November 27, 2014
Entering 2015, the economy is not ripping along like some of the MBAs suggest. Life is gloomy for many keyword search, content management, and indexing system vendors. And for good reason. These technologies have run their course. Instead of being must have enterprise solutions, the functions are now utilities. The vendors of proprietary systems have to realize that free and open source systems provide “good enough” utility type functions.
Perhaps this brutal fact is the reason that search “expert” Dave Schubmehl recycled our research on open source software, tried to flog it on Amazon without my permission, and then quietly removed the reports based on ArnoldIT research. When a mid tier consulting firm cannot sell recycled research taken without permission for sale via Amazon for the quite incredible price of $3,500 for eight pages of information garbling our work, you know that times are tough for the mid tier crowd.
Are the turkeys the mid-tier consultants or their customers? Predictions about the future wrapped in the tin foil of jargon may not work like touts who pick horses. The difference between a mid tier consulting firm and a predictive analytics firm is more than the distance between an art history major and a PhD in mathematics with a Master’s in engineering and an undergraduate degree in history in my opinion.
Now the focus at the mid tier consulting firms is turning to the issue of raising turkeys. Turkeys are stellar creatures. Is it true that the turkey is the only fowl that will drown itself during a rain storm. My grandmother told me the birds will open their beaks and capture the rain. According to the Arnold lore, some lightning quick turkeys will drown themselves.
For 2015, the mid tier consultants want to get the Big Data bird moving. Also, look for the elegant IoT or Internet of Things to get the blue ribbon treatment. You can get a taste of this dish in this news release: “IDC Hosts Worldwide Internet of Things 2015 Predictions Web Conference.”
Yep, a Web conference. I call this a webinar, and I have webinar fatigue. The conference is intended to get the turkeys in the barn. Presumably some of the well heeled turkeys will purchase the IDC Future Scape report. When I mentioned this to a person with whom I spoke yesterday, I think that individual said, “A predictions conference. You are kidding me.” An, no I wasn’t. Here’s the passage I noted:
“The Internet of Things will give IT managers a lot to think about,” said Vernon Turner, Senior Vice President of Research at IDC. “Enterprises will have to address every IT discipline to effectively balance the deluge of data from devices that are connected to the corporate network. In addition, IoT will drive tough organizational structure changes in companies to allow innovation to be transparent to everyone, while creating new competitive business models and products.”
I think I understand. “Every”, “tough organizational changes,” and “new competitive business models.” Yes. And the first example is a report with predictions.
When I think of predictions, I don’t think of mid tier consultants. I think of outfits like Recorded Future, Red Owl, and Haystax, among others. The predictions these companies output are based on data. Predictions from mid tier consultants are based on a wide range of methods. I have a hunch that some of these techniques include folks sitting around and asking, “Well, what do you think this Internet of Things stuff will mean?”
Give me the Recorded Future approach. Oh, I don’t like turkey. I am okay with macaroni and cheese. Basic but it lacks the artificial fizz with which some farmers charge their fowl.
Stephen E Arnold, November 27, 2014
November 26, 2014
I read “New Twitter Search API Won’t Be Available to Third-Party Clients.” The write up says:
Twitter doesn’t have the guts to just end them outright, so they’re just gradually inflicting passive-aggressive wounds over time to quietly shove them into the sunset.
The notion that unlimited, free access to the Twitter content resource is one with which I cannot relate. There are useful items tucked into Twitter, and the company is likely to become increasingly restrictive in the access to and use of the Twitter content objects and attendant metadata.
Stephen E Arnold, November 26, 2014
November 26, 2014
Enterprise Apps Today has an article called “Attensity Boosts Ability To Discover ‘Unknown’ Trends In Data,” discussing how Attensity was updated with new features to detect themes in real-time social data, catch spam, and make it easier to compose/filter queries. Before Attensity’s new software updates, social analytics tools use mentions to measure interest in products. The “mentions” are not the most quantifiable way to see if a product is successful.
The new Attensity Q tracks themes, trends, anomalies, and events around a product in the context of online conversations. This makes it easier to create new vocabularies and brand-unique terms into queries.
” ‘Social analytics has largely been limited up to this point by forming hypotheses and testing them – the hunting and pecking for insights that traditional search requires you to do,” [Senior Project Manager and NLP Strategist Katherine] Matsumoto said. “But there is a growing need for our customers to be presented with findings that they didn’t know to look for. These findings may be within their search topic, adjacent to it or many degrees removed through nested relationships.’ “
Attensity Q has more applications than retail. It can be used for legal departments to detect fraudulent activities and by HR departments to target area for improvement. It could even be used with healthcare patient data to track unusual patterns and offer a better diagnosis.
