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Big Data Vendors Don’t Understand Big Data

August 27, 2015

Sit back and absorb this article’s title for a moment: big data vendors don’t understand big data.  How can IT vendors not understand one of the IT industry’s largest selling products?  According to Computing, “SAP, Oracle, and HP ‘Don’t Get’ Big Data, Claims Massive Analytic Chairman” in a very bold statement.

Executive chairman and founder of the Oscar AP platform George Frangou claims that companies that like Oracle, HP, and SAP do not know how to help their customers take advantage of their big data and are more interested in getting customers hooked into their ecosystems than providing true analytical insight.

One of the reasons Frangou says this is because his Oscar AP is more “advanced” and allows users to foretell the future with various outcomes.  The Oscar AP platform is part of the next round of big data called massive analytics.  HP, Oracle, and SAP cannot wrap their heads around massive analytics yet, because they are more concerned with selling their product.

“Because of this, Frangou said Massive Analytic is ‘quite unashamedly following a displacement strategy to displace the incumbents because they’re not getting it.’  He added that SAP HANA, Oracle Exalytics and HP Haven are essentially the same product because they’re built on the same base code.”

Frangou went on to say that big data customers are spending more money than they need to and are getting sucked into purchasing more products in order to make their big data plans work.  It appears to be a vicious cycle.  Frangou said that cloud analytics are the best option for customers and to go with SAP, although still more barriers remain getting a decent cloud analytics platform off the ground.

It does not come as surprising that big data products are falling short of their promised results.  A similar comparison would be the Windows OS falling well below expected desired performance expectations and users spending way too much time troubleshooting than getting their projects done.

Whitney Grace, August 27, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

It Is a Recommended Title

August 24, 2015

Centripetal Networks offers a fully integrated security network specializing in threat-based intelligence.  Threat intelligence is being informed about potential attacks, who creates the attacks, and how to prevent them.  Think of it as the digital version of “stranger danger.”  Centripetal Networks offers combative software using threat intelligence to prevent hacking with real-time results and tailoring for individual systems.

While Centripetal Networks peddles its software, they also share information sources that expand on threat intelligence, how it pertains to specific industries, and new developments in digital security.  Not to brag or anything, but our very own CyberOSINT: Next Generation Information Access made the news page!  Take a gander at its description:

“The RuleGate technology continues to remain the leader in speed and performance as an appliance, and its visualization and analytics tools are easy-to-use. Because of federal use and interest, its threat intelligence resources will continue to rank at the top. Cyber defense, done in this manner, is the most useful for its real time capacity and sheer speed in computing.”

CyberOSINT was written for law enforcement officials to gain and understanding of threat intelligence as well as tools they can use to arm themselves against cyber theft and track potential attacks.  It profiles companies that specialize in threat intelligence and evaluates them.  Centripetal Networks is proudly featured in the book.

Whitney Grace, August 24, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph




Gazing Into the Crystal Ball for SharePoint’s Future

August 20, 2015

As soon as one version of SharePoint is released, speculation begins on the next. After all, it keeps the fun alive, right? While Microsoft has already redoubled its commitment to on-premises versions with its upcoming SharePoint Server 2016, experts still wonder what the future holds. Read more of the predictions in the Redmond Magazine article, “What Does SharePoint’s Future Hold?

The article begins:

“As we sit and wait for the general availability of SharePoint 2016 next year, members of the product team have already started to talk about vNext. Not as far as specific features, mind you, but commenting on the fact that Microsoft will continue to provide an on-premises version of the platform as long as the market demand is there . . . Microsoft recognizes that on-prem will be around for a long time, if not mostly in the form of hybrid environments.”

Users will no doubt be anxious to flesh out what “hybrid” really means in their environment. Additionally, security and ease-of-use will continue to be top priorities going into the future. To stay on top of the latest developments, stay tuned to for an easy to digest rundown via a dedicated SharePoint feed. Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search, and provides an expert opinion in a one-stop-shop format.

Emily Rae Aldridge, August 20, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Madison Avenue Sets Data Science Straight

August 15, 2015

The baloney manufactured by the data science crowd has amazed me. I look for comments about making statistics and math easy in my old familiar places. I don’t pay attention to the wonderful world of advertising.

I followed a link a story in Advertising Age. I like the name. We are indeed in the age of advertising. The title of the article is “Don’t Confuse Business Intelligence with Real Data Science, Says AOL Platforms Chief Tech Officer.”

Yes, AOL, now a unit of an even more exceptional outfit. Even better, AOL has been piloted to the pinnacle of success by a Xoogler.

The main point of the write up is that some folks are confusing “different data practices.” The article says:

People sometimes confuse business intelligence with data science, Mr. Demsey [Verizon/AOL wizard] said. Although cloud computing and open sourced frameworks have served to democratize data science, there’s a big difference between using data to create charts and graphs and actually combining and transforming data, the work of a data scientist, he said. Data science is predictive while oftentimes business intelligence employs backward-looking data, he added.

