Tag Archives: E2 Innovate

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Innovation Lab

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. here are my notes from 2011 and 2012. These notes cover the Innovation Lab Tour showing work by IBM Research.  There were a number of interesting applications in varying states of development from proof of concepts to working apps in pilot with active users. I have cover the wrk of IBM Research in Cambridge for some time and was pleased to see what they are up to now (see for example, IBM’s Social Software Initiatives: Part Three – Internal Applications and More IBM Research on Enterprise 2.0 – Activities and Other Tools).  I looked at the following on this tour

Best Fit Expertise – with Dan Gruen

It helps find matches for expertise requirements by refining the request. There is a tree diagram that asks clarifying questions as you enter information. Such questions as availability, recent experience with required task or company are examples. Once the questions are made final, candidates get ranked and other factors are applied. You can also track requests to see where requests are coming from and what types of requests are being made to anticipate growing needs. Dan said that the model within it is being used as a framework for the related applications in the expertise area on display in the lab including the Social Media-based Expertise Locator and the Expediting Expertise discussed below.

It was great to see Dan again. I wrote about his work in 2005 and said the following. Dan Gruen presented Unified Activity Management. It looks at work from an activity perspective and lets you chart business process (e.g. responding to an RFP) and associated best practices. You drag in documented sub-steps from other processes to improve your process. You can find work process related documents and people. I wish we had this application in 1993 when we created the insurance underwriting KM system that was very process-centric. A key concept in Unified Activity Management is that you do not have document processes as a separate activity. The application records the process in the context of supporting it. Then you can access this recorded process and mix and match past processes to create new ones. This was the illusive goal of some of our early KM efforts. Just do it and the system will document the useful stuff without you having to do the extra work that often interfered with documentation. Kudos to Dan.”

Social Media-based Expertise Locator – Uri Avarham

You can use the Social Media-based Expertise Locator to find experts on any topic base don social media data such as: tags, communities, wikis, blogs, forums, bookmarks, etc. Then you can view evidence to learn what makes them an expert in the field. Next you can find out how to connect with the expert. You can also find people similar to the given expert. It was developed by the IBM Research Group in Haifa. Here is a screen shot on how it works.

Here is a pop-up on an individual.

Expediting Expertise – Jie Lu

This tool combines analytics and social software to concretely measure the user’s current expertise level for a given topic. Then it can facilitate improvement with learning recommendations. It allows you to rapidly identify and grow expertise within the organization. Here are two screen shots to show you how it looks. First there is your score.

Then there are recommendations for how to improve your score.

Social Knowledge Management – Hiro Takagi

This tool uses information sources to uncover knowledge assets. Then employees can “like,” “mention,” and/or share their discoveries. People can also post requests for documents on certain topics and others can find them. Then the documents get placed into Connections for greater accessibility and further enhancements.  It employs “cardification” by which a report card is created for each document where it can be rated and ranked. It will get elevated in Connections if people find it valuable. To get started the tool uses gamification to help useful documents go viral. Here is an image on how it works.

Work Marketplace – Steve Dill

This tool allows people to post work assignments and have others bid on doing them. This work exchange allows request to be shared within a community or across and organization. Colleagues can select, bid, or compete for work. It is especially useful for people between projects. After a project is completed the person’s participation is evaluated. A digital reputation can be earned based on the work performed. Teams can self-organize to bid on projects.

IBMers Who Tweet – Casey Dugan

This tool first takes input from employees on possible IBMers who are tweeting. They look at anyone how mentions IBM in their twitter profile or in other ways. Then possible matches are found in IBM Connections profiles. Matches are contacted to verify accuracy and asked if they want to be included in the directory that gets analyzed. No one is required to participate. Over 500 IBMers have helped classify 7,000 Twitter accounts. Then the Twitter activity is made visible and analytics are applied including sentiment analysis and topic identification augmented by demographics and interactive data visualization. Below is a sample screen shot.

IBM Social Business Clinic

Kate Ehlich provided a demonstration of a survey that IBM is offering their clients on how effective their current social business is functioning. Below is a sample set of results. You can compare the results you gave your company (red) with the global averages (green) and those for your industry sector (gray).


IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Tuesday Opening Session

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012. Bob Piccano, IBM General Manager led the opening session. The theme was the rise of social business – moving from liking to leading. These notes are real time so please forgive any typos.