Rather than bragging about big data’s possibilities, Attensity is describing some practical applications and their uses.
November 24, 2014
I read “Technology Set Journalism Free, Now New Platforms Are in Control.” I reacted positively to the word “platforms.” After I read the essay, I am not convinced that the platforms mentioned in the article are in control. These platforms have the appearance of control, but I think Facebook, Twitter, and other big consumer services have a flaw. The content streams can be manipulated, often easily. There are platforms that operate outside of the consumer sector. Some of these platforms are far more important than channels that disseminate content (either well intentioned or weaponized).
The challenge publishers who want to use print as a revenue generator and as a way to enforce information control on a customer segment face a number of challenges. The big one is figuring out how to make money as monopolies develop in various sectors. There are some interesting efforts to combine print and digital; for example, the Monocle operation. For most of the companies wanting to tap print’s unique power, the problems require clear thinking. When I have been asked to think about how to make print work, I extricate myself from that engagement. I am probably able to come up with useful ideas, but I want to spend my time working on more interesting problems.
The flaw in this write up and others that try to find a place in today’s world for certain approaches to information is cost. As soon as paper is involved, the expense of buying it, printing on it, shipping it, and delivering it are greater than the money most companies can generate by selling it. Without money, the companies accustomed to information control and its attendant power have a big job to do.
Niche outfits may be able to do okay. But the big companies dependent on print thinking are probably going to fall out of their leather chairs.
And what about the platforms that most do not see or do not seek out? These will continue to expand their reach, scope, and capabilities. When cheerleaders for Facebook and similar companies wake up, another paradigm shift will be well underway.
What’s interesting is that today’s new platforms will be facing the challenges print publishers deal with today.
Stephen E Arnold, November 24, 2014
November 19, 2014
IBM is beating the drum for Watson. “IBM Brings Watson Tinged Analytics to New Mail and Social Platform” reports about “an enterprise social collaboration platform with built in analytics.”
When I read the article, I thought of Semandex. My recollection is that this New Jersey-based company has a similar system. Perhaps the IBM collaboration function will be different from what Semandex offers.
My reaction to the flow of Watson “news” is that IBM is going to have to shift into high gear in order to generate $1 billion in revenue from scripts and open source software. With the $10 billion target looming 60 months out, I would suggest that IBM needs to make big sales to high profile clients quickly and in a serial fashion.
Right now Watson is enriching public relations and marketing types. IBM needs big, high margin sales. We have identified 36 companies providing more advanced functions than Watson. Time may be running out, particularly if an IBM competitor snaps up two or three of the outfits on our watch list.
Stephen E Arnold, November 19, 2014
November 13, 2014
The article on Inside BigData titled RapidMiner Moves Predictive Analytics, Data Mining and Machine Learning into the Cloud promotes RapidMiner Cloud, the recently announced tool for business analysts. The technology allows for users to leverage over 300 cloud platforms such as Amazon, Twitter and Dropbox at an affordable price ($39/month.) The article quotes RapidMiner CEO Ingo Mierswa, who emphasized the “single click” necessary for users to gain important predictive analytics. The article says,
“RapidMiner understands the unique needs of today’s mobile workforce. RapidMiner Cloud includes connectors to cloud-based data sources that can be used on-premises and in the cloud with seamless transitioning between the two. This allows users to literally process Big Data at anytime and in any place, either working in the cloud or picking up where they left off when back in the office. This feature is especially important for mobile staff and consultants in the field.”
RapidMiner Cloud also contains the recently launched Wisdom of the Crowds Operator Recommendations, which culls insights into the analytics process from the millions of models created by members of the RapidMiner community. The article also suggests that RapidMiner is uniquely capable of integration with open-source solutions, rather than competing, the platform is more invested in source-code availability.
