Changing of the Guard at Attensity

April 13, 2014

Attensity provides social analytics and engagement applications for customer relationship management. Their former CEO, J. Kirsten Bay, has left to take the helm of ISC8, a provider of intelligent cyber solution technologies. Street Insider gives the details in their story, “ISC8 Announces CEO Succession.”

The article begins:

“Succeeding Mr. Joll as President and CEO is J. Kirsten Bay, who has joined ISC8 effective March 19, 2014. Kirsten was most recently President and CEO of Attensity Group, a Big Data analytics enterprise software and services company specializing in customer experience management and corporate intelligence, where she restructured the company improving both operating revenue and margin.”

Will this be a moment of growth or turmoil for Attensity? The newest Attensity CEO is Howard Lau, who has connections to SAP and some investment firms. As a venture capitalist, Mr. Lau brings a different emphasis and expertise to Attensity, which might signal a shift.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 13, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

CIOs to Gain New Roles and New Pressures

April 10, 2014

If you are a CIO, you probably already know that life isn’t what it was when you started. If, however, you dream of being a CIO, it may help to look into a crystal ball to better understand what the job will look like. Chances are, it isn’t what you think, as we learned from a Computer World article, “CIOs Must Become Technology Consultants.” http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9247121/CIOs_Must_Become_Technology_Consultants

According to the story:

“It’s now contingent upon the new CIO to make the technology sales pitches, not receive them. The new CIO must show how IT services can help business leaders become better within their particular operations, as well as how a cross-departmental, holistic approach raises the tide and lifts all boats. The new CIO must advise and assist on technology adoption, not give orders and mandates.”

This seems a little parental to us, but overall practical. The job is changing. In fact, CIO Insight recently reported that the role will change drastically by 2018. http://www.cioinsight.com/it-news-trends/slideshows/how-the-cios-role-will-change-by-2018.html One of the most interesting was “An Increased Vulnerability to Knowledgeable Insiders.” This means, among other things, CIOs must now be detectives. The role of CIO is among the most important in any company, so expect the role to change and the responsibilities to only grow more serious.

Patrick Roland, April 10, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

US Government Content Processing: A Case Study

March 24, 2014

I know that the article “Sinkhole of Bureaucracy” is an example of a single case example. Nevertheless, the write up tickled my funny bone. With fancy technology, USA.gov, and the hyper modern content processing systems used in many Federal agencies, reality is stranger than science fiction.

This passage snagged my attention:

inside the caverns of an old Pennsylvania limestone mine, there are 600 employees of the Office of Personnel Management. Their task is nothing top-secret. It is to process the retirement papers of the government’s own workers. But that system has a spectacular flaw. It still must be done entirely by hand, and almost entirely on paper.

One of President Obama’s advisors is quote as describing the manual operation as “that crazy cave.”

And the fix? The article asserts:

That failure imposes costs on federal retirees, who have to wait months for their full benefit checks. And it has imposed costs on the taxpayer: The Obama administration has now made the mine run faster, but mainly by paying for more fingers and feet. The staff working in the mine has increased by at least 200 people in the past five years. And the cost of processing each claim has increased from $82 to $108, as total spending on the retirement system reached $55.8 million.

One of the contractors operating the system is Iron Mountain. You may recall that this outfit has a search system and caught my attention when Iron Mountain sold the quite old Stratify (formerly Purple Yogi automatic indexing system to Autonomy).

My observations:

  1. Many systems have a human component that managers ignore, do not know about, or lack the management horsepower to address. When search systems or content processing systems generate floods of red ink, human processes are often the culprit
  2. The notion that modern technology has permeated organizations is false. The cost friction in many companies is directly related to small decisions that grow like a snowball rolling down a hill. When these processes reach the bottom, the mess is no longer amusing.
  3. Moving significant information from paper to a digital form and then using those data in a meaningful way to answer questions is quite difficult.

Do managers want to tackle these problems? In my experience, keeping up appearances and cost cutting are more important than old fashioned problem solving. In a recent LinkedIn post I pointed out that automatic indexing systems often require human input. Forgetting about those costs produces problems that are expensive to fix. Simple indexing won’t bail out the folks in the cave.

Stephen E Arnold, March 24, 2014

Stephen E Arnold, March 24, 2014

IBM Leads in Report on Perceived Capability

March 14, 2014

The article on Bloomberg BusinessWeek titled IBM Named a Leader in IDC MarketScape for Business Consulting Services explains the 2014 Worldwide Business Consulting 2014 Vendor Assessment report measuring client feedback by IDC Marketscape. Using their vendor analysis model IDC studies data to provide information on where a business stands in relation to other business in the same field. The report studied worldwide client perception of 600 of IDC’s clients. The article explains,

“IBM is “seen as the most capable of all firms at delivering value-creating innovation and driving innovation through an organization” when compared to other firms worldwide….”We are seeing that new models of engagement are reshaping the front-office agenda.   Soon there will be no distinction between business strategy and the use of data,” said Sarah Diamond, general manager, IBM Global Business Services. “The IDC MarketScape report reinforces the need for a first-of-a-kind consulting practice such as IBM Interactive Experience to innovate client experience.”

