July 12, 2016

Why Microsoft is betting its future on AI

"It's the modern era — you don't have to be an expert in speech and language understanding," Connell says. "Just use our tools. Go build your branded bot with our tools and put it on whatever canvas — it might be Slack, it might be Facebook Messenger. We hope it might be Skype or Windows. But you choose." And with fears mounting among developers that a war could emerge over bot standards, Microsoft has been uncharacteristically diplomatic. It organized a conference in San Francisco in June to promote cooperation among bot-makers. "We're really interested in it being interoperable — we want it to be an ecosystem," says Lili Cheng, a senior engineer at Microsoft who helped organize the two-day event. (It was called Botness.) "It's more like, what are the problems and challenges that we are finding that we can work on together?"


Israeli Fintech Hybrid: Another Block in the Blockchain

Israeli universities are home to a number of Blockchain research pioneers, including Turing Award winner Professor Adi Shamir of the Weizman Institute of Science and Prof. Eli Ben-Sassonof the Technion. In the private sector, as per a recent report by the global consulting firm Deloitte, there are dozens of Israeli startups developing a wide-range of Blockchain technologies, in various sectors including security, hardware, virtual currency, payments, P2P and social platforms. For example, a startup offering a Blockchain solution to eliminate the need for documents in international shipping agreements, an application for secure and validated purchase and storing of goods online, and another creating Blockchain data templates for use by banks and enterprises.


The New Data Scientist Venn Diagram

What is relevant is to understand where an individual’s interest lies in the broad data science church and where the needs of the organisation are. The individual’s interest may be developing innovative algorithms to solve a new problem (the high-end data scientist described by Davenport and Patil), or identifying new business problems that can be solved with existing tools or distributed programming for Hadoop. The key is to match the organisation’s needs with an individual’s interest and not be bothered with the position title or the candidate’s label. Finally, as for finding this rare species, let me point out that the characteristics of curiosity, self-direction and innovation are required in all scientific research. Fashioning tools to overcome a challenge has always been the hallmark of a research scientist. Didn’t Newton invent infinitesimal calculus when the mathematical tools at his disposal were insufficient to calculate the instantaneous speed?


Surge in real-time big data and IoT analytics is changing corporate thinking

"The Internet of Things will enable sensor tacking of consumer type products in businesses and homes," he said. "You will be collect and analyze data from various pieces of equipment and appliances and optimize performance." The process of harnessing IoT data is highly complex, and companies like GE are now investigating the possibilities. If this IoT data can be captured in real time and acted upon, preventive maintenance analytics can be developed to preempt performance problems on equipment and appliances, and it might also be possible for companies to deliver more rigorous sets of service level agreements (SLAs) to their customers. Kelly is excited at the prospects, but he also cautions that companies have to change the way they view themselves and their data to get the most out of IoT advancement.


How to make sure your Hadoop data lake doesn't become a swamp

If Hadoop-based data lakes are to succeed, you'll need to ingest and retain raw data in a landing zone with enough metadata tagging to know what it is and where it's from. You'll want zones for refined data that has been cleansed and normalized for broad use. You'll want zones for application-specific data that you develop by aggregating, transforming and enriching data from multiple sources. And you'll want zones for data experimentation. Finally, for governance reasons you'll need to be able to track audit trails and data-lineage as required by regulations that apply to your industry and organization. This is no simple matter, Henschen writes. In order to complete it enterprises will require a mature set of tools for data ingestion, transformation, cataloging and other tasks.


Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) the next game changer in IT?

IT companies aspiring for a piece of the AI market can collaborate in areas of development with cloud service providers, mobile application developers, IT infrastructure service providers and analytics engine providers. AI applications and platforms need microprocessors to execute complex tasks at speed, cloud computing for low cost processing, data storage of massive volumes of unstructured data and smarter analytics engines with Natural Language Processing (NLP), voice and pattern recognition, machine learning, and mobility for wide spread use from remote locations. IT companies involved in any of these areas can collaborate to tap into the potential that AI offers. In terms of AI adoption; however, it’s still early days. Global organisations are working to understand various classes of AI solutions, where the technology is now, what is on the horizon, and how to convert in the near to long term.


Self-service BI Success Depends Upon Data Quality & Governance

Non-technical workers can make faster, better decisions because they no longer have to wait during long reporting backlogs. At the same time, technical teams will be freed from the burden of satisfying end user report requests so they can focus their efforts on more strategic IT initiatives. In order for self-service BI environments to be effective, they must be extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The majority of today’s business users simply don’t have the skills or technical savvy to work with complex tools or sophisticated interfaces. A self-service BI application will only be embraced by its intended audience if it gives them a means of simply accessing customized information, without extensive training. Here are three factors for organizations to consider before they implement self-service BI for their user base:


ITSM Capabilities: It’s Not About the Processes!

Outcomes are more important than processes. Pearl Zhu talks about Business Capability versus Processes over at Future of CIO. The article is well worth reading; in it, she describes a process as how it’s done, whereas a capability is what is done. In other words – what’s accomplished, or (the outcome). It comes down to this – a process by itself doesn't produce value. Processes produce outputs. What the business is able to achieve with those outputs are business outcomes, and can be measured in monetary terms. In a corporate environment, directors and senior managers are accountable for how they spend the company's money. They must ensure that what the company is investing in produces optimum value for the stakeholders. IT spend is no different. Whatever investments a company makes in IT must be held to that same standard – that of producing maximum value for the organization.


Why You Should't Pay The Ramsomware Fee

There is the issue of being able to trust that this is a single payment that will result in the return of data as promised, but enterprises that are hit with ransomware also experience the hard fact that a hit can make your most critical information inaccessible and in some cases not recoverable at all. “Some people might argue that paying is a viable option at that point,” Manship said. In paying though, they also have to consider whether they can trust the bad guy is going to keep their word. Certainly, this act of holding their data hostage could become a continuous cycle. Manship said, “There is no evidence that decrypting data means they are out of your system. Are they going to give you the key? How many times are they going to try to extort money out of you until they laugh and walk away and you are out of luck?”


Five questions boards should ask about IT in a digital world

The IT organization can no longer be considered just a service provider; how it manages the integration of emerging technologies can help determine the success of a company’s digital strategy. Therefore, simply relying on cost-related measures will not provide a full picture of IT performance. And the CIO’s boardroom presentations will continue to get lost in translation. Boards need to master a second language—one focused on digital themes, such as speed to market, agile product development, platform-based delivery models, and the benefits and challenges of analyzing various forms of corporate data. With a higher degree of digital fluency, boards can help C-suite leaders make better decisions about how to expand a company’s most successful technology initiatives and when to pull the plug on lagging ones.



Quote for the day:


"Direction, not intention, determines destination" -- Andy Stanley