Using Social Computing To Build Differentiated Product Development Processes

In this podcast, Roy discusses the use of Social Computing in product development, opportunities that product development teams can capitalize on using Social computing, and next steps for those interested in getting started.


“What BI Is Not” Forrester TweetJam Recap And Takeaways

On May 13th, Forrester analysts Boris Evelson, Jim Kobielus, Gene Leganza, Holger Kisker and Noel Yuhanna joined me in hosting a data management TweetJam on the topic “What BI is Not!” using the hashtag #dmjam. (You can still see the results and ongoing conversation if you search the hashtag.)

During this one-hour TweetJam, we asked the following questions, leaving 10 minutes of Tweet-time between each question:

  • Do you prefer the broad or the narrow definition of BI? Should ETL, DQ, DW, MDM be considered part of BI?
  • How should we differentiate BI and analytics?
  • What’s the difference between business intelligence and other forms of “intelligence” like competitive intelligence, market intelligence?
  • Is convergence of structured and unstructured information hype or reality?
  • Is BI looking only through the rear-view mirror, or should historical and predictive BI be one and the same?
  • How will social media impact traditional BI?

The response to this event was extraordinary, and we have a large community of data management and BI thought leaders who joined the conversation to thank. During that single hour there were over 360 Tweets with 65 unique Tweeters actively joining the conversation (not including those who only listened). If you include Tweets leading up to the event and the continued conversation after the event, we’ve seen over 480 Tweets and over 100 Tweeters … and growing.  

But what did we accomplish (aside from providing an entertaining distraction for a number of people)? Below, I’ve summarized a sampling of the takeaways that were shared by some of our participants on each question:

1. Do you prefer the broad or the narrow definition of BI? Should ETL, DQ, DW, MDM be considered part of BI?

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IT Forum EMEA 2010: Talking Business Intelligence With James Kobielus

As we get ready to host IT Forum EMEA June 9-11 in Lisbon, we will be conducting interviews with some of the key Forrester speakers and our invited industry keynotes. With so much attention being focused on business intelligence these days, we decided to sit down with Senior Analyst James Kobielus, who covers analytics, data mining and warehousing and business intelligence. James will be delivering a presentation for Business Process and Applications professionals.

YATES: What is the key lesson/theme that you will present at IT Forum EMEA?
KOBIELUS: I’m speaking on four topics in four different sessions with the common theme being that pervasive adoption of business intelligence (BI) can make organizations more lean, agile, and adaptable to changing conditions. I’ll be discussing “Driving Better Business Outcomes with Pervasive BI,” “Best Practices for Centralizing and Consolidating BI,” and “Transforming Business Processes Through Business Analytics” (with Derek Miers). Also at ITF EMEA, I’m moderating the SAP Espresso Lounge session on “Transform Your Enterprise into a Best-Run Business.”

YATES: How do these sessions tie into the overall theme of making business technology real?
KOBIELUS: All of this ties directly into that theme, since “making business technology real” can be defined as empowering information workers with tools that they use all the time and without which they would not be even half as productive. BI is just such a technology, because it can infuse every decision with the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and trustworthy information available. In this way, every information worker can have greater confidence in every action they take, can justify it fully, and can adjust their plans rapidly to fit changing circumstances.

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SAP Acquiring Sybase, Rocking The Analytics Market With Deep Synergies

SAP’s acquisition of Sybase was one of those deals that just makes sense on so many levels for both parties. 

SAP is of course one of the dominant brands in enterprise applications, and it also has strong business intelligence (BI), data integration (DI), business process management (BPM), and service-oriented architecture (SOA) offerings. But, until this bombshell announcement, SAP had been lacking some key solution components that it needed to compete more effectively with the other dominant IT brands—specifically, with Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft. 

Unlike these rivals, SAP had been lacking an enterprise-grade database management system (DBMS) product of its own (no—the open-source MaxDB doesn’t qualify). Likewise, SAP has had no complex event processing (CEP) tools for truly real-time analytics and transactional computing. Furthermore, SAP had been lacking any in-database analytics features that would allow partners and customers to execute data mining, text analytics, and other advanced analytics features in its data warehousing (DW) platform. Also, though SAP has mobile access middleware in its NetWeaver platform, it has not been able to offer customers a truly world-class mobility-enabling toolset. 

Enter Sybase, a venerable and diversified IT brand that brings all of these key capabilities—and then some—to its soon-to-be corporate parent. This is as important an acquisition for SAP as Business Objects was two years ago. It will prove just as pivotal a move for fending off aggressive encroachment by Oracle into SAP core accounts. 

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SAP Advances Innovation Strategy With Sybase Acquisition

In late breaking news today, SAP announced a definitive agreement to acquire Sybase for $5.8 billion. The deal will be accretive for SAP and is expected to close in July 2010. Sybase is a profitable company with revenues of $1.2 billion and $1 billion in cash. Sybase Chairman, CEO and President John S. Chen will become a member of SAP's Executive Board.

The deal is a good move by SAP mainly because it accelerates SAP’s innovation strategy, which is focused on in-memory computing, mobile device applications, analytics, and SaaS. Sybase brings assets to the table in each of these areas:

  • In-memory databases via its Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) platform and SQL Anywhere.
  • Mobile applications development and device management via Sybase Unwired and Afaria.
  • Analytics via the Sybase IQ column oriented analytics server and complex event processing (CEP) technology.
  • Cloud computing is delivered via Sybase’s partnership with Amazon Web Services.


It is also a good move for several other reasons:

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Social Media Will Play A Big Part In BI’s Future

When preparing for our upcoming Forrester Data Management Tweet Jam (May 13th, 2-3pm ET) -“What BI is Not!”- I got together with a few of Forrester’s data management and BI analysts to discuss some of today’s key BI questions.

The question on the table was, “How will social media impact traditional BI?”

Here’s a snapshot of what we talked about:

Jim Kobielus: (Twitter: @jameskobielus)

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Which Is A Better Improvement Measure: The Perfect Order Or No-Touch Orders?

Recently, one of Forrester's packaged food clients contacted me on the topic of no-touch orders, e.g., receiving, processing, and shipping customer sales orders electronically without human involvement. After talking with this client and doing some further digging on what others have done to improve their processes to enable this kind of automation, it struck me that a simple and visible metric like the % no-touch orders is a close-cousin to the perfect order concept (a long-standing research area at Forrester). Why do I say that? Both improvement goals drive amazing clarity on some fundamental opportunities to improve your Order Management Cycle, such as:

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Social Computing For Product Development

Over the last few years, I think most would agree that leading product development organizations have gotten much savvier about designers collaborating with internal stakeholders – such as manufacturing, sales, and marketing – to harness contributions and feedback from more business perspectives, get the product right the first time, and ultimately better transform technical inventions into market-relevant innovations. What’s really interesting is that, over this same period, the social Web – which Forrester calls Social Computing and includes peer-to-peer activities like social networking sites, blogging, user review sites, wikis, podcasts, and other user-generated content – has steadily grown in popularity among consumers as well as expanded its presence among manufacturing enterprises. The question is, will these new technologies and corresponding social trends make their way into product development organizations and – once again – transform the way leading product development teams collaborate to bring great products into the marketplace?

In short, I think so. The fact is, the increased prevalence of Social Computing presents product development with some compelling new capabilities:

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