TDWI Conference Keynote: "The End of the Beginning: Looking Beyond Today's BI"
The media today are talking about the maturing of the
information economy and how business intelligence has become a commodity.
"Big data" hype says the relational database is a dead-end and BI is
headed that direction too. They point out deficiencies in the scalability and
features of technologies designed for a world of scarce information, not
The tools of BI provide little functionality beyond
querying data and presenting it on a screen. They don’t do much that was not
done 15 years ago—they just do it better and faster.
Strata London 2012 Keynote, "Information Overload Through the Ages: What Can We Learn?"
The real challenge ahead of us is not accumulating more information, or processing more information, or analytics, or replacing relational databases, or scaling data (i.e. not the 3 Vs). The real challenge is solving the information glut problem. Big data is another code word for the technology underlying the information age. It can be directed to make information overload worse by surfacing everything, everywhere, all the time, or it can be directed at making information more useful by making it more manageable and directed.
This talk shows some of the history of information explosions and their subsequent effects on use, i.e. reading and writing, remembering, etc. and translates a few of the abstract patterns used in the past to the present era of big (and not big) data tools and technology. The goal is point out the still unfilled gaps in our information processing and delivery environments and encourage focus on these areas when doing a project or when considering what features to build into a new tool.
Video of Strata New York 2011 Keynote, "First, Firster, Firstest"
History seems irrelevant in the software world, particular when dealing with lots of information. It isn't. Information explosions are not new. They've happened repeatedly throughout human history. A little looking will turn up prior incarnations of information management patterns and concepts that can be repurposed using today's technologies.
The first person to conceive of something is usually not the first. They're the first to re-conceive at a point where the current technology caught up to someone else's idea. We're at a point today where many old ideas are being reinvented. Come hear why looking to the past beyond your core field of interest is worthwhile.
Mythology of Big Data keynote from the O'Reilly Strata conference
This is the keynote I gave at the last O'Reilly Strata conference on the mythology of big data. It's shortened from the original outline, focusing on the primary myth: the 49er-style finding of gold nuggets to make one rich.
Boone Oakley is an advertising firm that made their website into a YouTube video. Their domain redirects to this video. After you start playing it, you can navigate via buttons integrated into the video to other areas of the "site", which are videos themselves. With embedding, they found a way to make their web site portable across other people's web site.
It's clever and entertaining, but may be the same kind of frustrating that so many flash-driven sites are. Oh, and they have an excellent page on their vision.
I came across WFMU's Beware of the Blog post on How to Speak Hip which includes mp3s of all the tracks on the 1959 LP. I had this album at one point but lost it. Blew my wig to collar a digital copy. Icing is that this post includes the booklet that came with the LP plus links to Cab Calloway's hepster dictionary and Vout-o-Reenee.
I still need to replace Lord Buckley. Was searching for some missing Buckley when I stumbled on this treasure trove.
After the Nth go-round of "it's broken", "it's clearance" with American Express on the dispute with Sit-4-Less regarding their ability to ship parts of a product rather than the whole thing, I decided to try a different approach.
I'm now writing to the various company CEOs directly with the following letter. I'm open to other suggestions, so long as they don't involve violence. At least not prosecutable violence.
Here's the most recent letter, with key information redacted. I've always wanted to publish a redacted document. It makes me feel like a journalist protecting his sources, similar to Bob Woodward during Watergate. In this case, it may be more like Carl Kolchak. I liked The Night Stalker series. Inspired me to be a reporter. That was after I decided astronaut wasn't as easy to achieve as Tang made it appear.
June 3, 2009 American Express PO Box 981532 El Paso, TX 79998 Dispute #xxxxxxx
To whom it may concern,
I am writing in regard to the request for more information on a dispute I have with Sit-4-Less regarding a charge of $$.
Since AMEX last contacted the vendor in April, I received an abused unmarked box with 4 screws in it (on April 22). The intent of this gift was a mystery until I noticed that the return address is where Sit-4-Less ships from. While the screws would allow me to attach the back of a chair to its base, they don't solve the primary problem area, namely "back of chair".
