Ken Orr


Ken Orr is a Fellow of the Cutter Business Technology Council and Government & Public Sector practice and a Senior Consultant with Cutter Consortium’s Data Insight & Social BI, Business Technology Strategies, and Business & Enterprise Architecture Practices.

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Here Comes the Big Data

 Posted by on Dec 16, 2014  No Responses »
Dec 162014

About two decades ago I thought I had a handle on big data. I was doing some data warehousing work with a telephone utility that had about 100 million transactions. That was a lot of data, I said to myself. Then, about 10 years ago, I was doing a review of a firm that audited financial trading on one of the major stock markets and I asked its big data guy how many transactions the company processed. His initial answer was, “On a slow day we get about 2.5 billion transactions.” “How many do you have on a busy day?” I asked with an air of shock. “4 or 5 billion,” he responded. Now that Read more

Security Is Job One

 Posted by on Oct 7, 2014  No Responses »
Oct 072014

There are very few more pressing issues in management today than cyber security. Notice that I didn’t say IT management; I said management. When the hacking of a major US retailer (Target) leads to the loss of billions of dollars in stock value and sales and the removal of not only the CSO, but the CIO and ultimately the CEO as well, stockholders, investors, and customers take notice. Organizations worldwide depend increasingly on information and communications technology to operate and manage 24/7/365, and wireless devices, BYOD, social media, and the like all combine to make the jobs of those responsible for cyber security exponentially more difficult. Like the Dutch boy and the dike, security people worldwide have Read more

Sep 092014

In the Kansas City Star recently, an educator posted an editorial that suggested all students graduating from college these should days should be “job ready.” The educator argued that the current college curriculum was defined for the “gentlemen” of the 19th and 20th centuries, but this is the 21st century, and the cost of higher education has skyrocketed and what with the pace of technological change, the shrinking of our job markets, and the new educational options (online courses, etc.), our colleges, universities, and institutes have to radically reduce their costs and produce “job-ready” graduates. Now, I have to admit that institutions of higher education in the US have many problems. They are beset with much more competition for Read more

Jun 172014

There are times when major trends intersect. Sometimes they reinforce each other; other times they cancel each other out. In the case of Target’s security problems, there seems to have been a fair amount of interference (to read my earlier Advisor on the Target security breach, see “Cyber Security: Inside and Out“). The FireEye software that was supposed to warn of the kind of exposure that did Target in reacted as it was supposed to: the basic problem was flagged and diagnosed immediately, and a warning message was included in one of the security logs and highlighted by analysts at Target’s Bangalore security center. Unfortunately, the critical message was not deemed worthy of immediate action by the Read more

May 032011

In the US and in industrial countries around the world, the recent economic crisis has triggered the first serious consideration of national spending priorities for more than a decade. Supposedly, every option is being explored and unfortunately, in many cases deficits are being balanced out by reduction in long-term investments in existing infrastructure. There are a few bright spots, however. For example, in the US, President Obama has included new money for high-speed rail. But what about roads and bridges and dams? Well, things are pretty bleak. A dam safety study in 2009 showed that out of 84,000 dams listed in the database, 4,000 needed remediation and 2,000 were classified as “high-hazard,” meaning that the Read more

Trends for 2011 and Beyond

 Posted by on Dec 22, 2010  No Responses »
Dec 222010
Trends for 2011 and Beyond

Every year the Cutter Trends Council attempts to come up with the biggest trends for the next 12 months. Unfortunately, this is an almost-impossible task, akin to forecasting the stock market for the next 6 or 12 months. Long range trends, on the other hand, are much easier to forecast. For example, there were a number of economists and brokers who forecast the recent recession (the one we’re still in) but hardly any were able to accurately forecast that it would occur in the early Fall of 2008. What is true of forecasting economic trends is also true of Business-IT trends. It has been clear for decades that the retirement of the “baby boomers” in Read more

Nov 302010

For years now, I have made a good living by exploiting Geary Rummler and Alan Brache’s famous subtitle, “How to Manage the White Space in the Organization Chart” (Improving Performance: How to Manage the White Space in the Organization Chart, Jossey-Bass, 1995). What Rummler and Brache meant by white space in this case was all the activities for which no one was explicitly responsible. My experience, which mirrors theirs, is that those things that fall between the cracks often get overlooked and undermanaged. Much like “white space” is the physics notion of “dark matter.” Dark matter is that unobservable “stuff” that physicists have computed exists in the universe that causes known celestial bodies to behave Read more