September 14, 2014

What’s in a Story (and a Name)?
Story telling capabilities are fast becoming table stakes in visual data discovery tools, but not all stories and storyboards are the same. Here's a look a look at four vendors' approaches. It would be nice to think that most data analyses end with a value added decision or action. But really, many BI analyses end with a Power Point, finely tuned for board room presentations. Data is explored, analyzed, filtered, transformed, and then exported into a story telling medium where it becomes static. The PowerPoint may be used to support or refute a hypothesis or to provide a status update.

A developer’s checklist for deploying the internet of things
The possibilities are staggering, but these “things” represent some significant challenges to app developers. Developers, in particular, will have to cope with an unprecedented explosion of supported devices and form factors, extensive network optimizations to make both the front end and back end more responsive, highly capable edge devices to which more processing may (and should) be pushed, and finally, a plan to capture, process, and wrangle business value and from all of the data these devices generate.

5 Technology Trends for the Financial Industry
Growing regulations and legacy systems have limited the industry to a certain extent and principals are hesitant to adopt new technologies because of the perceived unknown variables. But with the Baby Boomer generation beginning to exit the workplace, there is new pressure to cater to a tech savvy employee and customer base. In the coming years, we should begin to see some changes in the financial industry as banks and investment firms attempt to cater to a new demographic. Here are a few technology trends for the financial industry that we can expect to see become more prevalent in 2015:

Dotcom, Greenwald, Assange and Snowden target New Zealand
Edward Snowden is expected to beam in from exile in Russia, presumably on the same subject: New Zealand's role in the Five Eyes alliance. Dotcom, meanwhile, is promising to show that he was granted citizenship to trap him in New Zealand and facilitate his eventual extradition to the USA. Dotcom faces racketeering charges there related to his now forcibly shuttered file sharing website Megaupload. Now add Julian Assange to the mix. Exactly what Assange will contribute is not yet known, but he is scheduled to beam in from his sanctuary, the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

When Machines Do Your Job
Advances in hardware and software mean it’s possible to automate more white-collar jobs, and to do so more quickly than in the past. Think of the airline staffers whose job checking in passengers has been taken by self-service kiosks. While more productivity is a positive, wealth is becoming more concentrated, and more middle-class workers are getting left behind. What does it mean to have “technological unemployment” even amidst apparent digital plenty?Technology Review spoke to McAfee at the Center for Digital Business, part of the MIT Sloan School of Management, where as principal research scientist he studies new employment trends and definitions of the workplace.

Dark IT
The role of the IT department is still what it has always been: the custodians of the massive investment / asset which is the corporate information, and the corporate technology to derive value from it. IT has a responsibility (and accountability) to protect the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of that asset. We also have a responsibility to the organisation to ensure that use of that information does not present risk to the organisation e.g. compliance, reputation, survival ... Only partly true. Trying to reach out to business on its own will not solve anything.

Cloud Analytics: Selecting Patterns of Integration
Many large-scale solution providers such as Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP are under pressure to add more data and workflow integration capabilities and APIs. Dell Boomi, IBM® WebSphere® Cast Iron® cloud integration, Informatica Cloud Integration, MuleSoft Anypoint Platform for SaaS Integration, and Pentaho business data and big data analytics integration represent next-generation integration that can be much easier to use than traditional integration offerings. These and other cloud-based integration software providers are enabling many patterns of integration, including device-to-cloud, cloud-to-enterprise, and enterprise-to-enterprise patterns among many other variations.

IT Visionaries: The New Role of the Enterprise Architect
Decisions are always going on. It’s the people making those decisions, your developers and team leads, that are your control points. And often they aren’t working directly for you. The EA function is one of influence, which makes credibility all the more important. The only way I’ve worked out to offer direction to this group is to respond to what they are trying to do all the time, which is build systems as cheaply and quickly as possible. What I did as an EA was try to produce tooling, frameworks, and services that were simply faster and cheaper to use than them going out and buying their own or leveraging open source.

Making change work with Enterprise Architecture
When you renovate a house, just as when you begin to analyse any large organisation, there’s an existing house in place which provides guidelines that we need to work within. In EA we refer to this as ‘current state’ plans and these are the ones that provide a baseline of where we are today. Having the existing or current state plans enables any changes to be carried out in a methodical and controlled way; it helps us manage the transition to the future state and provides a solid platform for making informed decisions.

Frugal Innovation in Australian Healthcare
Frugal Innovation is something very familiar to those doing work in Healthcare in the Global South. For example OpenMRS, an openly available medical records system, being developed iteratively, with user-centric design at Mirebalais University Hospital in Haiti. We did end up finding a place for technology and just started building it while using it at the clinic. We collaborated daily with clinicians and users, making changes as we went until we developed an application to help them measure the right things. In this case, a timeline with treatment value measures from the patient’s perspective.

Quote for the day:

"A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier." -- Tom Stoppard