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Archive for July, 2009

by: Sean.mcclowry
30  Jul  2009

Information R/evolution

Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist and media ecologist that explores that impacts of information on culture. This video explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information. I definitely agree with his view on much much our approach has changed and I think we’ll continue to see this evolution for some time.

Hopefully the MIKE2.0 project can provide an open and collaborative forum for developing the techniques people apply in managing information.

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Category: Information Development, Web2.0
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by: Andreas.rindler
28  Jul  2009

Essentially SAFE? anyone?

I came across the blog post of Adrian Campbell about the open source Enterprise Architecture tool Essentials - http://protege.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?EssentialProject

One of the key concepts behind MIKE2.0 is to move from the traditional documents based collaboration to a tools based approach (e.g. for requirements capture, data quality improvement, data governance, policy and standard development etc.).

And it would obviously be great if the tool was open source. Sounds like Essentials would be an interesting candidate for modelling SAFE – Strategic Architecture for theFederated Enterprise – the architecture framework of MIKE2.0.

Has anyone used Essentials and is interested in giving it a go?

Category: SAFE Architecture
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by: Richi.dhillon
25  Jul  2009

Open Source, Whitehall and Security

I came across a couple of interesting (but old) articles about open source. The first one argues for more use of open source in Whitehall (even at a cost level this makes sense). The second questions the security of open source. (I am not convinced about this lack of security considering the growing use of open source by organisations across the globe).

Tories want open source in Whitehall (from the BBC, 8 Mar 2007 )
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6430069.stm

The government could save more than £600 million a year if it used more open source software, the shadow chancellor has estimated.
George Osborne said the savings would cut 5% off Whitehall’s annual IT bill.

He called for a more “level playing field” for all software companies, and urged “cultural change” in government.
Open source software allows users to read, alter and improve its code – in contrast to proprietary software where a company controls the source code.

In a speech on Thursday, Mr Osborne said that despite a government report in 2004 saying there would be “significant savings” in hardware and software if open source software was used, many government departments had not implemented it.

“All too often a government IT system is incompatible with other types of software, which stifles competition and hampers innovation. The problem is that the cultural change has not taken place in government,” he said.

He listed various countries which have successfully used open source software for government projects, including Japan switching its entire payroll system over with an expected halving of costs.

In the UK some public bodies had used open source software, such as Bristol City Council and Carmathenshire County Council, with savings.

The Department for Education and Skills found that on average primary schools using open source software cut IT costs per PC by 50%, he said.

Transforming politics
Using open source software was about “better and more effective government”.

He criticised government IT procurement for lacking “open standards” and making it difficult for small companies to get the contracts.
“All too often a government IT system is incompatible with other types of software, which stifles competition and hampers innovation.

“Looking at the litany of IT projects that have collapsed or spiralled over budget, it’s clear too that this has meant billions of pounds wasted and public service reform being hampered,” Mr Osborne said.

“The government’s approach needs to be overhauled.”

As technology changes, with more people able to access more information, Mr Osborne said: “The internet age is transforming politics and has the capacity to transform government.”

Tory open-source claims ‘misguided’ (from British Computer Society, 06 Feb 2009)
www.bcs.org/server.php?show=conWebDoc.24384

The Conservative party is mistaken in calling for the government to begin using open-source software, it has been claimed.

According to Richard Kirk, vice president and European general manager at Fortify Software, there are several security problems inherent with using open source.

‘The Conservatives have accused the government of failing to capitalise on open-source software, despite reports from government agencies that have recommended its usage,’ he said.

‘Our own research, however, has concluded that open-source software exposes users to significant and unnecessary business risk, as the security is often overlooked, making users more vulnerable to security breaches.’

The Conservatives had based their position on a study commissioned by the party which was conducted by Dr Mark Thompson of Cambridge University.

It suggested that the government could slash IT budgets by using open-source solutions.

The government has been criticised in recent times for letting some of its large-scale IT projects go over budget and fall behind schedule.

Category: Information Development
1 Comment »

by: Robert.hillard
19  Jul  2009

Climbing to the information summit in four easy steps

As I described in my last post, the quantity of information being generated globally and within each of our organisations is absolutely overwhelming.  All good managers facing a large problem start by trying to break the task down into manageable pieces.  The question information managers face is what is the right starting point for breaking enterprise information into such manageable pieces.  I’ve seen organisations start with technology (structured database, records, documents, email, HTML etc.).  I’ve seen others start by the subject being covered (customer, finance, human resources, product etc.).

A better approach is to ask how the information is used by the business.  Over many years, I have come to the conclusion that there are four ways that information is used.

The first use is the measurement of performance from executive to operations (for example the Balanced Scorecard).  The second use is to navigate the organisation via location, product, staff, customer or other common concepts (for example Master Data or Dimensional Models).  The third is to describe the business in an abstract or atomic way (for example third normal form data models in the data warehouse or the Enterprise Content Management repository).  Finally, the fourth is the operational system data which sits in front of the customer or production-line process.

Readers who are interested in exploring these ideas further can read a more detailed article on the Four Layers of Information.

Category: Enterprise Data Management, Information Management, Information Strategy, MIKE2.0
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by: Sean.mcclowry
16  Jul  2009

Community building – by the numbers

To see some great research on the dynamics of building a community, check a series of posts by Christopher Allan:

http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/2008/09/group-threshold.html
http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/2008/11/personal-circle.html
http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/2009/03/power-laws.html

The numbers behind the approach are very interesting – helping to provide insight on what it will take to be successful on MIKE2.0 and the FISDEV projects. But my suspicion is that the dynamics for our approach are a bit different – due to the complexity of structured collaboration around a methodology (making things harder) and the greater sponsorship we have from corporates (hopefully increasing collaboration).

If you are interested in some great case studies on what it takes to get a collaborative community going, I highly recommend reading Christopher’s work!

Tags: ,
Category: Web2.0
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by: Sean.mcclowry
15  Jul  2009

Reporting from the future

Jason Kolb provides a great post on predictive analytics. Its powerful stuff, but technology is values-neutral and can cause issues just as it can help solve them. To see analytics applied for good, check out this presentation by Hans Rosling.

As with any complex system, its easy to get things wrong and you need to be really smart to really screw up. But investment banks won’t try and stop predicting the future and people won’t stop playing on the edge. The predictive analytics genie is definitely out of the bottle, the goal is make sure these predictions have some controls, and understanding of data lineage and regulations around risk. That’s one of the reasons why I think Information Development is so important.

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Category: Business Intelligence, Information Development
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by: Sean.mcclowry
15  Jul  2009

open-sustainability

One of the topics I have been writing about for a while is the concept of open-sustainability. open-sustainability is an approach that applies-information centric techniques to solve challenges related to Sustainable Development. The complete framework for an integrated approach to sustainability is available at www.open-sustainability.org.
but you can also read about it on the MIKE2.0 site.

We set up MIKE2.0 and open-sustainability so they work together, drawing in sustainability professional to have an information-centric view and information management professionals to the sustainability challenge.

One of the key principles is around balancing the different dimensions of the problem. Bill Johnston also wrote a good post on this subject. Only with sophisticated IM techniques can be find this balance – spreadsheets aren’t going to do the trick.

Tags:
Category: Sustainable Development
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by: Robert.hillard
05  Jul  2009

To Pluto and back

Richard Wray, writing recently in The Guardian, pointed out that the volume of data held is now estimated at 487 billion GB.  To put this in perspective he explained that in printed form this would form a pile that would stretch to Pluto 10 times over.  The really staggering statistic, however, was that if this data were printed then the stack would grow faster than NASA’s fastest rocket.  I haven’t checked the stats, but a quick back of the envelope calculation suggests he’s in the right order of magnitude.

What does this mean?  Apart from the staggering numbers, it tells us that the problem for organisations isn’t holding large amounts of information – they already do that.  Nor is the problem necessarily how to index that information – increasingly they have defined information standards to do that.  The real problem is its continual growth – very few taxonomies or models properly account for the rapid rate of growth.

MIKE2.0 hosts a new generation of Information Management techniques which are designed to deal less with the data you have now and more with the data that you are likely to gain in the future.   A great place to start is with the SAFE architecture.

Category: Information Governance, Information Management, Information Strategy, MIKE2.0
3 Comments »

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