Does pay to play delivers what IBM wants and needs? IBM credits their focused office approach and use of data and analytics for their client’s positive response. Clearly the survey indicates that IBM enjoys an excellent reputation for customer service. This praise for IBM’s consulting services comes as no huge surprise.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 14, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Forrester Wave Available For Public Reading

October 23, 2013

In the world of business process software, it can be tricky deciding which one to deploy at your organization. That is when one resorts to research and relying on opinions and experiences of others to help them make a choice. Forrester is always a great resource to turn to for business matters and in March 2013, they released “The Forester Wave: BPM Suites, Q1 2013,” detailing the top ten business process management vendors. Bitpipe archives the report.

Ten vendors were reviewed: Appian, Bizagi, Cordys, HandySoft, IBM, OpenText, Oracle, Pegasystems, Software AG, and Tibco Software. Each software has their positives and negatives, what is really interesting is if they are compatible with the leading data content managers, such as Kofax:

“All of the vendors in this evaluation can support the three most common use cases for BPM: dynamic case management, human workflow, and straight-through processing. However, this does not mean that all vendors must or can offer exactly the same approach or the same functional depth for each use case.”

They are Kofax compliant, which is wonderful because Kofax owns Kapow Software –the big data integration platform. Big data is one of the primary concerns of organizations and a business management software that does not have the capability to handle said processes is useless in a competitive market.

Whitney Grace, October 23, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Andreessen Predicts Trouble for Traditional Workers

February 8, 2013

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has some strong, educated opinions about the ups and downs of technology-related businesses and where the industry is headed. TechCrunch shares an interview with the professional prognosticator in, “Marc Andreessen on the Future of Enterprise.”

Journalist Alexia Tsotsis spoke to Andreessen for her piece, “The Enterprise Cool Kids” (also at TechCrunch), but thought the interview insightful enough to share in its entirety. The piece retains the casual, conversational tone of their chat.

The two cover a lot of ground: an industry focus that continually swings between enterprise and consumer markets; a decrease in hardware investments in favor of a shift to the cloud; the nimbleness of new businesses run by millennials compared to the comparatively bogged-down state of larger companies. The piece as a whole is a valuable read.

What caught our eye most, though, was Andreessen’s predictions for the worker bees among us. He states:

“It feels a lot like in the new economy you will have a lot more contractors. You will have a lot more people with sort of fluid careers contracting on a project basis, and then all this technology is going to be an enabling layer for that. . . .

“For some people it feels great to never be tied to a specific employer and to always be doing contract work and be changing jobs every two years, and it feels like it’s fun and exciting and exhilarating. For a lot of people that’s really scary. And so the lifetime employment promise that the big companies used to be able to make was very compelling for a lot of people because it felt safe.

“So now you are in a world where the big companies can’t deliver — even if they wanted to deliver on lifetime employment, they can’t.”

You have been warned.

Cynthia Murrell, February 08, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

How to Gain the Maximum Value Out of Big Data

February 5, 2013

From the Harvard Business Review comes an article that outlines the results of an interesting survey conducted by NewVantage Partners on how businesses plan to achieve value from big data and the technological solutions that tap into it. In the article, “Getting the Maximum Value Out of Your Big Data Initiative both statistics from the study are shared in addition to next steps for organizations looking to employ big data.

As many as 85% of participating companies answered that that either have big data initiatives in the works or currently underway in order to improve business practices and increase efficiency.

The article states:

In order to achieve this goal, many of the firms interviewed have established a new business metric for measuring the value of their Big Data initiatives — Time-to-Answer (TTA). TTA reflects the speed by which executives can answer critical business questions and has become a common measure on Wall Street and among other leading firms. The Pentagon has established an equivalent metric known as Data-to-Decision, which is dramatized in the analyses conducted by the intelligence community in the Academy Award–nominated film Zero Dark Thirty.

These organizations developing metrics for evaluating ROI such as TTA are a few steps ahead of others. These such organizations were most likely the early adopters of key technology components such as PolySpot. Their solutions enable connectivity between data across the enterprise.

Megan Feil, February 5, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Beyond Search.

Business Users and IT Pros View Things Differently

January 31, 2013

No wonder there are clashes between users and their enterprise systems. Network Computing ‘s “IT Perceptions, End User Realities” examines a recent report from InformationWeek that revealed a bit of a schism between IT pros and, well, everyone else. In the perception study, end users and IT personnel expressed divergent views on IT’s role and how well its members have been performing.