I need an office chair that can be used for sitting as opposed to the one from Sit-4-Less which is more suitable as a sculpture or stand for a pet parrot.
Not having a parrot, I am at a loss as to what I should do with this "chair".I suspect the assembly and adjustment manual that accompanies a Herman Miller chair explains how to use it for pets other than parrots when one can't use it for sitting. Sadly, this manual was lost along with a few other parts that might contribute to the classical definition of a chair when Sit-4-Less improperly packed it for shipment.
To help explain my position, I've included a diagram showing the consensus definition of a "Herman Miller office chair." Note: consensus is defined by my wife asking "How exactly are you going to sit on that thing? It's missing parts." which demonstrates our agreement. (Apologies for the crudeness of my diagram. I often slept in art class due to the early morning start.)
Diagram 1: purpose of chair parts
Diagram 2: components of a chair
Diagram 3: Einsteinian thought experiment involving chair, me, and a parrot
Missing any of these elements changes an office chair into another class of product, say "hurricane-strength paperweight" or "perch for large avian beasts."
While Sit-4-Less demonstrates true American business efficiency by selling partial chairs as clearance items, it would be helpful if they would label them as such. Perhaps they could call them something other than "chair" or add a footnote that reads "item can't be used for sitting, but will be helpful to parrot owners."
I suspect the "4-Less" part of Sit-4-Less derives from their ability to ship one chair's parts to two customers, a wholesale savings to them of 50%, not to mention lower shipping costs. I'm partly to blame for assuming the name was an indication that I would benefit from the "4-Less" part as well as the "Sit".
If these practices are what AMEX expects from businesses, I will plan better in the future by exploring the types of pets that can use half-assembled products as perches. A vulture would be cool. I've always been fond of iguanas too. Do you think they would get along?
Regardless, this complaint has been open for almost a year for one reason: Sit-4-Less sent me an improperly packed product in a damaged box and made no effort to correct the problem for almost 9 months, during which time I bought a new (real) chair. My niece would like me to add that the new chair's wheels do, in fact, go round and round.
I would appreciate your attention the matter of getting me a refund or return. I can be reached at ###-###-####, day or night, although at night I sometimes stub my toe on the Sit-4-Less bird perch while trying to reach the phone, so please don't take the swearing personally as that is not my intent.
We did a live web radio broadcast last week on SaaS last week that I forgot to blog about. Eric Kavanagh (you may remember him from the TDWI webcast program) has branched out into live online radio sessions and they're fun to listen to. There have been a bunch of interesting topics on DMRadio, including column store databases, virtualization, dashboards and pervasive BI. It's better live since you can ask questions, but the archives are available.
I spend a lot of time at my desk, so I bought a decent Aeron chair from Sit-4-Less. Don't make the same mistake.
When they say a chair is "fully loaded", it doesn't mean the same thing that it does to Herman Miller. Ideally, you get all the various adjustments plus some sort of back support. Sit-4-Less appears to strip the back support and still label the chairs "fully loaded", without discounting for that fact.
They also shipped me a torn up box with an allen wrench taped to the inside and no screws. Makes it kind of hard to sit in since there's no way to attach the back, minus pieces of course. Their first response was "Did you lose the screws?" The best way to establish rapport with the customer is definitely to go on the offensive. I have screws coming, but they say that they won't include the back support, one of the reasons I ordered the damn thing in the first place.
Looks like a dispute on the credit card charge until they take the return or refund me some money. Bottom line: buying on eBay doesn't look so bad any more.
Update: never received screws. AMEX dispute shows a slipe to some guy in Oklahoma. I hope he enjoys the gift of chair parts.
Update 2: still no action
Update 3: 9 months later, I receive screws! Obviously they've come up with a unique way to create chair parts requiring a human surrogate mother. I wonder how long for the rest of the chair? Perhaps its elephant surrogates for the bigger pieces. I hear elephants gestate longer.
