Archives For October 2012

Nate Silver – Author of “The Signal and the Noise”


As we shift our focus from the mania of IOD to Super Storm Sandy and settle back into our weekly routines, it strikes me just how much I was saw and learned at this year’s IOD. Having missed the last two IOD’s due to reasons that I won’t get into here, I was a bit overwhelmed at first by the sheer growth in the number of Keynotes and Sessions/Tracks to choose from and the . I went to several Partner sessions on my first day of IOD (Sunday) to get a flavor for the InfoSphere Information Server 9.1/MDM Server 10.2 roll-out plans and to mentally/physically prepare myself for the activities to follow. It was clearly not enough. I found that once the official event kicked off I was juggling 2-3 sessions for every time slot available over all 4 days. I literally was slammed right up to the last event on Th before bolting for the airport. As I sit at my desk in the Client Site facility that I work out of I am having withdrawal symptoms in terms of the limited amount of information and activities that my days now consist of. I will soon be counting the days until next year’s event.

For the Captain’s of Industry whom follower my blog and Tweets, let me leave you with a few carefully chosen take-aways in terms of strategic direction and leadership;

1.- The leverage and exploitation of Information is, and forever will be, the most significant and sustainable source of Competitive Advantage that your organization has available to it. It is up to you to set the strategy and direction for your organization to capitalize on this. Do not subordinate this responsibility to your Marketing or IT folks. It is your’s alone. Own it and Lead the charge.

2.- Advanced Analytics is not a fad (unlike the term “Big Data”). It is a core competency that every Information-driven Enterprise must establish, nurture and make pervasive across all aspects of your business activities. To be successful, you must have a healthy mix of Decision Scientists, Analytics Geeks and Pragmatists who in aggregate are the core of  your “Analytics Center of Excellence”. Under your direction and leadership they must foster a “culture of analytics-based decision making and planning” for your entire enterprise.

3.- All Enterprises need true “Strategic Partners” in order to be successful. There are many who claim to be such, but few who meet the mark in terms of overall capabilities, track record, thought leadership and innovation. I continue to believe that IBM is uniquely positioned as “The Strategic Partner of Choice” in the marketplace, no matter what Vertical segment of Industry, Government or Academia you represent. However, success cannot be achieved by simply choosing  the best strategic partner. You must take full responsibility for the delivery of all strategic outcomes and manage/optimize the relationship to achieve this. I cannot emphasize this requirement enough. You are the master of your own destiny here and cannot be passive or dis-engaged in order to be successful.

Step up to these challenges Business Leaders and you will achieve the Competitive Advantage and other Strategic Outcomes that you need to remain successful/viable in your business endeavors.



How silly can it get?

Thursday was the final day for IOD and it was chockablock full of interesting activities and presentations. As you can see from the photo some of these activities involved fancy dress ala “The Three Amigos” (or whomever they are). Most silly of these was the “What’s Next?” soothsayer event at lunchtime. IBM, like other large corporations these days, requires their senior execs to humble themselves in front of customers and staff members by participating in such activities. It does bear asking “Would I trust the advice of such folks”. In this case, yes as these guys are among the best and brightest that IBM has on their team As a side note, It was good to see Irving once again after a long hiatus. I have very much enjoyed listening to his wisdom and insights over the years at Bill Zeitler’s “Analyst Gatherings”.

Day 4

For those who stayed to the end of IOD it was well worth their time and energy. Some of the best customer and product presos were on Day 4. I spent a number of hours in presentations on the Industry Models, Business Glossary, Metadata Workbench, Data Architect/Data Studio, Information Warehouse, Information Governance, Reference Data, etc. . All of these areas were integrated seamlessly into each conversation giving me ever-more confidence that IBM has worked out nearly all of the integration kinks across the InfoSphere Portfolio and has now moved forward substantially with the execution of their long-term vision & roadmap. This is a very good sign indeed. Many enterprises have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for this to be achieved so that they too can create a true “data-driven enterprise” without have to completely sweep the floor in the process (not that IBM would object to this).

I left IOD feeling very energized about “Everything Big” that IBM communicated over the course of the event. I was especially pleased to have not been assaulted by the term “Big Data” at every turn. Thank you IBM. Looking forward already to IOD 2013.

To my Captains of Industry out there, my message is simple; “If you want to create truly sustainable sources of Competitive Advantage from Information & Analytics then you have only one Partner in this journey to consider; IBM. Many others have some of the components required to achieve this desired strategic outcome, but nobody has the fully integrated capability of IBM when it comes to the end-to-end solution set & achieving early time to value.  i.e. People (Skills. Competencies), Process (Methodologies, Best Practices, Industry Segment insights) , Technology (Information Management, Analytics. Info Gov) and Culture (Change Management. Organization Optimization).

As a final note on IOD 2012, I would like everyone to take-away the beliefs that Information is one of the most critical assets that any enterprise has today. As such it is the full responsibility of the Business Leadership Team to define and execute the long-term strategy for its exploitation and governance. The IT organization is a key partner in this journey, but its role should be limited to providing & supporting the technology underpinnings for information and to manage the successful delivery of all information products as defined by the business. Until my Captains of Industry accept these responsibilities and accountabilities they will never achieve the Competitive Advantage that they so desperately want/need.


