#16: Here’s a thought…

July 6, 2009
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An occasional series in which a review of recent posts on SmartData Collective reveals the following nuggets:

It’s all in the math
Sophisticated analytical applications and data warehousing technologies are helping “bring data to life” for governments, citizens and businesses… Through the use of powerful data-visualization applications, government agencies, businesses and citizens are able to explore data to uncover mathematical patterns and connections to help improve the lives of everyone concerned.

Say “Cheese”
Video is a growing part of the Web 2.0 world and for good reason. In a world where we meet, interact, build trust and relationships online video is unique in its ability to give the more complete visual cues that we are accustom to in our offline social interaction. You can learn a lot about an individual from their avatar, profile information and if available, their blog or Twitter stream, but none of those have the impact of a simple video of the person.

Let’s not be catty
There’s no question that Google is trouncing Microsoft in the online world. But that’s no


An occasional series in which a review of recent posts on SmartData Collective reveals the following nuggets:

It’s all in the math
Sophisticated analytical applications and data warehousing technologies are helping “bring data to life” for governments, citizens and businesses… Through the use of powerful data-visualization applications, government agencies, businesses and citizens are able to explore data to uncover mathematical patterns and connections to help improve the lives of everyone concerned.

Say “Cheese”
Video is a growing part of the Web 2.0 world and for good reason. In a world where we meet, interact, build trust and relationships online video is unique in its ability to give the more complete visual cues that we are accustom to in our offline social interaction. You can learn a lot about an individual from their avatar, profile information and if available, their blog or Twitter stream, but none of those have the impact of a simple video of the person.

Let’s not be catty
There’s no question that Google is trouncing Microsoft in the online world. But that’s no reason to be catty. Indeed, Microsoft has paid dearly for its past hubris, so it’s not like Google needs to look back to Homer for history lessons. As Santayana warned, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Perhaps, instead of worrying so much about how to keep up with the Twjones’s on real-time search, Googlers ought to take a moment to reflect on the information they’ve already indexed.

Incremental improvements are fine
One of the most common and frustrating data quality failures is the project that was so close to being a success but the focus on exceptions resulted in the end-users telling us that we “missed it by that much.” I am neither suggesting that end-users are unrealistic nor that exceptions should be ignored. Reducing exceptions (i.e., poor data quality) is the whole point of the project and nobody understands the data better than the end-users. However, chasing perfection can undermine the best intentions. In order to be successful, data quality projects must always be understood as an iterative process. Small incremental improvements will build momentum to larger success over time. Instead of focusing on the exceptions – focus on the improvements.

—Jim Harris: Missed It By That Much

The changing workforce
In my work, I have seen demand for BI application development in two main areas. Companies want to save money by eliminating legacy tools. Because of this, companies are consolidating tools and even changing computer platforms in the process. Also, companies want to build BI applications such as KPI metric dashboards where cost-savings can be visually identified and acted upon. Either way, it’s the economy driving Business Intelligence software jobs. Companies want to save money by supporting fewer software products and employing fewer people.


Fear not
I think one of the essential roles of project manager (PM) should be managing the change. PM has to know that there will be fear of change from all units of the organization and it is quite likely that there will be a resistance to change. This has nothing to do with technology or some other functional characteristics of the project. It is simply about basic human nature. The only way I can see to help those who are afraid of change to give them a vision that is worth following. It is again the PM’s responsibility to manage all stakeholders in a way that make them comfortable enough.

Operating globally
If there’s one thing this recession taught us, it is how integrated global economies and markets are today, how businesses need to adapt to move in and out of diverse regional markets, and how they must make rapid decisions to invest or divest global service / product lines in order to prosper. While some firms are finding it hard to make radical decisions in this downturn, others are clearly addressing how critical it is to operate as a global business, and this is especially the case with large enterprises ($3bn+ annual revenues), with 60% of enterprises viewing this as a very important factor in their outsourcing decision making.