Live Online Radio: Emerging Technologies for Information Delivery
DMRadio has a live show on Friday, March 28 at noon Pacific, 3:00 PM Eastern, about emerging trends in the information market, including open source, data and web 2.0. It's live, meaning you can ask questions of the panel, unlike regular podcasts, so have at it.
The lineup is excellent, and not just because I'm on it. The other people will be Dan Gisolfi of IBM, Chris Keene of Wavemaker and Doug Moran of Pentaho. What I find most interesting is that we're all talking about emerging technologies, and every one of us has an affiliation with open source.
Here's the description for the broadcast:
Convergence, Emergence – Part III
Mash-ups, composite apps, SOA and open-source – these emerging trends present game-changing possibilities for the information manager. Which companies and technologies should you track? Tune into DM Radio’s next broadcast: An Information Revolution, Part III, to learn from some of today’s brightest stars: Dan Gisolfi from IBM’s Emerging Internet Technologies group; Doug Moran, VP of community and co-founder of Pentaho; Chris Keene, CEO of Wavemaker; and special guest host, Mark Madsen of Third Nature.
In parts I and II, we talked about convergence. In this segment, we’ll talk emergence. Topics covered will include: what constitutes a mash-up, and why it can be so powerful; what “situational apps” are all about; how much traction open-source is really getting; the “other shoe” dropping in the open-source evolution; how AJAX can streamline creation of Web apps, despite its single-threaded Achilles heel; and how the composite app might just unravel the enterprise software licensing ball of yarn.
If you miss it, you'll be able to download an mp3 later. Check it out.
There's going to be an open source session with some presentations, demos and networking at the Silicon Valley TDWI chapter meeting on Thursday, February 28 from 2:00 - 5:30 in San Francisco. This event is open to the public (and it's free!) but you do need to register first.
The announcement and agenda is listed below:
Attention All Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence Professionals in the Silicon Valley Area
We cordially invite you to attend our upcoming TDWI Silicon Valley Chapter meeting on February 28, 2008. Come meet other local BI/DW professionals, swap business cards, share ideas, and exchange career advice while listening to quality presentations in a vendor-neutral setting, which is the hallmark of TDWI events. TDWI Chapter meetings are open to all BI/DW professionals and are FREE of charge. In addition, when you attend a TDWI Chapter meeting, you are eligible for a 10% discount towards a new, renewed, or extended TDWI Membership. Don't forget the prizes! At each event our sponsors graciously donate fantastic prizes. Past giveaways include Apple iPods, TVs, DVD Players, and more. Please see the agenda below.
When: Thursday, February 28, 2008, 2:00 – 5:30 p.m. Where: A.P. Giannini Theater at the Bank of America Building 555 California Street, San Francisco, CA (Theater is on the ground floor off the California Street Entrance)
Agenda: 2:00 - 2:25 p.m. Mingle with your colleagues over light refreshments 2:30 - 2:45 p.m. Welcome, Chapter Intro, TDWI Goals 2:45 - 3:15 p.m. The State of Open Source BI - Mark Madsen 3:25 - 3:45 p.m. Vendor Demo - JasperSoft 3:45 - 4:05 p.m. Vendor Demo - Talend 4:05 - 4:20 p.m. Networking Break 4:20 - 5:15 Panel Discussion on Open Source Software moderated by Mark Madsen. The panel includese professionals from JasperSoft, Pentaho, and Talend as well as other users of Open Source technology. 5:15 - 5:20 p.m. Close
The third annual Open Source Think Tank hosted by the Olliance Group and DLA Piper starts tomorrow in Napa Valley, CA. This is an invitation-only event for leading open source thinkers to collaborate on ways to resolve commercial open source issues. I'm looking forward to the sessions, though I wonder if discussion will be dominated by the MySQL and Yahoo acquisitions. It's not off-topic, but I'm hoping that things stay on track for the primary topic, the future of commercial open source, rather than current mergers and acquisitions.
