Category Archives: Public Sector

Tweet Away at the Informatica Government Summit for a Chance to Win!

The Informatica Government Summit is tomorrow and we couldn’t be more excited! Our great speaker lineup includes experts from Bloomberg, FCC, USPS, MeriTalk, the Department of Defense and more! We have more than a half dozen breakout sessions with public sector industry experts and Informatica customers and partners. If you’re going to be there, we want you to tell the world all about it! To inspire attendees to share their experience at the conference, we created a Twitter contest!

To participate in the #INFAgov15 Twitter contest – it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! Just follow these steps below:

INFAgov15 Twitter Contest

INFAgov15 Twitter Contest

  1. Be a registered attendee of the Informatica Government Summit 2015 .
    Informatica employees and event
    sponsors are ineligible
  2. Tweet relevant content about the conference from a personal Twitter account between Thursday, April 23 at 12:00AM (EDT) and Thursday, April 23 at 11:59pm (EDT)
  3. Include the text “INFA contest” and #INFAgov15 hashtag in each participating tweet
    Example Tweet: Really enjoyed the “Citizen-Ready Data: Unlock the Power of Data” breakout session! #INFagov15 INFA contest

The contestant who sends the highest number of relevant, unique tweets from a personal (not corporate) account during this time frame will win one free Informatica University course – up to $3,200 value!

Your choice of class and offering type:

  • Seat in Instructor-led scheduled classroom or Virtual Academy Event
  • OnDemand Plus course subscription (eLearning course + hands-on labs).

The winner will be announced on Thursday, 4/30/2015 from the @Infaps Twitter account. Along the way, you can watch the conversation unfold in real-time here.

See full contest terms and conditions below.

INFAgov15 Contest Terms and Conditions

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY MONEY IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE THE CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

SPONSOR: The Sponsor of the contest is Informatica Corporation: 2100 Seaport Blvd., California, 94063, United States.

ELIGIBILITY: The INFAgov Contest is open only to anyone who has registered to attend Informatica Government Summit 2015 and who is at least 18 years old at the time of entry. Employees of Sponsor and immediate family members of Sponsor’s employees are not eligible to participate in the contest. The contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.

CONTEST PERIOD: The contest begins at 12:00 AM United States Eastern Daylight Time (“EDT”) on April 23, 2015, and ends at 11:59 PM EDT on April 23, 2015 (the “Contest Period”).

HOW TO ENTER: The contest may be entered by a registered attendee of Informatica Government Summit 2015 submitting one or more unique tweets about Informatica Government Summit 2015 during the Contest Period. Each tweet must include “INFA Contest” and “#INFAgov15” to be an eligible entry to the contest.

CONTEST REQUIREMENTS: To be eligible for a potential prize as part of the contest, participant must submit one or more entries that fulfill all contest requirements, which includes these terms and conditions. Entries that are not complete or do not adhere to these terms and conditions or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of Sponsor. You may enter the contest more than one by submitting multiple distinct tweets (retweets will not be counted). If you use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent these terms and conditions, all of your entries may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of Sponsor.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Your entry may not contain, as determined by the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, any content that:
• Is sexually explicit or suggestive; violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group; profane or pornographic; contains nudity or inappropriate dress of any kind, including wearing of swimwear or undergarments.
• Promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing); promotes any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous.
• Is obscene or offensive; endorses any form of hate or hate group.
• Defames, misrepresents or contains disparaging remarks about the Sponsor, or its products or any other people, products, brands or companies.
• Contains content created by anyone other than you, unless you have valid written permission to use the content in the manner used.
• Advertises or promotes any brand or product of any kind.
• Contains any personal identification, such as street or email addresses, or phone numbers.
• Violates or encourages the violation of any law, rule or regulation.
• Contains materials embodying the names, likenesses or other indicia identifying any person without the person’s valid written permission to use the name, likeness or indicia in the manner used.
• Promotes any particular political party, agenda or message; and/or communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive image and/or goodwill to with which the Sponsor wishes to associate the contest.

