Mid Tier Consulting Firm: Big Data Fear

October 12, 2016

I love it when mid tier consulting firms become contrarians. Navigate to “Gartner Warns Big Data’s Bubble May Burst As Enterprises Cut Investment.” The write up informed me:

Gartner has found. In its latest survey of 199 technology executives, the analyst firm found that many companies have struggled to obtain insights that make a real difference to their bottom line.

I don’t want to get into the Statistics 101 lecture about sampling, but keep in mind that there may be some wobbles in who was asked and who answered the “survey.”

Let’s assume that the mid-tier outfit did a pretty good job with its 199 objective respondents. I learned that:

the number of companies that are planning to invest in Big Data in the next two years has fallen by 6 percent, from 31 percent in 2015 to just 25 percent this year. Another telling statistic is that while roughly three-quarters of companies have invested, or are planning to invest, in Big Data, the overwhelming majority of those firms remain stuck at the pilot stage.

The write up points to another mid tier outfit’s research which suggests that Big Data may not be the home run that some pundits assert. Is Big Data doomed? Nah, a third mid tier outfit predicts that the Big Data market will grow “three times as fast as the overall information technology market.”

Whew. For a moment I thought the sky was falling.

Several observations:

  • Fear sells.
  • Uncertainty sells.
  • Seemingly authoritative research sells.

What’s the common factor? The mid tier outfits are working overtime to generate interest in their services. Perhaps the economy is putting some pressure on the mid tier folks. Go with fear.

Even snakes flee from earth tremors. There may be Big Data to quantify that fear as long as one can point and click, not think about data integrity, and have to do math. I love it. 199.

Stephen E Arnold, October 12, 2016

Booz Allen: A Race from the Top to the Mid Tier of Consulting

October 8, 2016

(A blog software glitch prevented this story from appearing at 5 13 am on Saturday, October 8, 2016.)

As a former Booz Allen employee, I was surprised to learn about the Snowdon matter. Now Booz Allen finds itself in the spotlight again. To get the big time take on this glitch, navigate to “At Booz Allen, a Vast U.S. Spy Operation, Run for Private Profit.” If you have to pay to view the write up, well, don’t blame me. The Gray Lady needs cash and pronto.

The main idea is that the US government contracts with experts, mavens, and wizards to perform certain types of work. The government trades money for the efforts of folks who might not otherwise labor in the hallowed halls of government-leased buildings.

I learned:

Booz Allen has helped the United Arab Emirates build its own high-tech spy agency.

Busy, busy.

The problem is that another Booz Allen expert has been allegedly taking classified materials from a government facility.

Several observations:

  1. What’s the vetting process for getting a job at Booz Allen these days? Is that process sort of working?
  2. What about the security which checks each person when leaving a government facility? The Rubic’s Cube gambit is good video, but real life maybe demands a bit more than bon ami?
  3. How will the other mid tier consulting firms react to having the equivalent of a college student sent back to grade school?

My former boss at Booz Allen would be acting in a manner which could alter the career paths of the favored few who land jobs with one of the blue chip consulting firms. That gentle soul has moved on, and with the new generation of Booz Allen senior managers, some of my boss’s managerial qualities seem to have departed as well.

Stephen E Arnold, October 8, 2016

Open Source CRM Galore for Salespeople, Manufacturers, and Even Freelancers

September 26, 2016

The article titled Top 10 Open Source CRM on Datamation weighs the customer relationship management (CRM) options based on individual needs in addition to features and functions. It highlights certain key benefits and points of strength such as EspoCRM’s excellent website, SugarCRM’s competitive edge over Salesforce, and the low cost of Dolibarr. The typical entry reads like this,

EPESI – The last in this list of Linux compatible CRM options is called EPESI. What makes it unique is the ability to take the mail page of the CRM and rearrange how things are laid out visually…it’s pretty nice to have when customizing ones workflow. In addition to expected CRM functionality, this tool also offers ERP options as well. With its modular design and cloud, enterprise and DIY editions, odds are there is a CRM solution available for everyone.

What strikes one the most about this list is how few familiar names appear. This list is certainly worth consulting to gain insights about the landscape, particularly since it does at least allude now and then to the specialty of several of the CRM software. For example, Dolibarr supports freelancers, Compiere is based around the needs of warehousing and manufacturing companies, and Zurmo was designed for salespeople. It is a good time to be in the market for CRM apps.

