You don’t need to be a scientist to boost your business with applied mathematics
On 22/9/09 SPSS Inc. announced a new certification process to confirm an individual’s expertise with some of their statistical solutions. “Look at this”, I thought “sophisticated software still requires experts to unfold the value they can provide”. Being a physicist by background, I like it how applied mathematics can improve business. However, not everyone sees beauty in algorithms or is interested in statistics.
I had an interesting inquiry with a client that began with this question - "What is the defniition of a legacy application?" Yikes, I thought - this will be one of those long-ranging, rhetorical discussions that - at the end of the day - lacks the kind of decisive answer clients typically seek during inquiries. The client actually had a good reason for wanting an externally published, formal definition - an external entity was attempting to measure the company's risk by quantifying its exposure to "legacy."
I have grown weary of hearing excuses (for 20 years) from application development professionals about why they are challenged when it comes to developing and delivering applications that meet the expectations of the bus
The open source project, Memcached, is a common staple for many of the largest Web sites including facebook, twitter, wikipedia, and others. The enterprise software vendors haven entered the market and have added features that are more attractive to enterprise IT - especially to Java shops.
In recent months, we have had a significant uptick in client inquiries about distributed cache technologies and how they can be used to improve performance, scale, and reduce costs of Web and application architectures. We are also encountering distributed cache technology in conjunction with other platform technologies such as CEP. There is also an intriguing potential for distributed cache technology to become a staple of cloud computing environments (some might say amazon S3 has the properties of a distributed cache).
Despite the current economic downturn, the need for organizations to create differentiation through unique customer experiences, strive for deeper insight into customer needs and behaviors, and serve customers cost-effectively has not disappeared. The need for “CRM” is not going away.
However, when I surveyed 133 organizations, using at one least of 24 different CRM technology solutions, I found that the risk of a spectacular project failure is still high. These companies reported over 200 problems, comprised of 27 risk areas in four categories. Thirty-three percent of the problems were related to technology; 27% spotlighted inadequate business processes; 22% were related to “people” challenges; and 18% comprised CRM strategy and deployment issues
Consider these statements as they portray your organization. A “Yes” or “No” answer will spotlight the hazards before they sink your program.
1. “The CRM solution we have chosen is mature and well-proven in use at other organizations with requirements similar to our company."
2. “The CRM solution we have chosen is flexible and can be easily adapted to meet unanticipated requirements in the future.”
3. “The CRM solution we have chosen does not have any major functionality deficiency gaps relative to our requirements."
As many of my readers know, for years I’ve been quite skeptical about non-mainstream BI solutions, such as BI SaaS. Security, control, operational risk, data, metadata and application integration are just some of the requirements for enterprise BI that are still on my watch list as potential reasons to be weary about BI SaaS. However, I am also a very pragmatic analyst and truly believe that nothing but supply and demand drive the markets. And I am now, slowly but surely, beginning to believe there couldn’t be a better case for demand for BI SaaS especially after findings from one of the project that I am currently conducting.
I recently talked to a few dozen non-IT professionals (specifically in front office roles, such as sales and marketing) across multiple industries, regions and company sizes. Guess how many of them fully or partially relied on IT for their day to day operational and strategic information needs? BIG FAT ZERO!!! This finding was a huge surprise to me – yes, I did expect to find something like less then 50% reliance on IT, but I surely did not expect to find 0%.
As teams become more agile, or, add more agile like practices to traditional
development practices, I’m seeing increasing frustration on the part of test
managers. Rapid development cycles and scrutinized bottom lines are putting
more pressure on them to deliver comprehensive testing in tighter time
frames. More and more testing is being taken on by development teams, and while
that is a positive trend to be sure. More stringent testing performed by
development is a good thing, as a long time QA manager myself, I used to pray
for consistent unit and integration testing, but, ultimately, developers are not
trained to think in the same way that QA does. Development testing is meant to
ensure that the code, service, or integration performs the way it was conceived;
it doesn’t always cover the assurance that the business process is being met
and it doesn’t replace the end to end perspective that an organization needs to
ensure that the highest quality software is being delivered. Development testing
is faster, to be sure. End to end testing takes more time, but it’s necessary.
Test managers must do something to prevent testing being co-opted by development
at the expense of business value.
During the past two weeks, I received two client Inquiries about specialized Java hardware and Larry Ellison announced v2 of Oracle's "database machine."
These two seemingly disconnected events made me ask: Is specialized hardware for software inevitable? Last year, we saw TIBCO announce a messaging appliance too. And IBM has a robust business in XML and security appliances. Will growing volumes of data, messages, and logical operations force us to adopt specialized hardware, abandoning the unbundled software model IBM introduced back when real Hippies roamed the Earth?
The client Inquiries were from firms having to invest heavily in infrastructure and still struggling to keep up with their Java processing loads. Both had seen Azul Systems, found its touted performance numbers compelling, but wondered: "Where are the other competitors?" Answer: I don't see any others doing what Azul does.
Why? My answer: Too few customers buy this way -- particularly from a startup with a proprietary software machine. IBM, HP, Intel, and the other big vendors don't see enough of a market yet to take the plunge.
With its database machine, Oracle claims impressive advances in I/O and query speeds, and disk compression. But the company says it has 20 customers for this product. For a new model and a new product, that's not bad. But I think it helps answer my question: Only the tippy top of the enterprise food chain really needs software machines for general purpose products like databases, Java application servers, and message processing. The majority of customers can use other software techniques to keep growing without being locked into proprietary software machines. Virtualization, distributed caching, in-memory databases, optimized garbage collection, and alternative database structures come to mind.
There is a lot of noise lately from 2 camps - one swears that the availability of people with mainframe skills is drying up rapidly - they either forecast dire shortages, or note problems hiring for certain positions internally. Most of the trade press articles are firmly in this camp.
Once apon a time ... the definition of an application was easy - firms built accounts payable, general ledger, purchasing, order entry, and other applications to meet the automation needs of the business. The applications were written as monolithic collections of functionality that were dedicated to accomplishing key business functions and had relatively clear boundaries.
However, over the years, technology shifts have resulted in "applications" that don't fit the earlier simplistic definitions. DLLs, Services / SOA, ASPs and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) all bent the definition of an "application" from its previous form. Looking forward, Cloud computing promises to alter the definition once again.