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by: Robert.hillard
23  Jan  2016

My digital foundations #2

It’s time to set some principles to support the choices you are making for your personal digital architecture. This second instalment of digital foundations will help you extend your architecture to protect your digital content and assets.

In the first instalment of My digital foundations we established a foundation identity and managed the passwords that are ubiquitous to our digital lives. Now we can build on this identity and start to manage our content.

Some principles

Everyone talks about the cloud. This is really no more than moving your data to someone else’s servers and accessing the content through the Internet. The advantages of using the cloud are just as applicable to all our digital lives as it for the organisations that you work for or with.

Moving to the cloud does not mean that content isn’t also being stored locally. It does mean, however, that all content is stored remotely and sometimes replicated locally. The best three examples of content to make sure are properly in the cloud are the files you keep in folders, your digital media (sometimes in folders and sometimes within a media app) and your email.

You also want to ensure that precious digital content is not exposed to a single hit attack. You may be feeling particularly secure because your lifetime of photos is sitting on a cloud drive, secure both on the hard drives of your computer and the server of your provider. Imagine, however, what happens if you get attacked by malware that locks or otherwise scrambles your hard drive (or even just a family member hitting “delete”). Before you know it, the server copy has also been lost or scrambled.

Some cloud services offer version history, which would be a fall-back. A better alternative is to have a physical copy of precious content as well as the cloud version. The physical copy can sit in any location while the virtual copies are protected by the cloud.

Cloud drives and digital media

One of the most important services in your digital life is your cloud drive. There is a plethora of options out there (for example, see Wikipedia’s list of file hosting options).

While most providers do not allow you to have more than one account connected to your device, they do generally allow each account to share folders. For this reason, don’t be tempted to log into the service from work and home using the same account, rather create separate accounts and then share appropriate folders. A similar approach should be applied to each member of your family by creating family folders.

Managing photos and digital media is more complex. Many people are simply overwhelmed by the complexity of downloading the photos and videos from their smartphone. Worse, even if you do work it out, the providers are constantly changing and the approach that works today may not be available tomorrow. It is worth investigating options for cloud based photo and video storage and the associated procedure for downloading images and videos from your device. If you want one approach that will stand the test of time, consider simply using your cloud drive as the primary home of your images and export them to your album product of choice.

Email client

The future of email remains controversial, but it is very likely that it is here to stay (see Email works too well). You should treat email like your paper correspondence (particularly as more and more of your bills and communications end-up in this form). You probably keep a file for your papers with tabs for A to Z and should consider doing something similar for your email folders.

It is also likely that you will end-up with more than one email account that you want to map to your email client. The most common mistake that people make is to leave email on their hard drive by using an email client such as Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird locally.

You need somewhere that you can consolidate email centrally that can also act as a webmail client and central, cloud-based, store that will be persistent for many years. Arguably services such as Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft dominate this space but they are by no means the only providers (see Comparison of webmail providers).

In My digital foundations #1 you chose such a service for your digital network administration. The decision you made then might inform this choice, but it does not have to be the same. Either way, you can choose to map that email account to this service.

With a central store, you are now free to choose an email client. Your one requirement is to ensure you use the IMAP and not POP protocol. The client should leave the email in your central consolidated store. For a list of candidates see Comparison of email clients.

Your architecture

In just two posts, your digital life is supported by a cloud-based network with the potential for numerous participants and elements that manage your most important content. It doesn’t take long before the network is more complex that you can easily visualise without a supporting architecture diagram.

Keeping track of the information flows and making sure that your family is safe will be the subjects covered in the next instalment of “my digital foundations”.

Category: Enterprise Content Management
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by: Robert.hillard
20  Dec  2015

Business transformation creates long-term value

Companies that do acquisitions and invest in major, enterprise-wide, business transformations are more valuable in the long term. However, in the short-term it can feel like they are destroying shareholder value.

