Apr 052016
 

The Internet of Things. Location-based services. Automated reasoning. Social media. Wearables. Analytics. I could extend this list of “game-changing” technologies, and so could you. What’s a CEO, CIO, CTO, CFO, or business unit president to do? Especially when they go to an investor conference and they’re asked to explain “the game-changing technology plan”? Those who work in the C-suite need smart people, budgets, and technology solutions to impact their business processes and overall business model. In other words, game changers need context; otherwise, C-suite(rs) end up chasing “the next great things,” which is what many companies have done for decades. Remember business process reengineering, Six Sigma, matrix ­management, and management by objectives? Who ­created Six Read more

Apr 052016
 
Protecting Your Sensitive Data During a Security Breach

At the recent RSA Security Conference in San Francisco, data-centric security and protection received a lot of attention. Several trends account for this. The main one, of course, is the large number of high-profile data breaches and other cyber attacks continually making the news — a trend that shows no sign of subsiding. In addition to this constantly lurking threat, we can add growing compliance and regulatory requirements as well as the advent of new (difficult to protect) technologies, applications, and architectures. Throw in all the revelations about hacking by various government intelligence services, and it’s easy to see why organizations and security solutions providers have made data-centric security and protection a top priority. The Read more

Mar 282016
 
Call for Papers: Big Data Analytics Success Hinges on the Four "Ps" — Preparation, People, Prediction, Production

Analytics — deep, predictive, operational, (insert preferred flavor here) — has climbed to the top of business executives wish lists in the past few years. The explosion of big data from social media sources and the coming supernova from the Internet of Things promises complete understanding of customer needs as well as the prediction/influencing of future behavior. With sufficient data, best of breed algorithms, faster computers, and emerging deep learning approaches — statistical correlation will become a largely exact science. Understanding causation will become an unnecessary luxury. Welcome to the analytics nirvana. Of course, inspiration and implementation often diverge. The day-to-day practicality of big data analytics continues to raise ongoing challenges. The “P-words” — preparation, people, prediction, and production point Read more

Mar 262016
 

Life complexifies. Perhaps it is a fundamental law of information that the complexity of information increases. In the world of biology, over time organisms become more complex, with new genetic permutations appearing alongside of old genetic pieces. In the hyperastronomical space in the animal genome, nature constantly produces new combinations. In human knowledge and scientific discovery, the same is true. New insights are built on top of old ones. Breakthroughs in insight usually have higher levels of complexity and hence require higher levels of abstraction and difficult codification to accommodate the widening domain covered. We all know E=MC2 but how many of us really know what it means? In the world of medicine, treatments are Read more

Mar 222016
 
2016: The Year That Agile Explodes

“Agile” — it’s an intriguing notion. Iterative, progressively elaborated projects with core deliverables to maintain motivation and progress along the way. It makes an extraordinary amount of sense both from a project management and leadership perspective. And up until now, true Agile practice has been refined and confined to a relatively narrow province, guided by trained scrum masters and captured as a distinct (yet, niche) practice within the project management community. 2016 is the year we can all look forward to a host of “new” Agile practices, each with its own nuance, and each with its own subset of practitioners. We’ve been seeing the cracks in the wall for several years, as organizations come up Read more

Mar 222016
 
Forecast for Security: Beware the Headwinds

“Never make forecasts, especially about the future.” — Sam Goldwyn This is particularly good advice for those with the courage (temerity? foolhardiness?) to forecast trends in technology. We can safely predict that technologies will get better/faster/cheaper/smaller, but which ones? Who will use them? How? For what? Back in the days when fairly standard IT was just bought by organizations with cost-conscious and risk-averse CFOs, the only question was how much technology would be bought, which depended largely on the overall economy. Starting in the 1980s, when ordinary people began buying IT, much of it from brand-new companies, predicting consumers’ tastes and quantifying their demand presented a whole new challenge. Add in the Internet, and what Read more

Mar 082016
 
Agile Frameworks: Diversity And Its Enemies

[Previous posts in this series: 1, 2, 3] Don’s recent post in this series on Agile frameworks struck a chord strongly with me. This passage in particular was, I believe, especially important: Organizations come in many shapes and sizes, with many different organizational structures, product sets, skillsets, and cultures. While it is possible that one of the existing frameworks may work for you pretty much out of the box, I suggest proceeding with caution. Yes, organizations are different. Very different. In fact, if you were to take a busman’s holiday to visit IT several IT departments in the same industry (say, financial services), in the same region (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut), you’d find Read more

Mar 082016
 
Call for Papers: Can Algorithms be Ethical?

“We are rushing headlong into the robotics revolution without consideration for the many unforeseen problems lying around the corner. It is time now to step back and think hard about the future of the technology before it sneaks up and bites us when we are least expecting it.” – Noel Sharkey, Foundation for Responsible Robotics One of the more vexing issues of Sharkey’s robotics revolution requires hard thinking – whether or not the computing algorithms that underpin it are “ethical.” For example, what path should a self-driving car be programmed to take in the event it finds itself in a situation where it may either have to crash into a bus stop full of school Read more

Mar 082016
 

As we begin another year and try to predict where quality assurance (QA) will go in the next few years, we need to reflect for a moment on where QA has been — especially with the dire predictions in recent years that QA in software engineering is dead. One thing that is dead is the traditional way of doing QA. The days of huge QA departments conducting ­testing mainly using manual methods, and usually as a phase after the development team is done, are gone. Market pressures and the fast-paced demand of software releases have made sure that relying on only manual testing as your QA strategy is no longer acceptable. Having said this, organizations Read more

Mar 082016
 

IT continues to revolutionize on a daily basis the way in which human society operates, to the extent that change itself is no longer perceived as something new, but rather has become the normal state of affairs. Amongst all areas of human and economic activity, IT continues to lead and stimulate further this fast pace of change. As hard evidence of this fact, we could describe an almost endless set of recent developments, including applications in aerospace, astronomy, medicine, cloud computing, smartphones, artificial intelligence (AI), drones, robots, voice and image recognition, Internet security, and so on. So what novelties and trends can we expect for 2016 and the years ahead? Overcoming Limits to Growth An Read more