it owes, for years. A Bloomberg News story last year, for example, told the story of a $1 million check from a local school district that wasn’t deposited by Detroit for over a month. During that time, the check sat in a city hall desk drawer. That isn’t surprising, the Bloombergstory noted, as the city has a hard time keeping track of funds electronically wired to it. The financial systems are so poor that city income-tax receipts need to be processed by hand; in fact, some 70 percent of all of the city’s financial accounting entries are still done manually.

Adopting a Multi-Pronged Approach to Cyber Risk
Traditional security controls are no longer sufficient to address the risk, according to the executives. Thomas says insurance companies need to consider their threat landscape and take a right-sized approach. In addition, various stakeholders need to work together to share intelligence about who is trying to attack, especially among public and private sectors. Companies also need to get their boards involved. “There’s a growing sentiment among investors that cyber risk requires persistent involvement and oversight,” he says. Insurance companies, and the industry at large, also need to focus on talent, so there’s the expertise and “muscle memory” on hand to know how to detect and respond to threats.

Service Locator Pattern
The basic idea of pattern is to decouple service Consumers from their Providers. It allows a Consumer to easily change its service Provider. .... The Service Locator pattern is used for applying Dependency Inversion Principle (DIP) in your application. The DIPstates "A High level module in an application must not be directly dependent on Low level module, but must rely on abstraction". This allows modules to change their implementation without effecting each other providing loose coupling and easy extension.

How Do I Become a Data Scientist?
Capital One hired me for my logical thinking and not for the knowledge of the tools, I would need to use. In the following years, by working with several employers, freelancing and doing a few pet projects – I learnt several tools and techniques – SAS, SPSS, R and Python included! Having said that, if I was starting my career today, would I choose the same path? The answer is NO. I would take up a very different path, than what I did. This path would not only cut out the period of confusions I had, but also uses some of the dramatic shifts which have happened in analytics industry in past few years.

Human-Computer Interaction: Present and Future Trends
New forms of HCI will significantly change our lives. New interaction paradigms offer the chance to improve quality of life for people who can't take advantage of current interfaces — due to physical disabilities, for example. On the other hand, new issues will arise — particularly related to privacy, security, and ethics — thus potentially slowing the diffusion of new hardware and software products based on wearable (and "invisible") devices. Although some researchers have already investigated relationships between interface design and legal and privacy issues, national legislations are heterogeneous and not yet ready to cope with present and future advances in HCI.

Applying the 4Cs Map to Enhancing Team Performance
Learners retention is key so that not only they can learn from the mistakes but not repeat the same mistakes. Henrik Kniberg, an Agile and Lean coach says it best in one of his articles when he said, “The only real failure is the failure to learn from failure”. So, how can we accelerate learning and ensure that we retain what we learned? This leads us to the 4Cs Map which is a brain-based instructional design model that also apply to enhancing team performance. The 4Cs stand for Connections, Concept, Concrete Practice and Conclusion.

5 Case Studies in Mobile Payments
The embedded mobile payments feature in the iPhone 6 is breathing new life into a controversial product category that has numerous billion dollar corpses floating in its innovation ocean. Regardless of the well-publicized mobile payment failures in recent years, it is inevitable that a few successful players will emerge. The skyrocketing growth of mobile, online and social technologies have transformed global trade. Current and future generations of consumers will continue to expect new services that support multi channel commerce with non-intrusive (yet targeted) advertising and big data analytics, with ever-easier ways to make payments.

Quote for the day:

"Try to learn something about everything and everything about something" -- Thomas Huxley

September 19, 2014

Wearable tech pioneer and Google Glass mastermind
Starner said he hasn't experienced any negativity while using Glass in public. He said the media has overstated the complaints against Glass wearers in public. While wearing Glass at the UbiComp and ISWC conference in Seattle this week, he deftly tapped the side of Glass and turned it on and off. "You can see when this is on," he said, pointing to the small light that appears when Glass is in use. "You can look closely and see what I'm doing. The gestures are socially appropriate." Priest-Dorman said, "People aren't threatened by eyewear. Both that the device becomes more accepted and more commonplace and doesn't stand out as much."

PaaSLane 2.5 optimizes Java and .NET apps for the cloud
This release of PaaSLane adds support for Google's AppEngine and Compute Engine. It also makes it possible for a customer's code to be analyzed locally rather than requiring the code to be uploaded to the cloud. The company calls this "local profiling." Profiling .NET applications has also been improved. ... CTP's move to offer local scanning and optimization will help companies that were uncomfortable loading their source code into a cloud environment. This one change could result in more of them consider integration with or migration to cloud computing environments.