It does not take long looking at companies that have neither invested in themselves through transformation nor performed a significant refresh through acquisition to see that they tend to trend to stagnation. Many of those same organisations have tried to reverse their declines through operational efficiencies only to fall even further after a short-term bump.

Goals of transformation or acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions can either be whole-of-company with enterprise impact (think the merger of companies like Continental and United) or they can be a targeted capability build (think Google’s acquisition of NEST). Internally initiated transformations are exactly the same.

Transformations and acquisitions are different sides of the same coin. While it is easier to see the activity around a transaction from the outside, a genuine transformation is no less disruptive. Both generate significant angst within their organisations and resistance to change is usually at its peak before the real benefits are realised.

For most changes of this significance, it is about knowing how to do something as an organisation that could not be done in the past. Typically, this new capability will result in a new class of services to the customer or bring together disparate parts of the organisation in a new or integrated way.

Either way, the key is to bring this capability together, which means integrating people, knowledge, systems and information.

Obstacles to change

People resist change, knowledge is hard to codify, employees take knowledge with them when they leave, systems are more fragile than people realise and information is more complex to integrate than anyone ever expects. The net effect is that what should be simple to implement fails to deliver the nirvana that many thought they were promised, runs way over time and usually gets cut short.

It seems, though, that the definition of whether a transformation or acquisition is claimed as a success really depends on whether the leadership that championed it is still in place. The question is then one of the causal relationship.

Arguably, the real measure of success should be whether the change takes the business towards a long-term position in whatever market that it operates. If the trend is towards specialisation then the transformation or acquisition should be deepening capability rather than broadening reach. If the trend is towards platforms (i.e., shared assets) then the change needs to take the business towards flexible business relationships.

Confidence in “winning ugly”

Many boards and exec teams say that they dread having discussions about these projects as it inevitably descends into dealing with the issues of major integration, particularly technology integration, which is running over budget and delivering a fraction of the intended benefits.

With the benefit of hindsight, many leaders admit that they would never have taken on change of the magnitude that they did, at the cost that was ultimately borne against the benefits that were formally claimed in comparison to the original business case. At the same time, these same leaders will be the first admit they are glad that they took the change on for the capability that it has created in taking the organisation towards their long-term goals.

We can conclude that this means that the formal return on investment (ROI) cases tend to focus too much on the short-term savings without adequately recognising the value of the long-term capability that is being created.

If we really want to set transactions and transformations up for success, more focus should be given in the financial business case to the benefits of the long-term future of the business and less emphasis on short-term savings. More often than not, the two are in conflict.

Category: Enterprise2.0
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by: Robert.hillard
22  Nov  2015

My digital foundations #1

It’s almost impossible to live these days without a plethora of digital identities that enable us to do almost everything. Whether it be our television, gaming, social media, travel or family security, we depend on all of these things to make our lives work effectively.

Pretty quickly our homes have become as complex as almost any business of just a few years ago! Gone are the days when the most complex device in the home was the hi-fi system.

At the same time, the boundary between work and home has almost disappeared and a fragmented personal digital profile flows through to inefficiencies across our personal and professional lives.

While it might be tempting, few people have the luxury of starting their digital lives from scratch. We all have a technical legacy born of our past digital activities across technologies, family relationships and past jobs. No matter how disorganised, fragmented and out-of-control your digital life is, it is never too late to bring it back into order.

The cost of not taking stock leaves you open to security risks, complexity, fragmentation and the loss of opportunity to live the integrated promise of technology. Increasingly this means even more complexity in the relationship between our work lives and our personal technology.

Over future posts I will look at a number of aspects of our digital lives. In this instalment, I’ll tackle some of the foundations that should be put in place to bring our digital world to order.

The foundation email address

You sit at the centre of a number of circles: family, friends and work. There are a large number of systems and information that you share across all of these groups.

At the centre of your circles is an administrative email address. This email has the attribute of being the last resort for password recovery and other core account activities. It isn’t an address that you should share publically, you don’t want it compromised by excessive spam, for instance.