Chelsea Kerwin, September 26, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monographThere is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on September 27, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233599645/

Bot Landscape Includes Search

August 23, 2016

Search and retrieval technology finds a place in a “bot landscape.” The collection of icons appears in “Introducing the Bots Landscape: 170+ Companies, $4 Billion in Funding, Thousands of Bots.” The diagram of the bots landscape in the write up is, for me, impossible to read. I admit it does convey the impression of a lot of a bots. The high resolution version was also difficult for me to read. You can download a copy and take a gander yourself at this link. But there is a super high resolution version available for which one must provide a name and an email. Then one goes through a verification step. Clever marketing? Well, annoying to me. The download process required three additional clicks. Here it is. A sight for young eyes.


I was able to discern a reference to search and retrieval technology in the category labeled “AI Tools: Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Speech & Voice Recognition.” I was able to identity the logo of Fair Issacs and the mark of Zorro, but the other logos were unreadable by my 72 year old eyes.

The graphic includes these bot-agories too:

  1. Bots with traction
  2. Connectors and shared services
  3. Bot discover
  4. Bot developer frameworks and tools
  5. Analytics
  6. Messaging.

The bot landscape is rich and varied. MBAs and mavens are resourceful and gifted specialists in classification. The fact that the categories are, well, a little muddled is less important than finding a way to round up so many companies worth so much money.

Stephen E Arnold, August 23, 2016

Gartner Declares Microsoft a Winner

August 12, 2016

I read “Microsoft Is a Leader in 18 Gartner Magic Quadrants, Including Cloud Infrastructure as a Service.” Those folks at Microsoft should be darned proud of themselves. Receiving  A grades in 18 Gartner Magic Quadrants is remarkable.

I noted this passage in the write up:

Microsoft is the only cloud computing vendor that is a Magic Quadrant Leader in all of the major cloud services categories, including IaaS, Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). These ratings place Microsoft in an enviable position above Amazon AWS, Salesforce, and Google. Looking at the following chart, we can see that Microsoft is a Leader in fully 18 different Magic Quadrants.

Yes, Microsoft stomps on Amazon. I can here the chant “We’re number one” now even though I am in Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky.

What are those 18 Magic Quadrants? I think this is the list, but I can be wrong. My view is that Gartner’s experts are never, ever, ever incorrect in their objective analyses of leading vendors. Perish the thought that the Magic Quadrant is influenced by any subjective element. I shudder to think how subjectivity influencing ratings would rock the myriad consultants wherever they may work.

The 18 Magic Quadrants:

Application develop life cycle management or ADLM

Business intelligence and analytics platforms or BIAP

Cloud infrastructure as a service or CaaS

CRM customer engagement center or CRMCEC

Data warehouse and data management solutions for analytics or DWaDMSfA

Disaster recovery as a service or DRaaS

Enterprise content management or ECM

Horizontal portals or HP (Please, do not confuse the leadership outfit Microsoft with the struggling Hewlett Packard)

Identity as a service or IDaaS

Mobile application development platforms or MADP

Operational database management systems or ODBMS

Public cloud storage services or PCSS

Sales force automation or SFA

Unified communications or UC (Not to be confused with Google ooze)

Web conferencing or WC (Please, be careful with this acronym in the UK)

X86 server virtualization infrastructure or XSVI.

Frankly, the best acronym on this list, which is filled with impressive acronyms, is DWaDMSfA. However, I quite like UC which may be pronounced “uck” and  WC. But for the connotation of a loo, WC is outstanding. I know that Microsoft is the all time champ of the enterprise.

Perhaps Amazon will pick up its marbles and focus on space travel and selling weird voice activated surveillance devices? Kudos to Microsoft for its stellar and totally objective achievement.

Stephen E Arnold, August 12, 2016

Big Consulting Firm Smashes the Big Data Conundrum

August 9, 2016

I read “Cracking the Data Conundrum: How Successful Companies Make Big Data Operational.” The high level, super sophisticated, MBA quivering report is free. Does that mean that Capgemini Consulting is trying to drum up business? I thought these top level outfits generated 90 percent of their annual revenue from repeat business? Perhaps today’s economic climate is different?