Bob Piccano opened the session. He mentioned that this was the 20th year at this conference.   He has moved to a new post that includes leading the big data efforts across IBM.  He introduced Adam Klaber, Managing Partner, New Markets, who is working on big data among other things. IBM is moving from systems of transaction to systems of engagement. This has major transformation implications. I have written about this a bit (see for example, Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions and Integrating Transactions and Interactions: A Fable).

Adam said that customers are leading the conversations that define brands. Partners are interacting to accelerate business value. Employees are using social media in all aspects of the their lives, including work. Organizations are crowdsourcing ideas to bring better solutions.

Adam mentioned the four I’s: Interact, Inform, Integrate, and Innovate. Each builds on the other. This shift is enabled by technology supported social interactions. They are releasing a study on how companies are moving forward in social. Over half of the organizations are shifting their investments to social technology. They are also looking at the cultural change. IBM is doing more than technology but also helping with the social change. They have formed a cross-disciplinary group on front office transformation and a center of competence in this space. He moved to client examples in healthcare, retail, and government. He began with healthcare.

All of these cases make use of IBM Connections. I have covered IBM Connections in depth recently (see IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities). For this post I spoke with Suzanne Livingston, Senior Product Manager for Connections on the 4.0 release. I have covered Connections a number of times before (see for example, Review of IBM Connections 3.0 and IBM Connections: Analytics + Social).

Dan Pelino came out to discuss healthcare and the other cases. There is now a huge increase of people getting healthcare benefits in the US.  Thirty million new people are coming into the system. It is the largest single change for any industry. It will change everything including the use of technology.

Dan began with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. I was a subscriber of this Blue Cross for years when I lived in Cambridge until I recently moved back to New Orleans. Bill Fandrich, the CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts spoke. They have been dealing with universal coverage since 2006 when Massachusetts passed the first laws in this area. When they started today’s smart phones were not in the market, yet these devices are now the primary ways members access their benefits.

There is now a new paradigm, out pacing Moore’s law on change with growth of over 45% per year. The real question is whether they are getting insights from the massive amounts of data or is this just an expense. There is now coverage for 411,000 uninsured residents and only 1.9% remain uninsured. Blue Cross is the glue that connects members and providers. They look at all the touch points in the process.  They keep a 360 view of their members to provide better care at less cost. They want to provide more personalized health care. I have received calls on some of the issues he raised.

Next, Maree Foti, HR manager at David Jones, a department store in Australia, spoke. They have 36 stores with 8,000 employees. They are the oldest department store still on their original name.  They started a working group to have more two-way communication with employees. They needed a platform with two-communication, anywhere, anytime while complimenting existing infrastructure. They started a pilot of IBM Connections with 1,000 employees. They have 65% take up in three months. There are also behavioral changes.

Usage is strong with 64% accessing the system several times a week. More than 55% believe it will enhance two-way communication. The top three benefits: increased knowledge of the firm, more direct link to leadership team, and a greater sense of community and collaboration. Her three top tips: bring the platform to life for users, focus on content, content, content; and engage champions at all levels of the business.  Moving forward their focus is changing to find ways to obtain business benefits. They want to create a platform for social business.

Dan next introduced the government example. Municipalities affect how we live so better participation in good for everyone. Jeff Rhoda, General Manager, IBM spoke. We are all touched by government. The issues that have been discussed all apply to government: big data, collaboration, analytics, cloud, and mobile. For example, police can use analytics to predict where crimes will occur to prevent them before they happen. I have seen the TV commercial about this.

Dan introduced Mike Van Milligen from the city of Dubuque to discuss how they engaged citizens to help with local challenges. They have come back from population loss and economic downturn to create a growing community that is sustainable. They use smarter technologies to give new information to citizens and business to save money. If you give people the right information, they will make smarter decisions. Water was the first example. Thee hundred volunteer households were given a portal looking at water use. It resulted in a 7% reduction in water use and 800% increase in water leak detection. The also did a smarter electricity study with over 1,000 participants. They received a 4 – 7% cost savings in electricity. Over 70% took actions to converse electricity. The state officials in Iowa are looking at these projects for state-wide use. Next, they are wrapping up a smarter travel study. They are developing better bus routes.

