Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘information on demand

Thinking Big @ Information On Demand 2012

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Nate Silver, author of the blog “FiveThirtyEight,” will be one of the featured keynote speakers at this year’s IBM Information On Demand 2012 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 21-25. Silver correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the U.S. presidential winner in 2008 in 49 states through his statistical analysis of polling data, and at IOD will explain how to distinguish real signals from noisy data as well as how predictive analytics is used in politics.

That annual festouche and gathering of all things data is just around the corner.

Yes, that’s right, it’s almost time for IBM Information on Demand 2012.

So in order to start the drumbeat, I wanted to take a few moments and point you to some useful resources as you prepare to make your way to the Bay of Mandalay, and to optimize your time on the ground in Vegas.

First, the new (and official) IBM Information on Demand blog, which you can find here.

The blog includes easy access to some of the social media channels that will be covering the event (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube).

Of course, never forget the official IOD hashtag, #ibmiod, where you’ll be able to follow the endless stream of tidings leading up to, during, and after the event.

The blog also has links off to the IOD 2012 registration engine, as well as to the IOD SmartSite so you can start thinking about your IOD calendar now (I do NOT advise waiting until the last minute…talk about information overload!)

We’ve got some exciting guest speakers this year, including Nate Silver, statistics blogging extraordinaire who first found fame with his “FiveThirtyEight” blog, which is now part of The New York Times family of media properties.

Silver analyzes politics the way most of us should be analyzing our business: Through data…and lots of it.

His analysis of political polling data is unparalleled, and in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Silver correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the presidential winner in 49 states.

His recent book, “The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t,” explores the world of prediction, “investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.” Silver tackles some of the big questions about big data, so we’re very excited to have him join us in Vegas for IBM’s own big data marathon event.

At this year’s event, we’ll continue our trend of including tracks for specialized areas of interest, including forums for Information Management, Business Analytics, Business Leadership, and Enterprise Content Management.

And, of course, you’ll be able to find Scott Laningham and myself down in the EXPO center, where we’ll be talking to and interviewing many of the IBM and industry luminaries on the important data-related topics being discussed at the event.

Speaking of data, this will be my seventh IOD in a row, so I’m looking forward to seeing many of you once again.

Meanwhile, keep an eye here on the Turbo blog for future IOD-relevant posts.

Information On Demand 2011: Steve Mills On Big Data

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Greetings from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center in Viva Las Vegas, Nevada.

Steve Mills explains to the Information On Demand 2011 audience why "Big Data" will require new ways of working but also bring organizations new and valuable insights.

I’m pretty sure I saw Elvis in the hallway yesterday, joined by Marilyn Monroe, and they were taking pictures with IODers.

My mom would have been proud (Elvis used to write on her arm after shows at the Louisiana Hayride), but I was too busy getting my fill of big data.

Speaking of which, BBC presenter Katty Cay returned in this morning’s general session to remind us of some big data statistics, including this one: There are now over 34K Google searches per second!

And in our Information On Demand polling overnight, the most popular name at IOD 2011 was tomorrow’s keynote speaker and Moneyball author, Michael Lewis.  We’re all looking forward to his discussion with Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane.

And I, of course, will continue to root on my Texas Rangers as they go 3-2 in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Now, enter Steve Mills on the big stage at IOD to tell us more about Big Data.

In his keynote session, Mills explained that we’re all living in a world where the reality is that the art of the possible has only been improving with the advent of new technologies.

Scott Laningham and I interviewed IBM senior vice president and group executive, Steve Mills, on a range of info management related topics, including Watson and "Moneyball." You can view this and other interviews from IOD 2011 at http://www.livestream.com/ibmsoftware

Mills recalled the days when he had to pick up extra RAM — all 128KB of it — to pick up from Endicott, NY, to deliver to IBM customers in Albany.

Nobody talks about data or RAM in terms of “Ks” anymore — these days, we’re talking petabytes.

The challenge, Mills suggested, is that we can now turn all that additional data into useful information, to hone in to identify patterns and relationships and what the data could be telling us.

It’s like mining for gold, Mills went on, but there’s a lot of dirt and rock you have to remove to get to get to the “vein.”

Mills explained that though data is increasing in volume, it’s also metamorphosing in a way: Data is no longer a static thing, but that increasingly we’re dealing with “data in motion.”  Think about traffic data, or sensor outputs from pipelines — the stream is never-ending, so the data is always moving.

There’s also the issue of variety we have to contend with, Mills explained: We’re dealing in all kinds of data types, from audio to video, and certainly no longer just numbers and text.