One problem I've seen with lots of writing about open source companies is that somehow, because it's open source, it must always be non-profit. While I personally believe there should always be a matching, freely downloadable version to what is offered under subscription, I don't think that means you can't sell closed software to supplement the open software. "Commercial" and "open source" are not opposite ends of the spectrum, they're orthogonal.
I've been seeing resistance to open source adoption above the infrastructure layer. Lots of reasons having to do with FUD, but some good valid ones too. Skillsets is a big one.
The thing is, why is skills a problem, when we find skills for other development / IT jobs? I think this is a symptom, and the real disease is the lack of finishing in OSS applications. Some are good, but many others involve several packages, and there are version incompatibilities, and you quickly run into problems that require knowing Apache + Tomcat or Jboss + perl or Java, etc. ad nauseum.
Heck, I've had that problem with using two different Business Objects products which under the hood deploy on open source technologies. It's pretty bad when even a COTS vendor is having troubles - their answer was, run these two applications on different servers because the Tomcat versions are incompatible.
Until the applications install and run as promised without worrying about dependency ugliness and conflicts, as well as polished documentation and troubleshooting manuals, I think OSS applications will stay in the underdog category.
Justice Scalia and the other members of the high court were not persuaded by arguments that “one-party rule” effectively denied some people “a fair shot” at a judicial nomination.
“The reason one-party rule is entrenched may be (and usually is) that voters approve of the positions and candidates that the party regularly puts forward,” Justice Scalia wrote.
Yes, that piece of brilliant logic comes from a supreme court justice. Single party rule is very democratic. Working great in Pakistan. Hugo Chavez would agree. North Korea seems amenable to the concept. It's being demonstrated in practice in Burma. I'm glad the republican-appointed judiciary agrees. Maybe we can entrench that style of democracy in the US.
A couple days ago the news came out that Network Solutions (evil bastard domain registrar you should avoid like the plague) is swiping domains when you search. If you go to their site and search for a domain, they will automatically register it and then offer to sell it to you. They get away with this because of a rule that allows domains to be registered for 5 days without payment. They can take advantage of unsuspecting consumers and if no purchase results, free up the domain 5 days later. Register.com has been accused of the same thing in the past.
As proof, I did searches on a few and then checked them and sure enough, they were taken. Here are screenshots as proof. First, I searched a bunch of domain names. See how the Network Solutions site shows them as free (except one someone beat me to): Then I went to GoDaddy and used their domain search and these same domains are all shown as taken, registered to Network Solutions: If you want to cause them some pain, search for copyrighted or trademarked names and then notify the rights holders.
I've been updating materials from one of my future-oriented presentations and came across this video on the future of cars from 1958. I think the only thing they got right was suburban sprawl. Lots more of these retro-future videos on Youtube. It's funny how people were saying things like "It's useless. Who wants to watch kids on skateboards all day?" at YouTube's inception. Another example of poor predictions.
Black Box Voting has an article up about how bad the Diebold electronic voting machines really are. Three different hacks were described. To make it worse, some states like deservedly maligned Florida, have laws forbidding counting of paper ballots so there's no mechanism to look for manipulated elections. This company should be forced out of business. Let's hope your state isn't one using their machines.
One thing we lack in most of America is mystery, like this supposed discovery of mysteries under Tokyo. Although it might land us in the land of Focault's Pendulum, which incidentally makes for a fun comparison to WTC conspiracy theories
Great article in Discover on the effects of the toxic dust from the WTC building collapse. Yet another thing to add to the list of governmental failures. After reading this, it's hard to believe that anyone would consider Giuliani for any job, no matter how small.
TDWI (particularly Wayne Eckerson) has always had a hangup about using Excel for BI, typically calling BI done in Excel "spreadmarts". While I don't fully agree that using Excel is as bad as people say it is, there are definitely some problems if it's not used in the proper context. So this link is for Wayne: how Excel becomes a database.
