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Data and Marketing Come Together for a Story

March 23, 2015

An article on the Marketing Experiments Blog titled Digital Analytics: How To Use Data To Tell Your Marketing Story explains the primacy of the story in the world of data. The conveyance of the story, the article claims, should be a collaboration between the marketer and the analyst, with both players working together to create an engaging and data-supported story. The article suggests breaking this story into several parts, similar to the plot points you might study in a creative writing class. Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Denouement and Resolution. The article states,

“Nate [Silver] maintained throughout his speech that marketers need to be able to tell a story with data or it is useless. In order to use your data properly, you must know what the narrative should be…I see data reporting and interpretation as an art, very similar to storytelling. However, data analysts are too often siloed. We have to understand that no one writes in a bubble, and marketing teams should understand the value and perspective data can bring to a story.”

Silver, Founder and Editor in Chief of FiveThirtyEight.com is also quoted in the article from his talk at the Adobe Summit Digital Marketing Conference. He said, “Just because you can’t measure it, doesn’t mean it’s not important.” This is the back to the basics approach that companies need to consider.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 23, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Apache Samza Revamps Databases

March 19, 2015

Databases have advanced far beyond the basic relational databases. They need to be consistently managed and have real-time updates to keep them useful. The Apache Software Foundation developed the Apache Samza software to help maintain asynchronous stream processing network. Samza was made in conjunction with Apache Kafka.

If you are interested in learning how to use Apache Samza, the Confluent blog posted “Turning The Database Inside-Out With Apache Samza” by Martin Keppmann. Kleppmann recorded a seminar he gave at Strange Loop 2014 that explains his process for how it can improve many features on a database:

“This talk introduces Apache Samza, a distributed stream processing framework developed at LinkedIn. At first it looks like yet another tool for computing real-time analytics, but it’s more than that. Really it’s a surreptitious attempt to take the database architecture we know, and turn it inside out. At its core is a distributed, durable commit log, implemented by Apache Kafka. Layered on top are simple but powerful tools for joining streams and managing large amounts of data reliably.”

Learning new ways to improve database features and functionality always improve your skill set. Apache Software also forms the basis for many open source projects and startups. Martin Kleppman’s talk might give you a brand new idea or at least improve your database.

Whitney Grace, March 20, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Give Employees the Data they Need

March 19, 2015

A classic quandary: will it take longer to reinvent a certain proverbial wheel, or to find the documentation from the last time one of your colleagues reinvented it? That all depends on your organization’s search system. An article titled “Help Employees to ‘Upskill’ with Access to Information” at DataInformed makes the case for implementing a user-friendly, efficient data-management platform. Writer Diane Berry, not coincidentally a marketing executive at enterprise-search company Coveo, emphasizes that re-covering old ground can really sap workers’ time and patience, ultimately impacting customers. Employees simply must be able to quickly and easily access all company data relevant to the task at hand if they are to do their best work. Berry explains why this is still a problem:

“Why do organizations typically struggle with implementing these strategies? It revolves around two primary reasons. The first reason is that today’s heterogeneous IT infrastructures form an ‘ecosystem of record’ – a collection of newer, cloud-based software; older, legacy systems; and data sources that silo valuable data, knowledge, and expertise. Many organizations have tried, and failed, to centralize information in a ‘system of record,’ but IT simply cannot keep up with the need to integrate systems while also constantly moving and updating data. As a result, information remains disconnected, making it difficult and time consuming to find. Access to this knowledge often requires end-users to conduct separate searches within disconnected systems, often disrupting co-workers by asking where information may be found, and – even worse – moving forward without the knowledge necessary to make sound decisions or correctly solve the problem at hand.

“The second reason is more cultural than technological. Overcoming the second roadblock requires an organization to recognize the value of information and knowledge as a key organizational asset, which requires a cultural shift in the company.”

Fair enough; she makes a good case for a robust, centralized data-management solution. But what about that “upskill” business? Best I can tell, it seems the term is not about improving skills, but about supplying employees with resources they need to maximize their existing skills. The term was a little confusing to me, but I can see how it might be catchy. After all, marketing is the author’s forte.

Cynthia Murrell, March 19, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Zementis and Software AG Team Up

March 18, 2015

I learned that Software AG (a digital business platform for enterprises) and Zementis (a company that empowers Big Data insights) have teamed up. According to “Zementis and Software AG Announce Joint Solution at CeBIT 2015”, the new solution is Apama, an analytics platform. It is:

designed to rapidly process streaming, fast-moving and real-time data sets at massive scale to support intelligent, automated actions and rapid, insightful business decisions. Its functionality comprises event processing, messaging, in-memory data management and visualization. The Apama platform allows businesses to analyze and act on high-volume business operations and customer interactions in real-time. It rapidly correlates, aggregates and detects patterns across large volumes of fast-moving data from multiple sources, so that business decision makers can take the right action at the right time.

