August 23, 2015

Applying Artificial Intelligence To Insurance Data

The first thing insurers should realize is that this is not an arms race. The winners will be the ones that take a measured and scientific approach to building up their machine learning capabilities and capacities and – over time – find new ways to incorporate machine learning into ever-more aspects of their business.  Insurers may want to start small. Our experience and research suggest that – given the cultural and risk challenges facing the insurance sector – insurers will want to start by developing a ‘proof of concept’ model that can safely be tested and adapted in a risk-free environment.

Intuit puts venerable Quicken up on the block

Intuit promised that it would continue to maintain and develop Quicken until it finds a buyer, adding that it plans to release the next edition, Quicken 2016 for Windows, and would keep working on the Mac version. Current users should see no interruption in their ability to use the software or its associated services, such as Quicken Bill Pay. "As we move through this sale, it's business better than usual," wrote Eric Dunn, who heads the Quicken unit, in an online statement. "As a standalone business, we'll focus solely on taking Quicken to the next level. And until we find that buyer, we'll continue to provide you with [the] dedicated, uninterrupted service and support you deserve."

Cyber-Risk Oversight: 3 Questions for Directors

Cybersecurity is no longer an emerging issue. Major headlines about breaches in both the public and private sectors have put the topic on every company’s agenda, regardless of size, industry or geographic location. Just like the management teams they oversee, corporate directors are very well aware of the ‘what’: the fact that cybersecurity is a significant threat. What they are looking for is the ‘how’: specific action they can take to be more effective in overseeing management’s activities. One independent director – a committee chair of a Fortune Global 100 corporation – recently told me: “Cybersecurity is uncharted territory. As directors, we have to depend on staff whose capabilities we aren’t equipped to judge, it’s difficult to measure progress and there’s no way to tell if we’re doing enough.”

Implementing the Huffman adaptive algorithm to compress graphics images

To apply Huffman adaptive encoding to the string we normally need to iterate through the string of character and perform encoding for each character in string. The main idea of the Huffman adaptive algorithm is that the encoding is initially performed starting with the “empty” Huffman tree, which contains no entries for the characters to be encoded and will further be modified by appending the new characters along with their codes during the encoding process. According to the basic concept of the following algorithm, the Huffman tree should be modified similarly during the either encoding or decoding process, because, in both cases, we need to generate the same codes for each character from the input character buffer regardless of whether encoding or decoding is performed.

Four Spheres of Lean and Agile Transformation

Agile is a method that is highly dependent on individuals and the way that they approach their work. It requires participants to take on new roles that they would normally not adopt. Leadership roles move from person to person, and each must have the freedom to commit to the team. These commitments often cross organizational boundaries. In a traditional development environment, managers set priorities and deadlines, but in an Agile environment, managers shift to a facilitation and enabling role. Managers become channels for success, creating new lines of communication and business relationships. They need to move away from their traditional command and control role. In an Agile environment, personal success is highly dependent on team success.

Computer/Social Science, Part 1: The Agile Book Club

One of the great engines of change in the software profession has been Agile. Not only has it transformed the way that development teams work, but it has had profound ripple effects across the entire software value stream. Agile is far more than a difference in batch size. The challenges Agile posed to traditional assumptions about planning in the face of uncertainty, the centrality of the team, the delivery of value, and other fundamental issues have affected everything from the inception of an idea to its eventual retirement. Testing, requirements gathering, rapid and continuous delivery, governance rules, customer collaboration, marketing, change management — all of these activities within the value stream, and more, have had to adjust to Agile.

Your IT strategy: If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly

We see new systems and technology being dropped into the business – often ‘point solutions’ to solve a particular problem – without a proper diligence process to sense check for wider synergies. Time and again readiness assessments, training and business change are not well executed. This means that the business is not ready and new ways of working don’t get introduced. The net result is that the business stays in its comfort zone and introduces workarounds so it can maintain old practices – it fills gaps with manual processes and spreadsheets and does not use the new systems to enable the changes and release benefits.

Five indicators of a failing IT project

If the issues are spotted early, organisations can review the specification documents and rectify the project’s direction to ensure it meets the true requirements. With a fragmented process, companies can also find that on-going work causes issues in deliverables that have already been signed off and leads to live software breaking. Having good levels of communication and working with a third party are great ways to prevent problems occurring in the first place. The team can also increase success by employing an Agile project management approach that enables the team to gather stakeholder and user feedback on the product from the very beginning.

SEC CIO leads efforts to move agency to the cloud

"We want reusable highly scalable and flexible platforms," Dyson says. "We want to strengthen our cybersecurity and continuous monitoring posturing -- that's very important whether we're working on-prem or in the cloud." The determination of whether or not to roll out a SaaS application at the SEC "has a lot to do with timing," Dyson explains. The regulatory agency is charged with drafting and implementing rules for the securities industry, a process that is guided by deadlines mandated in statute or by the commission's own timetable. In that context, the consideration of a cloud deployment can become a question of whether or not the technology will support the agency's regulatory mission.

Agile 2015 – Industry Analyst Panel: Agile Trends and Future Direction

The use of Innovation Gameswas suggested as a way of helping the executives understand the new ideas, as well as using pilot programs and providing internal proof by starting small and showing the benefits.  An issue which was specifically identified was the fear of middle managers in many organisations as they see the significant changes that agile adoption results in for their roles. A common pattern is the reduction in the number of middle manager roles and the migration into more hands-on roles such as Scrum Master or Product Owner. There needs to be a clear transition path for these managers and the importance of strong executive support to overcome this resistance was strongly emphasised.

Quote for the day:

“Leaders are people who believe so passionately that they can seduce other people into sharing their dream.” -- Warren G. Bennis

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