Meta physical- not real?


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’s not what you know…

Knowledge Management is a tricky subject and having an aligned Organisational and IT approach is seldom achieved or for that matter profitably implemented. Yet knowledge centric organisations like Software developers (Google, Apple, …), Universities, Consultancies (Accenture), Law enforcement and Intelligence but also banks, pharmaceuticals, in short everyone relies on these KM processes working like clockwork.  Yet very few organisations have successfully tackled this area. My interest in this area has been growing over the last 15 years, and was recently re-challenged by my daughter:

“Can you learn what you want to learn, and how you want to learn it?”

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.

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?

Significantly misunderstood

The American Football season is restarting, and I must admit that I am a fan. I love the combination of tactics, strength and sports and although one of my best friends calls it “rugby for wimps with mattresses on” my son and I are hooked. There is just one gripe: The misuse of statistics. Great examples are:

” A team from New-England has never one one a Monday night while playing in Beige Socks”

“Quarterback Elway has only once been able to defeat a left-handed Quarterback”

“Chicago is more often defeated on uneven dates than Even numbered dates”

Where is the sense in that?

“I like bones!”
Well that could mean I am a successful surgeon having just saved a life through surgery (unlikely), I could be a serial killer or maybe I just like the TV series “Bones”. But no matter what you think of me, but the truth is the sentance is meaningless until we have context.