Tuesday’s Theme at IOD was Big Analytics and IBM did it right. There was something for everyone in the offerings of the day. I was most impressed by the sheer number of Customer Applications by Industry Segment, much less the breadth of the portfolio that IBM has assembled since its initial acquisition of Cognos and SPSS.


Day 2

The day began with a presentation by Steve Mills, whom I refer to as the “Big Dog of the IBM Software Group”. Steve provided a good overview of the entire Information Management and Business Analytics strategy as it is currently being executed across the entirety of IBM. One could not walk away unimpressed by the sheer magnitude of IBM’s commitment to this space of the market, much less their accomplishments to date. It is clear to me that in spite of some very seasoned and formidable competition in the market, that IBM has “taken the hill” and plans on holding onto it.

For Industry Leaders out there take note; “Analytics is hard to do” no matter where you are starting from maturity-wise and in spite of you having committed your organization to becoming “an analytics-driven enterprise” it will be a long journey to get to such pervasiveness. Critical to success will be the selection of a Mentor/Partner whom will help facilitate wide cultural adoption and tangible results. Given my knowledge of the market, IBM is uniquely positioned to support you in this quest. They have acquired  a brain trust of Decision Scientists who come from all sectors of the Analytics Community. Two of the most impressive groups in the Analytics Portfolio are; the Decision Management and Risk Analytics teams. Both were constituted from companies that have been acquired (ILOG, SPSS, Algorithmics, etc.) along with IBM’s own deep bench from Research, GBS and SWG. They have a clear mandate to support Customers in accelerating their time to value and delivering strategic outcomes from each Analytics Initiative undertaken. True Yeoman’s Work in my view.

As we begin Day 3 I am going to “keep buggering on” (Sir Winston’s favorite line) and will endeavor to dig deeper into “All Things Big” in Information and Analytics here at IOD. I will be spending my time digging deeper into customer applications and testimonials as this is the real value in attending an event like this.

Stay tuned my Captains of Industry. I will report in tomorrow with an update and deeper insights for all of you to consider.


The Theme for this years’s IOD is “Think Big”. Most of us who advise to the business side of organization’s have no problem with this concept. We will see just how this theme pans out over the week.

Day 1

Monday was the opening for the IOD Marathon and it was a long one. It began in the “arena of loud” with the rollout of IBM’ latest Pure Systems appliance, “Pure Data”. This giant of an appliance (7′ tall) arrived on stage under its own power (complete with fog) and reminded me of something out of Dr. Who. This set the stage for many such major announcements over the day including a car giveaway (Honda “Insight”). I was sure that at that point I had transcended somehow to being on the set of the “Price is Right”. Seriously, a car give-away by IBM?

In spite of these distractions the day was a good one for Business Side interests in Information Governance, Advanced Analytics and Business Informatics. IBM rolled out major refreshes to their foundational InfoSphere Information Server 9.1 &  MDM Server 10.1 platforms. Both have shifted into the domain of “business driven” from both a configuration and daily management perspective. Finally, the Business will be able (with their IT Partners) to manage Information as an Asset over it’s entire lifecycle with a focus on Competitive Advantage and Risk Mitigation. I was impressed by IBM’s “Business Driven” roadmap for future expansions and enhancements to both of these platforms and supporting solutions.

In addition, I saw similar themes and approaches taken on the Business Analytics side of the shop with major “Business Driven” enhancements to the Cognos, SPSS & Other platforms, along with the further integration of new acquisitions into the mix.

There were a number of great customer testimonials and “lessons learned” activities as well. Organizations are really starting to break-free from  “speeds and feeds” to focus exclusively on the tangible benefits and payback delivered to the business side of the house. This has been far too long in coming, but is certainly recognized and much appreciated by myself.

Stay tuned “Captains of Industry” as I take on Day 2 of the IOD Marathon and report back on “everything Big”.

ImageI am at IOD once again. Unfortunately, it is in Las Vegas my least favorite place on the planet. However, as it has become so all consuming in size and time demands, I do have the small mercy of not having to leave the hotel during my entire stay here. I am thankful for this small kindness.

Over the course of this week, I will be Tweeting and Blogging on what I see as the fundamental shift away from technical gadgetry to Business Driven solutions for Information Governance, Analytics & Information Management. This shift will finally allow Business Leaders to effectively govern, leverage & manage their Information Assets from their vantage point with an eye on creating sustainable sources of Competitive Advantage while  managing within their Risk Appetites. I have been waiting for this paradigm shift to become manifest for quite a long time now and will be opining on what I see from IBM and its Partners during all of the KeyNotes, Industry Tracks and Product Presentations here at IOD.

For all of you Captains of Industry out there with a focus on Advanced Analytics & Business Informatics, I’ve  got your back and will report in with my assessments as to the strategic value of IBM’s new offerings and services to support them.

Until tomorrow.