PRIZE: One (1) winner will receive a free training award, which provides the winner with the opportunity to receive one (1) free Informatica University course having a value of up to $3,200. The winner may choose from one of the following class and offering types offered by Sponsor: (a) a seat in an instructor led scheduled classroom or Virtual Academy Event designated by Sponsor or (b) an on Demand Plus course (eLearning course + hands-on labs) designated by Sponsor. All prize values are specified in United States Dollars. You are not guaranteed to win a prize and your chance of winning is dependent on the number of eligible entries received. No prize substitution is permitted except at Sponsor’s sole discretion. Any and all prize related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and local taxes shall be the sole responsibility of the winner. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others by any winner is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for Sponsor to use winner’s name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising, social media, publication and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

ODDS: The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. The participant who submits the highest number of unique and eligible tweets will win the designated prize.

JUDGING CRITERIA AND NOTIFICATION: The winner will be the participant who submitted the highest number of eligible tweets. In the event of a tie between multiple entries for the highest number of distinct tweet submissions received, the winner will be selected by random drawing. Winner will be announced on April 30, 2015, via Sponsor’s Twitter account @infaps. The winner must contact Sponsor at infacomm@gmail.com with the subject line, “INFAgov Contest Winner,” within 15 days from the time the award notification was published on Twitter. If the winner fails contact Sponsor within the timeframe specified or fails to return a completed and executed declaration and release as required, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner selected. The receipt by winner of the prize offered in this contest is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal and state laws and regulations and these terms and conditions. ANY VIOLATION OF THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS BY ANY WINNER WILL RESULT IN SUCH WINNER’S DISQUALIFICATION AS WINNER OF THE CONTEST AND ALL PRIVILEGES AS WINNER WILL BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED.

RIGHTS GRANTED BY YOU: By submitting an entry to the contest, you agree to abide by these terms and conditions and any decision Sponsor makes regarding the contest (including awarding of any prize), which Sponsor shall make in its sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify and prosecute to the fullest extent permitted by law any participant or winner who, in Sponsor’s reasonable suspicion, tampers the entry or contest process, violates these terms and conditions, or acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. By submitting an entry for this promotion, you also agree to receive marketing communications from Sponsor and its affiliates. You also irrevocably grant to Sponsor, its licensees, agents, successors and assigns, to the extent permissible by law, the unconditional and perpetual right and license to post, display, broadcast, publish, use, adapt, edit, translate, dub, and/or modify all or a part of your entry, your name and address (city and state/province/territory), and the names, likenesses, photographs, voices, statements and images of all persons appearing in the entry anywhere in the world, for future advertising, trade, promotion, publicity or any other purpose, in any manner and in any medium now known or hereafter devised, without compensation and without notice to you, and/or review or approval from you, without limitation; you will not now nor in the future be paid or receive any other compensation for your entry or for granting the Sponsor any of the rights and/or licenses set out in these Rules; and any waiver of any obligation hereunder by Sponsor does not constitute a general waiver of any obligation to entrants. Winner may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility, liability release and a publicity release, and other forms as a condition to receiving the prize.

TERMS: Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the contest should (in its sole discretion) a virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention, fraud or other causes beyond its control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper conduct of the contest. In such case, Sponsor may select the recipients from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by Sponsor. Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process, the operation of the contest, website or violates these Terms & Conditions. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the contest, to void votes for any reason, including, but not limited to: multiple entries from the same user from different IP addresses, multiple entries from the same computer in excess of that allowed by contest rules, or the use of bots, macros or scripts or other technical means for entering.
Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any web site or undermine the legitimate operation of the contest may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law.

LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: SPONSOR AND SPONSOR’S AGENTS AND CONTRACTORS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, REGARDING ANY PRIZE OR YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE CONTEST. BY PARTICIPATING IN THE SWEEPSTAKES OR RECEIPT OF ANY PRIZE, EACH PARTICIPANT AGREES TO RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS SPONSOR AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, SUPPLIERS, DISTRIBUTORS, ADVERTISING/PROMOTION AGENCIES, AND PRIZE SUPPLIERS, AND EACH OF THEIR RESPECTIVE PARENT COMPANIES AND EACH SUCH COMPANY’S OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES AND AGENTS (COLLECTIVELY, THE “RELEASED PARTIES”) FROM AND AGAINST ANY CLAIM OR CAUSE OF ACTION, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PERSONAL INJURY, DEATH, OR DAMAGE TO OR LOSS OF PROPERTY, ARISING OUT OF PARTICIPATION IN THE CONTEST OR RECEIPT OR USE OR MISUSE OF ANY PRIZE. THE RELEASED PARTIES ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR: (1) ANY INCORRECT OR INACCURATE INFORMATION, WHETHER CAUSED BY PARTICIPANTS, PRINTING ERRORS OR BY ANY OF THE EQUIPMENT OR PROGRAMMING ASSOCIATED WITH OR UTILIZED IN THE CONTEST; (2) TECHNICAL FAILURES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO MALFUNCTIONS, INTERRUPTIONS, OR DISCONNECTIONS IN PHONE LINES OR NETWORK HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE; (3) UNAUTHORIZED HUMAN INTERVENTION IN ANY PART OF THE CONTEST; (4) TECHNICAL OR HUMAN ERROR WHICH MAY OCCUR IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CONTEST; OR (5) ANY INJURY OR DAMAGE TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY WHICH MAY BE CAUSED, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, FROM PARTICIPANT’S PARTICIPATION IN THE CONTEST OR RECEIPT OR USE OR MISUSE OF ANY PRIZE. If for any reason a participant’s entry is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, participant’s sole remedy is to re-submit or submit another entry in the contest, provided that if it is not possible to award another entry due to discontinuance of the contest, or any part of it, for any reason, Sponsor, at its discretion, may elect to hold a random drawing from among all participants up to the date of discontinuance for any or all of the prizes offered herein. No more than the stated number of prizes will be awarded. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, amend or suspend the contest at any time, with or without prior notice, including if the contest encounters any unexpected problems.

GOVERNING LAW AND DISPUTES: THESE OFFICIAL RULES AND THE PROMOTION ARE GOVERNED BY, AND WILL BE CONSTRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH, THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND THE UNITED STATES AND THE FORUM AND VENUE FOR ANY DISPUTE ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO THESE OFFICIAL RULES SHALL BE IN THE COUNTY OF SAN MATEO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA. IF THE CONTROVERSY OR CLAIM IS NOT OTHERWISE RESOLVED THROUGH DIRECT DISCUSSIONS OR MEDIATION, IT SHALL THEN BE RESOLVED BY FINAL AND BINDING ARBITRATION ADMINISTERED BY JUDICIAL ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION SERVICES, INC., IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS STREAMLINED ARBITRATION RULES AND PROCEDURES OR SUBSEQUENT VERSIONS THEREOF (“JAMS RULES”). THE JAMS RULES FOR SELECTION OF AN ARBITRATOR SHALL BE FOLLOWED, EXCEPT THAT THE ARBITRATOR SHALL BE EXPERIENCED AND LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN CALIFORNIA. ANY SUCH CONTROVERSY OR CLAIM WILL BE ARBITRATED ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS, AND WILL NOT BE CONSOLIDATED IN ANY ARBITRATION WITH ANY CLAIM OR CONTROVERSY OF ANY OTHER PARTY. ALL PROCEEDINGS BROUGHT PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH WILL BE CONDUCTED IN THE COUNTY OF SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES. THE REMEDY FOR ANY CLAIM SHALL BE LIMITED TO ACTUAL DAMAGES, AND IN NO EVENT SHALL ANY PARTY BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER PUNITIVE, EXEMPLARY, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING ATTORNEY’S FEES OR OTHER SUCH RELATED COSTS OF BRINGING A CLAIM, OR TO RESCIND THIS AGREEMENT OR SEEK INJUNCTIVE OR ANY OTHER EQUITABLE RELIEF.

