Aug 132013
 
avatar

There is no question that we are becoming more visually oriented in our approach to thinking today. You can see it in the increasing numbers of PowerPoint presentations given with the admonition that fewer words will suffice. You can see it in the increase in infographics, catchy photographs, and pictorial slogans that continue to spread across social media. And you can see the result in BI dashboards and an increasing array of visually oriented approaches to the display, digestion, and understanding of data. It is no wonder, then, that visual discovery tools should emerge as an important and rapidly growing part of BI. Visual discovery tools are applications that typically enable non-analyst users to “play” …

Read more

 
avatar

Truly savvy managers know the value of information. It’s the stuff intelligent decisions are borne of. But in recent weeks, the international community and the US Federal Government have been howling over the data collection efforts of the National Security Agency, making arguments as to whether or not those efforts are in the interests of US national security and whether or not data mining is an invasion of individual civil liberties. The concerns being raised may be misplaced. The major concern may not be with the data, but with the information being derived from it. Information is distilled data. Distillation is a process that profoundly alters the natural state of the data. Anyone who has …

Read more

Jul 252013
 
avatar

Back in March 2012, I wrote that Microsoft leadership, knowing that the company was in danger of being left behind by Apple and the Android-based product vendors when it came to the mobile market — especially tablets — had staked its future on its upcoming Windows 8 OS (then still in development). Basically, I said it would come down to Microsoft getting Windows 8 right, so the long, drawn-out development period was understandable. Once Windows 8 was released, and if it proved as impressive as initial reports suggested, I said then that I thought that companies would embrace Windows 8 for mobile development. The logic I employed at the time was based on the fact …

Read more

 
avatar

With the widespread adoption of social media sites such as Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter and the increasing interest in multimedia sites such as YouTube and Instagram, social media has become one of the larger sources of Big Data. This increased volume of data has created a slew of new IT issues to consider — the most significant one being “What do we do with all this data?” As a result, we’re seeing an increased demand for more storage capacity, enhanced needs for compute power and the introduction of new technologies (such as Hadoop), making the investment to undertake a social media monitoring campaign no small task. With any substantial investment in new technology comes the question of value. …

Read more

Jul 162013
 
avatar

An agile enterprise is a flexible, robust organization that is capable of rapid response to unexpected challenges, events, and opportunities. Agile enterprises achieve continuous competitive advantage in serving their customers by following strategies that facilitate speed and change. Enablers of enterprise agility include diffused authority; flat organizational structures; trust-based relationships with customers and suppliers; and, of course, an agile information technology strategy. In this post, I focus on what it takes to have an agile IT strategy. IT departments that are truly agile, or are at least on the path to becoming so, exhibit several key characteristics. First, the majority of their project teams are taking an agile approach to the full delivery lifecycle. This …

Read more

 
avatar

API Economy offers new business opportunities for businesses of different types and sizes. Potential benefits range from direct increase in sales, reaching new markets, to brand name expansion and unlocking of human innovations of third-parties. It is important to understand, however, that while API Economy offers exciting new possibilities, it does not guarantee that all or any of its promises are fulfilled. Just because you expose a novel and valuable API does not guarantee that it will be successful or that it will have the results that you expect. There are a number of different factors and risks that come into play. One might get lucky and achieve success without much effort and understanding how …

Read more

Jul 022013
 
avatar

A recurring theme in enterprise architecture forums and debates is: “How do we demonstrate the value of EA or justify architectural overhead?” Some may view these discussions as academic, which compounds the problem, because it supports the idea that enterprise architects don’t really understand their role, that they don’t have a common definition of enterprise architecture, and that we consequently don’t need them! By far the biggest problem is a mind-set that perpetuates certain misconceptions about EA. All too often the rewards from architecting are seen as long-term outcomes, EA is not regarded as an essential element in enterprise transformation, and the value from EA is not measured effectively. The first myth is that EA …

Read more

 
avatar

The API Economy has exploded. The use of APIs today is so prolific that the number of publicly-exposed APIs has grown exponentially to the tens of thousands, and is expected to increase even further as non Internet-centric companies are starting to realize its business potential. We’re finding that as businesses begin to expose and combine their information resources with those of others to build new and innovative assets, a whole new market of customers becomes available — creating a new channel for businesses to generate revenue and gain a competitive edge. Sounds like a win-win situation — but is it too good to be true? What are the risks of exposing your data assets and …

Read more

 
Best and Final — In Memoriam: Mitchell Ummel

As many of you already know, Mitch Ummel passed away recently. For nearly a decade, Mitch and I collaborated on a number of consulting projects largely involving strategic planning and enterprise architecture. For me, Mitch was a perfect partner: always optimistic, always on time, and always insightful. He was the consummate professional. Mitch loved planning and project management; indeed, he was one of the very few people I have ever met who was willing to commit four years to a large project, bringing it in on time and under budget. Where others taught hard-nosed project management, Mitch practiced it every day. Those of you who have read Mitch’s articles and reports in various Cutter publications, or …

Read more

Jun 182013
 
avatar

The technology of the cloud has been evolving fairly quickly, in fact faster than many people expected, this author included. The number of serious market players and their sheer size (including companies such as Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft) attests that we have passed the point of no return: this new model is here to stay. Indeed, no selection process for an IT capability is complete today unless it includes cloud-based solutions. Even government entities have embraced the trend, in part because of the usual promise of cost savings, flexibility, and scalability, but also with a view toward creating more employment in the private sector rather than in already large government agency staffs. The US …

Read more