Meta physical- not real?

from information-management.com

I like to focus on things that are surprising, I am obsessed with context and complexity, and I work day in and day out with people and organisations that face data challenges.  So here goes another odd story.

I had seen an advert for Heinz Large chunky soup (the advert showing large chunks of beef on a spoon) promising a more manly experience than tiny invisible beef remains I made up my mind to try this. The advert had been screened on US TV, but when I saw the soup in a UK supermarket I tried it.

Analyse this…

No, not the gangster movie, I do mean analytics as in maths and predictions. I am not sure if you noticed, but there is a it of a new buzz around regarding analytics. The last 3 projects I am was working on all ended up spending a lot of money on Analytics to gain more competitve advantage. Our team of analysts has grown from 3 to over 50. So I thought it might be worth noting a few things down on analytics that might be worth a few moments of your time. I’ll quote the CEO of my last multinational to set the questions (If you have seen the filme “Dogma” think of a character not unlike Jay, as in Jay and Silent Bob representing the CEO I have in mind.)

IT up the stove pipe

RANT:

This is just a quick rant. I cannot understand why we are making it so difficult to share. IT people should know better. Things that should be available in general are service based access to master data from any company, serviced based access to any computer service provided and above all service based identity management (including rights distribution and so on). More than that I believe that this is a citizen ship element that should be covered by government capability and services.

Doing IT properly is impossible…

We often sit , maybe waiting for a train, and, short of a good book, we ponder why something isn’t better. Why is my daughter more interested in playing on her new phone then doing her piano practice? Why do mobile phones hang up on you even though the signal is displayed as strong? Why is one train platform tasked with receiving three trains in the next three minutes when the platform next to it is idle for the next 30 minutes?

When you visit organisations that run these infrastructures (lets exclude my daughter’s piano issues for now) we often find that challenges like the above are often attributed to IT. quotes like “The windows mobile operating system was just not designed to do this with so little hardware resources available” or “The damned system sets the priority like that, we have no control over it.”  ie the fault usually ends up at the door step of those that can not defend themselves and IT comes up a lot. But how can this be?

Architecting the dream information castle

Resources are in short supply, people are afaraid to make the wrong decision and that can only mean one thing for IT. Information provisioning is key. I remember back in 1988 we were wondering about EIS (II), the second version of executive information systems that would bring internal and external collected information together to enable executives to make better decisions. Has anything changed?

Who monitors the monitor?

We have all been there. The TV is 2 years old and just before (or after) new year the thing decides to try and desolve itself from all responsibilities. No news, no movies, no drama, no life sports. You might even have taken out the store’s extended warrenty, but the terms and conditions state that a chance of repair has to be exercised (which means that no-one comes for a week to look at the thing, then you wait another week for someone to take it away, and you wait a further 6 weeks for someone to say “you will need a new one”). It’s not what you were led to believe when you paid for the extended warrently. Either way you are left without the TV.

networking at conferences

(c) Luca Longo

Berlin is cold in October. I never knew it was so close to the Russian low temperature zone. So only having a thin code wasn’t a great idea when I rolled up to SAP Teched 2010. The world of SAP has been my home for 17 years now, and there is very little I thought I didn’t know. Conferences are all about Networking.

Do as I say…

Do as I say, not as I do is an old proverb, that got put in front of me, like a mirror by my daughter last week. We were on holidays at the Amalfi coast near Naples. Anyone who has ever driven there knows what I am talking about when mentioning that only parking is worse than driving along “that” road. Having looked for two hours solid for a parking spot after driving for four hours and loosing the right hand side mirror to a life threatening situation with a bus I lost it. It was completely unreasonable for anyone to expect of me any kind of language constraint in such a exasperating situation. But having finished the rant of bad language my daughter simply stated:

Simply not true (or why IT doesn’t help)

Things can get really complex in life. When I was modifying my guitar last week I was trying to create a wiring diagram to keep track of things (as is and to be views). Now a computer would be a great help in this, using things like visio or the like, right? Well it wasn’t and in the end it was simpler to draw the thing by hand. My incompetence combined with prohibitive costs and the poor tool capabilities illustrated yet again that IT has tools for intelligent people, plasters for not so intelligent people and games for the rest. But real help with daily complexities seem to be thin on the ground. (Anyone who knows of a wire diagram creation software that is free and has all components in it that guitars may house (including ghost pickups) should leave me a message, please!)

Let me upscale this to the business world using my pet-subject Master Data Management. We know that Master Data Management is a worthwhile exercise. We know that having complete and accurate product information (for example) helps consumers pick the right product for them, establishing in the process a reference model. In practice the issue is more complex. Poorly manufactured products like to hide behind a wall of missinformation and hearsay to hide the lesser quality and the apparent lack of features. But the market is even more complex than that. Lifestyle and budget availability may drive people to a cheaper product under certain circumstances even or especially because of the lack of features (think older citizens or handicapped people).o where does that lead to?

“R” you into statisitics?

“R” is a disruptive new open source analytics technology with a rapidly growing user community. It is a powerful and extensible statistical object oriented programming language. It was build to support rapid development of computational analytics and data visualisation. It can be and is easily extended (for example a new interpretative engine) and the benefits of these extensions are shared with the user community. There are now thousands of R analytics packages available to download made available by users in a growing academic and business community Several large software packages (such as Oracle, Greenplum and SAS), have integrations with the R language, or have released R language support. R has a vast array of standard graphical formats that can be reused, as well as good functionality for the production of bespoke plot and graphical format types

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