Tag Archives: APIs

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Wednesday Keynote

I am pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It is occurring November 12 – 15 in the Santa Clara Convention Center (see below). Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from some of the Wednesday Keynote sessions.

Big Data: The Next Industrial Revolution was presented by Rich Carpenter, Chief Technology Strategist, GE Intelligent Platforms that is their industrial software platform. Paige mentioned that GE is the 13th largest software firm in the world.  Rich said that big data is easy to grasp in terms of its scope. But what does this mean for GE? GE operates at the consumer scale through supply chains in such areas as energy. It also supplies many airline engines that they need to keep operational. They are standing at the doorstep of a massive transition in industrial businesses. Now there are more machines connected to the Web than people. This transition is bringing on the industrial internet which he called Web 3.0.

Now applications have built in intelligence and provide analytics that need to be used. There are three main forces in the industrial internet: The Web, smart machines, and big data & analytics. The latter is required to survive in the world of big data generated by the smart machines. One machine can generate 4 trillion samples per year.

GE has over 200,000 connected assets that GE has to run analytics on. It has to make sure its 21,000 plus jet engines are operational, for example. There are also gas and steam turbines and other equipment. GE has large centers to look at trends within its equipment. Their objective is to prevent bad things from happening and the machines operating. This is not an easy task. They have to employ many data scientists to deal with all the data.  The predictive analytics also require deep domain knowledge to identify early warning signs of possible failure.

It is not just a big data challenge. Data diversity is equally challenging. For example, the service of a jet engine and the airplane that uses it are separate tasks. Engines are taken off planes for service and replaced by another engine to keep the plane flying. Then the serviced engine will go to a new plane, perhaps owned by a different airline. All this has to be tracked. You also be able to move from run my machine better to run my fleet better to run my business better.

There are a series of phases in the industrial internet: there is a movement from connect & monitor to intelligence & analytics to business optimization. First you have to solve the data storage problem but that is just the beginning. Then you have to understand it at scale. Finally, when you have the analytic infrastructure in place you need to provide decision support.  There is also a level of accumulated business experience to develop operational models. Their goal is keeping their machines operational and reducing surprises and energy requirements.

Tomorrow’s Challenges for Today’s CIO was a panel moderated by Eric Lundquist, VP & Editorial Analyst for InformationWeek Business Technology Network. It included: Joe Cardenas, CIO, Pacific Compensation Insurance; Marina Levinson, Founder and CEO, CIO Advisory Group, LLC; Shelton Waggner, SVP, Internet2, and Michael Skaff, CIO, LesConcierges.  Eric provided the panel with some questions. CIOs are in the middle of change. They can become vital to the enterprise or become diminished in their importance. How can you make innovation happen as a CIO? CIOs are also moving to becoming bundlers of services rather than builders.

Eric had four questions for the panel – How do you define enterprise innovation? What are the main obstacles to innovation? What is the CIOs role in innovation? What was the most innovative project you were involved with?

Joe said that innovation is about opening people eyes. You need to ask the “what if” questions. You need to discuss more business strategy. The obstacles to innovation include the complexity of the environment and the internal politics in an organization. There is a lot of negotiation involved. The role of the CIO is to bring new ideas to the table and demonstrate the possible. His top project was the creation of a business dialog with multiple partners including no touch transactions that save the customer time and money. It took a lot of negotiation to gain acceptance.

Marina said enterprise innovation is making changes in product offerings, services, business models, and operations that improve the experience of stakeholders. The obstacles are fear of failure, lack of appropriate incentives that do not encourage innovation.  Running the business is a perquisite to having conversations about innovation with business units. You need to be smart where you experiment and not bring the business down. The role of the CIO is now chief innovation officer to explore, partner and define. CIOs need to figure how to add value in this new world. Her top projects were the mobile enterprise portal in 2003 at Palm. It was an IT success even though the company did not succeed.

Shelton said that innovation is supporting individual initiative of every company employee to better support customers. The obstacles are policies that limit, not enable, innovation. Also, not deploying enterprise wide interoperability frameworks. The role of the CIO is to create conditions through open technology to enable individuals to tune enterprise offerings to specific needs. His top project was federated identity to replace in-house platform to use cloud capabilities but maintain corporate coordination. You need to make each employee successful and not just the leaders.

Michael said that innovation is anything that drives the business forward. The obstacles include semantics, communication, and leadership. The role of the CIO is normally one part innovation wellspring, one part facilitator, and ultimately the catalyst in the enterprise. His top project was with the San Francisco Symphony where they projected tweets on the face of City Hall during their Black and White Ball a few years ago. This was innovative at the time as it engaged the audience in a new way.  People discovered this virally. It increased engagement and there was even a marriage proposal that was fortunately accepted.

Unlocking the API Economy was a panel moderated by John Musser, Founder & CEO, ProgrammableWeb. It included: Sam Ramji, VP of Strategy, Apigee; Daniel Jacobson, Director of Engineering – API, Netflex; and Javaun Moradi, Product Manager, NPR. John set the stage as ProgammableWeb has cataloged the development of APIs from about 30 a few years ago to over 8,000. There are many more out there.  Now there are APIs that have over a billion calls a day.

The Netflex’s guy said they have APIs that have several billion transactions a day. NPR has APIs that address over a billion stories a month. Sam said that APIs are emerging as there is a shift from the Web internet to the app internet. Daniel said the multiple devices also support the growing need for APIs. Javaun said that APIs allow you to not say no to things. APIs make you future proof. Supporting the iPad in 5 weeks in one example for NPR. They already had the hard tech stuff done so they could focus on the interface.

The most important strategic decision for API planning is to decide what market you will address. What are your business objectives with whom? This drives your design and execution decisions. At Netflex, their strategy shifted and this affected their API strategy. The NPR guy said to start with user problem that you want to solve. Start small. It is easier to add than subtract capabilities. If even one person is using a feature, it is hard to retire it.

You need to measure intelligently. Tie your APIs to your KPIs. What opportunities that you could address because of the API? Speed is a big feature for APIs so this is one thing to measure. For example, how can you on-board new partners more rapidly?

There are private and public APIs. The public APIs get the most attention. John asked is there a difference between the two. It is better to start with private APIs so you can see the issues.  With public APIs you do not know all the users. With private APIs you can better support the users, as you know them.  You need to see value in the API. If not, no one else will.

If you have a mobile strategy without an API strategy you will not be in business long. Many other devices will come along and APIs can enable you to deal with them.  There are now APIs exchanges in several industries. There are now markets around data exchanges. APIs will only grow as use cases expand.