Mike said the lessons include:

  • Incremental change is best
  • Synthesize and analyze large amounts of data from unrelated and unstructured sources
  • Reach people on through multiple channels

They are focused in creating a sustainable model for cites under 200,000 people where 40% of the US population lives. They revamped their riverfront. They have a population of 60,000 but 3 million live within a 100 miles.

Dan concluded the three part case examples and Bob came back to wrap up the morning session. He began an architectural discussion with systems of record. There are now machine-to-machine interactions. At the top end of the stack you have systems of engagement.  A big data platform links the two. Content is curated and made useful for analytics and subsequent decisions. They are releasing a new version of IBM Social Analytics, formerly known as Cognos. It will be available on a SaaS model. The platform allows big data to be used at the point of impact.  There is interaction data, attitudinal data, behavioral data, and more.  An airline manufacturer saved 36 million in shorter service calls, another client process 17 billion bits of data on a daily basis. They have now 300 business partners in this space and have released their Stored IQ product.


Complete Listing of My Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes

I was pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It occurred November 12 – 15 in the Santa Clara Convention Center. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here is a complete listing of my notes from the event.

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: The Right Way to Select Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise – Part One

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: The Right Way to Select Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise – Part Two

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Living the Hybrid Enterprise

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Tuesday Keynote

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: From Project Portfolio to Innovation Funnel

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Wednesday Keynote

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate Notes: 2012 Preventing IT Sprawl

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Big Data

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Beyond Adoption

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate Notes: Big Data: Everyone’s Challenge

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate Notes: Open Innovation

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate Notes: Bringing SaaS Innovation to the Enterprise

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate Notes: Beyond Team Member Engagement

Here are the E 2 Innovate Notes from my Merced Group Partner, Catherine Shinners, who covered additional sessions.

E2Innovate: Innovation Inside and Out

E2Innovate: A Collaborative Enterprise: Thoughtworks Leads the Way

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate: Beyond Adoption to Social Process Transformation

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Open Innovation

I was pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It occurrred November 12 – 15 in the Santa Clara Convention Center. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the session: Open Innovation: Making the Best of Collective Intelligence in a Socialized Enterprise, led by Andrew Filev, Founder, Wrike Inc.  Here is the session description.

“Why limit innovation to just a few dedicated professionals if you can involve input from many more creative individuals at various stages of the innovation process? The open innovation model is one of the areas where collective intelligence is leveraged in the most prominent way. This session will observe why open innovation has the potential to become the more competitive innovation for your organization.

The opportunity to plug into the best talents and their revolutionary ideas regardless of geography and cultural differences, increasing cost-efficiency of your R&D, facilitating quicker feedback loop – these and many other advantages of open innovation model will be analyzed at the session by Andrew Filev, who, in addition to being the CEO of an innovative software company, is the founder of an international robotics challenge team. Focusing on some success stories from the IT space and his own experience of implementing the open innovation model, Andrew will pinpoint some recommendations of making the most of collective intelligence in your organization.”

Andrew began by defining open innovation. It was term by Henry Chesbrough at Berkley in 2003 as a paradigm that assumes that firms should use internal, as well as external ideas. Innovation extends from the core team to other departments and external collaborators.  Possible collaborators include: research firms, universities, suppliers, end users, independent professionals, and other industry players.

Damon Gragg from ThermoFisher Scientific spoke next. He is a global software manager for the firm. It serves science. His team faced a challenge to re-do their processes to serve work across the organization. First, they had to collaborate well within their own internal group before they could reach out. They used triads between marketing, development, and test groups as the developed software. It gets all these key stakeholders involved up front. It helps ensure that ideas from all contributors get evaluated.

Then with internal processes in place after nine months they reached outside. They expanded the triads to include external people. This move helped make their software relevant to new markets. Then they included customers within the triads.  They also created an ideas exchange. Anyone can contribute and every month cash rewards are given for the best ideas even if they are not implemented. They used APIs for customers to create their own solutions. Sometimes these customer creations were included into their general products. They adopted Wrike for project management. It is a social tool that enables collaboration across multiple sites, project tracking, internal and external visibility.

Andrew next covered the principles of open innovation. First, you gather input from outside your department and outside your company. You use external research and feedback. You find new paths to the market. You also use a more open business model.  Crowd-sourcing is one example of this open innovation.