I'm an uncool person. I'm used to that fact. However, I have an affinity for cool people and cool things. That means that I'm often a leading indicator. The hard part is knowing what for, since I'm uncool. I once thought about doing work as a coolhunter but I don't have an affinity for the work, other than self-absorption. However, I've turned this to better use in the tech industry where I've been right the past few years much more often than I've been wrong (for a funny take on wrong, check IDC and the Itanic or Gartner and Qwest).
So on to my 2008 prediction: Goatees are Gone. I sported a goatee starting in the early 90's, where I was often frowned at by IT and consultants as some sort of freakish hippy. But around the mid-90's suddenly everyone had them. About two years ago I decided that it needed to go, and finally started shaving earlier this year, blending in again with the trendy web developer crowd. And now it's official: goatees are out (if it's made fun of in Dilbert then it's definitely uncool).
If you doubt my powers of prognostication, consider that I was right (2-3 years ahead) about the rise of coffeehouses, southwest cuisine, US wine consumption, sushi, ecotourism, commercial blogging, bold home and restaurant color schemes, the non-starting of natural language search, online video sharing and square dinner plates (which you can now get anywhere but which I had to search for weeks).
I was also way off on real estate investment in the bay area in the late 90s, Microstrategy dying after suing one too many customers, and MDM products, conflating them with Modern Drunkard Magazine and giving them (not the practice but the products) a pass. Never claimed to be perfect.
Out of all the hotel sites, I've found TripAdvisor to be the most helpful when looking for hotels in places I haven't been. They seem to have more hotel reviews than other travel sites. I often use review sites when I'm unsure of the neighborhood, general location, etc. Reviews here have saved me from staying at some dirty, nasty places (I looked in on a few that I passed on recently).
They've been adding features over time and done some site updating. One feature I played with was the "where have you been" map, which I'm sure is all over the web. It was a little slow on adding pins, but I had fun thinking of all the places I've been and have yet to go. It seem like a lot until I looked at all the blank places on the globe:
I'm at conferences a lot, and I listen to a fair number of webcasts and podcasts. My one piece of advice to presenters is get to the point. Today I listened to 25 minutes of a 1 hour talk on what should be an interesting topic. The first 9 minutes got me through the introduction and landed me at the "agenda" slide. Several minutes on agenda got to the actual topic intro, and a few minutes of this finally got to the presentation material I wanted to hear. 25 minutes of that and it was Q&A time. 14 minutes of wastage to 25 minutes of content is a very poor ratio.
This is why I never listen to webcasts live. I can skip all this crap in recorded webcasts and podcasts.
To speakers: I listen so I can learn. I do not listen so I can hear about your career history or how wonderful and super-special your company is. I don't listen to learn about travel, hotels, your mother's bursitis and particularly your pets and children.
I rate people very low when they waste my time (and I know others do the same to me). Here are some things to avoid that will help you to get better ratings:
Minimize personal introduction - Who you are, where you're from, and a small amount of credentials for background is all anyone needs. If we want more we'll Google you, ok?
Minimize agenda - We don't need a detailed breakdown of what will be on every slide in the talk. Show the agenda, hit a couple highlights, and get to the talk. Total time for these two things should be no more than 2-3 minutes, tops.
Ignore the "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them" advice - It's bullshit. Agenda and a summary are fine for this. Don't tell me the same crap three times or we'll think you're suffering from a head injury.
Really, just getting to the point will put you well ahead of the other guys. You know who the worst offenders often are? The people who should know better: industry analysts like me. It's just that most of us are prima donnas who can't be bothered to read our speaker ratings.
Must Be Something in the Water: "open season" on Industry Analysts
I've noticed a significant uptick in Gartner criticism over the past 6 months. From little offhanded remarks at conferences (like mine when looking at a couple of their quadrants related to integration), to Colin's statements about their relevance, to this, the strongest reference I've seen in print:
"No show ripping on Novell and Red Hat would be complete without a helping of cynicism directed at Sun Microsystems, Facebook and the masters of the felch spoon over at Gartner."