You could make this email address a product of your Internet Service Provider, but it is better to pick an independent and free service. The more independent of the services that you are going to use in the future, the better.

Search the internet for comparisons of the free email account services and you’ll get a range of articles comparing the benefits of each of the providers. Now is also a good time to pick a foundation name for your digital world. It isn’t necessary for this to be meaningful and it certainly shouldn’t be one that you expect your contacts to be using.

Social media identity

Next you need to have some sort of presence on the major social media sites. Privacy settings can be as tight as you want, but the purpose of these is to act as a common login credential. See Login with social media.

Social media is also the main place to manage groupings which we will talk about in future posts. These groupings come in three categories.

The first are your dependants who don’t control their own online presence, typically your children (or potentially elderly relatives). If they are under age you will create some sort of presence (but not a social media account).

The second group are those you are most closely associated with, such as your spouse or adult children. You will be inviting them to your networks but they will be in control of their own credentials.

Your third group are your very close relatives and friends with whom you regularly share content. Keep this to your immediate contacts but the techniques you use here are going to broaden out to be also your work groups that you enter and leave.

Password management

Finally, you need a password management tool. Today’s cloud services are poorly integrated and lack consistent identity management. This is a real opportunity for improvement on the Internet, hence the push towards using social media as a tool of integration. However, the goal should be that your architecture is independent of individual services and should last the distance.

There are a number of very good tools out there, just search for password management tools and compare the benefits of each. The important thing is to have a cloud-based solution that is easy to use across devices.

From here

Having a consistent email as a foundation for managing other accounts, social media for signing-in, a defined network of relationships and a tool for managing all of the accounts you work with will set the foundation for your digital life. When I next write on this topic, we’ll build on this foundation to start describing a complete architecture for our digital lives.

Category: Enterprise2.0, Information Governance, Web2.0
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by: Robert.hillard
27  Oct  2015

Predicting which jobs will be disrupted

Parents everywhere are wondering about the career choices that they should encourage their children to pursue.  While some careers are already badly disrupted, others seem to be flying.  How do you tell which activities will be valued in the decades ahead?

Depending on your country, the legal profession is a good example of the different impacts of disruption.  Lawyers are not going out of business, but legal firms are experiencing unprecedented pressure on their rates.  What is most interesting is that those who are dedicated to arguing in court (barristers in countries such as the UK or Australia) have the greatest success in charging a premium while those who are responsible for advising through legal processes seem to be the most affected by the downward pressure on rates.

This is a microcosm of the challenges and opportunities facing accountants, architects, technologists, management consultants and so many other professions.  Disruption is no longer a theory about the future, it is with us now and the situation is getting worse for so many incumbent professions while other, often closely related, jobs seem to be immune.

There are some consistent themes to those roles that are protected and those that are most disrupted.  For all of the talk of new technology, it is traditional economic principles of supply and demand which are at play, the role of the internet has been to free-up some of the friction in the system and allow these dynamics to come to the fore.

I’ve argued for a long time that the internet allows small business and individuals to compete with big companies.  There are a number of mechanisms, but the most prolific is the rise of aggregation platforms.  These platforms allow different groups to offer their spare or primary capacity in new and interesting ways.  We are seeing this with taxis, accommodation, designers, lawyers and management consultants.  New providers are appearing all of the time.

Platforms allow a number of small market participants to offer an integrated service.  Drivers offer a global service through Uber and accommodation owners combine through Airbnb.  Both of these are services that lend themselves to commoditisation and standardisation so will tend to reduce in unit cost.  This leads us to three rules to use to determine which jobs are most at risk.

Rule #1: Commoditisation even of personal or highly technical skills

Platforms support commoditisation of otherwise individualised services such as driving or private accommodation.  Similarly, many of the activities of design, medical diagnostics and legal advice are turning out to be relatively easy to break into units of work, which can be distributed and disrupted.

