Self-service Analytics and Data Preparation

Posted by Christian Franklin

9/12/16 11:00 AM

Analytics and traditional business intelligence are experiencing a massive technological shift. One that is generating a constructive dialog around how to combine the tried and true with the new realities of exponential data growth resulting from rampant digitization.

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Topics: Analytics, Information Management, Big Data

6 reasons to transition to IBM i Access Client (ACS)

Posted by Mark Rabin

9/9/16 3:20 PM

It has been a while since we last discussed the transition from IBM Client Access for Windows to IBM i Access Client Solutions. Since IBM recently added major enhancements to i Access Client Solutions (ACS) and Windows 10 is gaining wider acceptance, this is a good time to look at what’s new.

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3 Design Thinking tips for data enthusiasts

Posted by Christian Franklin

9/6/16 6:00 AM

Design thinking. If you are not familiar with the term, is described as "a methodology that relies on a proven and repeatable problem-solving protocol that any business or profession can employ to achieve extraordinary results".

Combine performance management with design thinking to be a change agent for becoming more data driven. 

Here are three quick tips for the data enthusiast to keep in mind.

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Topics: Analytics

The Heart of Data Virtualization (Part 3)

Posted by Steve Cormier

10/13/15 11:14 PM

Part 3: Data Virtualization to the Rescue

In Part 2 of this article, we explored how creating a data warehouse meant buying hardware, and software, and managing it, and doing backups, and version upgrades, and having more DBA’s, and how something new was needed.

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Topics: Analytics, Business Intelligence

The Heart of Data Virtualization (Part 2)

Posted by Steve Cormier

6/16/15 1:00 PM

Part 2: The re-emergence of process oriented design

In Part 1, we looked at how OOD/Normalized modeling came into being and how important it was to data efficiency and integrity. 

In this installment, we see how the process-oriented design approach has re-emerged in the Big Data culture, and how data virtualization helps restore OOD/Normalization order. 

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Topics: Analytics, Business Intelligence

The Heart of Data Virtualization (Part 1)

Posted by Steve Cormier

2/28/15 10:51 AM

Part 1: Data Virtualization and Business Data Modeling 

Data virtualization is a technology that’s receiving a great deal of attention, as it offers solutions that are more efficient and economical than predecessor technologies such as data warehousing/ETL.

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What can your company learn from AirBnB and Uber?

Posted by Arlo Paranhos

12/17/14 6:44 PM

Inc. Magazine recently ran a cover story recognizing AirBnB as their 2014 Company of the year.  Just days later, the New York Times reported that Uber’s latest funding round values the privately held organization at $40 billion.  That’s all well and good if you need to rent a room or catch a ride, but what can your company learn from their success?

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Topics: Analytics, Business Intelligence

Reduce Downtime: Design Your System Around Business Availability

Posted by Charley Lingerfelt

10/30/14 2:16 PM

 

When you have real-time data streams, like satellite tracking, and so much other real-time data, the cost to recover and rebuild that data is high. A one hour system outage can require several hours to rebuild/restore operations and recreate lost data. In the meantime, the rest of the business starts falling behind.One of our TMW clients with a fleet of under 200 trucks quanitfied the cost of a system outage at $50,000 per hour.

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What You Need to Know About IBM's End of Service for IBM i 6.1 Announcement

Posted by Mark Rabin

9/17/14 7:30 AM

IBM has announced that September 30, 2015 will see the end of service for Version 6.1 of the IBM i Operating System and Licensed Programs. This aligns with IBM’s history of keeping two OS versions “active” at a time.  IBM will also withdraw support for DB2 Web Query version 1.1.x.  For clients needing support beyond that date, IBM plans to provide an option to purchase extended support.  We anticipate this will be similar to the support offering IBM currently provides for V5R4 clients.    

IBM i 6.1 became available in March of 2008.  At that time it was considered a significant step forward in functionality and performance.  6.1 brought us a number of technologies we now take for granted including, PowerVM, SSD’s, PowerHA, the web-based system console, encrypted backups and more.  This release also saw the change in naming from Version-Release to the more common “dot” system, i.e., Version 5 Release 4 to IBM i 6.1.  Since the advent of the Technology Refresh in IBM i 7.1, IBM is able to continue to add significant new functionality without the need for a new O/S version.  So we have seen the tradition of a new OS version every two years stretch to four years.  IBM i 7.1 has been available since March 2010 and IBM i 7.2 was released in June 2014.

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Topics: Core Infrastructure, IBM

Office 365 Series: Deployment Strategies

Posted by Charley Lingerfelt

8/1/14 8:00 AM

 Great! You're ready to make the investment and migration to Office 365. Where do you start?