PRIVACY POLICY: Sponsor collects personal information from you when you enter this promotion. Sponsor reserves the right to use any information collected in accordance with its privacy policy, which may be found at http://www.informatica.com/us/privacy-policy/.

DISCLAIMER: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google or Instagram.

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Posted in Data Governance, Informatica Events, Public Sector | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Commerce Ready Data for B2B & B2C at Informatica World

If you’ve been contemplating to transform your business, making it a priority to embrace digital transformation, this year’s Informatica World 2015, in Las Vegas, has a series of B2B and B2C sessions for you. Here are some I wish to recommend:

B2B Commerce Ready Data

PartsSource Improve Customer Experience with Product Information in Medical Parts
Brian Thomas, Director of Application, PartsSource

A leading provider of medical replacement parts solutions, PartsSource will discuss how it uses Informatica PIM as the foundation for its omnichannel strategy and to support its industry-first one-stop shop online catalog for medical parts. PartsSource will explain how Informatica helped reduce the time needed to launch and update products from 120 minutes to 2 minutes using fewer employees, making it easier than ever to connect over 3,300 hospitals to thousands of OEMs and suppliers.

B2C Commerce Ready Data

Elkjop and Monsanto: PIM and MDM to Manage Product and Customer Data
Thomas Thykjer, Master Data Architect, Elkjop Nordics AS
Jim Stellern, US Commercial Data Management and BI IT Lead, Monsanto

Elkjop, the largest consumer electronics retailer in the Nordic countries, increased both its product range offering and the quality of its product information across its entire portfolio by leveraging the strong embedded Data Quality tools found in the Informatica PIM. Elkjop will also discuss how they reduced their yearly development costs and operating costs.

Monsanto developed a strategy to address customer data quality issues, clearly articulated the business value of implementing the strategy, and successfully implemented the solution leveraging Informatica MDM and a new data governance program.

Register to Informatica World Now!

Omnichannel Ready: What’s New in PIM 8?

Latest Features, Demo and Roadmap

Stefan Reinhardt, Senior Product Manager PIM, R&D DEU PIM, Informatica
Ben Rund, Sr. Director Product Marketing, Information Quality Solutions, Informatica

Are you commerce ready? Can you say the same about your data? Are you focused on the betterment of your supply chain, marketing, ecommerce, merchandising and category management This session, aimed at those wanting to sell more products faster.

Learn what’s new with PIM 8:

  • Kits and bundles for superior cross-selling
  • High data volumes architecture
  • Role- and task-based web interfaces for increased efficiency on product content collaboration
  • Business user dashboard
  • 1WorldSync data pool syndication for compliant CPG data
  • Product Data as a Service (DaaS) for price intelligence and content benchmarking.

We will be covering all those new features during the session through in a live demo.

Furthermore, we will also cover the PIM roadmap, showcasing how PIM is evolving and gaining MDM like features, by fueling product data apps for different use cases and industries, leveraging the Intelligent Data Platform.

User Group Session for Omnichannel

Are you looking to talk to the experts? Don’t miss out on our user group sessions where you will be able to discuss and work directly with the R&D and product management experts. They will be there to answer your questions as well as hear your thoughts and feedback. It’s your opportunity to be heard and get an answer to your question, don’t miss out!

Register to Informatica World Now!

37 Sessions to Master the Digital Transformation

An overall of 37 sessions, focused on different Master Data Management and Information Governance, key disciplines and the foundation of successfully mastering digital transformation, will be held on the 12th and 13th of May.

View the agenda grid to get an overview

View the session catalog to understand more details

Register to Informatica World Now!

