ServicesANGLE http://servicesangle.com ... a SiliconANGLE Network Property Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:39:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 EMC Hybrid Cloud: Demolishing Barriers Faster https://infocus.emc.com/keith-waryas/emc-hybrid-cloud-demolishing-barriers-faster/ https://infocus.emc.com/keith-waryas/emc-hybrid-cloud-demolishing-barriers-faster/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:39:10 +0000 https://infocus.emc.com/?p=19932 Ten years ago I made my living as an analyst with IDC, focusing on the business side of mobility. For sure, it was a different era; texting was really a European-only phenomenon and the “mobile Internet” delivered speeds of 25-50kbps (k … as in kilobyte). But with a couple million users, Blackberry had started to…Read More

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Ten years ago I made my living as an analyst with IDC, focusing on the business side of mobility. For sure, it was a different era; texting was really a European-only phenomenon and the “mobile Internet” delivered speeds of 25-50kbps (k … as in kilobyte). But with a couple million users, Blackberry had started to paint a picture of what mobile could really mean for business. As analysts, we looked deep into our crystal balls and saw a future landscape with salespeople closing more deals via mobile customer relationship management (CRM), IT Help Desks resolving tickets faster with mobile IT Service Management (ITSM), business executives driving better decisions with mobile business intelligence (BI), and dozens of other great examples where mobile would obliterate barriers to information access to deliver efficiency, speed and profit.

However, I think many of us missed the boat on one critical thing. We focused so much on how mobile could break down the walls  that separated users from IT systems — we failed to  recognize the even larger enabling opportunity of  tightly tethering  IT systems to other IT systems. Cloud’s ability to break down those silos, amplify value, lower cost, and make systems more available and accessible is what makes it so exciting. And with recent technical advancements, as well as leaps forward in standardization of architecture and process, we may be at an important tipping point for both cloud and mobility.

8 28 14 Keith Image 1Being neck deep in the technology industry, it is often very easy to forget that  in and of itself, technology  doesn’t have inherent business value. It’s an enabler; a tool to do something better, faster, or in some cases entirely different. And that’s why the idea of time to value is so important. It is the amount of time required for a company to take a hunk of metal and silicon and apply it in a way that helps their organization do things better, faster and cheaper.

This is why the Build a Hybrid Cloud Live events at EMC World 2014 in Las Vegas and at VMWorld 2014 in San Francisco this week are so cool. They provided real life, tangible demonstrations of how the EMC Hybrid Cloud solution can compress the time it takes for a company to convert infrastructure technology into a revenue generating, efficiency creating and money-saving cloud. To wit: here’s a brief video answering key questions how this initiative is breaking new ground to rapidly get customers from point A to point B to develop a sustainable hybrid cloud environment.

Previously, it was not uncommon for companies to spend a year, or even two years building out a cloud infrastructure foundation. Due to being based on highly customized architectures, they were expensive to implement, costly to maintain, and ended up being incredibly  “future fragile” as the customized architecture introduced a lot of question marks in terms interoperability when additional new infrastructure is adopted.

8 28 14 Keith Image 2By accelerating the deployment time line from two years to two weeks, EMC Hybrid Cloud allows companies to focus a great deal  more of their resources on areas such as  workload optimization, service catalogs and service portals, and delivering technology value to the business much faster than ever before (e.g. time-to-value). It also provides a more stable foundation for future growth, innovation, and interoperation (extending the ROI).

So what’s all this really boil down to? The key take away here  is simple and straight forward: The technology of cloud is really just a means to an end. It’s the ability to break down the barriers that separate systems from systems, and users from the tools and information they need to drive efficiency, competitive advantage and profit. That’s the special sauce for a killer IT revenue-generating recipe.. Through the Build a Hybrid Cloud Live event, EMC demonstrated how it can help customer spend a lot less time on the means to more quickly get to the end.