He mentioned the Netflex’s million-dollar contest for the best technology for their customer site. The Netflix Prize sought to substantially improve the accuracy of predictions about how much someone is going to enjoy a movie based on their movie preferences. On September 21, 2009 they awarded the $1M Grand Prize to team “BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos”. Their site said you can read about their algorithm, checkout team scores on the Leaderboard, and join the discussions on the Forum.

There are catalysts in the business space that drives openness. These include an expansion of remote work and the increasing mobility of workers. Another is the rise of social tools in the enterprise. Globalization is another related trend as is growing market competition. Open innovation has been embraced by many companies.  For example, Proctor and Gamble has over 1,000 innovation partners.  Lufthansa has an annual open competition to improve their air cargo work that received over 200 submissions. I would add Cisco’s I-Prize competition.

Andrew gave examples from his company. They work closely with their customers to get new ideas. Their customer support team collects ideas.  There is a platform for customers to suggest ideas and people can vote on these ideas. They do customer surveys and have website feedback forms. There is private beta testing. They use APIs for integrations. They make use of user driven translations to make their product locally relevant.

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Big Data: Everyone’s Challenge

I was pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It occurred November 12 – 15 in the Santa Clara Convention Center. Here are my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the session: Big Data: Everyone’s Challenge, speakers included Aditi Dhagat, Sr. Director, Adobe Information Management, Kaijun Zhan, IT Group Director and Senior Technologist, Cadence Design Systems, Randy Wagner, Drilling Advisor, Apache Corporation, and Johna Till Johnson, Analyst, Nemertes Research.  Here is the session description.

“One of the biggest challenges with Big Data is the fact that it cuts across multiple domains. Everyone in the organization has a stake, from Sales and Marketing to Operations and IT. And even within IT, Big Data poses unique challenges for folks in infrastructure and Applications. How should companies organize to best ensure the success of their Big Data initiatives? This panel of experts discusses pros and cons of Big Data organizational and operational issues. Attendees will leave with an understanding of the challenges, pitfalls, and best practices of organizing a Big Data initiative.”

Johna started the session as the moderator. She said that most companies are not organized right to handle Big Data. This panel looked at this issue and all are doing Big Data work. Kaijun said that there is an IT manager responsible for Big Data and they hired some data scientists from a top university. Aditi said their Big Data effort is in its early mode. It is being driven by their company strategy. They are involved with digital marketing and this is one driver. Another is their suite of creative products. They are moving from a licensing model to a subscription company. They need to see how people are using their products. They want to move people from being free subscribers to paid subscribers.

Randy said his company is involved in oil drilling. They have been dealing with Big Data for along time using seismic data for oil exploration. He has started introducing social tools to the company. They are also looking new uses of Big Data for internal uses. Randy explained that seismic techniques are used to better find oil. They set off explosions and see how sound travels into the ground to understand what is there.

Johna asked about their initial thoughts as they put together their Big Data team. Kaijun said they were trying to do two things: promote business opportunities and increase effectiveness of the organization. One thing they looked at was help desk tickets to see what data was there that could be useful.  They realized they needed to integrate the data scientists so these scientists understood their business model.

Randy asked about how many in the room work in IT and this was about 50% of the room. He said he is non-IT. In his case the business unit is leading the effort and went to the IT people to get it started. The business has been using a form of Big Data for years. Now they need real time data in drilling operations. Currently they spend about 20% of time in non-productive tasks in their drilling. Reducing this is huge cost reduction opportunity. Their long-term goal is to automate drilling operations. IT is a partner but not leading the charge.

Aditi said that Adobe is over 30 years old but still has a start up mentality. They are a software company and have been using Big Data for a long time. Their challenge is a bit different because so many parts of the organization are collecting data in different ways. This has led to some fragmented experiences for their customers. They need to connect all their sources of data. As a proof of concept they did this with aggregated HR data that included content from LinkedIn to predict who will be the future leaders of the company. This impressed senior leadership.  There are also looking at what customers are saying about Adobe. They want to have a better understanding of their customers to micro-target potential customers.

It was asked how you determine what to data mine before you decide how to do it. Aditi said you need to determine the use case. For example, as Adobe changes to a subscription model they want to see how quickly they can move users from the free services to the paid services. Randy said it is not easy to determine what to data mine, as they do not know the unknowns. They are exploring their archive of data to see what is there before they focus.