The software allows the user to design and visualize real-time analytics, connect to streaming and static data, and detect and analyze patterns in real time.

The system can be used for multi channel fraud detection, risk based product pricing, and risk based capital management. No word about the system’s application to law enforcement and intelligence tasks.

Stephen E Arnold, March 18, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

IBM Hadoop

March 18, 2015

For anyone who sees setting up an instance of Hadoop as a huge challenge, Open Source Insider points to IBM’s efforts to help in, “Has IBM Made (Hard) Hadoop Easier?” Why do some folks consider Hadoop so difficult? Blogger Adrian Bridgwater elaborates:

“More specifically, it has been said that the Hadoop framework for distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of computers using simple programming models is tough to get to grips with because:

Hadoop is not a database

Hadoop is not an analytics environment

Hadoop is not a visualisation tool

Hadoop is not known for clusters that meet enterprise-grade security requirements

Foundation fixation

This is because Hadoop is a ‘foundational’ technology in many senses, so its route to ‘business usefulness’ is neither direct or clear cut in many cases.”

Hmm. So, perhaps one should understand what Hadoop is and what it does before trying to implement it. Still, the folks at IBM would prefer companies just pay them to handle it. The article cites a survey of “bit-data developers” (commissioned by IBM) that shows about a quarter of the respondents us IBM’s Hadoop. Bridgwater also mentions:

“IBM also recently conducted an independently audited benchmark, which was reviewed by third-party Infosizing, of three popular SQL-on-Hadoop implementations, and the results showed that IBM’s Big SQL was the only Hadoop solution tested that was able to run all 99 Hadoop-DS queries…. Smith says that this new report and benchmark are proof that customers can ask more complex questions of IBM when it comes to Hadoop implementation.”

I’m not sure that’s what those factors prove, but it is clear that many companies do turn to the tech giant for help with Hadoop. But is their assistance worth the cost? Unfortunately, this article includes no word on IBM’s Hadoop pricing.

Cynthia Murrell, March 18, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Vilocity 2.0 Released by Nuwave

March 17, 2015

The article on Virtual Strategy Magazine titled NuWave Enhances their Vilocity Analytic Framework with Release of Vilocity 2.0 Update promotes the upgraded framework as a mixture of Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and Oracle Endeca Information Discovery. The ability to interface across both of these tools as well as include components from both in a single dashboard makes this a very useful program, with capabilities such as exporting to Microsoft to create slideshows, pre-filter and the ability to choose sections of a page and print across both frameworks. The article explains,

“The voices of our Vilocity customers were vital in the Vilocity 2.0 release and we value their input,” says Rob Castle, NuWave’s Chief Technology Officer… The most notable Vilocity deployment NuWave has done is for the U.S. Army EMDS Program. From deployment and through continuous support NuWave has worked closely with this client to communicate issues and identify tools that could improve Vilocity. The Vilocity 2.0 release is a culmination of NuWave’s desire for their clients to be successful.”

It looks like they have found a way to make Endeca useful. Users of the Vilocity Analytic framework will be able to find answers to the right questions as well as make new discoveries. The consistent look and feel of both systems should aid users in getting used to them, and making the most of their new platform.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 17, 2014

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Square 9 Upgrades with Global Search

March 16, 2015

Square 9 Softworks is famous for its document management service and dtSearch is known for its document filters and developer text retrieval. The companies have partnered their technology on Square 9’s SmartSearch Document Management product line. The San Diego Times shares with us a new development from another team-up: “Square 9’s Award-Winning SmartSearch Document Management Installs Now Include GlobalSearch Embedding The dtSearch Engine.”

SmartSearch products will feature the new GlobalSearch, which enables intranet access to all SmartSearch repositories. SmartSearch is marketed as an out-of-the-box file management system for small businesses and enterprises. The GlobalSearch only improves the product line:

“Square 9’s GlobalSearch platform extends the reach of a SmartSearch installation by delivering anywhere, anytime access to documents from any browser or mobile device. Mobile users can search a single repository or across an entire database quickly and easily, locating exactly what they need. With their documents in hand, GlobalSearch users can securely take whatever action necessary to continue the flow of business information. Features include not only complete navigation and editing, but also automated routing, automatic notification and granular document security.”

An improvement on already highly praised product will only increase Square 9’s sales. Why is it hard for other out-of-the-box solutions to provide such ease of use?

Whitney Grace, March 16, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Opening Watson to the Masses

March 4, 2015

IBM is struggling financially and one of the ways they hope to pull themselves out of the swamp is to find new applications for its supercomputers and software. One way they are trying to cash in on Watson is to create cognitive computer apps. EWeek alerts open source developers, coders, and friendly hackers that IBM released a bunch of beta services: “13 IBM Services That Simplify The Building Of Cognitive Watson Apps.”

IBM now allows all software geeks the chance to add their own input to cognitive computing. How?

