April 24, 2015

The Data Behind Democracy: Analytics and the 2015 UK General Election
All three of the main political parties in the UK have invested heavily in data analytics engines. Labour has Voter ID, The Conservatives have Merlin, and the Liberal Democrats use a system called Contact Creator. These systems analyse huge volumes of raw data to provide demographic analysis of voter behaviour and allow more effective segmentation to be achieved. As well as being used to try to predict the overall outcome, analytics are also used heavily throughout every stage of the campaign process. Data-driven insights allow parties to make important decisions in real time – decisions which are based on facts rather than speculation.

Apache Spark speeds up big data decision-making
“There are a couple of issues. Firstly, Hadoop is still immature: there are not millions of customers, there are thousands. Secondly, open-source projects like to move on quickly, whereas businesses want production environments to be stable and not change things at the same rate.” Nonetheless, Spark is finding a home alongside proprietary software. Postcodeanywhere, a provider of address data to popular e-commerce and retail websites, has been using Spark internally for more than a year to help understand and predict customer behaviour on its platform, enabling the company to improve service.

Small businesses: what you need to know about cyber security
Small businesses often fail to address cyber security until it’s too late. The combination of a lack of knowledge and the fear of expense can often lead them to ignore the problem altogether. Statistics show, however, that small businesses are as likely to be attacked as large businesses, if not more so. What SMEs often fail to realise is that all data is valuable to cyber criminals, wherever they can get it from. “…it is the data that makes a business attractive, not the size – especially if it is delicious data, such as lots of customer contact info, credit card data, health data, or valuable intellectual property.” – Jody Westby, CEO of Global Cyber Risk.

5 Impactful Steps to Take while Transitioning From Waterfall to Agile
Transforming from Waterfall to Agile involves a lot of hard work. Just like you can’t walk into the White House, you can’t simply decide to be agile. In his book Waterfall to Agile: A Practical Guide to Agile Transition, Arie Van Bennekum writes ‘transitioning from waterfall to agile is proving difficult for many people who can see the potential benefits agile has to offer but are struggling to get ‘the powers that be’ on-board. Understandibly this can be very frustrating.’ But honestly, it doesn’t have to work that way. No need to be all worked up. As Arie puts it, ‘with proven techniques and strategies, you will be able to create a successful Agile transition that’ll give you more influence in your organization and greater control over your career’.

Healthcare Identified as Top Priority for IoT Technology and Innovation
More than any other country (three times greater) surveyed, those in China believe space travel and aerospace deserve the strongest backing, Indians believes education is most crucial, and those in Germany are partial to improving entertainment by way of technology. In addition to the examination of IoT technology and innovation priorities, the survey also asked consumers what technologies they want to see rolled out this year. Universal internet got the most votes (68 percent), followed by flexible or foldable screens, 40 percent; self-driving cars, 37 percent; and space tourism, 15 percent.

This is How Effective CTOs Embrace Change
Perhaps the most interesting byproduct of going out of your way to get to know others is that your own goals will become much clearer, Cooke explains.As a CTO, you're likely focused on what you can do to help the business overall. “Knowing what key people in your organization need to be successful is one of the most meaningful things you can do to impact the company,” he says. “For example, meeting with the CMO to proactively support an upcoming user conference means I can help find speakers or line up customers to attend. When I meet with our chief revenue officer, I can learn about the sales cycle and attend important customer and partners meetings to help the company meet our numbers. At Twilio, I found an opportunity to support the legal team and help develop and execute the IP strategy.”

Governance of Enterprise IT Missing In Action
The great majority of IT organizations today operate within a politically entrenched, silo-based model where GEIT is a myth and enterprise strategies are nonexistent. At best, an enterprise IT function may have an operations strategy and a development strategy. However, for many organizations, each major silo will have its own IT strategy based on its own departmental objectives (e.g., infrastructure, business unit or shadow IT priorities) with little to no integration or shared collaboration. Even the concept of one integrated governance framework being adopted across all internal and external IT stakeholders would be scorned as impractical, naive and impossible within the current leadership and organizational structure.

Functional-Style Callbacks Using Java 8's CompletableFuture
The Java 5 concurrency library was focused on asynchronous task handling, based on a model of producer threads creating tasks and handing them off to task-consumers via blocking queues. This model was augmented in Java 7 and 8 with support for an alternative style of task execution, involving the decomposition of a task’s data set into subsets, each of which can then be processed by independent homogenous subtasks. The basic library for this style is the fork/join framework, which allows the programmer to prescribe how a data set should be split, and supports the submission of subtasks to a standard default thread pool; the “common”ForkJoinPool.

CIO-CSO tension makes businesses stronger
"There's a natural tension between these roles because they have what appear to be different priorities, and because in many larger organizations, the CSO role, and security in general, becomes a higher priority," says Justin Cerilli, managing director, financial services technology and operations, Russell Reynolds and Associates. "Both the CIO and the CSO are concerned with how to transform the business. What are the business' goals? How does technology both enable and hinder those goals? How can you focus on efficiency and speed of delivery, but also maintain security? These are really similar goals, but the priorities are different," Cerilli says.

Silicon Valley’s Help Sought as Pentagon Fights Cyber-Attacks
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will make a pitch for cooperation on Thursday, in the first official visit in 20 years by a Pentagon chief to the Northern California region that spawned much of the world’s advanced technology. The effort comes amid warnings by defense officials that the U.S. military is losing its technological edge over potential rivals, including China. Carter, a trained physicist, may have the intellectual candlepower to meet Silicon Valley’s leaders on equal footing. But his call for closer ties is likely to meet resistance from high-tech executives still fuming over government spying disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Quote for the day:

"If you don't understand that you work for your mislabeled "subordinates",then you know nothing of leadership.You know only tyranny." -- Dee Hock

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