The report is interesting because the premise is that Capgemini has solved a “conundrum.” This is a nifty word which I learned when I was a wee lad trying to keep my tutor in Campinas, Brazil, happy. I recall that the word was used by one Thomas Nash (no, not a relative of the Nash made famous with the quip “the golden trashery of Ogden Nashery). But that neologistic meaning has a fresh charge of meaning for me; to wit:

A term of abuse for a crank or a pedant.

Today the word is popular among the MBA set as a solvable problem. However, a conundrum can be another word for dilemma. That’s a logical word for illogical statements; for example,

Bruno was gored on the horns of a big, angry dilemma.

What does the Capgemini document suggest is the resolution to the problem of Big Data.

The write up tells the reader that most outfits trying to integrate Big Data into every day work life screw up. The fancy wording is:

Successful Big Data implementations elude most organizations.

That’s bad for the organizations, and I assume really good for consultants who know how to deal with wasted money.

The problem? Organizations’ management are not able to manage. I learned:

Our research revealed that the top challenges that organizations face include: dealing with scattered silos of data, ineffective coordination of analytics initiatives, the lack of a clear business case for Big Data funding, and the dependence on legacy systems to process and analyze Big Data.

Imagine organizations have these flaws. What are they to do?

Step one is to get their act together; that is, organize for Big Data. Sounds good. But what if the organization is set up to do something else; for instance, make men’s shirts or do publicity of a Hollywood motion picture?

Well, these outfits need to have a systematic approach to Big Data. And one size does not fit every organization. Capgemini identifies four ways to put the ponies in the circus wagon. These are:

  • Scattered pockets of Big Data stuff
  • Decentralized Big Data stuff. (How is this different from “scattered pockets”?)
  • Centralized Big Data stuff
  • A Big Data business unit. (This is the one that delivers the most “success.” I am not sure for whom however.)

How does an organization move from total loser in Big Data to a successful outfit integrating Big Data into operations? This effort, which will be billed either as a flat fee, a retainer, or time and materials basis, is an “implementation journey.” I have a hunch that this trip will not a 10 walk to the convenient store for a bottle of Big Red soda pop. The trip will be a hike through the Ural mountains in winter.

The write up includes a test. This makes it easy for the shirt maker in Bangladesh or the 20 somethings working from a trailer in Orange County to put their act in the circus’ center ring.

The write up references a survey conducted in 2014. I suppose in the slow moving world of the shirt makers and Hollywood publicists a year and a half is a reasonable time interval.

If you want to test your understanding of the word “conundrum,” you will want to read this free report. Only you can answer this question: Does conundrum reference a crank or pedant or a hapless MBA dangling from a sharp horn? Whenever horns of a bull enter a conversation, other stuff may follow.

Stephen E Arnold, August 9, 2016

Speculation About Beyond Search

June 2, 2016

If you are curious to learn more about the purveyor of the Beyond Search blog, you should check out Singularity’s interview with “Stephen E Arnold On Search Engine And Intelligence Gathering.”  A little bit of background about Arnold is that he is an expert specialist in content processing, indexing, online search as well as the author of seven books and monographs.  His past employment record includes Booz, Allen, & Hamilton (Edward Snowden was a contractor for this company), Courier Journal & Louisville Times, and Halliburton Nuclear.  He worked on the US government’s Threat Open Source Intelligence Service and developed a cost analysis, technical infrastructure, and security for the FirstGov.gov.

Singualrity’s interview covers a variety of topics and, of course, includes Arnold’s direct sense of humor:

“During our 90 min discussion with Stephen E. Arnold we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: why he calls himself lucky; how he got interested in computers in general and search engines in particular; his path from college to Halliburton Nuclear and Booze, Allen & Hamilton; content and web indexing; his who’s who list of clients; Beyond Search and the core of intelligence; his Google Trilogy – The Google Legacy (2005), Google Version 2.0 (2007), and Google: The Digital Gutenberg (2009); CyberOSINT and the Dark Web Notebook; the less-known but major players in search such as Recorded Future and Palantir; Big Brother and surveillance; personal ethics and Edward Snowden.”

When you listen to the experts in certain fields, you always get a different perspective than what the popular news outlets gives.  Arnold offers a unique take on search as well as the future of Internet security, especially the future of the Dark Web.