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Business Resiliency and the Hybrid Cloud https://infocus.emc.com/scott_burgess/business-resiliency-hybrid-cloud/ https://infocus.emc.com/scott_burgess/business-resiliency-hybrid-cloud/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:00:44 +0000 https://infocus.emc.com/?p=19849 VMworld 2014 starts this week in San Francisco, so timing is right to address a key concern facing organizations looking at hybrid cloud implementations leveraging vCloud Air (previously vCHS or “vCheese”).  As you are well aware vCAir (pronounce “v-care”… you heard it hear first) is an industry-leading solution from VMware allowing current on premise VMware environments…Read More

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VMworld 2014 starts this week in San Francisco, so timing is right to address a key concern facing organizations looking at hybrid cloud implementations leveraging vCloud Air (previously vCHS or “vCheese”).  As you are well aware vCAir (pronounce “v-care”… you heard it hear first) is an industry-leading solution from VMware allowing current on premise VMware environments to be extended to the cloud.  This is accomplished through an architectural connector that allows portions of VMware corporation managed (IaaS from VMware) compute and storage (either dedicated or shared) to be used as if they were part of the current on premise resource pools (creating a hybrid on premise/off premise solution).  So if you’re saying to yourself “that sounds a lot like Amazon except easier”, you’re right.  Not only is it easier, it’s designed with corporate IT in mind allowing the significant investment in large test, development, and production vSphere environments to take advantage of elastic resource pools on the drip.

Primary Data Center & vCloud Air

Alright, now that we are done with the level set on vCAir let’s focus on the Business Resiliency side of the equation.

Reported average annual financial loss per event

Enterprise IT’s efforts to date around ensuring a resilient foundation for business activities, though admirable, has fallen short of the mark.  The staggering financial losses paint a very painful picture of the reality that exists today in corporate America.  The vCAir offering provides part of the solution to mitigate the data loss and application availability risk.  Once you have the vCAir connector in place, you have an additional option to use the VMware Corporation’s managed storage as a backup for current VDCs.  Again, this is a pay-on-the-drip service that allows corporate IT to forgo the painful act of capital expense and management of the infrastructure required to execute backup and restore of the applications (A DR subscription is required to enable this function).  Give the need for a DR subscription, you can see that VMware is providing this as a mechanism not only for backup but also for easy operational disaster recovery.  Once the subscription is in place the act of configuration is pretty simple.

VMware has put forth a great solution for a good portion of our virtualized workloads…I believe this will become a cornerstone of corporate ITs backup and DR strategy.

Disaster Recovery Automation Options

So is this the do-all end-all for virtualized disaster recovery?  Unfortunately not.  Why not?

  • Not all workloads are virtualized. You will still need your existing DR solutions to complete the picture.
  • For compliance and regulatory reasons, not all workloads can leave the corporate walls.  (No one looks good in orange jump suits).
  • Most CSOs will be conservative around applications with stringent / unique security requirements.
  • Some application RTO/RPO will require significant investment in networking infrastructure to be met.  In some cases, the investments required will make the solution cost prohibitive.

VMware has put forth a great solution for a good portion of our virtualized workloads and as the solution matures (deeper automation and richer APIs) I believe this will become a cornerstone of corporate ITs backup and DR strategy.

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The Future is Hybrid: VMworld 2014 https://infocus.emc.com/matt-_liebowitz/the-future-is-hybrid-vmworld-2014/ https://infocus.emc.com/matt-_liebowitz/the-future-is-hybrid-vmworld-2014/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:10:07 +0000 https://infocus.emc.com/?p=19902 This time of year is always an exciting one for me.  No, it’s not that I love summer or can’t wait for the start of hockey season (ok maybe that last one is true).  For me, late August always means it’s time for one thing: VMworld. VMworld is VMware’s annual conference where they bring together…Read More

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This time of year is always an exciting one for me.  No, it’s not that I love summer or can’t wait for the start of hockey season (ok maybe that last one is true).  For me, late August always means it’s time for one thing: VMworld.

VMworld is VMware’s annual conference where they bring together the best and brightest in the virtualization industry to share knowledge, discuss new features, and introduce the world to new products or technologies.  The first VMworld I attended was back in 2005 where the attendance was only 3,000 people.  At VMworld 2014 they’re expecting over 20,000 people which is a testament to how much this industry has grown.  This year will be my 8th VMworld and I couldn’t be more excited!

vmw2014It’s exciting for me because this is the first year I’ll go from being an attendee soaking up information to being a presenter who gets to share.  I’m presenting a session called, “Virtualizing Active Directory: The Right Way!” that goes to my roots as someone who believes in virtualizing business critical applications.  I’m co-presenting this session with Deji Akomolafe from VMware, another seasoned expert in virtualizing business critical apps.  Our session was originally scheduled to just run once, on Thursday the 28th at 10:30am, but demand was so high they’ve added another spot for us on Monday the 25th at 1:00PM.  If you’re at the conference, feel free to come by the session or stop me in the halls and say hi!  Or bring your copy of Virtualizing Microsoft Business Critical Applications on VMware vSphere or VMware vSphere: Performance to my book signing in the VMworld bookstore on Tuesday the 26th at 12:00PM.