...which is part of the description of the Open Season podcast this week. Trash-talking is always entertaining. Now, I happen to know some of the Gartner analysts and like them. I also know some that I'd like to bang repeatedly with a shovel. But as an organization, I don't think it offers much of a service to the industry given how products and technologies are evaluated and how those evaluations are paid for. The problem is that if Gartner went away today, some other company would soon become exactly like they are. Reality in the analyst world is that there is a love-hate relationship between vendors and analysts, and there are constant ethical challenges and real or perceived conflicts of interest that you have to watch out for. The slow erosion of the profit motive over telling the truth leads to the current trust situation, in the same way it has worked to destroy the journalistic tradition in so many countries, particularly the US. If anything, I look at some of the analyst firms the same way I look at Fox "news". Analysts should be like investigative journalists. Often they are forced to soft-pedal negatives by their managers to avoid jeopardizing revenue. More insidious is self-censoring (like the white house press corps or the celebrity TV interviewers) where negatives or embarrassments are avoided for fear of losing access. OMG! Tom Cruise isn't talking to Gartner and went to Forrester instead! Except in this case Gartner is like an important tabloid you don't want to anger. What the market really needs today is an analyst firm that tracks analyst firms, rates their predictions, examines their conflicts and assesses the quality of their work. Maybe the Open Season can create an annual "felch spoon" award too.
The open source BI channel is up and running at the B-Eye Network. I'll be collecting resources, papers, sites as well as blogging about open source over there, so there won't be many OSS posts in these parts any more. Other BI-related or emerging tech content is landing over at Intelligent Enterprise now. Plus there's this whole new emerging tech site I've been working on that hasn't launched yet. I've been slowly distributing myself across the Interweb. I hope one day to dissolve into the network like that dude in TRON.
That mainly leaves items of interest like this great review of Amazon's Kindle ebook reader , killing all the annoying hype about the latest device that won't take the market by storm because of brain-dead EULAs and DRM. It also leaves this as the place for snarky comments and things that aren't safe for work so would get pulled from the other sites.
I need to get a new laptop. The horrors of Vista are scaring me into considering a Mac. I don't use one now even though I spent several years as a Mac developer because all the enterprise software I look at runs under Windows. Turns out I don't need to travel with most of that, so I can be unchained. This video turned up as I was poking around looking for a devil's advocate.
It's the time of year when everyone starts talking about what's going to happen in the market next year. While hanging out after the sessions in Amsterdam, we all got to talking about this. Most agree that nobody is going to buy Microstrategy, IBI or Ab Initio any time soon. Some talk about the BI players who are left, mainly Actuate.
I've been wondering what HP is up to. They bought Knightsbridge and introduced the Neoview, but they haven't got anything else going on. IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP all have data and application integration software. HP doesn't. Would have made more sense for them to buy BEA than for Oracle to. Oracle's buying strategy hasn't made much sense lately. It's like they want to be the ark of software and sell two of everything.
Everyone wonders how long Informatica, Actuate and Teradata will stay standalone, even though TD just separated from NCR.
It looks like all the main BI vendors are going to become application/technology stack elements. The bet is that a couple years from now BOBJ will be for SAP customers, Hyperion/Siebel/etc. will be for Oracle apps (Fusion) customers, Microsoft for Dynamics users, and Cognos for people who are playing the enterprise Java stack. The enterprise stacks (.NET, Java, SAP) are so complicated it's almost impossible not to shove BI functionality into them.
"Imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit. And we’re not talking just your average load of horseshit; no, we’re talking colossal load of horsehit. An epic load of horseshit. The kind of load of horseshit that has accreted over decades and has developed its own sort of ecosystem, from the flyblown chunks at the perimeter, down into the heated and decomposing center, generating explosive levels of methane as bacteria feast merrily on vintage, liquified crap. This is a Herculean load of horseshit, friends, the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Augeas."