“Since its creation in October 2013, the Watson Developer Cloud (WDC) has evolved into a community of over 5,000 partners who have unlocked the power of cognitive computing to build more than 6,000 apps to date. With a total of 13 beta services now available, the IBM Watson Group is quickly expanding its developer ecosystem with innovative and easy-to-use services to power entirely new classes of cognitive computing apps—apps that can learn from experience, understand natural language, identify hidden patterns and trends, and transform entire industries and professions.”

The thirteen new IBM services involve language, text processing, analytical tools, and data visualization. These services can be applied to a wide range of industries and fields, improving the way people work and interact with their data. While it’s easy to imagine the practical applications, it is still a wonder about how they will actually be used.

Whitney Grace, March 04, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

IBM: Think Big, Harder, Slower

February 28, 2015

i read “IBM Says Cloud, Mobile, and Data Businesses Will Reach $40 Billion by 2018.” The write up reports that IBM has some “strategic imperative.” I assumed that sustainable revenue growth and healthy profits were important. Well, maybe.

Computing and IT services giant IBM will spend $4 billion on its cloud services, data analytics and mobile businesses in a bid to turn it into what CEO Ginni Rometty said will be a $40-billion-a-year-in-revenue business by 2018. On a conference call ahead of its annual investors presentation in New York, Rometty said the three businesses, which she referred to as IBM’s “strategic imperatives,” have grown in overall importance as it has divested itself of its older traditional business units. Five years ago the divisions amounted to 13 percent of IBM’s sales, Rometty said. By the start of 2015 they accounted for 27 percent.

Not long ago, Watson was going to be a $10 billion business. IBM should be proud of these projections.

The hitch in the cloud, analytics, and mobile git along is that there are a few other outfits with the same idea. A couple of these companies seem to have some traction in the cloud and mobile markets.

With regard to analytics, IBM has some useful technologies. The problem is that the company does not know how to deliver solutions that generate sustainable revenue. As a result, a number of smaller firms are jockeying for lucrative US government contracts and deals with smaller firms eager to take advantage of more advantageous prices for comparable services.

The write up points out:

Rometty said IBM will also do more partnerships with other companies similar to deals announced last year with Apple to jointly sell and develop mobile software, and a deal announced earlier this month with SoftBank to bring the Watson cognitive computing system to Japan. The result, she said, will be “IBM reinvented again.”

Sounds great. Like HP, IBM is doing MBAish activities. Stakeholders will be looking for answers about job security, stock and dividends, and sustainable growth. So far I see marketing, stock buybacks, and fast dancing.

I don’t want to dance with Watson, the system that generates recipes requiring tamarind. Judging from the comments on the Alliance@IBM Web site, there are some internal issues that IBM must manage as well.

Stephen E Arnold, February 28, 2015

Tibco and Predictive Analytics

February 25, 2015

Business intelligence and infrastructure firm Tibco has been busy making deals lately. A press release at Digital Journal tells us that “Tibco and Lavastorm Analytics Announce Predictive Analytics Environment that Enhances IT and Business Collaboration.” Shortly thereafter, Virtual-Strategy Magazine reveals in its post, “Pilgrim Launches BI Solution for Quality Performance Insights,” that Tibco’s tech will underpin Pilgrim’s new platform.

The Digital Journal article discusses the embedding of Tibco’s TERR engine into Lavastorm’s Analytics Engine:

“The predictive analytics capability of TERR enhances the Lavastorm Analytics Engine’s drag-and-drop data assembly and analytical capabilities providing a high-performance, highly-scalable implementation of the popular R statistical computing language. Data scientists can now leverage R to apply predictive analytical techniques and package them into reusable analytic building blocks that enable rapid self-service data analysis by business users seeking insights and increased business efficiency.”

Meanwhile, the Virtual-Strategy post describes Pilgrim’s SmartSolve BI suite:

“SmartSolve BI is powered by TIBCO Spotfire technology. Its analytic and visualization engine is coupled with the proven capabilities of SmartSolve, Pilgrim’s quality management solution. Its numerous quality management metrics and dashboards enhance clients’ access to, and visibility of, their quality and compliance results and trends. Transforming this data with SmartSolve BI drives a multitude of analytical advantages including improved decision making with built-in quality KPIs and prebuilt dynamic dashboards that display a variety of sophisticated charts, graphs, plots and tables.”

Launched in 1997 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Tibco provides infrastructure and business intelligence solutions to businesses in several industries around the world. TERR, by the way, stands for the Tibco Enterprise Runtime for R; it is one of many Tibco products.

Lavastorm Analytics emphasizes data aggregation and user-friendly reports. Besides analytics and BI, the company offers tools for fraud management, data discovery, and revenue assurance. Lavastorm was founded in 1999, and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

Operating out of Tampa, Florida, Pilgrim focuses on risk, compliance, and quality management software for highly regulated industries around the world. They also happen to be hiring for several positions as of this writing.

Cynthia Murrell, February 25, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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