Virtualizing Microsoft Active Directory domain controllers, and business critical applications in general, is near and dear to my heart.  I firmly believe that there are almost no applications left that can’t be virtualized, and this session gives me an opportunity to share my experiences and help others become successful.  Business critical applications have become, for the most part, the last applications and servers that are still physical for many organizations.  Getting as to close to 100% virtualization as possible is an important goal to strive for.

Why is that important?  Another firmly held belief of mine is that virtualization is truly the on-ramp to the cloud.  By virtualizing even your organization’s most important workloads, you take one step closer to a state where you can start taking advantage of cloud computing in your organization.

Of course, simply having a virtual infrastructure doesn’t mean you have a cloud.  Having a true hybrid cloud involves additional components to facilitate automation, orchestration, and to provide users with that service catalog where they can consume IT resources on a self-service basis.  Virtualizing you organization’s servers makes it easier to start layering in those cloud components, and once in place you’ll want even your business critical servers virtualized so you can start taking advantage of what a true hybrid cloud has to offer.  A great use case for combining business critical applications with a hybrid cloud is Database as a Service (DBaaS), which I talk about in a previous blog post.

Speaking of hybrid cloud, EMC will be demonstrating the EMC Hybrid Cloud (EHC) solution this year in our booth.  If you’re just hearing about EHC, take a look back at my three part blog series on EHC (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) to get a primer for what’s in store for EMC at VMworld.  It’s a very exciting time to be at EMC as we focus heavily on EHC, enabling our customers to adopt a true IT as a Service model and change the way they run IT.

Even though this is my 8th time attending VMworld, I’ve never been more excited.

I can’t wait to present my session on virtualizing Microsoft Active Directory domain controllers and help organizations successful in their virtualization/cloud journeys.  And with the hybrid cloud being such a big focus, it’s really a fun time to be at EMC.

If you’re walking down the halls at VMworld and happen to see someone who looks like former VMware CEO Paul Maritz, stop him and say hi.  It’s probably me!

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Greetings from VMworld! https://infocus.emc.com/ted_newman/greetings-vmworld/ https://infocus.emc.com/ted_newman/greetings-vmworld/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:34:39 +0000 https://infocus.emc.com/?p=19884 VMworld 2014 is officially here, and I suspect it’ll be even bigger and better than last year’s conference.  It seems like everything is starting even earlier this year, Moscone was already packed on Sunday morning!  I’m looking forward to hearing from VMware, EMC, and our customers and partners on what we can expect in the…Read More

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VMworld 2014 is officially here, and I suspect it’ll be even bigger and better than last year’s conference.  It seems like everything is starting even earlier this year, Moscone was already packed on Sunday morning!  I’m looking forward to hearing from VMware, EMC, and our customers and partners on what we can expect in the cloud market for the next year.

VMworld Facade2I’m excited to see so many sessions on not just cloud infrastructure, but also on cloud management, the business of building and running clouds, hyperconverged infrastructure, using containers in cloud and virtual environments, as well as DevOps and continuous integration.  We are moving into a new epoch for the cloud, focused on execution and integration. The question is no longer “if” or “why” cloud but “how.”

One of the most important changes that I think we will see moving forward in the cloud industry is the focus on the workload rather than on building one cloud stack to rule them all.  My team and I have been working with our customers to determine how to match the workload to the appropriate delivery no matter whether it is an internal or external provider, and a physical, virtual, or cloud infrastructure.

We have many different workloads in our enterprise portfolios and they all demand different approaches — the important thing will be to manage them through one tool set by policy, regardless of provider or infrastructure. VMware and EMC have been making important strides towards this innovative approach through products and services and we will share a lot about that at the show!

I will continue to make updates as the week goes on and look forward to seeing many of you around Moscone the next few days!