Consumer Reports is correcting some misleading TV advertisements. This first video deals with "restless leg syndrome", and it's about time. I'm sick of pharmaceutical ads aimed at specific disease that make it seem like we all might have them, while showing drugs that have side effects far worse than the disease itself. Gambling? Intense sexual urges? Whaaa?
They're just side effects, so they must be minor. Drugs can solve everything! Buy more drugs! Maybe we could use them to solve the homeless veteran problem too!
The Republican party has long shouted the message that "welfare mothers and homeless should just get a job", using it as a rationale for slashing the safety net, preventing passage of medical care reform, and cutting back on services for anyone who serves in the military. Meanwhile, companies like Haliburton, Black Water and KBR defraud the government of tens of millions and face no punishment, only blocked investigations by their political cronies
According to this article, there are roughly 196,000 veterans with nowhere to go, many of them veterans from Iraq versions 1 & 2. This is pretty pathetic for a government hell-bent on using the military wherever possible and calling anyone who opposes them "unpatriotic". I think "patriotic" would mean supporting the people you ask to die for your ideals after they come back from the war you threw them in.
You can do something about this. Vote the bastards out of office and get some people in who give a damn about governing, and help out a homeless shelter with a donation. It's the only safety net left to many of these veterans and they deserve our help.
Not going to work. May as well call WS-* Death-* since that's where it appears to be headed. I've had my head in the sand with "enterprise" web work, doing REST APIs and such, so I surfaced a couple months ago and looked at all this WS-* SOA stuff and also Java stacks/platforms. They make my brain hurt.
All this reminds me of the days of CORBA and object request brokers and how the world would be saved by all this magical interoperability. After a dozen years it almost worked, so we moved on to SOAP which begat WSDL which begat UDDI and together they spawned WS-KitchenSink.
We now have WS-I: Web Services Interoperability. A standard to define interoperability of standards in the WS-* arena because the standards aren't standard enough. Joy! Sure is reminiscent of the early 90's when I gave up on C++ and transaction processing monitors and CORBA and focused on databases and data integration.
I'm glad I've been ignoring the enterprisey web services stuff and paying more attention to how real work gets done in a web 2.0 world. Hopefully the RESTian people will borrow the good bits of WS-* and move everything forward. Seems to be working well enough outside the enterprise where issues WS-* is supposed to address are potentially tougher than inside the enterprise.
Future of Business Intelligence Is Coming From Outside the BI Market
My keynote for the Orlando conference was all about the future. Instead of trying to predict exactly what we would be doing in five years' time, I talked about why it's hard to know that, why the people who do it (us industry analysts) are so often wrong, what we can look at to guess the shape of the future in our market, and some examples of smart people doing work that's already in the next generation of data warehousing.
The slides are posted below. I'll have a transcript posted once I have it cleaned up for public consumption.
The future of business intelligence is most likely going to come from (or be heavily influenced by) consumer web sites, consumer electronics and games. I'm not seeing a lot of real innovation in this market from the major players. They seem to still be adjusting to the architecture change from client-server to basic web 1.0.
At least I know some of my assumptions about the future are right. Cindi Howson mentioned that most customers are still running desktop versions of BI software, so the BI vendors are still having to pay too much attention to the past. While sharing a taxi with Claudia Imhoff I checked my thoughts about the younger generation against her experiences with her daughter. Surprisingly, I got a few things right. She also had some great observations about what people need versus what they want and what IT gives them. See her blog for of her thoughts.
After I hit the keyboard, I turned to this blonde who had been there the previous Friday, the one who told me to wait for the manager, and I said, "Now do I have your attention?"
This popped up after I'd spent the past several days outlining customer service measures and the relationship between customer service and business performance. The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas earned a lot of enemies via lousy service over the past two weeks.
I've wanted to do take a hammer to Delta (possibly the worst airline in the US). Interestingly, someone did a survey and showed that one of the simplest things an airline can do to raise customer satisfaction is to give them a couple more inches of seat space. Next to getting you where you want to go on time. And not lying or screwing you when there's a problem.
