The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Data and decision latency expectations shifting

Analytics time.pngOne of the issues I’ve talked about many times over the year is the need to shift our understanding and expectation of latency and action. I came across this post: Analytics Time Lags Result in Lost Opportunities. It also discusses the fact that the data gathering and analytics that were great a short while ago are now viewed as insufficient, stating that “72% of analytics and business leaders surveyed were dissatisfied with the time it takes to get data-driven results”.


Unfortunately, it didn’t really do more than imply that solutions exist. Fact is most solutions deployed today are based on hindsight. There is little doubt that the vast amounts of data available are going to require an exceptional command of information, far beyond just hindsight. It will require a refocusing of skills and perspective that are based on generating value from the abundance of computing and data available. This will require new techniques for computing as well as data gathering and integration. The work going on in HP labs related to The Machine will help address these needs, when this platform is released.


We have data coming in from sensors and mobile devices creating an ever increasing amount of Dark Data where value can be generated. We can also build context from the other data about what happened when, who or what was involved or happened at the same time. This derived data or metadata can sometimes be more valuable than the raw data itself, since people don’t really make decisions off the data but the context the data describes. Organizations are recognizing that all this data will provide a depth of understanding about what happened in the past, present and future that we’ve not really taken advantage of before.


We can develop a greater depth of understanding about what is happening right now that can enable us to automate decisions or concentrate that rare resource – employee attention - on those areas that really need it. There are relatively new technologies that most teams have not even looked at like software defined networks… that can operate on data on the fly instead of just data at rest. This will eventually enable a more active, organizational approach to tackling opportunities.


Finally, over the years we’ve learned that getting to zero response time is very difficult. It may actually be easier to move to a negative response time, where you predict what is likely to happen and adjust to be ready to address it or even shift the outcome. Tools to address all these various perspectives of data and enabling right-time decisions are available to improve your ability to optimize time-to-action are available today.

Wisdom of the crowds applied to a range of topics

crowd2.pngThe concept of having experts vote on what they think is the answer has been around for a while. It is essentially the foundation for The Wisdom of Crowds. I’ve posted before about the use of this technique to predict the adoption of technology.


A new site out of George Mason University called SciCast is taking a similar approach but tackling a number of industries beyond just the technology sector. You can see what others believe will happen in your favorite area.

Labels: Future| Prediction

Marketing in 2020

marketing.pngThere have been a number of industry specific version of HP’s 20/20 effort but I just saw the most recent one focused on marketing. The subtitle for the release is Welcome to a new reality of split-second decisions and marketing by the numbers.


When they were pulling together this release, they took a number of subject matter experts and allowed them to discuss the key issues they see in the marketing space. It has a number of articles and perspectives such as:

  • An overview of marketing macro trends
  • Real-time marketing
  • Buyers in control
  • Insights from information
  • Too much information
  • Challenges of marketing in 2020
  • The CMO of 2020

In any case one thing that is clear – as marketing becomes more information and context rich, it will become measured by actual and modeled performance more than ever before.

Leadership – what matters… a comparison?

leadership2.pngI’ve written a few posts about technical leadership and haven’t commented on the topic in a couple of years. As I came across the McKinsey post titled Decoding leadership: What really matters it made me wonder, how close the two perspectives were.


The McKinsey article stated that there were 4 prime factors for successful leadership:

  1. Solving problems effectively
  2. Operating with a strong results orientation
  3. Seeking different perspectives
  4. Supporting others

Back in 2013, in a post called Revisiting Technical Leadership the four main factors for technical leadership were (using less than four word summaries):

  1. Don’t discourage them (similar to #4 above)
  2. Solution not recognition (a combination of #1 and #2)
  3. It’s about people (similar to #3)
  4. Be an example

There is definitely significant overlap. The one thing that is missing from both these lists is that a leader needs to have a vision (and followers). Without a vision to structure the leadership around you are just an effective manager.


One other thing that technologists need to do is communicate to get things done. When we fail to communicate, it just frustrates everyone involved.

Labels: Leadership| Vision

Don’t let IT be the teen in the room

Dance.jpgAlmost everyone over the holidays probably had some time where they were sitting around with family and friends. You probably noticed that some of the people were sitting around looking at their smartphone… rather than interacting with people. Teens are the most likely but many a 2 year old or 60 year old entertains themselves rather that support their side of a conversation and recognize what is going on around them.


If there is one thing individuals in IT need to focus on in 2015, it is not playing with technology but look at what the business is doing and talk with them about where things are (or could be headed). Don’t be a wall flower, take advantage of your diverse perspective and shape the conversation. Your perspective will be appreciated but you’ll need to talk with the business in their terms. Reach out and find someone and see what’s on their mind.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation.