Data is transforming our world. We all know this as data experts. But to realize the full transformative potential of information, we each have to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone. We have to think about what this transformation means for us three months from now, three years from now, even three decades from now. This is why I’m so excited about the Informatica World 2014 conference. In particular, the keynotes will be amazing. Some will inspire you. A couple may shock you. Most will arm you. All will enlighten you.
As always, the lineup includes Informatica executives including Sohaib Abbasi (CEO), Ivan Chong (Chief Strategy Officer), Marge Breya (Chief Marketing Officer) and Anil Chakravarthy (Chief Product Officer). They will lay out Informatica’s vision for this new data-centric world, and explain the coming innovations that will take the concept of a data platform to an entirely new level.
And building on the resoundingly positive response to Rick Smolan’s keynote last year on “The Human Face of Big Data”, the Informatica World organizers have put together a stellar array of thinkers designed to push the boundaries of how you think about the convergence of data and technology with humanity.
- Will humans and machines merge? Inventor and thinker Ray Kurzweil will lay out his provocative thesis in which nanobots will travel through the blood stream and enter our brains noninvasively, enabling us to put our neocortexes on the cloud where we will access nonbiology extensions to our thinking by the 2030s. We will thereby become a hybrid of biological and nonbiological thinking.
- Is data a science or an art? Jer Thorp is a data artist (move aside, data scientists), whose work focuses on adding narrative meaning to huge amounts of data. He will show how cutting edge visualization techniques can be used to tell stories, and make data more human.
- How do we use data for good? Drew Conway is an expert in applying computational methods to social and behavioral problems and co-founder of Datakind. He will push us all to think about how can we use and analyze data not merely to increase efficiency and profits, but to serve society and “do good.”
I can’t wait to hear these speakers, and I hope you will join us in Las Vegas May 12-15 to learn a bunch, have fun, and potentially transform how you think about data and humanity.
- Business and IT: Stop dissing each other. We all do it. Despite any platitudes about business-IT alignment, there is always griping behind closed doors. Let’s all promise to go the entire month of January without saying anything negative about the other team, and on a weekly basis express gratitude or provide positive feedback.
- Don’t let the hype fool you. Big Data. Internet of Things. Cloud/Social/Mobile (which has seemingly morphed into a single word). Hype? Definitely yes. Vaporware? Sometimes. Ignore it until “it’s real”? Definitely not. There are kernels of reality hidden in most of the hype. You have to find those kernels, and then let your mind open up to what the potential is in your own realm.
- Marry right brain with left brain. Most of us are heavy left brain people when we’re on the job. And while being data-driven, analytical and methodical are important, what separates the innovators from the followers is the spark of intuition, wisdom or creativity that is based on facts and knowledge, but not bound by it.
- Use social to discuss issues and gain knowledge rather than while away time. Social media has been extremely powerful for connecting people. But a shockingly high percentage of the social content is trivial—following celebrities; sharing selfies; updating friends on the latest meal eaten; lodging complaints about various first world problems. What if we diverted 25% of the social media time we spend on frivolous trivia to intellectual engagement and intelligent discussions about real issues? What could we change in our society if that power was unleashed?
- Use data for good. There are many uses for all the data flowing around us. Many of them are transformative— changing business models, revolutionizing industries, in some cases changing society. However, most of the ones being discussed today focus on corporate profit as opposed to societal good—think of all the investment in better targeting marketing offers to consumers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with utilizing data to grow business, and healthy businesses provide jobs, foster innovation and drive economic growth. However, business profit should not be our only goal. A few people and organizations (such as DataKind) are thinking about how to use data for good. Meaning societal good. If a few more of us carve out a portion of our time and brain power to focus on potential ways data can be harnessed to benefit our broader community, imagine the impact we could have on education, healthcare, the environment, economic hardship and the other myriad challenges we face around the world. Perhaps this wish is the most pollyanaish of them all, but I’ll keep doing what I can to forward the cause.
CIOs, CDOs and other IT executives are wrestling with a technology landscape that is not merely shifting and evolving—it’s transforming faster than mere mortals can keep up with. And it’s impossible to predict what technologies will be the right ones for your organization three years from now. Change is simply happening too fast. This Potential at Work article talks about the fundamental shift in architectural approach necessary to managing change, and how Informatica Vibe is the architectural secret sauce. Check out how Tony Young and Mark Smith think about the problem and the way out of the morass, and chime in with your own ideas.
