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Archive for August, 2015

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.

Tags: ,
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.”


Tags: ,
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.


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.


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.

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Category: Information Governance
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