InformationWeek editors talk with IT professionals in interviews that inform, entertain, and educate listeners on the hottest trends and biggest issues in digital business.
Successful Analytics is All About the Infrastructure
Few areas of enterprise computing have had the business impact of analytics. Since the earliest implementation of information technology in the corporation, executives and managers have used processes and technology to analyze business activity in the hopes of doing better in the future. From the IT department's perspective, getting analytics right is one of the most important jobs there is. That's why it's so critical that IT professionals get the analytics architecture right.
Unfortunately, many companies are trying to do the critical business analysis of today (and tomorrow) with yesterday's analytics architecture. According to Claudia Imhoff, there's no way you can get analytics right if you have the wrong architecture. Explaining why that's so -- and what to do about it -- makes Imhoff an InformationWeek Expert Voice.
Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books has written more than 150 articles for technical and business magazines. She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT.
In this conversation with InformationWeek executive editor for technical content Curtis Franklin, Imhoff began by talking about the three broad categories of analytics -- Descriptive, Diagnostic, and Predictive -- and why most companies are still stuck on the oldest and most basic form of descriptive analytics. She then turned to what enterprise IT needs to do to add more valuable analytics to their portfolio, and where in the architecture these additional analytics steps should be taking place.
The discussion continued with an examination of the missteps to avoid when implementing analytics and the considerations that should be taken in deciding between different components and designs for different analytical purposes. Finally, Imhoff talked about the differences between the analytics tools available to larger and smaller organizations and whether it's possible for smaller companies to use analytics to compete more successfully with larger players.
This latest episode in the Expert Voice series has information for CIOs and for hands-on managers. If your executive committee is looking to you and your department to answer the critical what/why/how long questions of business, then this conversations should be on your "must listen" list.
Intel's Shooting Star: Drones As a Compute Platform
Intel is in the drone business. It is, of course, in many other businesses, but on November 4 the company released a video showing a fleet of 500 drones creating an illuminated display under the control of a single operator. Besides requiring regulatory relief from aviation authorities, the demonstration required that 500 individual computers work as a unit. The drones had become a single compute platform.
The idea that drones might be a compute platform used by industry, civil authorities, and entertainment companies is new but some would consider it inevitable, since drones have long been thought of as part of the Internet of Things. Anil Nanduri is one who does think of drones as a compute platform and he's the subject of this episode of InformationWeek's Expert Voice.
Anil V. Nanduri is vice president in the New Technology Group and general manager of Unmanned Aviation Systems for the Perceptual Computing Group at Intel Corporation. He's responsible for Intel’s unmanned aviation systems business. Nanduri initially joined Intel in 1997 as a chipset design engineer. His contributions to Intel’s mobile platforms have earned him three Intel Achievement Awards.
The Intel Shooting Star, the drone shown in the mass-flight demonstration, is a platform purpose-built for aerial displays. In the interview, Nanduri talked about purpose-built platforms as well as platforms with broader applications. He also explained the role that software plays in drone control, both for individual and mass drone operations.
IT professionals might initially wonder what drones have to do with their work but Nanduri makes it clear that the technology developed for drones and the lessons learned in its application will have an impact on every business that's touched by the Internet of Things.
Is Your Future Hyperconverged?
7 Keys To Building A Successful Big Data Infrastructure
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"Hyperconverged infrastructure" sounds like the urban setting for Buck Rogers. Sure, we've been talking about it for a while, but is it a real thing or is it just a label marketing teams came up with for tried and true converged systems? In this episode of InformationWeek's Expert Voice, we get some answers and a look at where this futuristic-sounding technology might take us.
Our guest this week is Stu Miniman, principal analyst at Wikibon and host of theCUBE. Stu is an active member of the networking (Ethernet and SAN), virtualization (vExpert 2011, 2012, 2013) and cloud communities. He is a proponent of linking information and people in IT by leveraging the latest tools and processes from the innovation and social media communities.
Previously, Stu worked at EMC for 10 years; with a primary focus on storage networking and virtualization technologies. Prior to EMC he worked with voice/video/data solutions at Lucent Technologies, and power solutions at American Power Conversion.
In a wide-ranging conversation conducted via Skype, Stu talked about the definition of the hyperconverged infrastructure, who might use it and why, and where the technology is likely to be heading in the next few years. Along the way we also covered integration issues, virtualization concerns, and whether "hyperconverged" is another way of saying, "you can't do it yourself.
Is a hyperconverged infrastructure in your future -- or even in your present? What do you think about the term, and about the technology it describes? In the podcast, you'll hear from an Expert Voice. We'd love to hear from you, too. Tell us about your experience with hyperconverged infrastructures in the comments here -- we look forward to a very converged conversation!
A New Platform Under the Golden Arches
When you have to on-board more than 700,000 people a year, training becomes a very, very big deal. Think about it: if each of those people is earning $10 an hour and it takes 10 hours to train someone before they can be productive, then you're looking at $70 million a year in training costs. If you can shave even one hour off the average training time, then you're looking at some very real money represented in savings.
That very real money is part of the reason that McDonalds Corporation pays such close attention to the technology used to train new employees for the corporate office and in franchise stores. Jack Sylvester is in charge of that technology and recently InformationWeek ran an article on the new training infrastructure McDonalds has put in place.
In that new infrastructure McDonalds is using a platform from Inkling, a SaaS provider that wants companies to use documents, not files, as the atomic units of information. To explain what that means, and how McDonalds is using the platform, this episode of InformationWeek's Expert Voice brings you Jack Sylvester and Matt McKiness, founder and CEO of Inkling, to talk about the new training infrastructure.
Training materials and operational manuals have moved from paper to mobile devices, and that has allowed training to move from back rooms to the kitchen and front of store where trainees can work "shoulder to shoulder" with their more experienced teammates. The result, according to Sylvester, is faster training, better results, and more involved, motivated team members.
How does your organization train new employees? Have you exchanged files for documents in your workflow? Let us know in the comments -- and remember, you can subscribe to InformationWeek's Expert Voice on iTunes or Google Play.
Two Voices on Infrastructure Monitoring with Splunk
Sometimes you talk with an expert about their strategic view. Sometimes you talk with an expert about their tactics and tools. And once in a while, you get to talk about both when you sit down with someone who's been doing their job well for a long time.
For this episode of InformationWeek's Expert Voice we went to the Splunk .conf2016 in Orlando, FL to talk with people who build all or part of their job strategy around intense monitoring of the computing infrastructure. We bring two of those interviews to you in this podcast -- and the two are from very different viewpoints.
The first interview is with Steven Hatch, who manages the Splunk deployment at Cox Automotive, a large publisher in the automotive industry. He's using Splunk to monitor the infrastructure in 40 different data centers and serve the needs of internal customers across all the business units that employ systems in those data centers. In addition, he's working with a team to collapse those 40 data centers down to about 4 -- with no loss of capability or function in the site reduction.
Next, we interviewed Atif Ghauri, CTO of The Herjavic Group, a large security service provider with customers around the world. Atif needs to monitor his own infrastructure for performance and security, and he needs to provide security monitoring to his customers, so he's using the monitoring tool for both internal and external customers. It's a different take on why those monitored functions are so critical -- but it's no less important than the functions that Hatch keeps within his sights.
Each of these executives brings years of experience to their use of monitoring and their choice of tools -- what do you think of the ideas they bring to the Expert Voice? We'd love for this to be a conversation -- let us know how you're using monitoring tools (and which monitoring tools you're using) in the comment section!
Music for this episode is "Skinny Leonard" by David Hyde. Expert Voice's theme is "Parasite" by Lamprey.
Jessica Davis Interviews Thomas Laur of SAP Connected Health
Looking to capitalize on the opportunities for organizations in healthcare IT, enterprise applications vendor SAP this summer formed a new organization, the Connected Health group, and named Thomas Laur as the organization's new president.
The new Connected Health group brings together several existing initiatives within SAP to address the healthcare market holistically, SAP said, in its announcement of its formation in August.
[Looking for another use case for data visualization? Read How Data Visualization Can Improve Your Workspace.]
Laur brings many years working in business and healthcare to the new role, most recently as the CEO of Sutherland Healthcare Solutions. His experience has put in in the catbird seat for observing trends in IT in general and the healthcare IT market in particular.
"Healthcare globally is going through unprecedented change as a result of new medical insights, technological advancements, and the changing expectations of patients," Laur, said in a statement when his appointment was announced. "Because SAP technology supports the entire cycle of care, from providers to researchers to patients, we are uniquely positioned to drive digital innovation across the healthcare system through a connected health platform. I'm thrilled to join the SAP team at this critical moment in the evolution of healthcare."
To find out more about the trends in healthcare IT and why this is such a critical moment in its evolution, we caught up with Thomas Laur for this podcast interview.