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What’s the Real Driver Behind IT Transformation? https://infocus.emc.com/jay_snyder/whats-real-driver-behind-transformation/ https://infocus.emc.com/jay_snyder/whats-real-driver-behind-transformation/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:05:17 +0000 https://infocus.emc.com/?p=19850 In past blogs, I’ve talked about IT transformation from a number of perspectives: service delivery, staff reskilling, process and cultural change, and aligning workloads with suitable cloud models. I’ll be attending VMworld 2014 in San Francisco this week, and I’m sure there will be many in-depth conversations at the popular conference about why these are…Read More

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In past blogs, I’ve talked about IT transformation from a number of perspectives: service delivery, staff reskilling, process and cultural change, and aligning workloads with suitable cloud models.

8 22 14 Jay Image 1I’ll be attending VMworld 2014 in San Francisco this week, and I’m sure there will be many in-depth conversations at the popular conference about why these are all important elements to IT transformation. But what really drives the decision to embark on what can be a very disruptive—although ultimately satisfying and productive—journey? In a word: survival. Because IT is in danger of losing its customer.

If you’re an IT shop, you provide IT services to the application and the application team. And the application team serves the actual customers of the business. The application is the connection point, the glue between the business and the infrastructure. And if the IT department loses the application, it loses its customer. It’s out of business. It’s that simple.

Today the application team is going off-premise to companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) to be able to provision the infrastructure more quickly. And because it wants an environment where it can rapidly develop next-generation applications that serve the business.

Interestingly, the prevalent tagline adorning banners across VMworld 2014 is “No Limits.”  Aptly put for today’s technology-infused business world, because we need to break the traditional, tightly coupled relationship between the infrastructure and the application. IT needs to abstract the infrastructure from application teams and simply provide compute, storage, and network resources (platform-as-a-service) to quickly build next-generation applications. This abstraction enables modern applications to elastically scale up, down, or across the infrastructure to seamlessly address the performance, reliability, and scalability demands of modern workloads.

8 22 14 Jay Image 2

An agile DevOps environment can support innovation with a constant stream of ideas expressed through applications. Applications that connect customers to businesses in completely new ways and allow them to be much more relevant to their customers. That’s business value as we embark toward a mobile-cloud era rife with new opportunities.

Think about a bank with a mobile banking app. Now that app may look cool on someone’s mobile phone, but if the backend infrastructure is legacy the cost and time it takes to provision the physical environment and deploy the application stack is prohibitive to agile development and DevOps. It impacts the ability to quickly change an application to meet customer needs or preferences. If I’m that bank’s application team, I’m going to go where I need to go to get a DevOps environment that gives me speed and agility. An environment that’s built to enable third-platform applications. Because if I don’t, I lose the end user—the real customer.

The IT service team and the application team are fighting the same battle: to retain their customers. That’s how the IT value chain should work. The infrastructure empowers the application team so it can build next-gen apps to retain or win the end user. That’s how IT transformation goes hand-in-hand with business transformation.

IT has to transform because the application needs to transform. And the application needs to transform because the business has changed. And the business has changed because customer expectations have changed.

I met recently with the CIO of a well-known university. And basically, he said, “Can you help me? I’m going to lose my entire business to Amazon web services.” Why? Because he can’t deliver services at a pace even close to what the internal constituents at the university expect.

And we do think we can help him. But he’s got to be willing to invest and take that first step. So he’s motivated. But what choice does he have? He either does it or he becomes the captain of a cruise ship that shadow IT has pirated away and is sailing off into the sunset.

In the new world, a CIO should be the service broker between internal and third-party services—aligning workloads and resources. Otherwise, she’s obsolete. I talked about this in an earlier blog—the evolution from traditional CIO to Chief Broker of the Workload. This role will become official for those who get ahead of the curve and put themselves in a position to determine when, where, and how they want to broker services.

IT transformation for the sake of IT transformation makes no sense. It has to be about enabling applications that enable the business. That’s the key. IT is losing relevancy and the business is moving beyond them. Wherever I go, that’s what I’m hearing. So relevancy to the business is top of mind for IT customers.

In my next post, we’ll take a closer look at where customers are on their path to IT transformation: Ready, Motivated or Confused. And what that means in terms of go-to-market strategy.

For an early preview of that discussion, I encourage you to watch SiliconAngle’s LIVE broadcast from VMworld 2014 by clicking here on Tuesday, August 26 at 5:20pm PDT.  At that scheduled time I’ll be a guest on The CUBE and joined by Peter Hunt, VP Cloud Integration at McKesson Corp. We’ll be addressing multiple topics around hybrid cloud and IT Transformation with host Dave Vellante in what is sure to be a great interview.  Hope you can tune in.