One of the assumptions that many have on the future of IT is that it is being offshored and outsourced.  In fact, this is an early example of the trend that skills that can be defined in a standardised way that can be disrupted.  However, that does not necessarily mean that all IT can be defined in standard units of work, meaning that much, if not most, of the profession is less prone to disruption.

Rule #2: Skills where the outcome is incremental

Consumers of services will pay a small premium for a great experience.  If the bill is high, however, the premium they will pay for the same outcome with a slightly better service is only small.

For instance, most people choose their builder based on price even if they know that they will have to manage the process closely.  Many of these same people will choose an architect based on their creative talents rather than price because the difference between two architects is an entirely different building.  However, where the building is a standard shape or configuration, architects have a hard time pitching their wares against each other or even against less qualified designers.

This rule explains why legal professionals who mount the argument in court are less subject to the commoditisation of their services than those who provide legal advice on the process.  While the legal process is relatively defined, even a small difference in the quality of the court appearance can make the difference between winning and losing.

Leadership is a really good example of a unique skill where stakeholders are prepared to pay a premium given that each decision has a ripple and long-lasting effect.  CEOs are unlikely to receive a pay cut anytime soon!

Rule #3: Deep knowledge is no protection

It used to be that having narrow but deep knowledge of a topic was likely to protect your job.  Where the first generation of knowledge systems could codify simple processes and provide access to knowledge, the current generation of cognitive analytics can replicate the process of applying complex knowledge assets to similar but different problems based on patterns of previous responses.

Not only is this disrupting those who solve customer problems and provide complex advice, it is increasingly threatening medical professionals who interpret images as well as legal and tax experts who interpret tax legislation.

So what is safe?

The reverse of each of these rules is similarly true.  I’ve argued before that your insight might protect your job.  The careers that are most likely to attract a premium in the future have: skills which are difficult to commoditise or involve complex integration; roles where there is a binary outcome for a small difference in capability; and activities that require insight rather than knowledge.

Unfortunately, the jobs that most of us do today have elements that lend themselves to disruption but also activities that are more likely to garner a premium.  The exciting thing is that it is the latter that are usually the most fun.  I’m an optimist, I think the business of tomorrow will recombine the most interesting elements of today’s jobs and open up even more interesting careers for the next generation.

Category: Enterprise2.0
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by: Robert.hillard
26  Sep  2015

Email works too well

Everyone who regularly feels overwhelmed by their email would agree that there is a problem.  The hundreds of articles about the issue typically make the same assumption and are wrong. Writer after writer bemoans email as inefficient and an obstacle to productivity. The problem isn’t that email is inefficient, rather, it is too efficient and knows no boundaries.

If email wasn’t productive, only a fraction of today’s emails would be sent.  It allows today’s worker to answer more questions from, and give more directions to, their colleagues in a shorter amount of time than past generations could have imagined possible.

Personal boundaries

In years gone by, work was done at the office.  To continue working at home meant loading paper files into a briefcase, a process that put natural limits of how much could be done out-of-hours.  Even if a large number of memos were written, replies were not going to be received until they went through the internal mail or postal service.

I’ve written before about using email more effectively (see Reclaim email as a business tool).  While there is much that we can do individually, I believe that email is the sharp edge of a technology wedge that challenges our fundamental assumptions about the way we work.

This technology wedge has removed many natural barriers to working as much as we choose.  Many argue that the freedom to work puts the onus of responsibility back on the individual.  This may be true, but we have not invested in developing skills for individuals to know how much work is enough.  We also need to decide, as a society, what attributes we want to encourage in our most successful workers.

A competitive economy means that the most ambitious constantly outdo each other to deliver value for their workplace.  Many see pulling-back, by putting boundaries in place, as reducing their competitiveness in a tough world.

Recognising this, some countries have attempted to put in place limits, most famous is the French 35-hour working week.  The challenges of global employers and an economic downturn have arguably blunted the impact of limiting the hours that individuals work.  In a world where work and play can be divided into seconds as an email is checked while waiting in a supermarket queue, what is the meaning of working hours anyway?

