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