The passage I highlighted is this one:

Expect the sophisticated marketer’s increasing focus on connecting digital and offline dots to factor in heavily to the integration of AOL and Verizon. “We’re in the process right now of putting things together in a way that is authentic and makes sense,” he said, noting Verizon’s “human, technology, customers and data.” “It’s a continuum. It’s never going to be over.”

I agree that folks are confusing the data (big, real time) with methods (analytics, “intelligence”). The Madison Avenue world certainly knows the difference between the oxymoronic business intelligence concept and the nebulous data science thing.

The problem is what I learned from the article is that Verizon is going to connect dots. Is this business intelligence? Is this data science? Is this more baloney?

Stephen E Arnold, August 15, 2015

IT Architecture Needs to Be More Seamless

August 14, 2015

IT architecture might appear to be the same across the board, but depending on the industry the standards change.  Rupert Brown wrote “From BCBS to TOGAF: The Need For a Semantically Rigorous Business Architecture” for Bob’s Guide and he discusses how TOGAF is the defacto standard for global enterprise architecture.  He explains that while TOGAF does have its strengths, it supports many weaknesses are its reliance on diagrams and using PowerPoint to make them.

Brown spends a large portion of the article stressing that information content and model are more important and a diagramed should only be rendered later.  He goes on that as industries have advanced the tools have become more complex and it is very important for there to be a more universal approach IT architecture.

What is Brown’s supposed solution? Semantics!

“The mechanism used to join the dots is Semantics: all the documents that are the key artifacts that capture how a business operates and evolves are nowadays stored by default in Microsoft or Open Office equivalents as XML and can have semantic linkages embedded within them. The result is that no business document can be considered an island any more – everything must have a reason to exist.”

The reason that TOGAF has not been standardized using semantics is the lack of something to connect various architecture models together.  A standardized XBRL language for financial and regulatory reporting would help get the process started, but the biggest problem will be people who make a decent living using PowerPoint (so he claims).

Brown calls for a global reporting standard for all industries, but that is a pie in the sky hope unless the government imposes regulations or all industries have a meeting of the minds.  Why?  The different industries do not always mesh, think engineering firms vs. a publishing house, and each has their own list of needs and concerns.  Why not focus on getting industry standards for one industry rather than across the board?

Whitney Grace, August 14, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


How to Use Watson

August 7, 2015

While there are many possibilities for cognitive computing, what makes an idea a reality is its feasibility and real life application.  The Platform explores “The Real Trouble With Cognitive Computing” and the troubles IBM had (has) trying to figure out what they are going to do with the supercomputer they made.  The article explains that before Watson became a Jeopardy celebrity, the IBM folks came up 8,000 potential experiments for Watson to do, but only 20 percent of them.

The range is small due to many factors, including bug testing, gauging progress with fuzzy outputs, playing around with algorithmic interactions, testing in isolation, and more.  This leads to the “messy” way to develop the experiments.  Ideally, developers would have a big knowledge model and be able to query it, but that option does not exist.  The messy way involves keeping data sources intact, natural language processing, machine learning, and knowledge representation, and then distributed on an infrastructure.

Here is another key point that makes clear sense:

“The big issue with the Watson development cycle too is that teams are not just solving problems for one particular area. Rather, they have to create generalizable applications, which means what might be good for healthcare, for instance, might not be a good fit—and in fact even be damaging to—an area like financial services. The push and pull and tradeoff of the development cycle is therefore always hindered by this—and is the key barrier for companies any smaller than an IBM, Google, Microsoft, and other giants.”

This is exactly correct!  Engineering is not the same as healthcare and it not all computer algorithms transfer over to different industries.  One thing to keep in mind is that you can apply different methods from other industries and come up with new methods or solutions.

Whitney Grace, August 7, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Coauthoring Documents in SharePoint to Save Time

August 4, 2015

SharePoint users are often looking for ways to save time and streamline the process of integration from other programs. Business Management Daily has devoted some attention to the topic with their article, “Co-authoring Documents in SharePoint and Office.” Read on for the full details of how to make the most of this feature.

The article begins:

“One of the best features of SharePoint 2010 and 2013 is the way it permits co-authoring. Co-authoring means more than one person is in a document, workbook or presentation at the same time editing different parts. It works differently in Word, Excel and PowerPoint . . . With Word 2013/SharePoint 2013, co-authors may edit either in Word Online (Word Web App) or the desktop version.”

SharePoint is a powerful but complicated solution that requires quite a bit of energy to maintain and use to the best of its ability. For those users and managers that are tasked with daily work in SharePoint, staying in touch with the latest tips and tricks is vital. Those users may benefit from Stephen E. Arnold’s Web site, A longtime leader in search, Arnold brings the latest SharePoint news together in one easy to digest news feed.

Emily Rae Aldridge, August 4, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Hire Watson As Your New Dietitian

August 4, 2015

IBM’s  supercomputer Watson is being “trained” in various fields, such as healthcare, app creation, customer service relations, and creating brand new recipes.  The applications for Watson are possibly endless.  The supercomputer is combining its “skills” from healthcare and recipes by trying its hand at nutrition.  Welltok invented the CaféWell Health Optimization Platform, a PaaS that creates individualized healthcare plans, and it implemented Watson’s big data capabilities to its Healthy Dining CaféWell personal concierge app.  eWeek explains that “Welltok Takes IBM Watson Out To Dinner,” so it can offer clients personalized restaurant menu choices.