The study (available here, free with registration) asked survey takers IT-related questions, and broke answers down into those of IT and non-IT professionals. While 60 percent of the techies saw IT as integral to their organization, only 43 percent of the rest agreed. And though only 34 percent of the IT folks saw their department as “not especially innovative,” 42 percent of other respondents held that disparaging view. The survey also found that only half of business users were at all satisfied (“moderately,” “very,” or “completely”) with the performance of their IT divisions, and 20 percent reported being not satisfied at all.

Having dipped a toe in the IT field, I can sympathize. Hardware and software and, especially, the intersection of the two often fail to perform as expected even for the most seasoned technician. The challenge of tracking down a problem within an eclectic system is a process only those who have closely observed it can begin to appreciate. On top of that, IT is one of those jobs where people tend not to notice your work until something goes wrong. Still, IT pros used to get more respect. What changed? Writer Kevin Fogarty suggests:

“In the past, IT held the technology trump card. If the marketing department asked for a new application and IT said no, there was no chance a rouge team was going to sneak into the data center, rack a server, run the cables and fire up the software. Now those who chafe under restrictions from find themselves with easy, relatively inexpensive access to applications and services online. . . .

“Unfortunately for IT, this state of affairs enforces the notion that hot new technology comes from outside the company, while IT faithfully keeps the old, busted stuff alive inside the company. It’s an attitude that the technologists theoretically responsible for moving the company into the future are, in fact, anchoring it in the past.”

So now, IT departments must find new and exciting ways to justify their existence while simultaneously maintaining finicky legacy systems. Many, I would add, must do this with staffs that have been gutted over the last few years.

There is one hopeful point for IT in the report: 59 percent of the non-IT personnel think internal IT will become more important over the next two years. Maybe they don’t like the IT department very much, but at least they know they still need it. At least a little bit.

Cynthia Murrell, January 31, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

HP Autonomy Problem Larger than Accounting Snafus?

January 11, 2013

Nigel Cannings at The Global Legal Post believes HP has a more crucial Autonomy-related problem than one of financial analysis, we learn from his article, “HP and Autonomy—Lacking the Innovation Sauce.” Cannings asserts that HP’s real issue is one of squashing the potential of the company it just purchased. He writes:

“My father is a 45-year veteran of the software industry and a serial entrepreneur. His last business was acquired for a substantial sum by a North American company, so he was speaking from experience when he commented: ‘When will these large corporations learn the three golden rules of acquiring an entrepreneurial company? First, work out what it was that made it so successful and bottle it. Second, tie in the technical and marketing resources that achieved that success. Third, allow the founders to do what they do best — don’t try to reinvent them.’

“HP has ignored these rules.”

Cannings argues that had HP stayed out of the way of Autonomy’s Mike Lynch and his team, the investment would have paid off handsomely. Instead, not only did the tech titan level their startling accounting charges, they are focused on the wrong aspect of their asset. While HP seems intent on pursuing the voice retrieval technology, they would do better, he says, to go after co-processer—fueled supercomputers. This, he insists, is the path to maximize profit from the Autonomy buy. Navigate to the article to see how he makes his case.

Cannings also says that this failure is a symptom of HP’s larger lack of innovation. Specifically, he charges, the company lacks the drive to re-innovate frequently, a quality that helped propel companies like Oracle, Apple, Microsoft, and IBM to the heights of success. Is HP on the road to mediocrity?

Cynthia Murrell, January 11, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Companies Striving for Success Choose Proven Enterprise Search Software Providers

December 25, 2012

The days of limited mobile app options came to an end a few years ago with the increased popularity of BYOD (bring your own device) work options. A growing demand for products to simplify work processes brought about phenomenal improvements on tablets and mobile devices. In turn, the enterprise app market skyrocketed, not in price but in product offerings. Companies looking to invest in the most beneficial applications for their business will want to weigh their options carefully.

Enterprise Apps Today’s article “Choosing the Right Enterprise Apps for your Business” touches on the importance of all around support when filtering through application options:

“Today, a hefty proportion of cutting-edge applications can be found on cloud platforms in the form of SaaS (software-as-a-service). While a quick glance at the website of an enterprise software offering will tell a great deal about the maturity of a project, it is hardly the entire story. For the huge investment of time and money that a business expects to make in an enterprise software deployment, it’s important to first ensure that a supporting ecosystem is in place.”

The article offers good advice and guidance on choosing the best applications, but companies striving for success will choose a proven enterprise search software provider. Intrafind offers guidance on strategy, applications and use of enterprise search software that can help businesses make the most of their investment. Financial firms and pharmaceutical industry leaders are just a few examples of the types of enterprise that rely on Intrafind’s capabilities.

Jennifer Shockley, December 25, 2012

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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