Pragmatic Functional Refactoring with Java 8
You may be hearing a lot of buzz around functional programming. For example, Java 8 recently introduced new features (lambda expressions and method references) and APIs (Streams, Optional and CompletableFutures) inspired from functional ideas such as first-class functions, composition and immutability. However, what does this mean for my existing codebase? In this talk we show how you can refactor your traditional object-oriented Java to using FP features and APIs from Java 8 in a beneficial manner.

Why you should tap into the power of Ruby from the comfort of the JVM
The most important piece of JRuby for Java developers is one known as JRuby Embed. RedBridge is an small part of JRuby used to embed Ruby code atop a Java program. You can use it using a bare metal API, which means that you use internal classes provided by RedBridge to execute Ruby code inside Java; alternatively, you can you can use the JSR 223 spec as well. The disadvantage of the latest approach is that it raises the level of abstraction and probably you will end up by mixing both approaches, so for these examples we are going to use the JRuby Embed API directly.

Beyond Big Data: Consider the Impact of Emerging Technologies on Data Management
In today’s data management processes, data experts devise ways to measure the relevancy and currency of information stored in the companies’ databases. Methods are developed to score information based on recent usage. “Best record” methods are developed to identify duplicates and determine the surviving records. All these methods take time to develop and implement. Also consider that today most employees find it very difficult to report on the quality or usefulness of the data in a database. Employees need to find who in the company is responsible for the quality of the information or the appropriate data owners.

Developers Failing at Mobile App Privacy, Security
"Apps are becoming central to our lives, so it is important we understand how they work and what they are doing with our information," said Simon Rice of the United Kingdom's Information Commissioners Office (ICO), which issued a news release about the study. "Today's results show that many app developers are still failing to provide this information in a way that is clear and understandable to the average consumer. "The ICO and the other GPEN members will be writing out to those developers where there is clear room for improvement," Rice continued. "We will also be publishing guidance to explain the steps people can take to help protect their information when using mobile apps."

Big Success with Big Data
Organizations that start and complete big data projects see practical results and significant value, according to a recent study by Accenture Analytics. Those standing on the sidelines may be left behind. Executives report big data delivering business outcomes for a wide spectrum of strategic corporate goals — from new revenue generation and new market development to enhancing the customer experience and improving enterprise-wide performance. Organizations regard big data as extremely important and central to their digital strategy.

10 free analytics tools to help you manage social media
Everyone is after data. If you're running social media for a brand or company, it's best you're armed with information on the social accounts you manage -- not only so you can show how social efforts are lining up with business goals, but also for the sake of a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn't. There's no shortage of tools that will tell you various parts of the story, from who is mentioning you and where, to what hashtags mean and how to best to use them. The following 10 tools, however, are built for giving users analytics. Most of the them are free or have a free version to get you started.

Web Application Security Vulnerabilities
Vulnerability is any weakness or flaw in the application that exposes the application to the attacker who can use it to perform unauthorized actions such as retreiving confidential information. Many website security problems come from believing that users will perform only the actions that they are supposed to perform. A malicious user may try to perform the actions that he is not supposed to. Software vulnerability is one of the biggest challenges of the software industry. Particularly public web sites are more prone to vulnerability attacks since they are exposed to lot many users.

Why big data evangelists should be sent to re-education camps
"Too often, big data enables the practice of apophenia: Seeing patterns where none actually exist, simply because enormous quantities of data can offer connections that radiate in all directions. In one notable example, Leinweber (2007) demonstrated that data mining techniques could show a strong but spurious correlation between the changes in the S&P 500 stock index and butter production in Bangladesh," they wrote. In her paper The Surveillance-Innovation Complex: The Irony of the Participatory Turn, Julie Cohen noted that surveillance has become increasingly privatised, commercialised, and participatory. Surveillance is no longer something to fear and regulate.

Quote for the day:

"Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion." -- Bill Hybels

September 18, 2014

Cyber crime wake-up call
Part of the problem is that cyber security is no longer a question of building a firewall and installing anti-virus software. To begin with, KCS finds that roughly four-fifths of malicious cyber intrusions can be traced from within the organisation being hacked. The individual concerned could be a disgruntled employee or someone who is being blackmailed, bribed or otherwise coerced into helping cyber criminals or competitors find a hole in the company's defences.