If countries can’t put limits in place, some employers are taking matters into their own hands in an attempt to improve the wellbeing of their staff.  For instance, Daimler employees return from leave with an empty inbox.

Alternatives to email

Given that email overload is such a problem, it is no wonder that there are a wide range of alternatives that have been suggested.  Workflow and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) have been high on the list for a long time now yet neither has made much of a dent on our inboxes.

Perhaps the issue is the shear flexibility of email and the cost of trying to configure workflow or ECM solutions to each individual use case.  They definitely have an important role to play but the amount of email they actually displace is relatively small (and in fact they rely on email as their notification mechanisms).

More recently social media has been heralded as the email killer.  As much as messaging on these platforms is both convenient and used extensively, they have not replaced the inbox.  In fact, more and more are configuring their email clients to be their interface into the messaging stream.

The reason that each of these technologies have so comprehensively failed in their quest to rid us of email overload is that email works really well if your goal is to do more work.  It is however encouraging us to work too much and facilitating a form of communication that is often confrontational and can damage the feeling of wellbeing of staff and relationships between employees.

The opportunity

To replace email, designers of new solutions have to throw out their old assumption of email being an inefficient tool.  Rather than trying to make email more efficient they need to focus on fixing the three real issues: 1) email is efficient but overwhelming; 2) there is no way of naturally limiting the amount of work hitting our inboxes; and 3) job sharing and delegation while absent does not work well.

Before launching headlong into building new products, there is a huge opportunity for research into each of these issues.  How can the problems be measured?  Which organisations are better at reducing their impact and what are the attributes of the solutions they have used?  Is there any evidence that junk email is actually taking a material amount of time for the average worker?  What are the health impacts of information overload and does it matter to society?

Just because existing email alternatives have missed the point, by assuming that email is somehow unproductive, that doesn’t mean there aren’t better solutions.  Freed to look to email as a productivity tool, the focus will move from email filtering and simplification to workload management and sharing.

We need to decide as professionals how we want to work.  Should time away from the office be protected?  Do we really know how much work we are really doing in an average week?  Is it OK for those seeking to get ahead to simply do more work than anyone else?

Those of us in the middle of our careers are the first generation to work electronically.  As pioneers we have a responsibility to set the tone for generations to come.  Will we sentence our children to work in white collar sweatshops or realise the potential of technology to create better workplaces for everyone?

Category: Enterprise Content Management, Enterprise2.0
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by: Robert.hillard
29  Aug  2015

Behind the scenes

Before the advances of twentieth century medicines, doctors were often deliberately opaque. They were well known for proscribing remedies for patients that were for little more than placebos. To encourage a patient’s confidence, much of what they wrote was intentionally unintelligible. As medicine has advanced, even as it has gotten more complicated, outcomes for patients are enhanced by increasing their understanding.

In fact, the public love to understand the services and products that they use. Diners love it when restaurants make their kitchens open to view. Not only is it entertaining, it also provides confidence in what’s happening behind the scenes.

As buildings have become smarter and more complex, far from needing to hide the workings, architects have gone in the opposite direction with an increasing number of buildings making their technology a feature. It is popular, and practical, to leave structural supports, plumbing and vents all exposed.

This is a far cry from the world of the 1960s and 1970s when cladding companies tried to make cheap buildings look like they were made of brick or other expensive materials. Today we want more than packaging, we want the genuine article underneath. We want honest architecture, machinery and services that we can understand.

I find it fascinating that so many people choose to wear expensive watches that keep time through mechanical mechanisms when the same function can be achieved through a great looking ten dollar digital watch. I think people are prepared to pay thousands when they believe in the elegance and function of what sits inside the case. Many of these watches actually hint at some of those mechanics with small windows or gaps where you can see spinning cogs.

The turnaround of Apple seemed to start with the iMac, a beautiful machine that had a coloured but transparent case, exposing to the world the workings inside.