The big data challenge, then, is how to take advantage of all the possibilities, including high performance hardware and rich bandwidth, and pull together comprehensive solutions to enable governments and businesses to deal effectively with this new volume.

Watson, the IBM computing system that won the “Jeopardy!” match earlier in the year, is a good example of how all these different capabilities can come together. It included big data technologies like Hadoop, as well as DB2, language understanding, and an alert system that allowed Watson to iterate and improve. It was a system of elements brought together to target a specific problem.

Which is exactly what we’re doing with our customers, Mills explained.

Take Catalina Marketing, a supermarket chain that deployed real-time analysis of current transactions and past purchasing history to trigger printouts of customer specific offers — that’s some 300 million retail transactions per week, and some 195 million shipper households and 400+ billion market-based records!

The solution: IBM Netezza, which allows them to do real-time database analytics.

Or Banco Bilvao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), which deployed IBM Cognos Consumer Insight based on IBM InfoSphere BigInsights and Apache Hadoop to analyze internet and social media sentiment (5.8 terabytes of data) about the bank.

Mills went through several more examples, and his message was this: No problem is the same.

There is a constant need for customization, which IBM solutions can provide.

But, patterns do emerge and you can deal with them creatively, and it does require a very broad range of technical capability up and down the line.

“Let’s have a great big data day,” Mills concluded.

Blogger’s Note: Read this blog post by Steve Mills to learn more about the opportunities and challenges presented by Big Data.

Steve Mills Keynote: Big Data, Big Picture

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In this morning’s first general session keynote at IBM Information on Demand, IBM Senior VP and Group Executive, Systems and Software, Steve Mills, got right to the bottom line on how organizations can go about implementing a smart information agenda and use business analytics to help them make better decisions.

IBM senior VP Steve Mills addresses the challenges of Big Data in his 2010 Information on Demand keynote.

As always, Mills painted in broad brushstrokes to help his audience see what has become something of a George Seurat “pointillist” painting, a sea of data, a mosaic of million and billions of bits and pixels of information that is piling up around us.

It’s increasingly daunting, both in terms of size and volume and velocity, and yet is an enormous business and knowledge insight opportunity as well.

So, you can either run for the hills, or you can buck up and dive into that sea, finding ways to organize it and make sense of it all…and maybe even learn something valuable for your organization.

The world is becoming more instrumed, interconnected, and more intelligent, but by leveraging this massive amount of new information, you can create a new kind of intelligence for your business, suggested Mills.

But it won’t come without some pain, trials, and tribulations.

Mills joked about the explosion in data and real world events, nodding his head to the ever-growing (but meaningless) Twitter and Facebook stream.

What Happens In Vegas…

“Remember,” he seemed to be warning the parents of teenagers in the audience, “what happens in Vegas…will stay on the Internet for a hundred or more years.”

Of course, with 44X as much data and content being generated over the coming decade, and with 80% of world’s data being unstructured (much of it that flow from the Internet, as my friend Ron ironically observed via Twitter), there’s a huge need for a structured approach to managing all this data.

Customers are clearly wrestling with this issue: 35% of customers will look to replace their current warehouse with a pre-integrated warehouse solution in the next 3 years, and only 14% have today.

And yet 83% of CIOs cited “Business intelligence and analytics” as part of their visionary plans to enhance competitiveness.

So, the IBM approach to mastering information for the purpose of optimizing business results is to build a flexible platform for managing, integrating,  analyzing, and governing information.

This is not a random path, but rather a structured, well thought through approach that takes an holistic look at information management.  Mills acknowledged we’re living in a federated world, one with a disparate set of information sources.

That’s why the Big Data challenge requires a Big Data approach, one that can help organizations deal with and benefit from massive and growing amounts of data, that can handle uncertainty around format variability and velocity of data, that can handle all that unstructured data, and one that can exploit big data in a timely and cost effective fashion.

IBM is offering a comprehensive set of solutions for Big Data, one in which interoperability will be key to addressing the unique challenges of the big data ecosystem.

Mills concluded with a big picture statement about all this Big Data: “We’re at an inflection point where IT is going to change the world in the next decade in ways even greater than that which we witnessed over the last 50 years.”

Written by turbotodd

October 26, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Visa: Winner Of 2010 Information on Demand Innovation Award

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Visa Inc., the global payments technology company, and IBM today announced that Visa is the winner of IBM’s annual Information on Demand 2010 Innovation Award.

This is in recognition of Visa’s leadership in using cutting-edge information technology and real-time data analytics to drive growth, prevent fraud, and improve the consumer payment experience.

