Monthly Archives: June 2013

Making Data tell a Story

Great, simple and compelling (just over 3mins) and if you like this, have a look at Rosling’s TED talks.

Data Science 101

I don’t think anybody does it better than Hans Rosling. In the following video he helps to explain population growth, child mortality, and fossil fuel usage based upon wealth. I love how he uses toy blocks and chips to help visualize his point.

See the original post from the Guardian, Hans Rosling: the man who’s making data cool

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The Future of I.T. – This is IT!

In the past four blog posts I’ve been discussing the individual trends of Social, Mobile and Big Data. To save you time if you haven’t read them I argued that the underlying value of each of these trends are:
–          Social’s value is tapping into the community or crowd
–          Mobile’s value is in the fact that everyone and everything is going to be connected.
–          Big Data’s value is in understanding what the data has to tell us.

Now I gave examples how each of these trends have been used by companies and people to change the way that they do things. These niche applications are very specific to an organisation or person, however what everyone wants to know are the benefits that are applicable to most organisations.

What I’ve found is that the benefits multiply when you look for applications at the intersections of these trends.


Social meets Mobile

When the crowd is connected it revolutionises engagement, giving rise to new support models, new way to achieve customer intimacy, new merchandizing methods and new ways industries.

Many organisations are facilitating the service of their products by the crowd. Look at any technology company and you will find a ‘discussion forum’ and or a connection between their products and the crowd. Crowd sources customer service is becoming the norm for the IT industry and its improving customer satisfaction. Not only does the crowd not involve a call centre and a level one script but it also offers real-world advise on best practices!

I took up cycling about two years ago, and to keep motivated I used an app called Strava. At the time I spoke about how this application that tracks people riding and allows them to virtually ride with others, as well as compete against them gave a new dimension to the cold mornings out. Since then there have been a flurry of other initiatives where communities have connected to each other to change the nature of interactions. Everyone knows about garage sales but today the largest garage sale of all eBay has gone way beyond the local neighbourhood as well as past just second had stuff. Craft markets are being replaced by and even borrowing the neighbour’s car is now being put online with or where you can rent your neighbours car in  peer-to-peer rental system.

Big Data meets a Connected World

The ability to augment the human with data can dramatically alter any interaction and any decision. Also understanding what ‘things’ are telling us could improve reliability, performance and efficiency.

Although Google Glass is getting a reputation to be the “nerd’iest” thing on the planet, think about the concept of providing information to you as you do about your normal daily activities. For example you look at an item in a shop and can instantly get the details of the item, the reviews of others and comparative pricing, won’t that change your shopping experience?

Is there information in your organisation that would help someone make a better decision, improve their service to a customer, I’m sure the answer is yes. The issue is getting the relevant information to the relevant person at the relevant time! So we need to start thinking if you would like a side of data with that.

Secondly, in this complex technological world how much better could our systems perform if we understood exactly what was going on. For example: EMC runs a relatively large e-mail set-up to support 60 000 odd users. This single, complex system does have a lot of moving parts and as such does suffer issues that affect users. EMC undertook a project to capture the logs and information from the e-mail system and the infrastructure it runs on and then correlate this to ‘failures’ as reported to the helpdesk. Now EMC can predict when a situation is forming which is likely to affect users, and these can be averted by taking action.

The information is out there, we just have to understand what it is saying.

Crowd meets Big Data

Understanding that the crowd is saying and where they are going is key to anyone producing or servicing people!

A fun example is, a dating site that took a ‘big data’ route to differentiating itself. I believe they have about 500 questions that they ask of people to enable them to match couples up. According to their entry on Wikipeadia, (here), their couples have a better ‘quality score’ than the average and twice as likely to report their marriages as ‘extremely happy’. (Their stats.)

Well do I need to say more if there is some evidence that it works in a subject as complex as relationships and love?

Understanding the social trends leads to a predictive enterprise, revolutionises the development of new products and services as well as gives a new dimension to branding and marketing.

To summarise, if you are looking to drive meaningful change to your organisation all you have to do is leverage the Internet of Everything, tap into the power of the crowd and understand what the data is telling you!