Monday, August 23, 2010

The incredible power of slow change

Read this if you have any interest in how change happens. Puts things in perspective and makes you think about what really causes major changes.

Article from Seth Godin here.


...Cultural shifts create long terms evolutionary changes. Cultural shifts, changes in habits, technologies that slowly obsolete a product or a system are the ones that change our lives. Watch for shifts in systems and processes and expectations. That's what makes change, not big events.

Don't worry about what happened yesterday (or five minutes ago). Focus on what happened ten years ago and think about what you can do that will make a huge impact in six months. The breaking news mindset isn't just annoying, it may be distracting you from what really matters. As the world gets faster, it turns out that the glacial changes of years and decades are become more important, not less.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Structured Analytic Techniques


I'm reading a great book by Richards Heuer and Randolph Pherson on Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis.

From the Amazon product description:

This book takes the relatively new concept of structured analytic techniques, defines its place in a taxonomy of analytic methods, and moves it a giant leap forward. It describes 50 techniques that are divided into eight categories. There are techniques for:

  • Decomposition and Visualization
  • Idea Generation
  • Scenarios and Indicators
  • Hypothesis Generation and Testing
  • Cause and Effect
  • Challenge Analysis
  • Conflict Management
  • Decision Support

Each structured technique involves a step-by-step process that externalizes an individual analyst's thinking in a manner that makes it readily apparent to others, thereby enabling it to be shared, built on, and easily critiqued by others. This structured and transparent process combined with the intuitive input of subject matter experts is expected to reduce the risk of analytic error.

Although this book is mostly targeted at Intelligence professionals, it provides some fantastic techniques which can be utilised by analysts in all fields. Well worth a read.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Big Data - new strategic asset


I saw this post a while back in the NY Times. Dealing with Big Data effectively is becomming a huge challenge for many organisations. It's also becomming a huge growth industry for both technology and services.

Comment by Usama Fayyad [emphasis is mine]: "In the past, Mr. Fayyad noted, data was regarded as a byproduct of doing business, often a backward-looking record of little value. But today’s vast oceans of data, combined with tools for instant analysis and prediction, Mr. Fayyad said, are a “new strategic asset” that can be used to build “new revenue streams and new businesses.


Sunday, August 1, 2010


In case you missed it before, check out for an interesting Cloud Computing initiative.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Analytics Institute


I haven't posted in a while now but the reason was the time required with the creation of an exciting new organisation I have the pleasure to be involved with. It's called The Analytics Institute (AI) []. We've been working on it for a while now and this week we officially launched. See some coverage here on

So what's it all about? At AI, our focus is to improve the world we live in using Advanced Analytics in resolving real world, critical problems.

A non-profit, AI collaborates with industry sponsors, public sector bodies, professionals and academics to transform the way organisations derive value from Analytics. By uniting these interest groups, the Analytics Institute collaborative network aims to optimise the business value of Analytics and Analytics Practices to enable better decision-making – so whether you want to know the best place to put a hospital, how to reduce risk, or how to help the planet - Advanced Analytics can help you do just that.

Established in 2009, the Analytics Institute has several key objectives
  • Use Predictive Analytics to solve real world problems
  • Secure AI as a global Centre of Excellence in Advanced Analytics
  • Promote Analytics and prove its value to modern business and public sector organisations in improving efficiency and effectiveness
  • Develop professional recognition programmes
  • Optimise innovation and collaboration in education to improve Analytics
Check out our website to see more about what we're up to.


Monday, May 10, 2010

The 7 stages of tech industry development


Geoffrey Moore wrote the bestselling book Crossing the Chasm a few years back now which focused primarily on the specifics of marketing high tech products during the early start up period. It is closely related to the Technology adoption lifecycle where five main segments are recognized; innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards.

This post from Eric Norlin on CloudAve gives a different perspective on the stages of development in the tech industry. In this case using the evolution of Cloud Computing as the example.

The 7 stages of tech industry development

His summary:

What does that mean for the “cloud computing” industry? That there’s probably 4 years of REALLY explosive growth ahead of it, followed by 2-ish years of steady profitable stuff.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cloud-Powered High Availability and Disaster Recovery


I came across this article on the Amazon Web Services blog. It describes a really interesting and powerful implementation of a disaster recovery solution using the Cloud.