There are three major kinds of deployment and integration approaches when it comes to Office 365. We've seen the number of users and mailbox size are the primary drivers to determine which deployment strategy to use.

 

 

 

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Topics: Microsoft

Office 365 Series: Capabilities & FAQs

Posted by Charley Lingerfelt

7/28/14 8:00 AM

Moving and updating a business system can cause a lot of anxiety within an organization and as an administrator, you want to get ahead of all the questions that come along with migrating systems. More specifically with Office 365, the flexibility to subscribe to one or multiple services to acquire certain functionality requires greater knowledge of your existing and future system. Microsoft has changed the service bundling, discounts and tiering rapidly as it changed to market conditions to increase adoption.

 

 

 

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Topics: Microsoft

Office 365 Series: Why choose Office 365?

Posted by Charley Lingerfelt

7/25/14 8:00 AM

Has your organization considered migrating to Office 365 but the timing hasn't been right or you're having a tough time justifying the implementation? With the Office 365 Series, we'll take you through some key areas of consideration and implementation with Microsoft's strong push to move businesses to this subscription-based model.

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Topics: Microsoft

Steps to Avoid IE Security Vulnerability

Posted by Charley Lingerfelt

5/1/14 2:40 PM

Microsoft is warning users of Internet Explorer of active attacks exploiting a previously unknown security flaw in all versions of IE. By browsing to a hacked or malicious site, the vulnerability can silently install malicious software without any input or actions from the user.

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Topics: News & Opinion

IBM Announces the First POWER8-based Servers

Posted by Mark Rabin

4/29/14 8:50 AM

Yesterday, IBM announced the first server models based on the new POWER8 processor.  They are true game changers with chip-level optimization targeted at the demands of today’s business.  The POWER8 processors are the first chips ever designed to optimize analytics and big data.  They offer new levels of price/performance for cloud deployments.  These servers also deliver an open platform to deploy Linux from multiple vendors. At the same time, these servers provide significant performance gains for all IBM i, AIX and Linux applications.  The first five models to be announced are 2U and 4U servers with one and two processor sockets.  The larger “enterprise class” servers will be announced later in 2014.

Speaking of Linux, the open platform focus of this announcement is further supported by a new level of support for the open community.  IBM PowerKVM is a new open virtualization option for Linux Power systems built using Linux and KVM. Linux administrators will see the familiar interface for simplified virtualization management and operation.  This is an HMC-less option for Linux-only virtualized servers.  Ubuntu Linux Server is added to the previous Power server support from RedHat and SUSE.  Open Stack cloud framework integration is another example of the commitment to open computing.  The OpenPOWER Foundation has more than 25 partners (including Google, NVidia, Samsung and Micron) who will be bringing more innovation to Power technology in the coming months.

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A New Generation of IBM Power Servers is Coming

Posted by Mark Rabin

4/23/14 8:00 AM

I have been around IBM's Power Systems since 2001 when IBM unified the RS/6000 and the AS/400 onto POWER4 and I have seen the Power platform continue to evolve. In my opinion the latest evolution looks to be a significant step forward, even as the Power7+ processor still outperforms many competing platforms. 

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Topics: News & Opinion, IBM

Impressions from IBM Partnerworld and Tableau Software Partner Conference

Posted by Christian Franklin

3/6/14 10:27 AM

As I was making my way to San Francisco International (SFO) the dread of spending the better part of a week and Valentine’s day in Las Vegas started to sink in.  The upside was that I was going to be able to cover two conferences in one fell swoop and they were at hotels right next to each other.  My schedule was to cover IBM’s PartnerWorld and Tableau Software’s newly launched partner conference which was more buzz for me because I’ve been working with the new version of Tableau Desktop and have quickly become enamored with its capabilities and intuitiveness. 

Does the following scenario ever happen to you?  An observation in daily life gets you asking questions which starts a mental exercise that turns into thinking about data...  Well, the SFO security checkpoint was one of those moments for me.  I arrived at the security checkpoint in Terminal 2, expecting to breeze through to my gate (because of the 'TSA pre-check' stamp on my boarding pass) and get to the Virgin America gate with plenty of time to spare.  Well, so much for expectations - I continued to stand in line and observe 4 lanes and one expensive whole body scanner stand idle.  This got me wondering if the airport authority, TSA, and airline reservation systems do any data analysis on this.  My conclusion is that they don’t even though on the surface it should be pretty simple to extract de-identified data and run a baseline analysis of security gate load at specified times.  As good as Virgin America's customer experience is it's off set by the TSA's customer experience.  Don't get me wrong, they have an important role to play but in my experience, they don't give a rip about customer experience. Back to the conferences...