More People Go With Visa

With more than 1.8 billion Visa cards accepted at millions of retailers and ATMs around the globe, Visa’s global network, VisaNet, processes a growing number of increasingly complex electronic payments.

Visa’s ability to not only manage but master information in real-time, providing its clients and Visa cardholders with a growing number of information-based services, sets the company apart as a leading innovator in payments today.

“Few people recognize the critical role VisaNet plays in not only transaction processing, but delivering business intelligence and real-time information that empowers financial institutions, retailers, and Visa account holders,” said Mike Dreyer, Chief Information Officer, Visa, Inc. “Only because Visa is able to touch each transaction generated from our products can we deliver this level of innovation that fuels commerce globally and expands the utility and reach of digital currency worldwide.

Dreyer was in attendance at the event and spoke during this morning’s keynote session in an interview conducted by IBM Software VP, Robert Leblanc, about Visa’s progress with information analytics.

Visa was recognized by IBM for achievements to date in information management and a visionary plan to further transform Visa’s business. By harnessing and analyzing the data behind each transaction, Visa is adding value to the traditional payment transaction and providing its clients with improved business intelligence.

VisaNet, the world’s largest retail electronic payments network processes more than 100 billion transactions each year representing more than $4.8 trillion in value. Its centralized processing architecture enables Visa to analyze information in real-time and is a catalyst for innovations. Visa information-based services are among the most advanced in the payments industry, they include:

  • Real-Time Fraud Monitoring: Visa’s Advanced Authorization risk scores are based on a global view of fraud and spending patterns across the entire Visa network. Because VisaNet processes more electronic payments globally than other networks, Visa has unique capabilities to identify fraud on individual accounts and coordinated attacks on multiple accounts across the system, enabling an issuer to potentially stop fraud at the check-out, before it occurs.
  • Transaction Alerts: Visa transaction alerts are sent on behalf of financial institutions directly from VisaNet, Visa’s global processing network, typically within seconds of a transaction occurring. Alerts are triggered when the transaction meets certain criteria the account holder has selected and are delivered directly to the account holder via email or SMS text message. Visa’s transaction alerts let consumers monitor their accounts for unusual activity and take immediate action if they believe a potentially fraudulent transaction is taking place.
  • Offers: Visa account holders are able to receive offers from merchants directly to their mobile phone. Offers range from discounts and loyalty points that can be redeemed at the point of sale. For consumers and merchants alike, this service ensures the most relevant offers are sent in a timely manner, helping increase merchant traffic, loyalty and customer satisfaction. Merchants benefit from better targeting and more efficient marketing spend and cardholders get more of the offers they want.

Visa is currently working with IBM as part of a global initiative to continue Visa’s heritage of analyzing payment system data to deliver ever-greater value to customers and cardholders. The initiative is designed to further enhance Visa’s ability to deliver real-time business intelligence to global clients and account holders, and will help ensure Visa’s information-based services remain a key competitive differentiator.

IBM’s Innovation Awards are given out annually at IBM’s Information on Demand Conference. Winners are selected among thousands of clients that are using IBM technologies to transform their business.

Written by turbotodd

October 25, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Flying Pigs, Hotel Room Tigers, And IOD 2010 Useful Resources

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I was joking this morning that there are little flying pigs flying across the Austin skyline this morning.

Cute little flying ballerina pigs, with tu-tu’s and all, flying right in front of the Austin downtown skyline.

I say that because of the situation in the American league of Major League Baseball: It’s mid-October, and the Texas Rangers, who have never made it past a division series, much less showed up at a league championship series, are 3-1 against the New York Yankees, the best baseball team that money can buy (you heard me), two of the last three games of which were won in the Bronx.

Mind you, any other time I’d be rooting for the Yankees.  But not this year.  Not when the Texas Rangers actually got their act together and took it on the road.

Game 5 is today, in the Bronx, and it’s the Yankees last chance.  I wish them well.

I also wish I had my act together for the Information on Demand event starting this Sunday in Vegas.

I’ve been studying up, reading through the conference materials and briefing books, as I have the bandwidth. But quite frankly, it’s a whole bunch of stuff to get one’s head around, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

So, I share your pain, but help is on its way.  In this blog post, I’m going to attempt to point you to a few tidbits I’ve found very helpful thus far, and expect to prove helpful on the ground in Vegas.