Whitney Grace, June 2, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Old Pals Chatting: IDC Expert Chums Up Cognitive Marketing

May 4, 2016

I recall a fellow named Dave Schubmehl. You may recall that name. He was the IDC wizard who ingested my research about open source outfits and then marketed it via Amazon without my permission. Since that go round with my information used without a written agreement with me, I have taken a skeptical view of IDC and its “experts.” I won’t comment on its business practices, administrative acumen, and general ineptitude with regard to publishing a bit of my research as an eight page, $3,500 “analysis.” Yikes. Eight pages at $3,500 for work pumped out on Amazon, the WalMart of the digital world.

I read, therefore, with considerable skepticism “Interview with Rich Vancil: Group VP, Executive Advisory of IDC.” I was not disappointed. Perhaps I should say, my already low expectations were just about met.

The interviewer, according to the interview text, has been an acquaintance of the IDC wizard for decades. Furthermore, the interviewer (obviously an objective type of person) will “meet up to catch up on life outside business.” The article is “old pals chatting.”

What a chat?

I learned that:

The IDC 3rd Platform is a broad term for our present IT industry and economy. It is where 100% of WW IT revenue growth is coming from and it includes the product categories of Mobile; Social; Cloud, and Big Data. The 3rd Platform is eclipsing the 2nd Platform – described broadly as the “last 30 years” of IT, and this has been mainly enterprise computing: Lan / Internet; Client / Server; and premised based infrastructure such as servers, storage, and licensed software.

A third platform. “Platform” is an interesting word. I get the idea of a Palantir platform. I suppose I can get in sync with the Windows 10 platform. But an IDC platform? Well, that’s an idea which would never have floated from the pond filled with mine drainage here in Harrod’s Creek.

A consulting firm is in the business of selling information. A platform exists at outfits like Booz, Allen, McKinsey, and Bain. But the notion that a mid tier outfit has had three platforms intrigues me. When I looked at some of the 1917-1918 reports at Booz, Allen when Ellen Shedlarz ran the information center, the format, the tone, the approach, and the word choice was incorporated in the charm school into which new hires were herded. I could, in a moment of weakness, call Booz, Allen’s systems and methods a platform. But are the words “systems” and “methods” more appropriate?

The other interesting point in the write up was a nifty new diagram which purports to make clear the third platform confection. I know you won’t be able to read the diagram. Buy the report which hopefully is less than the $3,500 slapped on eight pages of my research.


Source: IDC 2016 at this link. If you find the link dead, just buzz up IDC and order document 01517018. The reports based on my research were 236511, 236514, 236086, and 237410. Buy them all for a mere $14,000.

Notice the blobs. Like another mid tier outfit, blobs are better than numbers. The reason fuzziness is a convenient graphic device is that addled geese like me ask questions; for example:

  • What data are behind the blobs
  • What was the sample size
  • Where did the categories come from like “cognitive marketing”?

I have a supposition about the “cognitive” thing. The IDC wizard Dave Schubmehl pumped out lots of tweets about IBM cognitive computing. One IDC executive, prior to seeking a future elsewhere, wrote a book about “cognitive” processes. Both of these IDC experts guzzled the IBM Watson lattes somewhere along the cafeteria line.

Back to the interview among two friends. I learned:

MarTech is a big deal. IDC is doing a very careful accounting of this area and we now account for 78 separate product / service categories and literally thousands of vendors. Like any other emerging and fast growth IT category, consolidation will be inevitable. But in the meantime, it makes for a daunting set of choices for the CMO and team.

I like the word daunting. There is nothing like a list of items which are not grouped in a useful manner to set IDC neural pathways abuzz. But the IDC mavens have cracked the problem. The company has produced a remarkable 2015 technology map. Check this out:


Source: Expert Interview, 2016

I moved forward in the write up. The daunting problem has contributed to what the interviewer describes as “an awesome conference.” I like that “awesome” thing. How does the write up conclude? There is a reference to golf, the IDC professional’s medical history, and this statement:

The best analysts can simplify, simplify. Analysts who try to impress by using big words and complex frameworks…end up confusing their audience and so they become ineffective.

Remarkable content marketing.

Stephen E Arnold, May 4, 2016

A Partnership or a Sale for Gartner

May 1, 2016

I read an article that confused me. Its title is “Mirum Partners with Forrester to Help Brands Compete with Disruptors like Airbnb and Alibaba.” Forrester is a mid tier consulting firm. The outfit lights up my radar with the lightning over waves and the confusion of blobs in its analyses.