Chelsea Kerwin, November 13, 2014
November 12, 2014
The article titled The Five Rules for Data Discovery on Computerworld discusses Enterprise Data Discovery. In the pursuit of fast-paced, accurate data analytics, Enterprise Data Discovery is touted in this article as a ramped up tool for accessing relevant information quickly. The first capability is “governed self-service discovery” which enables users to reformulate their data search on their own. This also allows for the blending of data types including social media and unstructured data. The article also emphasizes the importance of having a dialogue with the data,
“You also discovered that the spike in sales occurred in the middle of the media campaign and during the time of the spike, there was a major sporting event. This new clue prompts a new question – what could a sporting event have to do with the spike? Again, the data reveals its value by providing a new answer – one of the advertisements from the campaign got additional play at the event. Now, you have something solid to work on.”
According to the article, Enterprise Data Discovery offers a view of the road less travelled, enabling users to approach their discovery with new questions. Of course, the question that arises while reading this article is, who has time for this? The emphasis on self-service is interesting, but it also suggests that users will be spending a good chunk of time manipulating the data on their own.
Chelsea Kerwin, November 12, 2014
November 11, 2014
Through the News section of their website, eDigitalResearch announces a new partnership in, “eDigitalResearch Partner with Lexalytics on Real-Time Text Analytics Solution.” The two companies are integrating Lexalytics’ Salience analysis engine into eDigital’s HUB analysis and reporting interface. The write-up tells us:
“By utilising and integrating Lexalytics Salience text analysis engine into eDigitalResearch’s own HUB system, the partnership will provide clients with a real-time, secure solution for understanding what customers are saying across the globe. Able to analyse comments from survey responses to social media – in fact any form of free text – eDigitalResearch’s HUB Text Analytics will provide the power and platform to really delve deep into customer comments, monitor what is being said and alert brands and businesses of any emerging trends to help stay ahead of the competition.”
Based in Hampshire, U.K., eDigitalResearch likes to work closely with their clients to produce the best solution for each. The company began in 1999 with the launch of the eMysteryShopper, a novel concept at the time. As of this writing, eDigitalResearch is looking to hire a developer and senior developer (in case anyone here is interested.)
Founded in 2003, Lexalytics is proud to have brought the first sentiment analysis engine to market. Designed to integrate with third-party applications, their text analysis software is chugging along in the background at many data-related companies. Lexalytics is headquartered in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Cynthia Murrell, November 11, 2014
November 10, 2014
Catching up on old news: Just wanted to document that Cognos is no longer part of IBM. “Unicom Global Acquires Cognos Finance Business Analytics Software from IBM Corp.” The write up does not make clear exactly what Unicom acquired nor how much money IBM received in the deal. Presumably Unicom paid cash. Presumably IBM did not pay Unicom to take the Cognos bundle off its hands. For IBM analytics’ fans, you don’t need to worry. IBM owns SPSS and the dozens of systems and methods developed at its various research labs. Anyone remember Web Fountain?
Stephen E Arnold, November 10, 2014
November 7, 2014
I read “Do What I Mean, Not What I Say: The Text Analytics Paradox.” The write up made a comment which I found interesting; to wit:
Now, before you start worrying about robots replacing humans (relax—that’s at least a couple of years away), understand this: context and disambiguation within these billions of daily social posts, tweets, comments, and online surveys is they key to viable, business-relevant data. The way human use language is replete with nuance, idiomatic expressions, slang, typos, and of course, context. This underscores the magnitude of surfacing actionable intelligence in data for any industry.
Based on information my research team has collected, the notion of threat detection via automated collection and analysis of Internet-accessible information is quite advanced. In fact, some of the technology has been undergoing continuous refinement since the late 1990s. Rutgers University has been one of the academic outfits in the forefront of this approach to the paradox puzzling Attensity.
The more recent entrants in this important branch (perhaps an new redwood in the search forest) of information access are keeping a low profile. There is a promising venture funded company in Baltimore as well as a China-based firm operating from offices in Hong Kong. Neither of these companies has captured the imagination of traditional content processing vendors for three reasons:
First, the approach is not from traditional information retrieval methodologies.
Second, the companies generate most of their revenue from organizations demanding “quiet service.” (This means that when there is no marketing hoo hah, the most interesting companies are simply not visible to the casual, MBA inspired analyst.
Third, the outputs are of stunning utility. Information about quite particular subjects are presented without recourse to traditional human intermediated fiddling.
I want to float an idea: The next generation firms delivering state of the art solutions and have yet to hit the wall that requires the type of marketing that now characterizes some content processing efforts.
I am trying to figure out how to present these important but little known players. I will write about one in my next Info Today article. The challenge is that there are two dozen firms pushing “search” in a new and productive direction.
Stephen E Arnold, November 7, 2014