Transparent business

So it is with business where there are cheap ways of achieving many goals. New products and services can be inserted into already cluttered offerings and it can all be papered over by a thin veneer of customer service and digital interfaces that try to hide the complexity. These are the equivalent of the ten dollar watch.

I had a recent experience of a business that was not transparent. After six months, I noticed a strange charge had been appearing on my telephone bill. The company listing the charges claimed that somewhere we had agreed to their “special offer”. They could not tell us how we had done it and were happy to refund the charges. The real question, of course, is how many thousands of people never notice and never claim the charges back?

Whether it is government, utilities, banking or retail, our interactions with those that provide us products and services are getting more complex. We can either hide the complexity by putting artificial facades over the top (such as websites with many interfaces) or embrace the complexity through better design. I have previously argued that cognitive analytics, in the form of artificial intelligence would reduce the workforce employed to manage complexity (see Your insight might protect your job) but this will do nothing to improve the customer experience.

Far from making people feel that business is simpler, the use of data through analytics in this way can actually make them feel that they have lost even more control. Increasingly they choose the simpler option such as being a guest on a single purpose website rather than embracing a full service provider that they do not understand.

Good governance

Target in the US had this experience when their data analytics went beyond the expectations of what was acceptable to their customers (see The Incredible Story Of How Target Exposed A Teen Girl’s Pregnancy)

In this age of Big Data, good data governance is an integral part of the customer experience. We are surrounded by more and more things happening that go beyond our expectation. These things can seem to happen as if by magic and lead us to a feeling of losing control in our interactions with businesses.

Just as there is a trend to open factories to the public to see how things are made, we should do the same in our intellectual pursuits. As experts in our respective fields, we need to be able to not only achieve an outcome but also demonstrate how we got there.

I explained last month how frustrating it is when customer data isn’t used (see Don’t seek to know everything about your customer). Good governance should seek to simplify and explain how both business processes and the associated data work and are applied.

The pressure for “forget me” legislation and better handling of data breaches will be alleviated by transparency. Even better, customers will enjoy using services that they understand.

Category: Enterprise Data Management, Enterprise2.0, Information Governance
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by: RickDelgado
26  Aug  2015

The Implications of San Disk’s New Wireless Flash Drive

SanDisk’s new wireless flash drive hit the scene with mixed opinions. Some argue that it serves as a solution to transferring documents, photos, videos, and music from one mobile device to another, or to a PC, in a way that is not complicated or unreliable. Others argue that this wireless flash drive is only one of many storage options, and not very spectacular at that.

Let’s take a moment to evaluate what this new wireless flash drive can do, and how it could indeed make an impact on the storage industry, mobile devices, and even data protection.

What It Can Do

The new SanDisk wireless flash drive has the ability store data such as photos, videos, documents, and music from any device, boosting the storage capacity of mobile devices up to 64 GB. With the use of SanDisk’s app, all your data will be accessible and manageable remotely. Its most appealing trait is its ability to connect to a range of devices, including the iPhone, Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, and even your PC.

How This Will Affect the Storage Industry

The cloud offers many large storage options, but the downside is its lack of accessibility without an internet connection. This device is a nice companion for users who don’t have enough room on their phones and tablets, and who don’t want to delete data to make room. With this wireless flash drive, you don’t have to spend money upgrading to the latest iPad with its increased storage.

How can this make a difference in the industry? This drive offers privacy by excluding the internet and simplicity with its easily manageable app; why struggle with the security hazards and the price updates of online storage when you can have all your data in your pocket? This makes it an appealing option over the competition, which could change how people view internet storage.

How This Will Affect Mobile Devices

Most of us have experienced the headache of trying to transfer media from our phone to our computer; this wireless flash drive eliminates this issue. Simply transfer your data onto the flash drive, plug it into your computer via USB, and move your media with ease.

