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Business Intelligence - Corporate Oxymoron or Capability

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BI has been around as a term since 1958  -  an output of an IBM researcher and further brought into the public domain by Howard Dresner (the aforementioned facts come from my favourite on-line reference source) but the question is - have businesses become more intelligent from the legions of technology thrown at Business Analytics, Data Warehousing and related  data churning approaches.

You may ask why am I concerning myself about this? Well I find myself intimately concerned with how large amounts of data are consumed by non-IT people and the tools we (at MS) offer them.

Within both our EPM and business data graphic offerings (alright MS Project Server and Visio) the amount of BI that we are using or facilitating has moved to a new, more sophisticated level. Now I demo this capability on a regular basis and I love it, but I do get asked in various situation can we do 'this' or can we get at 'that'. Most of these questions arise from a fundamental lack of understanding of the importance of (a) having, (b) understanding and (c) using your data model consistently and thus ensuring the on-going quality of that data.

I dined with a friend last week who works for a large UK bank currently seeking to integrate 'bought in' operations; they are faced with the fact that they both really don't understand their own data (which goes back decades) and certainly have little knowledge of the data they have recently acquired. Yet more data silo's being created.

I showed him the full capabilities of my beloved Visio and he was stunned at the lack of internal understanding of this type of tool.   

If you have the quality data the industry has the solutions, to paraphrase colleagues of mine, 'Advance Business Intelligence made simple' is deliverable every day to every user, so don't be Oxymoronic just be Capable.

Thank you Graham Norton

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Graham's site of the week is or 'Oh Crap. My Parents  Joined Facebook'. Very funny and well worth a look !

I suppose somewhere there is a site saying something like -

iPhone 4 and my 'so what' moment

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I like my iPhone 3GS, it mostly does what I want a phone to do - yes the battery life sucks and until the new OS was released, syncing with my Exchange calendar was so problematic that I rigidly kept to UK time when travelling overseas (all very confusing).

The iPhone 4 promised so much, huge hype had my nephew queuing up to be one of the first.

As I wandered past the O2 shop I thought I would pop in and take a look.

Franky unless you are desperate for the extended battery life and the forward facing camera I found myself under-whelmed by the device.

Yes, the screen is crisper but unless I spend my life with my nose glued to the screen then the iPhone 4 did not seem that much better than before. When I held the 3g and 4 next to each other there was no wow moment *and* the new screen is physically smaller.

Then there is the new form factor, gone is the unique 'cushion' what we have now is a blocky, quite heavy, handset that is simply a 'me too' amongst many. And, of the recent reports of signal loss due to 'poor holding of the phone' seem to point to inadequate prototype testing. 

So as of now I will live with and love my 3gs with iOS4 (which is very good) and wait and see if the iPhone 5 will change my mind.

Giving you the finger

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I recently noticed that a small company called  BumpTop has been bought by Google - frankly there existence had passed me by.

However this video of the innovative desktop they had developed really impressed me, I think the G-people have made a great aquisition.




Sunshine through the Clouds

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The BBC is trailing an article on the take up of cloud computing with a more than passing reference to our Office 2010 launch next week.

I think the closing quote from Gartner is the most interesting:

"All business computing will be more web-enabled," predicts Mr Dreyfuss at Gartner. "For some [companies] it will reach the point where it will be totally web centric."

We are now entering the age of the 'hybrid business computing' model, but then again maybe we are already leaving it.


eTick - eTock

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With (as I write this) a little over 24 hours until the UK General Election results start coming through, I have been caused to wonder about a number of things;


a) Will the pundits and pollsters be accurate? - I just can't make up my mind - I am sort of excited to see how close or how far they are from reality


b) If they are close then the politcal wrangling will be of a level not seen before in the the UK, I suspect the 'net will go into melt down


c) If they are wide of the mark we will have endless analysis of either why they are so innacuate or why the British public is so fickle


d) If polls are close and we do end up with a 'hung' / 'balanced' / 'dysfunctional' (delete as applicable) parliament then he tffect will br that the drive towards some form of PR becomes unstoppable.


And if (d) comes true it will be like living in Belgium - without the beer and chips

Its the 'net that won it!

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Is this an Internet election?

I am not sure ... yes there is a huge amount of blogging, social networking and tweeting from all corners of the political diaspora but it was a good old fashioned television event that has truly galvanised the politically aware public.

I must admit reading and posting tweets is most enjoyable - but in the sort of way that it feels a bit like evesdropping on other peoples conversations or gossiping in the office kitchen.

The more advanced website are making good use of Web 2.0 technoigy (see ) for a great example but will this affect the 'X's on the ballot - well lets see what happens on May 7th.

Of course the real thing may be something like this:


A lifetime in IT but I still have to 'mug up' on stuff

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It is amazing to me that although I have been in this industry for more years than I care to count I still find nooks and crannies where I feel like a veritable babes in arms.

This week my focus is UML - frankly I knew it existed but it was not one of the tools that I have had to got 'eyeball to eyeball' on.

With my role encompassing Visio I have been called upon to demo the UML modelling capabilities of the product and frankly I am not sure where to begin, I have arrange some training with my colleagues in Redmond but that is only using the tool. I have put myself on a crash course on UML (through research) and 3 days on I realise what a deep and useful subject this is.

However my customer demo goes I am sure the investment in becoming familiar with the framework will be time well spend.

It may be called EPM, to me it's collaboration

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As promised here are some thoughts on Project 2010 and Project Server 2010. 

Firstly what makes them special: 
a) consistent, logical and configurable UI. - an order of magnitude better that 2007 
b) scaleable, better admin as it is a true SharePoint 2010 application 
c) richer, smarter client with better off line sync, reporting and most importantly, resource management 
d) great, funcional web ui with no ActiveX 

More thoughts later

 --posted from my mobile device please excuse any thumbing mistakez

The joy of apps

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Just a quick blog post to recommend two apps I am runing on my iPhone: a) Blogpress - a useful mobile blog applet suppoting a number of well know engines (including MovableType which hosts the CW blogs) and b) WhatsApp - a push IM tool for iPhone and Blackberry that uses IP and therefore no incremental charges ( except when roaming) other than your data plan and can be much faster than erratic SMS Enjoy -- Post From My iPhone

Location:Heathbourne Rd,Potters Bar,United Kingdom


The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinions of the authors and do not represent either of our employer's views in any way. All postings and code samples are provided 'AS IS' with no warranties, and confer no rights.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ian White published on January 1, 2008 9:00 AM.

Out of the Office - Santa's little helpers will be out of the office for the next few days was the previous entry in this blog.

Information Overload a £100M cost to UK economy is the next entry in this blog.

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