Go to article

Once configured, CloudStation can fail over from local processing to the cloud, from one cloud region to another, or even from one cloud provider to another. It can also be used as a migration tool, or what is sometimes calls P2V (Physical to Virtual) or P2C (Physical to Cloud).

ZeroTouch |

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Enterprise 2.0

Reposting this from CloudAve (by Hutch Carpenter). Definitely worth a read for anybody working in the tech business.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Enterprise 2.0 ROI


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Microsoft's Secret Stealth Data Centers

A view inside Microsoft's global data center strategy. Some nice photo's and videos courtesy of Gizmodo.

Click here to go to article.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Predictive Analytics


I came across this article from Raj Nathan and Joydeep Das which gives a good overview into the world of Predictive Analytics and how it is becoming a game changer for many organisations and industries.

From the article:

...It is, however, an advanced analytics activity that differs from conventional analytics and BI activities in that it focuses not on what happened or how it happened, but what might happen or could happen. It's not simply about uncovering insights, but gaining foresight.

In short, predictive analytics is primarily about examining data through a future-facing lens in order to predict future trends, behavior patterns, external forces and other factors that will determine future business results. It is a natural extension of many analytic capabilities we now have, all of which are ultimately intended to help us design innovative business strategies that will lead to improvements in all the key metrics - revenue, profitability, customer retention, market share, etc. - that define success.

Also check out our ZT.Analytics page.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Cloud and Vendor Relationship Management


In a previous post from Nov 2009 (The Big Rethink) I expanded on a post from James Urquhart about the effect Cloud Computing will have on IT. In that post I mentioned several areas in particular which I believe will be impacted. One is:

How Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) will become a key discipline in IT organisations...

I came across this document [PDF] from 2000 by Eric Clemons and Elizabeth Gray which discussed the role of shared history and the value of return on trust in relation to Vendor Relationship Management. It's worth a read if you get some time.

To paraphrase some of the key points I took from it in relation to VRM:

A 3rd party relationship management / outsourcing program should consider at a minimum the following:
  • Creating and retaining economic value over time while
  • Controlling exposure and strategic risks.

Setting strategy for outsourcing is principally a leadership issue, not a technical issue. Managing sourcing is principally about setting a strategy, based on economic objectives, communicating those objectives within and between firms, and managing expectations if the high economic stakes cause communications to break down. Successfully managing expectations and maintaining effective communications leads to trust, which produces great and measurable economic benefits in strategic sourcing relationships.

For companies considering the use of Cloud Computing and/or SaaS (Software as a Service) they need to view their evolving IT environment like an Eco-system consisting of both in-house resources and external suppliers working together in harmony to create the best IT environment for the organisation. With that in mind they should consider the following around managing vendors -- I came across a version of these a number of years back (can't remember where) and adapted and enhanced them over time based on my own experiences.

Establishing relationships with vendors and making sure they are good relationships:
  • Establishing and maintaining good vendor relationships takes time but helps mitigate many of the risks associated with integrating products or services
  • Strive to establish a relationship built on mutual trust, which is not without cost, but the derived benefits can more than justify the cost
  • The better the relationship, the better chance to influence the vendor product roadmaps or get them to work harder to deliver the services required

Motivation of vendors:
  • Vendor relationships vary depending on the presence the vendor has in the market, the maturity of the vendor's product, how large a part you are of their customer base, and the importance of their product or service to you
  • Strive to find out what motivates your vendors

The challenges around establishing and maintaining good vendor relationships:
  • Vendors whose products work together today may become competitors in the future as they add features to their products or new products into their portfolio. Other customers who are willing to pay for changes (and who may not share your needs) may drive product evolution in a direction contrary to your best interests
  • You must stay on top of the dynamics in the marketplace

This isn't a comprehensive vendor relationship strategy by any stretch of the imagination but it will get you started and thinking in a way that most IT organisations don't - but should.

ZeroTouch IT

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Where do you start with Analytics?


Interesting question. Came across this post (from James Taylor) which gives a pretty good answer.


With analytics – executable analytics, business analytics, predictive analytics or any other kind of analytics – begin with the decision in mind. Figure out what it is you are trying to do, which decision you are trying to improve and work into your analytics and data from there. Be driven by your business needs, not by the data you have. You may find that you don’t need to integrate this data source or clean that one to improve the decisions that drive your business. You may find that you don’t even own the data you need and will need to go shopping for it. But if you don’t start with the end in mind, you will never know.