June 26, 2016

2 Ways Big Data and Little Data Are the Perfect Couple

Big Data is so in vogue, that it’s at risk of becoming the next “synergy”. Ah yes, all those wonderful hip words used by executives trying to show just how young and hip they are. While executives wear ball-caps to cover up their bald spot, Big Data is bandied around the Board Room. But what’s the point of Big Data if it doesn’t actually drive decision-making in an effective direction? Or, worse yet, it’s used instead of the tried and true set of smaller data metrics that have driven sales teams and marketing departments for generations?  At the risk of showing my bald spot, I think it’s time we look at Big Data for what it is; a fantastic tool that is more than welcome inside the successful company’s toolbox, but not at the expense of smaller data.

Smart contracts: Welcome to a world of automated digital commerce

Blockchain ledger technology opens the door not only to decentralized transactions, but also to smart (that is, automated and computable) transactions and smart (computable and self-executing) contracts that can take advantage of smart transactions. A smart contract is a digitally signed, computable agreement between two or more parties. A virtual third party—a software agent—can execute and enforce at least some of the terms of such agreements. ... Over the long term, the blockchain concept is about creating new entities and processes that can be automated in whole or in part. New blockchain-inspired systems—public, private, or both—will be essential to the growth of the Internet of Things. They will be fundamental to machine-to-machine transactions at scale.

How Open Data Is Changing Chicago

The action of posting data sets makes everything much more transparent and easier to access. In the past, some of this data might have been public in the sense that you could have requested it from us, but now it’s something that you can get on demand. By making data publicly available, I think you change the type of discourse that you have because you’re being proactively transparent, not reactively transparent. Your trust model changes. For example, if somebody came up to you and told you some facts about themselves, about their life, without you even having to ask that question, you would be hard-pressed to call that person reclusive. Same thing here. Proactively publishing information makes it harder to say that the government is being reclusive—and that helps increase trust.

Docker Momentum Mesmerizes and Threatens

“It’s everything you need to go from simple, containerized development to a whole live system that can receive anything from anywhere, anytime that can span multiple service providers and survive hardware failures,” said Hykes, looking trim and peppy in the uniform of the DevOps crowd — jeans and T-shirt. Despite the growing success of Docker — the company is now understood to have a multi-billion dollar valuation because of its expanding use by DevOps teams — there is some anxiety among its technology partners that Docker will wield its growing power to rule the container management space. Even though many of Docker’s tools are open source, its management platform is a proprietary software product that the company is now monetizing with large services contracts.

Don't clear out your cubicle for a robot just yet

“The cognitive era will create new jobs, such as robot monitoring professionals, data scientists, automation specialists, and content curators,” the analysts wrote. “But the transformation of existing jobs resulting from re-engineering a process to use cognitive support -- such as turning low-value data entry work to higher-level analyst or customer-oriented roles -- will be even more dramatic.” The analysts pointed out, for example, that IBM’s Watson cognitive platform can reduce the amount of time that data analysts spend crunching numbers. That means those data scientists should have more time to focus on higher-value tasks, such as interpreting results. Eliminating mundane tasks and giving people more interesting work, should improve both morale and worker retention, according to Forrester.

World’s Fastest Supercomputer Now Has Chinese Chip Technology

"It’s not based on an existing architecture. They built it themselves," said Jack Dongarra, a professor at the University of Tennessee and creator of the measurement method used by TOP500. "This is a system that has Chinese processors." The new machine shows China’s determination to build its domestic chip industry and replace its dependence on imports that cost as much as oil. The world’s most populous country may also try to lessen its reliance on U.S. companies for defense technology and security infrastructure. Supercomputers aren’t major consumers of chips. But being at the heart of the world’s most powerful machines helps processor makers persuade the broader market to consider their technology.

Are Tech Skills Required to Effectively Lead IT Governance?

“Some IT specialists mistakenly think business leaders cannot govern IT, since they lack technology skills.” The article emphasizes that the reality is that no technology knowledge is actually required. “Understanding the capability IT brings or planning new, improved business capability enabled by smarter, more effective use of IT does not require specific knowledge of how to design, build, or operate IT systems.” 4 To further prove their point, the two authors of the article compared this concept to an automobile: If someone wants to operate a taxi service, they need to understand the capabilities and requirements for the vehicles used to operate the service, NOT how to design and manufacture cars. Therefore, effectively leading IT governance does not require IT skills.

How to know if your organization is ready for data governance software

Understanding the specific scenarios where data governance will provide business benefits to your organization dictates functionality requirements, which then help determine which tool category -- or categories -- you should be looking into. You'll then need to either prioritize your requirements or consider acquiring multiple tools. While most vendors strive to provide a full spectrum of data governance support, or partner with others to achieve that, there's currently no one tool that will meet all data governance requirements. Many companies look for tools that support administration of a data governance program and provide workflow and glossary functionality; they then integrate that software with existing data modeling environments.

Chasing Enterprise Architecture Perfection

The balancing of keeping the lights on and innovation is where Enterprise Architecture is supposed to add direction and most often does. Where most IT organizations seem to focus though is on the lower level stacks. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a need for those levels including integration strategy, master data, and infrastructure management; but what if instead, the attention was centered on the business process? If IT could better align with the business needs and objectives, and everyone came to sit at the same table wouldn’t the end solution be a much more effective design? I’ve seen a few companies do this very well, so I realize I’m not presenting a new idea; just trying to emphasize the thoughts for companies who aren’t yet thinking in this manner.

Change As Core Competency: Transforming The Role Of The Enterprise Architect

The mantle of change agent has graced the shoulders of many an enterprise architect over the years, but it rarely fits well. Today we’re finally realizing why. Pushing an organization to move from a problematic status quo to some other more desirable state has never led to organizations that are better able to deal with change overall. Instead, for such organizations, change is a temporary and difficult chore, best finished quickly so that people can go about their business. Instead of being an agent of change, the EA must become an architect of change. Change is all around us, pervasive and ubiquitous. Organizations need to get better at dealing with it, and ideally, leverage both internal and external disruption for competitive advantage.

Quote for the day:

"When someone says you can't, look at where they are sitting. Perhaps they meant they can't." -- Tim Fargo