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Posted in PiM, Public Sector, Retail, Telecommunications, Total Customer Relationship | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Were You on January 21, 2009?

Open_Data

Open Data

January 21, 2009. Why in the world would that be a date to recall? Well, for one, it was the day after Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. And secondly, it was the day President Obama released an arguably game changing document, his Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government. This one document set the stage for a new era in how government would look at the data it collects and creates. Since that time, the world of data has changed dramatically! Consider this – new analytics tools, new data types, new devices creating data, new storage ideas, new visualization applications, new concepts, new laws – the list of innovations goes on.

But, all these great innovations are not really why I’m writing today. Today, I’d like to call your attention to a news article I read in NextGov, “Amid Open Data Push, Agencies Feel Urge for Analytics”. I have to admit, as I read this article, I found myself getting just a little bit giddy. Why? Great question, thanks for asking. J Before going on with my thoughts, please take a moment to read the article. Go ahead, I have time. I’ll wait.

Picking up where I left off…

Since 2009, the notion of “open data” has been discussed primarily from one of two main perspectives:

  • Transparency of government to citizens – Accountability
  • What the private sector can do – Innovation

No doubt, there have been significant advances on both of these topics. Yet, as important as these concepts are, budget and resource constraints can cause open data efforts to be prioritized lower than, say, a mission-critical program.

Of course, I get this – mission first – but, a couple years ago it hit me, maybe government agencies are not seeing a potential opportunity that’s sitting right in front of them. Along with the mandate to publish open data, is the opportunity to consume open data and get it into their analytics engines, thus, supporting the agency’s mission! Just this slight mind shift has the potential to turn open data initiatives into a means to create value. Now do you see why I am excited by the article? (If not, I’ll assume you’ve yet to read it.)  I’m thrilled to see agencies adding a third perspective to the open data conversation:

  • Consumption of open data – Improving an agency’s ability to deliver on its mission(s)

I am looking forward to following the success of any agency effort to take advantage of open data as a strategic resource. If you have other examples beyond the cases noted in the NextGov article, please share!

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All You Need is Love! (Well, That and Some Software)

Picture1That’s right, Valentine’s Day is upon us, the day that symbolizes the power of love and has the ability to strengthen relationships between people. I’ve personally experienced 53 Valentine’s Days so I believe I speak with no small measure of authority on the topic of how to make the best of it. Here are my top five suggestions for having a great day:

  1. Know everything you can about the people you have relationships with
  2. Quality matters
  3. ALL your relationships matter
  4. Uncover your hidden or anonymous relationships
  5. Treat your relationships with respect all year long

OK, I admit, this is not the most romantic list ever and might get you in more trouble with your significant other than actually forgetting Valentine’s Day altogether! But, what did you expect? I work for a software company, not eHarmony! :-)

Right. Software. Let’s put this list into the context of government agencies.

  1. Know everything – If your agency’s mission involves delivering services to citizens, likely, you have multiple “systems of record”, each with a supposed accurate record of all the people being tracked by each system. In reality though, it’s rare that the data about individuals is consistently accurate and complete from system to system. The ability to centralize all the data about individuals into a single, authoritative “record” is key to improving service delivery. Such a record will enable you to ensure the citizens you serve are able to take full advantage of all the services available to them. Further, having a single record for each citizen has the added benefit of reducing fraud, waste and abuse.
  2. Quality matters – Few things hinder the delivery of services more than bad data, data with errors, inconsistencies and gaps in completeness. It is difficult, at best, to make sound business decisions with bad data. At the individual level and at the macro level, agency decision makers need complete and accurate data to ensure each citizen is fully served.
  3. All relationships matter – In this context, going beyond having single records to represent people, it’s also important to have single, authoritative views of other entities – programs, services, providers, deliverables, places, etc.
  4. Uncover hidden relationships – Too often, in the complex eco-system of government programs and services, the inability to easily recognize relationships between people and the additional entities mentioned above creates inefficiencies in the “system”. For example, it can go unnoticed that a single parent is not enrolled in a special program designed for their unique life circumstances. Flipping the coin, not having a full view of hidden relationships also opens the door for the less scrupulous in society, giving them the ability to hide their fraudulent activities in plain sight.
  5. Treat relationships respectfully all year – Data hygiene is not a one-time endeavor. Having the right mindset, processes and tools to implement and automate the process of “mastering” data as an on-going process will better ensure the relationship between your agency and those it serves will remain positive and productive.