Kaijun agreed that there is a learning curve in operation. He said that the available tools are expanding. It requires business skills and not just IT skills to properly do this work. Aditi said they are using four categories of tools: capture tools, tools to classify data, then data mining, and finally delivering and targeting data to business processes.  There are also using visualization tools. Their own products come to play here.

Johna asked about how you identify data scientist. Aditi said they look for people interested in statistics, as well as people who do not know their business model so they have a fresh perspective. Kaijun agreed and said they look for people with a creative mind. Randy said that as a company they want to be contrarian and they look for people with this perspective.

It was asked about the need to speed. Randy that for them real time is a few seconds, not nanoseconds. Their data comes from the field through wireless so seconds is possible and they need to respond in minutes so this is okay. Johna asked about data integration of the different types of data. Aditi said that you need a rules engine that can look at the real time data and act as a filter. Randy said they are doing both old school and new school analysis on the same data.

Johna asked about the top three takeaways on Big Data. Randy said there will be many failures so anticipate this. Have your eyes wide open. Make sure you are addressing the right question. Do not skip steps. Aditi said think abut how you are going to connect all the different types of data in a common model. There will be a bit of re-skilling people to build data models. Find a good business unit to partner with. In her case, it is product marketing. Kaijun said that you need to produce fast as people will lose patience.

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Beyond Adoption

I am pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It occurred November 12 – 15 in the Santa Clara Convention Center. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the session: Beyond Adoption, led by Richard Hughes, Director of Product Strategy, BroadVision, and Paul Karazuba, QuickLogic. Here is the session description.

“While most of the attention towards enterprise social networks so far has been about driving adoption – getting people onto the network– the bigger question is “what are they going to do when they get there?”.  These networks need to become a place where real work gets done.  But simply taking existing business processes and moving them to a social network without change is missing the great opportunity that social business provides. In this session, learn how enterprise social networks complement existing business processes, and how these processes can be enhanced and refined to take advantage of the social environment in which they take place. Hear directly from QuickLogic about their experience moving their business processes into a social network to give users access to the information they need to do their job, regardless of their geographic location, and how their social network is a platform to drive innovation through collaboration and discovery of new information.”

Richard began by mentioning that a common theme at the E 2.0 conferences he has attended is adoption but there is more to it. What happens after the initial adoption? That is the topic of this session. People a have problem relating the social network to their actual job.  There needs to be a place for real work within the social network or it will fail. I would certainly agree. Then once you use the social tools to do real work, the nature of the work changes.

I have discussed this with Richard before and mentioned this conversation in a prior post (see Putting Social Media to Work). As Richard said at the time, if an enterprise social networking tool does not integrate with the existing enterprise apps it is limited to simply facilitating water cooler chat. It stays on the sidelines.

Currently most business processes exist outside the social network as these processes existed before the network.  Now the business processes need to be brought to the social tools. However, if that is all that is done, the same silos of conversation will remain. People who did not talk before will still not talk unless something proactive is done.

To make business processes work the network has to take advantage of the connections between people to do the work better. You also have to consider the benefits of putting work in a social environment. One benefit is immediacy of access to content and people. Another is the serendipity and the third is transparency. If you are working out in the open you are likely to work better.

Different processes benefit differently from the introduction of social tools and these three types of benefits.  There are three types of business processes: unstructured, semi-structured, and structured. People usually start with the unstructured processes like asking a question where immediacy can add value. However, putting in transparency can benefit structured processes. Starting with semi-structured processes is a good place to begin and you get the benefits of serendipity and immediacy.  Some structure in a process gives it more discipline and this can be good.

Paul took over. His company makes semi-conductors and has eight diverse locations. They went to social because of this geographic diversity.  They were getting less engagement from their employees who were away from their Sunnyvale, CA HQ. They adopted social tools and one of the first steps was to identify the pain points of communication and collaboration.

Many of their clients operate in Asia. The typical method of communication was email. The pain points included time separation and delays in response. You can easily lose content within your email in-box. You get too many “reply all emails” and need to go back through long strings to understand the context.