Beforehand, if you had multiple devices from many brands, it was difficult to share data across each without struggling to find the right software to bridge the gap. This SanDisk flash drive eliminates this issue, and can affect mobile devices in the way we approach their barriers. This could encourage users to use many different brands rather than one, allowing the SanDisk flash drive to serve as the bridge.

How This Will Affect Data Protection

Its remote access allows up to eight different devices to access its data — up to three devices at the same time. You can share storage and transfer data over your many devices or with your friends – all with no internet connection. With this drive’s ability to allow remote access to many users at many locations, it makes people suspicious of how protected their data actually is. SanDisk combats this by allowing users to set up a personal password, as you might do with your WiFi, so only you or those you’ve shared the password with have access to the data.

As a smaller, private storage device, it’s less likely to become a target of cyber terrorism as we see often with online cloud storage. Why would a hacker want your family photos or your few downloaded movies? Since you can personally store only your data on the drive, rather than sharing a storage device with many, it gives you a lower profile. This peace of mind could sway the opinions of the public from online storage.

As one of many flash storage options, this flash drive cannot necessarily be called revolutionary, but it offers the public many useful features and advantages that are not often found in our internet dependent age. This is likely to encourage other companies to look more closely at the unique needs of users and how to bridge the gaps, sparking the development of new wireless flash drives that are more secure, more remote, and able to store more without the use of internet.

 

Category: Information Management
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by: Bsomich
25  Aug  2015

Where in MIKE2.0 Should Data Protection and Privacy Live?

With the ever increasing demand for compliance with outside regulators and statutes, should MIKE2.0 look to expand data protection and privacy as a solution offering?

This question was posed by a community member in our forum this week with the context below:

While Information Security as a solution may cover some aspects, the wider requirements will need to involve the same information and data. In the UK, a subject access request means any data / information in structured, semi structured or unstructured form about an individual can be demanded. Similarly, Freedom of Information requests need analysis and assignment. These need a cross functional management system that deals with the same assets and resources as covered by the rest of information management.

It is a day-to-day, cross functional management activity that needs responsibility assigned. Accountability can tie in with the governance part of MIKE 2.0., but does it need added to the solutions? And if so, where?

We’d love your feedback on this potential offering in the comments section below.

Category: Information Development
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by: Jonathan
25  Aug  2015

How Big Data is Transforming Airports

South of Iran, east of Saudi Arabia, and north of Oman is Dubai, an emirate (political territory) of the U.A.E. (the United Arab Emirates). In addition to being the location of Burj Khalifa (“Khalifa Tower” in English), the current tallest building in the world, Dubai also hosts an international airport unlike any other. The Dubai International Airport (DXB) holds the record for the world’s busiest airport. This “mega-airport” expects to serve a staggering 120 million customers this year. Compare that to the measly 94 million passengers that the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia handled in 2013, and the 72 million that passed through London-Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom in 2014.

Any traveler who has missed a connecting flight because the gates were too far apart, or ended up standing in the wrong line because either the writing on the boarding pass or the announcements over the intercom were in a different language has to wonder how an airport of any size could handle 120 million people — successfully.

When asked about the likelihood of issues such as people getting lost and luggage being left behind, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths explained at the ATIS (Air Transport Industry Summit) that the efficient and intelligent analysis of real-time big data will keep the airport running as secure as a Boeing 717. “We keep increasing the size of the pipe but actually what our passengers want is to spend less time going through (the) process,” Griffiths said in an interview with Gulf Business. “This is where technology comes to the fore with more efficient operations. It’s about the quality of the personalized customer experience where people don’t have to walk more than 500 meters. That is the design goal and technology is central to that.”

 The big data that Griffiths referred to is a massive collection of information about distances between airport gates, baggage handling efficiency, and flight durations among other statistics. All of this information interpreted by “intelligent systems” will transform DBX and airports like it in three ways:

 1.    Increased Efficiency. The Dubai International Airport is an exception to the rule that larger airports are more difficult to traverse. Real-time calculations will allow the air traffic control tower to guide airplanes to terminals close to the connecting flights each passenger requires.