Mirum, on the other hand, is a “global digital agency.” This evokes images in my mind of ad professionals on the beach in Half Moon Bay watching videographers shoot footage of people riding horses through the surf in an inspired attempt to sell a consumer product. Mirum tells me “never to lose my sense of wonder.” Okay. Noted.

Now back to the write up.

Both Forrester and Mirum provide services to other organizations. That means both are consultants moving information around for money. That’s a noble pursuit, but the question is, “Who is paying whom?” Did Forrester sell consulting to Mirum? Did Mirum sell consulting to Forrester? Are both just teaming up in order to pump up their revenues with the idea that a small B&B in Camden, Maine, can compete with Airbnb?

I learned:

J. Walter Thompson digital agency Mirum in APAC has announced that it’s bringing on board Forrester’s Digital Maturity Assessment Tool. The agency believes using the tool will help support its work in trying to help more traditional brands modernize and digitize their businesses, in order to better compete against the new breed of disruptors like Airbnb and Uber.

Ah, ha. A tool. And for which prospects? The answer is Asian markets. Too bad for the B&B in Camden.

My hunch is that Forrester has a service and Mirum is going to try to sell it. I further assume that if and when Mirum makes some sales, both Mirum and Forrester will chop off some of the prime rib.

Why doesn’t Forrester market its own products? Why does Forrester use blobs instead of hard analytics in its gentle waves? From Harrod’s Creek, it appears that making sales directly might be too hard for the mid tier folks. Hence, a partnership.

Stephen E Arnold, May 1, 2016

The Forrester Wave Becomes Blobs

April 4, 2016

I want you to know that I read this statement attached to the illustration in “Master Data Management: Which MDM Tool Is Right For You?”; to wit:

Unauthorized reproduction, citation , or distribution prohibited.

Okay, none of that, gentle reader. The Forrester Wave has morphed from a knock off of the Eisenhower grid which was reinvented by Boston Consulting Group. The new look is like this:


Remember Psych 101? What do you see? How do you feel about that? What do you mean it looks like a dog’s breakfast? Do you love your mother?

Each tinted region denotes a type of Master Data Management classification. The classifications which the mid tier consulting firm generated from a rigorous statistical analysis of the data available to the wizards working on this report are:

  • Integration model vendors
  • Logical model vendors
  • Contextual model vendors
  • Analytic model vendors.

I am not sure what the differences in the categories are because I am familiar with some of the outfits in the Master Data Model space and it seems to me that outfits like IBM, Oracle, and others offer a range of Master Data Model services and capabilities. Hey, I don’t want to assemble the bits and pieces on offer from IBM into a functioning solution, but I suppose one can.

What companies deliver what function in this Rorschachian analysis?

Integration model, a pale blue horizontal elliptical blob:

elliptical blog

  • Dell Boomi
  • Information Builders
  • Microsoft
  • Profisee (like prophecy I assume)
  • Software AG
  • Semarchy
  • Teradata
  • Tibco (the data bus folks)

Analytic model, a gray circle:


  • Novetta
  • Reltio

Logical model, a blue gray ellipse which looks like an egg standing on one end:

balanced egg

  • SAS
  • SAP
  • IBM
  • Tibco (yep, in two places at once like an entangled particle)
  • Software AG (only the “ware AG” makes it into the logical egg thing)
  • Information Builders (the “builders” component is logical. Go figure.)
  • Teradata (yikes, just the “ata” is logical. Makes sense to the mid tier crowd I assume.)

Contextual model, which looks like a fried egg to me with a context of breakfast:


  • Informatica (another outfit which is like a satyr, half one thing and half another)
  • Liaison Technologies
  • Magnitude Software (the outfit is another entangled MDM provider because it is included in the logical model. Socrates, got that?)
  • Orchestra Software (also part of the logical category like a Rap musician who fills in when the the first violin at the London Philharmonic is on holiday).
  • Pitney Bowes (the postage meter outfit?)
  • Verato

I wish I could reproduce the diagram, but there is that legal threat. A legal threat is one way to make sure that constructive criticism of the blobs is constrained. I suppose my representations of the geometry of the analysis connects the dots for you, gentle reader. If not, the mid tier wizards will explain their “real” intent.

I love the fried egg group. How about some hot cakes with that analysis? Also, no half baked biscuits with that, please.

Stephen E Arnold, April 4, 2016

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