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Who Will Be The EMC Elect For 2015? https://infocus.emc.com/mark_browne/will-emc-elect-2015/ https://infocus.emc.com/mark_browne/will-emc-elect-2015/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:02:26 +0000 https://infocus.emc.com/?p=19951 It’s my first VMWorld conference and by far its been one of the more exciting conferences I attended. And thats putting the earthquake to one side   That was also a first by the way. Waking to a shaking bed and wobbly hotel room I’ll be sharing more on my take on VMWorld 2014 in later…Read More

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Nominations Are Open

It’s my first VMWorld conference and by far its been one of the more exciting conferences I attended. And thats putting the earthquake to one side  :)  That was also a first by the way. Waking to a shaking bed and wobbly hotel room :)

I’ll be sharing more on my take on VMWorld 2014 in later posts but i am delighted and quite excited to share this breaking news right now.

Today at VMWorld 2014, The EMC Elect team are announcing that nominations for the EMC Elect of 2015 are now open. It’s exciting to think we are already planning for 2015.  This year by opening the nominations now and closing them out on the 31st December gives people plenty of time to nominate those of their peers they wish to see recognized as EMC Elect for 2015.

For those who need a reminder or are just discovering the EMC Elect, here i what it’s all about.

EMC Elect is a community driven recognition and thank you for an individuals engagement with EMC as a brand over the calendar year. The EMC Elect are selected on their outstanding key characteristics of Engagement, Commitment and Leadership.

Engagement is measured on social participation on Twitter (or other platforms based in other countries), Blogs, the EMC Community Network , and in person community presentations (user groups, conferences, etc…)

Commitment is assessed on how an individual is being part of the EMC conversation day in, day out, offering thoughtful feedback and staying optimistic in their language.

Leadership is appraised by looking at the kind of people who take every opportunity to engage with their peers and represent others as part of the community.

So who do you think fits that bill. Is it yourself, is it the person next to you  :) . Who would you like to see recognized for helping out the EMC community peers. Make sure you nominate that person even if its you. Yes self nominations are perfectly acceptable.

But nominate now! It takes just a couple of minutes. Don’t put it off until December 31st. Don’t be lured into a false sense of Security. Do it now!

The power is in your hands, you decide who makes the cut for EMC Elect 2015! Have fun with it :)

EMC Elect Lounge2

For more blogs by Mark Browne, visit his blog, Bayside Chronicle.

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What Does The Fox Say? Foxes versus Hedgehogs https://infocus.emc.com/william_schmarzo/fox-say-foxes-versus-hedgehogs/ https://infocus.emc.com/william_schmarzo/fox-say-foxes-versus-hedgehogs/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:00:28 +0000 https://infocus.emc.com/?p=19866 My friend Joe Dossantos recently turned me onto the book “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – but Some Don’t” by Nate Silver.  It’s a darn good read with many stories and examples that are relevant to most anyone in the advanced analytics space.  But the section that really caught my attention…Read More

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8 22 14 Bill Image 2My friend Joe Dossantos recently turned me onto the book “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – but Some Don’t” by Nate Silver.  It’s a darn good read with many stories and examples that are relevant to most anyone in the advanced analytics space.  But the section that really caught my attention was the chapter that discussed the differences between “Hedgehogs” and “Foxes” – personality traits that differentiate the more successful data scientists from those that are not as successful.  To quote the book:

  • Hedgehogs are type A personalities who believe in Big Ideas — in governing principles about the world that behave as though they were physical laws and undergird virtually every interaction in society. Think Karl Marx and class struggle, or Sigmund Freud and the unconscious. Or Malcolm Gladwell and the “tipping point.”
  • Foxes, on the other hand, are scrappy creatures that believe in a plethora of little ideas and in taking a multitude of approaches toward a problem. They tend to be more tolerant of nuance, uncertainty, complexity, and dissenting opinion. If hedgehogs are hunters, always looking out for the big kill, then foxes are gatherers.

Nate Silver goes one step further in Figure 1 below in differentiating between the attitudes and personalities of Foxes and Hedgehogs.