” ‘Optimal nutrition is one of the most significant factors in preventing and reversing the majority of our nation’s health conditions, like diabetes, overweight and obesity, heart disease and stroke and Alzheimer’s,’ said Anita Jones-Mueller, president of Healthy Dining, in a statement. ‘Since most Americans eat away from home an average of five times each week and it can be almost impossible to know what to order at restaurants to meet specific health needs, it is very important that wellness and condition management programs empower  smart dining out choices. We applaud Welltok’s leadership in providing a new dimension to healthy restaurant dining through its groundbreaking CaféWell Concierge app.’”

Restaurant menus are very vague when it comes to nutritional information.  When it comes to knowing if something is gluten-free, spicy, or a vegetarian option, the menu will state it, but all other information is missing.  In order to find a restaurant’s nutritional information, you have to hit the Internet and conduct research.  A new law passed will force restaurants to post calorie counts, but that will not include the amount of sugar, sodium, and other information.  People have been making poor eating choices, partially due to the lack of information, if they know what they are eating they can improve their health.  If Watson’s abilities can decrease the US’s waistline, it is for the better.  The bigger challenge would be to get people to use the information.

Whitney Grace, August 4, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Surprise! MBAs Do Not Make Use of Competitive Intelligence

August 2, 2015

I read “Companies Collect Competitive Intelligence but Don’t Use It.” The author, Ben Gilad, is a level headed person. His view is:

the competitive perspective is almost always the least important aspect in managerial decision-making. Internal operational issues including execution, budgets, and deadlines are paramount in a company’s deliberation, but what other players will do is hardly ever in focus. This “island mentality” is surprisingly prevalent among talented, seasoned managers.

What’s the fix?

Gilad seems to realize the magnitude of the challenge. He states:

a company can’t force its managers to use information optimally. It can, however, ensure they at least consider it. In many areas of the corporation, mandatory reviews are routine- regulatory, legal, financial reviews are considered the norm. Ironically, competitive reviews are not, even though the cost of missing out on understanding the competitive environment can be enormous.

In short, MBAs talk the way they learned in Harvard-type business schools. The walk, on the other hand, is different.

From my point of view, biased by my work at Booz, Allen & Hamilton before it became the two separate outfits Booz and Booz, Allen, I hear a different drum cadence.

  1. Managers are unable to deal effectively with available information. As a result, many are emulating the leatherback sea turtle. Shutting down and making decisions based on what other turtles say is the preferred course of action.
  2. A number of MBAs shift the discussion to data. The notion that competitive insights may be based on inputs which are tough to quantify is sufficient evidence to accept the outputs of an Excel spreadsheet or some canned analysis ginned up by an intern at a mid tier consulting firm.
  3. Quite a few senior managers, in my experience, live in a state of fear. The happy attitude and rah rah, go team approach is like a coat of drive through car wax. Beneath the surface, there is real concern about keeping a job, dealing with life’s little challenges, and being able to pull off another Board meeting.

Competitive intelligence, like business intelligence and military intelligence, get quite a bit of marketing attention. But in today’s business environment, turtles, data addicts, and cheerleaders stumble with basics.

The evidence falls readily to hand: Security woes at government agencies, fumbling with immigrants in Calais, automobiles which can be hacked, and enterprise search systems which cannot locate information.

From my point of view, the problem is cross cultural and deeper than competitive intelligence. Executives struggle with strategy, planning, and personal conduct too.

Perhaps business schools and management experts are not symptoms but triggers?

Stephen E Arnold, August 2, 2015

Organizations Should Consider Office 365 Utilization

July 30, 2015

Office 365 has been a bit contentious within the community. While Microsoft touts it as a solution that gives users more of the social and mobile components they were wishing for, it has not been widely adopted. IT Web gives some reasons to consider the upgrade in its article, “Why You Should Migrate SharePoint to Office 365.”

The article says:

“Although SharePoint as a technology has matured a great deal over the years, I still see many businesses struggling with issues related to on-premises SharePoint, says Simon Hepburn, director of bSOLVe . . . You may be thinking: ‘Are things really that different using SharePoint on Office 365?’ Office 365 is constantly evolving and as I will explain, this evolution brings with it opportunities that your business should seriously consider exploring.’”

Of course the irony is that with the new SharePoint 2016 upgrade, Microsoft is giving users a promise to stand behind on-premise installations, but they are continuing to integrate and promote the Office 365 components. Only time and feedback will dictate the continued direction of the enterprise solution. In the meantime, stay tuned to Stephen E. Arnold and his Web service, Arnold is a longtime leader in search and his dedicated SharePoint feed is a one-stop-shop for all the latest news, tips, and tricks.

Emily Rae Aldridge, July 30, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph



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