“Business-IT alignment.” The words have been touted so much by vendors (including Informatica), that they have become a platitude. But that doesn’t mean the concept itself isn’t still critical. This recent article in the IT Leader Potential at Work community lists the three actions IT must take to make a real impact on the business, starting by “inciting a revolution” among IT staff and turning them into business thinkers. Check out the article and share your thoughts here.
I’ve always learned a lot about the realities of managing IT from our (now former) CIO, Tony Young. (Don’t worry—Tony is still with Informatica but is now in an executive role with our cloud team.) In his latest thought-provoking Potential at Work article for CIOs, CDOs and other IT executives, he tackles IT consumerization. With users adopting more cloud applications, bringing in personal mobile devices, and generally upping the expectations on access to personalized technology, Tony highlights three key potential red flags that IT leaders need to wrestle to the ground. You can find the full article, as well as many others, at the Potential at Work community.
We’ve been spending a lot of time here at Informatica preparing for Informatica World. That means taking a big step back to take the broader view of all the change happening in the world of information management and data integration today. New data sources and new data technologies are emerging almost daily, and the pace is only accelerating. Our mission is to help our customers and our market not only cope with all this change, but to harness it for competitive advantage.
But even as we’re putting together the latest take on the big picture, we’re also zooming in on the technology “secret sauce” which makes it possible to manage all this change. Informatica has the “secret sauce”– it’s what makes our architecture unique, and it’s what allows us to deliver the most value to our customers.
I’m not going to tell you what the “secret sauce” is now– you have to come to Informatica World to find out. Our executives including Sohaib Abbasi, Ivan Chong and James Markarian will be laying out the big picture, as well as revealing the “secret sauce.” And I’ll be diving in to more details in my Informatica Platform overview breakout session.
I hope to see you in Vegas next month. (by the way, the special hotel rate ends this Friday May 3rd, so register today!)
I attended Forrester’s Customer Experience conference a couple of weeks ago to get up to speed on how different companies are changing their processes and culture to truly put the customer at the center of their world. Concepts such as voice of the customer, the buyer’s journey, and moments of truth were tossed around like popcorn. The high bar set at the conference was to achieve empathy with the customer in order to deliver true customer experience innovations. Beyond such lofty concepts, there was also a lot of discussion about the underlying practical matter of gathering the relevant data about customers in order to build the knowledge and understanding essential to creating that empathy. (more…)
- The campaigning is finally over and there is a glimmer of hope that we can get some actual decisions made in Washington.
- My family out East survived Sandy pretty much unscathed, although the impact to so many others has been heartbreaking. I hope we have the guts to realize we need major changes to how we manage our shorelines and infrastructure, and don’t simply repeat past mistakes.
- Our two little monsters… ahem children… (3 ½ and 1 ½) are thriving and only spend a very small proportion of their time trying to kill each other. (more…)
The world has gone mobile. Among consumers, the younger generation has grown up connecting via mobile devices rather than computers. In some developing countries, entire societies have skipped over computers directly to their smartphones to connect and interact. More and more enterprises are providing their workforce with mobile devices, or enabling “bring your own device”.
And mobile devices are just a tip of the machine-generated data iceberg. We are experiencing geometric growth in data being generated by machines and devices, ranging from mobile phones and tablets to smart meters to RFID tags to equipment sensors. There are billions of machines creating deluges of real-time data. And most traditional IT systems are simply not equipped to handle this type of big data. (more…)
Social networking is becoming inescapable. It has become mainstream faster than almost anyone could have predicted (other than perhaps Mark Zuckerberg.)
Full disclosure: I hardly ever use Facebook. Perhaps as a working mom with two young children, keeping up with former high school classmates is a luxury I can’t afford (or don’t want). But I use other types of social media extensively. I use LinkedIn for professional networking, recruiting, knowledge sharing and development. I use Twitter to communicate with customers, analysts and industry peers. I use several local online moms’ communities for advice on toddler tantrums, teething and preschools. (more…)