But What Does The Fox Say

I couldn’t resist making a reference to one of the most weird music videos that I’ve seen in quite a while by Ylvis called “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)”

8 22 14 Bill Image 1

So in honor of the “What Does The Fox Say” music video, I’ve expanded upon Nate’s work to highlight my observations in working with some of our best data “foxes” (scientists) – Pedro, Wei, Shriya, and Srini.

  • Data Foxes don’t necessary need to have specific experience in your industry.  While that experience is nice to have, techniques mastered in different industries – from digital media or fraud detection or preventive maintenance – can be applied to a wide range of business challenges across a wide range of industries.
  • Foxes don’t lock onto a single analytic approach.  Foxes understand that the analytic process is highly variable, and approach.  Foxes understand that the analytic process is highly variable, and that there will be deviations and new learnings in all engagements.
  • Foxes embrace failure as just another way to learn.  Or as Thomas Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
  • Foxes accept that even the simplest question (Who are my most important customers?) ultimately boils down to a series of complex sub-questions incorporating new and different perspectives (e.g., considering advocacy, likelihood to recommend, future lifetime value, retirement readiness, etc. when considering customer “importance”)
  • Foxes are willing to convey answers as probabilities with confidence levels (There is a 95% change that next month’s sales of product XYZ will be between 900 to 1020 units).  Foxes also know that they might be able to improve the forecast accuracy with more data and more effort, but that comes at a price and they’ll be able to advise the business stakeholders whether that is a good investment or not.
  • Foxes understand that while theories and hypotheses are a good way to start your exploration, a good data scientist always falls back to what the data tells them.  They aren’t afraid to have the data tell them something totally different than what they expected when they started the exploration process.

I want to emphasize this last point when I think about the Business Intelligence (BI) approach and the Data Science approach to building analytics:

The BI Analyst will conduct interviews to identify potential problems, while a data scientist will examine and interrogate the data to identify potential problems

While interviewing the business stakeholders is always a good way to start building your initial hypotheses, it’s the exploration and interrogation of the data that leads to unique business and operational insights.

Summary

I find that good data scientists are always trying to seek out what the data is telling them, even if that “story” is inconsistent with what they originally thought.  Some folks (I’ll call them “pseudo” data scientists) try to manipulate the numbers to support the story that they have in their heads (in basketball, if you’re 6 for 46 from 3-point range, going 5 for 10 in the next game doesn’t suddenly make you a 50% 3-point shooter).  Instead, a “good” data scientist is always open to what the data tells them, and lets the story fall out of the data instead of vice versa.

Finally, I would add one other key trait that I have noticed about our most effective data scientists – the good data scientists are humble.  I don’t mean the “meek, deferential, or submissive” humble.  I mean the “respectful, modest and gracious” humble; the humble where the data scientist has enough confidence in their own capabilities that they are not afraid to stop and listen to new thinking from others (including me!).

The good data scientists don’t pretend to know all the answers. Instead, as Stephen Covey teaches, they “seek first to understand, then to be understood.

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Learning on the 3rd Platform and the Empowered Customer https://infocus.emc.com/ernie-kahane/learning-3rd-platform-empowered-customer/ https://infocus.emc.com/ernie-kahane/learning-3rd-platform-empowered-customer/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:55:49 +0000 https://infocus.emc.com/?p=19832 You may have heard about the psychological test where a family member draws a picture of their family. How family members are related in the picture—for example, the distance among them and placement—speaks volumes about their perceived connection with other family members. Instead of family, think about your organization and primary customer – where would…Read More

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You may have heard about the psychological test where a family member draws a picture of their family. How family members are related in the picture—for example, the distance among them and placement—speaks volumes about their perceived connection with other family members.