5 Best Practices For Agile Analytics Organizations
One of the ironies of analytics today is that while the technology is more powerful and easier to use than ever, the fast-changing organizational and technology landscapes have lead to increased discontent and confusion for IT and business users alike. The challenge is to combine the benefits of self-service: more flexibility & speed, greater adoption, and better alignment with business needs; but avoid the potential problems, including needless duplication of data and tools, lack of overall visibility of the business, and diluted responsibility.

With this tool, you can run nearly any Android app on a Chromebook
Did you hear the big news? Android apps now run on Chromebooks. To be more specific, four Android apps run on Chromebooks. It now sounds like a little less of a big deal but in the long run, this has the potential to strengthen the case for Chrome OS, as we discussed in detail on this week’s Chrome Show podcast. We’ll have to wait for Google to work with Android developers and for the App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) to mature from its current beta status. But you don’t have to wait for more Android apps on Chromebooks if you want to use an unofficialsolution: With it, you can install and try just about any Android app on a Chromebook, such as Flipboard.

How IT should prep for iOS 8
iOS 8 isn't as paradigm shifting as those releases. Most new features are aimed more at consumers than business users or enterprise IT. HealthKit, HomeKit, Handoff and other Continuity features that link iOS devices and Macs, and even the upcoming Apple Pay, are decidedly consumer-oriented. But that doesn't mean IT departments can easily write off iOS 8 as a welcome, but unimportant update. Apple's new mobile OS presents several challenges (and opportunities) to IT shops as well as enterprise app developers. Here's what IT departments should keep in mind as Apple launches iOS 8 later today and rolls out the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on Friday.

Risk management key to cyber strategy, says BP
“Uncertainty is a fact of life, but we can be organised in our approach to managing risks by having a clear set of risk management processes in place,” he said. One key process is aimed at identifying and prioritising each threat based on a risk assessment. However, Dudley said as member of the highly-targeted energy sector, BP has a multitude of risks to manage and is constantly looking to innovations in cyber security to improve its defence capabilities. ... “Security controls are not enough – employees need to know they have a role to play and how they should respond to the worst-case scenarios,” said Dudley.

Continuous Delivery in Practice
Continuous Delivery allows you to get new features and capabilities to market quickly and reliably—two highly desirable outcomes. In this best practice guide, learn from successful Continuous Delivery practitioners and hear lessons from, NYSE-Euronext, and

TechUK manifesto calls on future government to put digital first
“What interests me is how very clear, how very direct, how very ambitious, but how very achievable the recommendations in this manifesto are. Where I come from, we’d say ‘there is not a lot of flannel in here’. It is very achievable,” he said. “What is very clear is the huge opportunities that are available, not on the horizon or in the long distance future, but now. The prize is immediate if we can grasp it now,” he added. Lord Timothy Clement-Jones, representing the Lib Dems, made an interesting case, pointing out that while the UK was good at funding and producing start-ups, it was appalling at providing later-stage finance.

IT outsourcing: As Romania vies to be the new India, can the country keep up?
"Romania is seen as a complementary location to India as Eastern Europe provides a perfect balance between cost and quality. Our clients say we are 2-3 times more productive than the traditional offshore vendors. There is better ability to understand the requirements and needs beyond project specs," said John Cotterell, CEO at Endava. The company has more than 1,100 full time employees in Romania, located in Bucharest, but also in Cluj-Napoca and Iasi. Tholon's most recent Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations report includes several Eastern European countries, and puts the Romanian capital of Bucharest 40th in the list last year, up from 44th in 2012.

Stop Governing Your Data - Start Leading Data Behaviors and Outcomes
The work of sourcing and assuring its basic integrity for their use has overtaken their analytic and execution mandate. This over-emphasis on data sourcing and assurance undermines their performance and limits their career potential since they cannot shine based on analysis and execution alone, as they should. Relieving them of most of this burden by offering a much smaller comparative burden of controlling data as it is produced and consumed becomes a very attractive option, especially if it takes much less time and everyone involved is committed to this effort.

Once your car's connected to the Internet, who guards your privacy?
Modern vehicles, Schneider said, can have as many as 200 CPUs and multiple communications networks between internal computer systems. While most systems are isolated within the car, others are used to transmit data back to manufacturers, dealers or even the government. "On the plus side, this data can make the user experience much richer and personalized because from one vehicle to the next, it will know all my settings and [be] able to integrate your car into your digital day," Schneider said. "The flip side of that is it creates risk."

Quote for the day:

"Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance." -- J. Donald Walters