  1. The IBM Information on Demand 2010 Conference Website — All roads lead back to this Rome.  Or all roads leave Vegas and go to Rome.  Or something like that.  Anyway, start here, especially if you’re lost.
  2. The IBM Information on Demand 2010 Smart Site — This is the Website where you keep your schedule, and, hopefully, your sanity.  For registered attendees only. (Mobile version here).
  3. The IBM Information on Demand 2010 Conference Guide — Look, even Columbus had a map.  Well, for at least some of the way.  If you’re a man like me, this guide will take you are.   Not as far as Columbus, but at least through most of the Mandalay Bay.
  4. The IBM Information on Demand 2010 Agenda — Everybody needs an executive summary.  Life’s too short.  In fact, what are you doing reading this blog post, anyways? Okay, if you must. This is a top line “Agenda at a Glance.”  Be brief.
  5. The IBM Information on Demand Social Media Aggregator — This is a shameless plug to make sure you’re monitoring the firehose of information I’ll be contributing to the event. Me and a few thousand of my closest friends and colleagues. Consider this to be the downright virtual soul of IOD 2010.  You can’t be there in person?  Be there in spirit!  It’s all about your information management, soul, baby!  It’s Vegas. Get in the groove!…Okay, wait a minute, now, who took my velvet Elvis painting?!?
  6. IBM Information on Demand 2010 Pre-Conference Classes — My momma always told me, education is the one thing that nobody can ever take away from you.  Of course, that didn’t stop a bunch of punks from stealing my Ho-Ho’s on the playground during recess, but I digress.  These Sunday classes are intended to help you get your IOD experience off to a vigorous start and to keep you out of the casinos. Well, not completely out, because you have to sleep somewhere.  But…oh, go on, just get to class before I take your lunch money.
  7. IBM Information on Demand 2010 NetworkingIt’s okay, you don’t have to make any excuses.  We know this is really why you take a week off work, fly a couple thousand miles, and stay locked inside the Mandalay Bay biosphere day and night: To hang out and meet info management professionals from around the globe and to talk ACID (the DBMS rules, not the stuff from “Fear and Loathing”). For the Cognos-scenti, you have your own slate of networking, but be sure to mix it up with everybody — that’s why we invited you!

Okay.  Well, that’s about as comprehensive a list as I can find for now.  For “Lost and Found,” you’re entirely on your own.

I will say that this year, I, personally, plan on taking all those PDF files (the conference guide, the Expo guide, etc.), dropping them into Dropbox, and having them as resources available via the GoodReader app on my iPad.

So long as my iPad battery stays alive, I’ll never get lost at the Mandalay Bay again!

Finally…and I really don’t want to have to say this one twice…it is NOT NOT NOT appropriate to drug the tiger with “roofies” should you find said tiger in your bathroom after a long night of information management professional networking.

I know it’s tempting, but tigers get hangovers, too, and Mike Tyson ought not be anywhere near the scene, in any case.

Instead, shut the bathroom door, call security, and wait for the animal management professionals to arrive.

You’re an information management professional.  They do tigers, you do databases.

(If you have NO clue whatsoever to what that list bit was in reference to, you need to stop going to conferences (well, all but the IBM ones) and start having more cultural experiences, starting with the movies.

Four days and counting…

Written by turbotodd

October 20, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Making A List, Checking It Twice

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Dr. Atul Gawande's "Checklist Manifesto" makes a compelling argument for making that list and checking it twice, even in the most expert of white collar professions.

I’m a big fan of checklists.

I’ve been attempting to properly drink the Robert David Allen Getting Things Done Kool-Aid for a couple of  years now.

Inherently, I think knowledge workers like myself have to find improved ways of managing their time, projects, responsibilities, etc., and I’ve discovered that even the most basic and mundane checklist (whether or not you use GTD methodology) increases my productivity and helps me maintain my sanity.

At minimum, I feel as those it’s helpful in offsetting whatever Alzheimherish proclivities I may be developing.

But checklists aren’t just limited to personal productivity.  They’re also a great way to share and implement knowledge, often in the most dire and life-altering of circumstances.

Just ask Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, a 2009 tome on how checklists can assist even the most modern of professionals in its approach to providing a disciplined adherence to essential procedures “by ticking them off a list,” often preventing fatal mistakes and corner cutting.

As Publisher’s Weekly observed in its own review of the book, Gawande examined checklists across a wide range of industries, including aviation, construction, and investing, along with his own medical profession, and was able to demonstrate that even the most simply mandated checklists (hand washing in hospitals) dramatically reduced hospital-caused infections and other complications.

Though I’m all for the medical folks washing their hands to the extreme, particularly if I’m the one going under the knife, I’m even more excited to report that Dr. Gawande will be speaking at the upcoming IBM Information on Demand Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 24-28.