Family Guy

Family Guy: Fox Broadcasting Company

Instead of family, think about your organization and primary customer – where would they fit in your picture? Does your customer exist somewhere at the end of a value chain, a recipient of your product? Is your customer viewed as empowered or passive? If you view your customer as empowered, how does this stance align with your current mission statement? graph A valuable business question to ask any work group is: What business are you in? You are almost guaranteed to receive a variety of different responses.  Here are the answers I received from my informal survey at a training staff meeting: “certification”, “enablement”, “talent management”, “skill readiness”,  “closing the skill gap”, “driving revenue”, and “learning”. How are customers perceived in these responses? All the answers above imply that our learners are currently deficient in some way e.g. not “enabled” or not “certified” but after our learning interventions will be. All these responses reflect a commitment to leverage learning to achieve business outcomes. However, in an increasingly digital learning environment there also needs to be a strategy to engage learners and not simply try to fix them. The “fix them” approach to customers, typical of a 2nd Platform learning model, reflects a “pipe” mindset rather than a 3rd Platform design approach discussed in my last post. Pipe approaches make it hard to see our customers as empowered. Empowered learners have choices and expectations. With empowered learners, we have to compete for their attention and business. What’s challenging is that these customers are increasingly learning outside of traditional corporate training organizations via social media, MeetUps, search engines, YouTube, and the public cloud. As education organizations become increasingly “sourced around” by business users, most training organizations are not set up to deliver learning as quickly, as inexpensive, or as easy to consume. Learning on the 3rd Platform requires that we move beyond pipe approaches and focus on meeting the needs of empowered customers. Consider alternative business mission statements: such as Zappos: “We’ve aligned the entire organization around one mission: to provide the best customer service possible.” Think about what your customers might want as learning environments become increasing digital. Better still, go out and ask them. At the very least, we can anticipate the following: I want the option to have all my learning on-demand and:

  • Choose the way I want to learn
  • Participate in dialogue and discussions with peers and experts
  • Enjoy a great user experience
  • Personalized for me and my learning needs
  • Identify and select only what I need
  • Have immediate access to support and coaches
  • Be able to practice what I learn via labs, etc.
  • Access relevant white papers, product manuals, training materials
  • Connect from the device that I happen to be using

The Universe image A shift to learner empowerment requires a shift from courses to resources and services. To be truly effective, this Learning as a Service (LaaS) approach requires a 3rd Platform for learning. The 2nd Platform Blended Learning ecosystem doesn’t cut it as an environment for online learning because it is merely a gateway to learning assets. Rethinking our design approaches for learning on the 3rd Platform does not mean we focus on learning defections and ignore learning defects. Rather, it acknowledges that corporations can create competitive advantage by implementing digital business innovations that advance the industry and that drive customer loyalty, revenue, and efficiency. When traditional training organizations put empowered learners front and center, everything changes. Rather than providing customers with a fixed curricula, provide a series of options, tools, and services. To use an analogy, captive learners have to ride our buses based on our schedules and fixed routes. Empowered learners get in a car and drive directly to where they need to go using our tools and services. Learning organizations that understand and embrace this distinction will create an engaging, sustainable, and profitable environment for online learning.

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Social-izing Customer Service https://infocus.emc.com/alan_walsh/social-izing-customer-service/ https://infocus.emc.com/alan_walsh/social-izing-customer-service/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:47:15 +0000 https://infocus.emc.com/?p=19814 My team’s been working hard the past few months to establish a great platform for social engagement with EMC’s DPAD (Data Protection and Availability Division) customer service. By introducing a 24 x7 chat channel to Avamar / NetWorker / Data Domain and SourceOne EMC customers have greater access to our teams than ever before. Feedback…Read More

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My team’s been working hard the past few months to establish a great platform for social engagement with EMC’s DPAD (Data Protection and Availability Division) customer service. By introducing a 24 x7 chat channel to Avamar / NetWorker / Data Domain and SourceOne EMC customers have greater access to our teams than ever before. Feedback to date on this model has been overwhelmingly positive, and we continue to focus efforts on making it even better.

In addition, we are analyzing the questions submitted via chat and creating relevant content to proactively share with the rest of the customer community. This creates a closed loop of partnering with customers in sharing information.

We rolled out content associated with Avamar last month, based on the “Top 10” questions submitted by customers. This content was published on our EMC Community Network (ECN) and promoted via the @EMCSupport Twitter handle.

DPAD Customer ServiceThe positive response reflects a growing acknowledgment from our customers that proactive notification and self-help information allows their businesses to be successful. For us in DPAD Customer Service, the story doesn’t end there –it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We have already adopted the same approach in creating content for the NetWorker and Data Protection Advisor (DPA) product sets: a combination of knowledgebase articles and “how-to” video content. We recently published the links and encourage customer feedback. We will continue to ensure the right information is available, easy to access, and quick to consume and comprehend. Going social with DPAD customer service allows EMC customers to run their business and reach out to EMC on their schedule.

Follow us on @EMCSupport and on the EMC Community Network to receive these benefits!