So they moved to a blog and wiki base for conversations. There was a big drop in a number of emails without a loss of information. Open issues remain present and on top. It is now easy to find stuff. If the user is not needed they are not distracted. All people are informed equally. Despite these benefits, some people still insist on email. For now their company does not insist on not having email.

Another example of pain points is the all employee meeting.  Time zone makes the same time meetings difficult. So they created a meeting archiver that records a meeting and makes it available whenever you can attend to it. You can see what was actually said and not through the filter of others.

The next major step was to ask why? They challenged assumptions. They looked at ways social tools can be used, including some non-work related things like a beer group and a football group. This got people to come to the social network and then use it for business uses.

Next, they looked at reward, recognition, and responsibility.  They gave gift cards for doing good things. They recognized innovation and spread it around to other departments. They also empowered employees through process improvement responsibilities.

Richard provided a summary. Contribution can come from anyone. Their top contributor is a 60-year-old Englishman. This is because his work is embedded in the network. Social networks that do not include business processes will wither and die. A business process does not become social just because it is put into a social tool. Different processes derive different benefits from social tools. Unstructured processed are the easiest to implement on social tools but the “sweet” spot is in semi-structured processes.

Richard referred to the Gartner adoption hype cycle and asked Paul about how it applied to his company’s use of social media. Paul said there was a two month inflated hype period. Then there was a three-month disillusionment period followed by a rise to usefulness. They had a culture of disclosure at all levels of the organization already in place so this probably helped with the adoption.  One action that was helpful was to place the information about employee stock purchase in the social tool and not in email. This was very sought after information so people went to the social tool to find it. Good idea.

They shut down their intranet site three months after the social tool was rolled out. Marketing and anyone field facing were the best adopters. Finance and HR were the most hesitant because they deal with sensitive data. Getting leadership involved is a key success factor. This is always the case with any new initiative.

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Big Data

I was 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. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the session: Can You See Me Now? Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Big Data led by Puneet Piplani, Geography Head, Mu Sigma. Here is the workshop description.

Big Data is creating big headaches, forcing enterprises to find new ways to harness data to make decisions. Big Data is producing a positive wave of disruption in social data analysis and having a major impact on businesses. Third-parties are developing analytical methods and visualization techniques to help companies manage and interpret all data types.  Some may be surprised to learn that there’s a shortage of data scientists and the importance of recruiting analytical talent specifically in the Big Data space is critical.”

Puneet said that Mu Sigma is a decision science and analytics company that was started in 2004. They have over 2,000 scientists working across 10 verticals. He said that data science is simply a means to the end of making better decisions. Data is growing rapidly. Google processes 24 terabytes of data per day. In 1993 the total internet traffic was about 100 terabytes.

The challenge is not just the volume, but also the variety: people to people, people to machines, and machines to machines.  There is also the velocity. There are 2.9 million emails sent every second and 20 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. There are also 50 million tweets per day.

To deal with this exploding data volume you need new applications. The new technology results in more data and all this data is getting stored. Is big data just a hype?

Data is an asset. It can be structured and unstructured. It can be inside and outside the firewall. How do you combine all this data to get useful information?  For example, a sports clothing company wanted to forecast how many team jerseys to create and what players. So they looked at social media to make projections.

A competitive differentiator is how you use the data to make decisions. The consumption of analytics is the differentiator, but the creation. Big data technologies are becoming commoditized bring down the cost of these tools. It is the organizations that learn from the data that will win.

Visualization plays a key role. A Danish scientist looked at how we use our senses. You process in this sense data in the following order of increasing speed: taste, smell, touch, sight. However, the brain process this data slower that it gets all this data. So the brain makes assumptions. The unconscious part of the brain depends more on senses that language. Sight is the fastest sense so visualization is key. He compared a list of figures to a graph. You can see much more from the graph much faster and make assumptions much quicker. The graph frees the brain up from processing numbers to seeing trends.

I was a cognitive psychologist in a former life and saw this power of visualization. Although, there are also times when language trumps visuals. You need to match the characteristics of the media with the cognitive processes that people use to solve problems. Some tasks are best solved through the precision and dichotomies that language offers. Other tasks are best solved with the big picture that visualization offers.

Tools can now provide dynamic visualizations when the data changes and when you ask questions. There can also be personal or role based visualizations that adjust depending on who you are. You can get visual alerts and notifications base don changing data. You need to see the outliers and exceptions. That is where the key data occurs for decision making.