 2.    Improved Customer Experience. Everything’s getting smarter, including the boarding passes. Instead of printing everything only in Arabic and English, the analysis of big data information such as a person’s native language will result in better, readable, personalized boarding passes tailored to each individual.

 3.    Cost Reduction. An increase in customers, plus increased efficiency, plus an improved customer experience means that Dubai’s profits will soar. When the statistics are examined a year from now undoubtedly the money saved by not having to reroute passengers and pay for missed flights and hotel stays will be the final proof that big data analytics tools are transformative.

“I believe that technology will take center stage in the future of aviation,” Griffiths said. “Airports, for too long, have been considered just infrastructure businesses. Actually, we have a vital role to play in enabling a level of customer service that certain airlines have already got right in the air but some airports have let them down with on the ground.”

 

Category: Business Intelligence
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by: RickDelgado
17  Aug  2015

Differences between Large and Small Companies Using BYOD

Regardless of company size, Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) has become quite popular. According to Gartner, half of employers surveyed say they’re going to require workers to supply their own devices at work by 2017. Spiceworks did a similar study, finding about 61% of small to medium sized businesses were using a BYOD policy for employee devices. Businesses of all sizes are taking BYOD seriously, but are there differences in how large and small companies handle their policies?

 Gaining experience is important in learning how to implement and manage a mobile device policy. Small companies are increasingly supporting smartphones and tablets. Companies with fewer than 20 employees are leading – Spiceworks says 69% in a survey are supportive. By comparison, 16% of employers with more than 250 employees were as enthusiastic.

 According to this study, small companies appear to be more flexible in adopting BYOD. There are certain aspects, however, where they may lag behind their larger counterparts. Here are some examples.

 Mobile Device Management

 Larger corporations often have more resources available to implement Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems. For example, Spiceworks said 56% of respondents were not planning to use MDM mainly because the company does not see a big enough threat. Lost or stolen devices, or misuse by employees, are seen as substantial risks. On the other hand, 17% of the responding small businesses were engaging in active management and just 20% said they would within six months.

 The perks of MDM include barriers against data theft, intrusion, and unauthorized use and access. It also helps prevent malware infections.

 Larger businesses seem to be more understanding of the need for a proactive MDM system. They tend to possess more knowledge of the technology and the risks and face fewer budgetary hurdles. By comparison, many small companies lack knowledge, funds, and insight into the risks of connecting mobile devices to their network. Cloud-based MDM solutions are a growing alternative. The same Spiceworks study found 53% of respondents were going with a hosted device management solution.

Security

The risks are clearly great for any sized company. A BYOD policy can boost revenue and risk management into the millions of dollars. Corporations usually have multiple layers of security. For a small business, it doesn’t take much to bring the company down. One single cyber-attack can be so costly the company won’t be able to survive.

 Security, and the training that goes along with it, is costly for a small company. It might not be able to afford any of the tools necessary for adequate protection. Even if a company was going for savings, data breaches will make these seem like pennies. Such events can cause millions of dollars in damages for even the smallest businesses.

Data leakage is another security risk, besides cost. Mobile devices are prone to data theft without a good MDM system. Gartner highlights the fact mobile devices are designed to support data sharing, but lack file systems for applications. This makes it easier for data to be duplicated and sent to applications in the cloud. It is up to IT to be up on the latest technologies and uses. Obviously, larger companies have the upper hand in this area as they have a better security posture.

 Conclusion

Both large and small companies are using BYOD. The differences lie in the willingness to adopt comprehensive Mobile Device Management systems and security policies. These come with the obvious costs which smaller businesses must wrestle with. It often comes down to comparing the daily policy operating costs with those of the risks. When a breach happens, for example, a small business feels the pain and wishes having had the right system in place. Cloud MDM systems are becoming more affordable. These are providing smaller entities with the resources of larger organizations. Time will only tell whether small and medium sized business will become as accepting of mobile device security and management as larger organizations.

Category: Information Governance
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