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Small World, Big Data https://infocus.emc.com/steve_woods/small-world-big-data/ https://infocus.emc.com/steve_woods/small-world-big-data/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:41:22 +0000 https://infocus.emc.com/?p=19800 So you have a few critical business applications that happen to reside on your mainframe. You’d like to modernize them, maybe transform them to modern languages, reduce mainframe costs. So, of course, you’re asking some critical questions: How big are my applications? How can I understand them enough to transform them? And most importantly: How…Read More

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8 20 14 Steve Image 4So you have a few critical business applications that happen to reside on your mainframe. You’d like to modernize them, maybe transform them to modern languages, reduce mainframe costs. So, of course, you’re asking some critical questions:

How big are my applications?
How can I understand them enough to transform them?

And most importantly:

How are they connected?

In his book,  Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information, Manuael Lima explores a variety of data visualization approaches  that provide insights into virtually every field of study, from microbiology to Twitter feeds. When you visit Amazon and see purchase suggestions, when you visit Facebook and see friend suggestions, your experience is being mediated by software that studies your connectedness.

Remember the game 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon? Connectedness. Connectedness is about relationships. LinkedIn uses it to keep you connected to business colleagues. Connectedness appears in our social lives; it’s hard to avoid. This past weekend my wife checked-in through Facebook while visiting our local coffee shop. With in minutes we discovered our waitress is married to the real estate agent who sold us our house. Small world, we say.

The concept of degrees of separation among human beings is actually called small world theory, created by social psychologist Stanley Milgram. Milgram imagined that everyone on earth could be connected in less that 6 degrees, degrees being a social relationship. The visualization of small world problems uses graph theory, a topic I’ll discuss in a future blog. As shown below, people are dots, their relationships connect them together with lines.

Figure 1: Six degrees of separation (source: Wikipedia)

Figure 1: Six degrees of separation (source: Wikipedia)

Companies spend a great deal to understand our connectedness. We’re in their websites, in their data, in their small worlds, connected. Your next Facebook friend, your next book recommendation, all provided by understanding your connectedness.

Move from the small world of people to the big data of millions of lines of mainfram source code and the theory still holds. Code is connected, just like people. And we can learn from those connections. In mainframe transformation, application source code is our big data and it is our small world, too. This makes sense. The code was created by humans and it shares their innate connectedness.

So, we know code is connected. Why does this matter?

It turns out, no matter what your goal is for your mainframe applications, the more you know about your code the better you can understand how to tranform your applications.

Did you know your brain spends about two-thirds of your brain is involved in some manner with vision? Most program understanding tools take advantage of your brain’s ability to discern patterns such as the image below created using data extracted by EMC’s Code Ingestion Engine (CIE).

What your seeing here is a visualization of COBOL source code and it’s inter-dependencies. I call these petri dish images. When network scientists want to know more of a large amount of connected data, they use layout algorithms.

Assuming we know nothing about the underlying data, the diagram still tells us there are some interesting  clusters, both small and large, lurking in the data.

8 20 14 Steve Image 1

If you have mainframe source code, it might be helpful to start with one of these diagrams. They are like snowflakes, no two are alike. Your code will look different and it will have a different story to tell.

As a matter of fact, if you have a tool that will leverage this data in just such a way, you can find out even more. What are these cluster telling us? How can we use this data to dig deeper?

It the terms of social network analysis, those clusters are neighborhoods. If we want to know more about a neighborhood, we make a visit. Some neighhoods are visually obvious, like lonely towns in the desert. Some are barely distinquishable from near-by neighborhoods.

This is where EMC uses CIE to leverage network science to automatically detect neighborhoods. The diagram above actually has over 3000 neighborhoods. So your code wants to tell a story and the first part of the story is that your code will voluntarily assemble itself in its own neighborhoods.

Let visit one of the neighborhoods.

Here’s a reasonably sized neighborhood. They can be quite large, remembling teaming citys.

Now the block dots have become more distiguished. Blue objects are COBOL, Red objects are copy books, and Purple objects are Assembler code. The lines indicate that the program elements depend upon on another. This is a neighborhood that we can start thinking of as a unit that can be dispositioned somewhat independently.

8 20 14 Steve Image 2

Why does this matter? Well you can’t transform all your code at once. If you really want to improve or transform your mainframe, first find your neighborhoods. Until you’ve done that you really can’t begin.

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