Dr. Gawande is a MacArthur fellow and a general surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, as well as a staff writer for The New Yorker. In his spare time, he’s also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical school and the Harvard School of Public Health.

In his own Amazon-published review of Gawande’s checklist approach to life, last year’s Information on Demand keynote speaker Malcolm Gladwell had this to say about the book:

Gawande begins by making a distinction between errors of ignorance (mistakes we make because we don’t know enough), and errors of ineptitude (mistakes we made because we don’t make proper use of what we know). Failure in the modern world, he writes, is really about the second of these errors, and he walks us through a series of examples from medicine showing how the routine tasks of surgeons have now become so incredibly complicated that mistakes of one kind or another are virtually inevitable: it’s just too easy for an otherwise competent doctor to miss a step, or forget to ask a key question or, in the stress and pressure of the moment, to fail to plan properly for every eventuality.

Gawande then visits with pilots and the people who build skyscrapers and comes back with a solution. Experts need checklists–literally–written guides that walk them through the key steps in any complex procedure. In the last section of the book, Gawande shows how his research team has taken this idea, developed a safe surgery checklist, and applied it around the world, with staggering success.

Even before I downloaded the first chapter of Gawande’s book on my iPad and started reading about the helpfulness of checklists, I’d already become an adherent.

Now, I would recommend you make your own list and include Dr. Gawande’s keynote talk at the top of yours for the 2010 Information on Demand conference.

In the meantime, you can learn more about Dr. Gawande via his “Annals of Medicine” column for The New Yorker here.

Written by turbotodd

September 29, 2010 at 6:00 am

The Hidden Side of Everything

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Okay, it’s Monday, and I want to welcome you back to the Turbo Monday edition of “Guess Who’s That Keynoter?”

For this particular edition, we’re going to jump ahead to the Information on Demand event being held in Viva Las Vegas, Nevada, in late October.

All our IBM conferences tend to be smokin’ hot good (and, I’ll even dare say it, fun), but the Information on Demand event holds a special place in my heart.

First, I’ve been attending and blogging at IOD since 2006.  There, I’ve had the opportunity to interview some of the coolest, smartest speakers and authors from across the landscape.

More importantly, I get to talk to so many of you, our customers.

This year’s not going to be any different.

But before we get to the keynote build up, let me tell you a few things about this year’s event.

First, we’re expecting some 9,000+ attendees.  Yes, IOD has gotten that big, but in this case, bigger is better, because we’re rolling our Business Analytics event (which Cognos once sponsored) under the IOD tent this year.

Second, this year we’ll be looking more holistically at what IBM and its partners bring to the Information on Demand table, including hardware, software, and services.

We also expect to have over 600 tech sessions, 160 Cognos and SPSS sessions, 11 industry-focused business and IT leadership sessions, 128 hands on labs, 300 customer speakers, and IBM’s largest exposition from all its events around the globe.

For 2010, we’ll also have two full days of business partner programs, and we’ll have our regular standard fare that you’ve asked to continue, including networking opportunities and 1-1s with IBM execs.

Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

Now, back to the spotlight on our featured speakers.  They not only think out of the box — they don’t even know the box exists.  Because to acknowledge the box would be to acknowledge its limitations.

Like any good business analytics experts, they view the world through a very different lens by pointing out how numbers don’t lie, and, when carefully considered, can speak volumes to actual truths on the ground.

Do you know who they are yet?

If not, know their first unlikely collaboration resulted in an international bestseller. Its premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work…this book will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.

Anybody?

They went on to publish another best seller, and also to produce a podcast series on iTunes as well as a blog on The New York Times.

Okay, I’ll spare you the drum roll.  But I’m talking about Steven and Stephen, of course.

Steven D. Levitt, the professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and Stephen J. Dubner, an author and journalist living and working in New York City.

In their first tome, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economics Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, these two gentlemen delivered story after story that addressed ways to create behavior change and demonstrate what incentives work and what didn’t — with the research and data to back up their often controversial claims.

Hailed by critics and readers alike, the book went on to spend more than two years on The New York Times bestseller list, and has sold more than 4 million copies around the world in more than 30 languages.

Those are the kind of numbers that simply don’t lie.

This past October, they came out with their second book, Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance.

You can hear Steven and Stephen speak at Information on Demand, IBM’s Premier Forum for Information & Analytics, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center this October 24-28 in Las Vegas.  Visit here to get all the details and to register.

Meanwhile, whet your appetite for more from the Freakonomics guys by reading their blog.

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