He showed some interesting examples. First, there was a hierarchical tree map that is useful for topic visualizations. One example was foodmood.com.in that showed what people are eating in different places and how they like it and make comparisons (see below).

He then showed thematic rivers to see data trends over time. He went to a site that showed the tweets over time about this conference. Another example is the History of Everything – ChronoZoom (see below).

A third is CNN Ecosphere #RIO20 about a conference in Rio. It is big set of networked dots that you zoom in and explore (see below).  These are public examples and I checked out each Web site. They are fun.

Puneet also mentioned an example his firm created for an airline to minimize the effects of flight delays on over flights. There are many vendors in this space. He showed a 2006 Gartner hype cycle and the visualization of big data was going into the trough of disillusionment. Now it is reaching the slope of enlightenment. It is starting to take hold and be accepted as real and valuable.

This is an area that I am interested in as I am involved with a firm that does data visualization, Darwin Ecosystems. It produces the Darwin Awareness Engine(TM) that looks at what is happening in social media using Chaos Theory based algorithms to let the content self-organize and produces visualizations of the findings. There is also Tweather that focuses specifically on Twitter and shows topic trends over time.

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Preventing IT Sprawl

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. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the session: Preventing IT Sprawl, led by Bernard Golden, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, enStratus. Here is the session description.

“IT can no longer provide all your technology needs like in the past- nor should they- the new enterprise IT is built from components, some on-premise and some Cloud, glued together by IT. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach? How do you navigate successfully the challenge of glueing disparate systems together so you end up in best of breed heaven not best of breed hell. How do you prevent more IT sprawl?”

Bernard said that the cloud sprawl can be an opportunity or a challenge. He talked about the disconnect between users and IT. These tow groups have different images of IT. IT sees itself as dedicated and hard working. Business users see IT as the department of “NO.”  There are too many permissions and too much red tape. Systems are hard to use. They do not scale very well. It takes to long to change things. I get too many bills for stuff I do not understand.

So how does cloud computing play into this disconnect? There are a lot of misunderstandings of cloud computing.  However, it does have a lot of benefits. First, the cloud can provide on-demand self-service that solves the manual process, just like buying a book from Amazon. There is broad network access that gets rid of chunky interfaces. There is resource pooling that solves the scalability problem. There is rapid elasticity that solves the change problem. There is measured service that solves opaque costs. You only pay for what you use.  With all these changes, the IT revolution has arrived.  IT democracy has arrived.

IT now must be a service provider. If it does not move this way IT can be bypassed. With all these advantages what can prevent sprawl? This is a challenge for those who provide services. However, is this a straw man for those who do not like IT democratization?  The problem is that if you put in difficult rules to prevent sprawl people will just walk around the rules to get services elsewhere.

So the question for IT is how to enable the freedom while maintaining some control?  There are five things that can be done: enable agility, provide tools, be a best practices resource, implement company-wide cloud governance, and provide transparent economics.  He then discussed each of these five in more detail.

First, enable agility.  You have to provide self-service. People will not put up with any heavy-handed approval process.  They will go elsewhere. You also need to integrate key application requirements. You need to capture policy within automations (legal, procurement, HR, etc.) so users do not have to deal with them. Only exceptions should trigger manual processes.

Second, provide tools. There needs to be a services catalog. It should reflect tested environments and guide develop behavior. There also needs to be configuration management with pre-configured recipes and commonly used software stacks. There also needs to be cloud management with access controls, scaling, and elasticity. This management needs to apply to any cloud environment.

Third, be a best practice resource. Provide guidance to establish value. You can also get alignment with the directions you want with these practices. Avoid having business users going in the wrong direction out of frustration. Provide education to users. Offer online resources, as well as internal expertise. Attach resources to project teams. Build an internal knowledgebase and make it accessible. All of these things promote consistency.

Fourth, implement company-wide governance. Communicate the rules and then make sure they are enforced. Implement rules within automated tools. Have policy within workflow to avoid having to say “no.” Make sure everyone uses the same tools. Reduce exception handling by defining processes and time boxing them. Know who to blame and recognize alternatives to speed responses.