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Topics: Analytics, IBM, Tableau

APIs Are Like a Box of Chocolates: Part 2

Posted by Steve Cormier

2/26/14 8:30 AM

In my last post I talked about APIs, whether they are really a new technology, and how to avoid being swept up in the hype surrounding them. In this post, I'll go over the important principles of software engineering and deployment that you should review if you plan on buying and implementing an API. 

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Topics: Optimization, Information Management, Information Integration, Digital Business Evolution

APIs are Like a Box of Chocolates: Part 1

Posted by Steve Cormier

2/20/14 8:00 AM

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Topics: Optimization, Information Management, Information Integration, Digital Business Evolution

IT Managed Service Series: What steps are necessary for successfully converting to managed IT services?

Posted by Charley Lingerfelt

2/10/14 11:00 AM

Step 1: Self Assess

If you are interested in seeing what a managed services provider can do for your organization it is best practice to first conduct a self-assessment of your current IT capability. This will allow you to compare your internal cost and quality to a provider's offering.

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Topics: Optimization, Digital Business Evolution, Managed Services

Storage Optimization Made Easy with IBM Real-time Compression and Easy Tier

Posted by Mark Rabin

1/24/14 11:00 AM

Statistics about disk storage growth are everywhere. 

Depending on who you're talking to you might hear “Global disk storage is growing 40 percent per year” or “Enterprise disk demand is increasing by 50 percent per year.”  Well in the real world of our clients the number may not be quite that high, but it is certainly growing in the double digits.  While the cost of technology keeps dropping, the cost of storage is still increasing as capacity growth demands exceed price reductions.  And the energy costs of storage are not to be discounted.  To get a clear idea of cost start with the price of the disk drive, add in housing the drive (in a storage array or SAN), then add maintenance, energy costs to run and cool the drive, and it adds up quickly.  The fully loaded cost of a disk drive could be around $1,500 to more than $3,000 per drive over a 3 year period. 

 

What if you could store three to five times as much data on each disk drive? 

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Topics: Core Infrastructure, IBM

Evolving IT Systems - Key Concepts

Posted by Steve Cormier

1/14/14 11:00 AM

Many organizations who want to migrate to a new, comprehensive operational system try a ‘big bang’ approach. This approach to business transformation usually proves unsuccessful. Most ‘big bang’ projects fail for multiple reasons such as:

  • The gap between the evolved complexity of existing systems and the new system (out of the box) is too large.
  • However innately sophisticated it is (e.g. SAP), the new system almost always lacks the matured, business-specific capabilities of existing systems (if put into production, the new system would develop these capabilities over time). 
  • Timing of migration is a very difficult and complex topic of its own. How to create a workable migration plan is usually not well understood, particularly with respect to comprehensive reporting for areas such as sales, marketing and finance.
  • The stress of learning a new large scale system while maintaining the current one overwhelms personnel resources. This can cause errors in current production, the correcting of which pulls resources off the new system development causing further migration delays. 

The solution?

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Topics: Digital Business Evolution

Scorecards and Measures in Healthcare Continued...

Posted by Christian Franklin

1/8/14 8:30 AM

In my previous blog I discussed the importance of developing a thorough approach to your Business Intelligence (BI) strategy. I illustrated that it requires a lot of ground work up front. Once work on the approach is complete; we then need to define the scoring and scorecards. When we talk about scoring and scorecards, and measures in BI solutions we commonly hear terms such as actionable, Key performance Indicators (KPI’s), dashboards and metrics etc. These are all very valid and indeed necessary, but how do we get there?

Let’s begin by clarifying that scorecards and/or KPI’s are derived from corporate drivers, quality control, efficiency, and related optimization goals that a particular industry is focused on. Along with analytics, scorecards assist in aligning strategy and mission critical objectives in an organization. Scoring or using scorecards, with the proper design (created during the approach phase) will provide the key metrics, indicators and benchmarks needed to gain insight.

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Topics: Business Intelligence

Scorecards and Measures in Healthcare: Do They Improve Outcomes?

Posted by Christian Franklin

12/11/13 10:00 AM

This blog begins a series on how to utilize Business Intelligence (BI) and Scorecards to improve and impact healthcare outcomes.  This will not be an overly technical discussion but instead a business case and data driven conversation.  I will discuss the following areas:

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Topics: Healthcare, Business Intelligence

New IBM i Client Software for PC, Mac and Linux Workstations

Posted by Mark Rabin

12/3/13 9:30 AM

 

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Topics: IBM

Managed IT Services Series: What are Managed Services?

Posted by Charley Lingerfelt

11/26/13 11:00 AM

Company A: Classic IT Service

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Topics: Optimization, Digital Business Evolution, Managed Services