US Government Plane With 3.7 Tons of Cocaine Crashes in Mexico
A US plane with 3.7 tons of cocaine crashed in Mexico - a plane spotted at Guantanamo Bay and suspected of being used to transport prisoners. i.e. a CIA plane.
The highly successful "war on drugs" must be going smashingly, since the Bush administration appears to be importing more opponents. Nothing like a dummy US company bringing in drugs under the protection of the CIA. This way we can keep up the supply so the hard-working state and local police have someone to arrest.
No wonder Mexico is getting fed up with US complaints about drug imports. Our own government is doing it to us, just like they did during the Iran-contra mess. If you haven't looked at the Lessig's lecture below, now would be a good time.
If you don't know Lawrence Lessig, he's considered one of the top legal minds in the country and a likely supreme court justice at some point in his career, except that he chose to fight the mess of the US intellectual property system instead (e.g. bad patents, lousy copyrights, and a patent process overrun by greed and incompetence) because he felt that it was compromising our society and economy.
Now he's aiming at the bigger target of government corruption. I hope he becomes this era's Elliot Ness. We need one.
This news is huge, and explains why all the telcos want retroactive immunity for breaking the law: former Qwest CEO says the NSA started illegal surveillance in February, 2001. What does this mean for the effectiveness of our government surveillance? This:
If the program was started in February 2001, then it completely failed to provide any information to help prevent the September, 2001 attacks.
Today, all this warrantless search and spying has been justified as a response to 9/11 and the need to "fight terrorism". But it started 8 months prior? And it was a complete failure?
In other words, illegal domestic spying by the Bush administration has nothing to do with terrorism, and trying to justify it after the fact in light of this total failure is a lie. Now we're on the path to getting a new attorney general who's as bad as Gonzales to help cover it up.
There are people in both parties who oppose covering up these actions and giving the telcos retroactive immunity, but not enough. The rampant corruption in this government never seems to stop and it won't if people don't hold their representatives accountable. Call your congresscritter and tell them not to give up more of your rights.
Holy Crap on My Mom's Shoes - SAP Buys Business Objects
Rumors of Business Objects sale have been going around for years, including a decent one last Monday, although fingering Microsoft as a likely buyer is kind of thick-headed given Microsoft's BI announcements and product lines. That looked more like an attempt at misdirection than anything real.
They're calling this a friendly takeover, although I wonder how many employees will view it that way. With this purchase, the BI market now looks a lot like the ETL market. There's only one large independent vendor in each market - Informatica for ETL and Cognos for BI - and a bunch of mostly smaller companies left.
This is a great thing for SAP since they can now start taking in sales for BI where once it all went to third parties. They also get a decent set of data integration and data quality products to complement SAP's sore applications. It's good for Business Objects too, since this opens up the market for all those SAP accounts.
It's not so great for Business Objects customers long term. SAP isn't known for being a quick, nimble company or for offering reasonably priced products. The stand-alone relationship with SAP may prevent the worst of over-management from a large global corporation from happening. This doesn't mean much for customers over the short term since it shouldn't mean any major changes to existing operations.
This is definitely good news for stockholders since Business Objects said it will report earnings per share of 36 cents to 39 cents, well below projections of 51 cents per share [Reuters Estimates]. They likely would had a drop in share price with an earnings gap that large.
The acquisition is somewhat of a strategy shift for SAP since they have either built their own analytic tools or acquired relatively small companies. The purchase of OutlookSoft was a sign that this could be changing. The Oracle buys of Hyperion and Siebel and the Microsoft BI announcements were putting pressure on SAP since their BI story is comparatively weak.
I'm sure there are going to be lots of interesting questions on the briefing calls Monday morning, and probably a lot of low-content answers. If you feel like listening to the announcements, here's the call in information: dial in number: +1 480 629-9564 (US), +44 207 190 1596 (UK), +49 695 8999 0701 (Germany). Replay number: +1 303 590-3030 (US), +44 207 154 2833 (UK); Replay passcode: 3792655.