Fifth, offer transparent economics. Move to charge-backs. It provides signals to guide behavior and aligns cost to value.  Develop true activity based costing (ABC) on a granular basis. You will be benchmarked against direct cloud use. People will look at what Amazon charges for the same service. Be sure to understand your true cost of service or you will get hosed. Provide objective feedback. Give deployment options and their cots. Support user choices and be prepared to support additional costs.

This is all useful advice.

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.

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: From Project Portfolio to Innovation Funnel

I am pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It is occurring November 12 – 15 in Santa Clara Convention Center. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the session: From Project Portfolio to Innovation Funnel, led by Dave Rochlin, Executive Director, Haas @ Work Program, Institute for Business Innovation, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Here is the session description.

“Rigid stage-gating, incremental change requests, and project portfolio evaluation methods can inadvertently crowd out investment in more impactful innovation opportunities. Yet unlike start ups, established firms need to focus resources against the  “sure things” rather than speculative development. This session discusses the application of an “innovation funnel” approach to your project portfolio, by adopting lean startup principles and innovation best practices.”

Dave said that innovation needs to be embedded in the company strategy and you need to have a culture that allows for failure. An innovation funnel approach can help in these issues. He quoted Cathy Benko of Deloitte that a predictor of future success is your current project portfolio.

Dave mentioned that many of his students do not know how innovation emerges. They also do not see it happening in their companies.  One problem is that there is disconnect between traditional project evaluation practices and innovation. With innovation you need multiple approaches, you need to be able to learn and to experiment. You need rapid prototyping so you can fail fast. There needs to be cross-boundary work. You need to focus on problems rather than solutions.

If you follow the traditional project portfolio process you miss what is on the edges where innovation can occur.  His students are placed in firms. They find many maintenance projects and those for incremental improvements that have big backlogs.  They also found only 20% were using web services and there was low customer loyalty and significant customer churn.

He said that you need to send out expeditions. You need a big picture approach. Project portfolio practices are the enemy of innovation.  They way to solve this is to use an innovation funnel.

Dave then mentioned that companies said they needed more graduates that could help with innovation and not simply execute tasks well. So they made some changes in their program at Haas to support this request.

The innovation funnel starts with problem finding. Then there is opportunity assessment, concept design, modeling, experimentation and finally real innovation. It is a funnel so stuff gets thrown out as you proceed. However, you can know the answer before you start.

He showed a pizza delivery company that provides a button that you can place on your fridge to place orders. It is Redtomato.biz in Dubai. Here is a video on the red Tomato magnet. To develop this capability they looked at the issues. Customers switch pizza vendors often and the time to order than turn people off. Also, nothing in the fridge often calls for pizza. Here is an article on it (Fridge magnet lets users order pizza at touch of a button).

So they created this button with your preloaded information and present options to order. It uses your phone to make the orders. The user syncs the ‘VIP Fridge Magnet’ via Bluetooth with a smartphone, which they use to select their pizza order. The order is then tied to the user’s account. It increased sales five fold and had a huge ROI. This would have not happen in the large pizza firms in the US because of too many obstacles. It would have been too complex and did not have a known business case.

Innovation comes when you can get a lot of attempts so one will work. If it does not work, do not stop. Learn what went wrong and attempt to correct it and try again.

So Dave asked how do you create this funnel mentality? First, embrace the duality of the CIO role.  You have to be both responsive to the business AND drive innovation for them.  If you have tight budgets that all allocated to projects it is harder. Be sure to spend time on problem finding rather than simply problem solving. Agree on what you are solving before you start to solve it. Do insight identification before data gathering.

ROI can be an enemy of innovation. Look for other measures such as return complexity. In other words how can you reduce complexity?

Dave next discussed insight versus data. Find the “why behind the what.” Otherwise you will not properly understand the data.  Beware of what you know you know. For example, Bill Gates’ statement that “640k ought to be enough for anybody.” Challenge assumptions. You can jumpstart innovation by challenging what you know.

Innovation does not come for free. You need dedicated resources. Partner with business units and other stakeholders. Do not have stage gates but rather a process for each step. Avoid the concept that you too many ideas already. Avoid the statement, “do not come to me with problems but with solutions.” Actually defining the problems can be the most important contribution.

It was asked what is keeping firms from doing this? One factor is that they have processes that work for them. They are reluctant to go away from these proven processes. Then someone comes along and changes the game and they lose.