I may not win the “Cupid of the Year” award, but, I hope my light-hearted Valentine’s Day message has given you a thing or two to think about. Maybe Lennon and McCartney are right, between people, “Love is All You Need”. But, we at Informatica believe for Government-Citizen relationships, a little of the right software can go a long way.

Care to learn more?

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Posted in 5 Sales Plays, Master Data Management, Public Sector | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Government and Cloud – Their Journey to the Altar

cloudsIf you work for or with the government and you care about the cloud, you’ve probably already read the recent MeriTalk report, “Cloud Without the Commitment”. As well, you’ve probably also read numerous opinions about the report. In fact, one of Informatica’s guest bloggers, David Linthicum, just posted his thoughts. As I read the report and the various opinions, I was struck by the seemingly, perhaps, unintentional suggestion that (sticking with MeriTalk’s dating metaphor) the “commitment issues” are a government problem. Mr. Linthicum’s perspective is “there is really no excuse for the government to delay migration to cloud-based platforms” and “It’s time to see some more progress”, suggesting that the onus in on government to move forward.

Hm…

I do agree that, leveraged properly, there’s much more value to be extracted from the cloud by government. Further, I agree that cloud technologies have sufficiently matured to the point that it is feasible to consider migrating mission critical applications. Yet, is it possible that the government’s “fear of commitment” is, in some ways, justified?

Consider this stat from the MeriTalk report – only half (53%) of the respondents rate their experience with the cloud as very successful. That suggests the experience of the other half, as MeriTalk words it, “leave(s) something to be desired.” If I’m a government decision maker and I’m tasked with keeping mission critical systems up and sensitive data safe, am I going to jump at the opportunity to leverage an approach that only half of my peers are satisfied with? Maybe, maybe not.

Now factor this in:

  • 53% are concerned about being locked into a contract where the average term is 3.6 years
  • 58% believe cloud providers do not provide standardized services, thus creating lock in

Back to playing government decision maker, if I do opt to move applications to the cloud, once I get there, I’m bound to that particular provider – contractually and, at least to some extent, technologically. How comfortable am I with the notion of rewriting/rehosting my mission-critical, custom application to run in XYZ cloud? Good question, right?

Inevitably, government agencies will end up with mission-critical systems and sensitive data in the cloud, however, successful “marriages” are hard, making them a bit of a rare commodity

Do I believe government has a “fear of commitment”? Nah, I just see their behavior as prudent caution on their way to the altar.

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Posted in Cloud, Public Sector | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dark Data in Government: Sounds Sinister

Dark Data in Government: Sounds Sinister

Dark Data in Government: Sounds Sinister

Anytime I read about something characterized as “dark”, my mind immediately jumps to a vision of something sneaky or sinister, something better left unsaid or undiscovered. Maybe I watched too many Alfred Hitchcock movies in my youth, who knows. However, when coupled with the word “data”, “dark” is anything BUT sinister. Sure, as you might agree, the word “undiscovered” may still apply, but, only with a more positive connotation.

To level set, let’s make sure you understand my definition of dark data. I prefer using visualizations when I can so, picture this: the end of the first Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. In this scene, we see the Ark of the Covenant, stored in a generic container, being moved down the aisle in a massive warehouse full of other generic containers. What’s in all those containers? It’s pretty much anyone’s guess. There may be a record somewhere, but, for all intents and purposes, the materials stored in those boxes are useless.

Applying this to data, once a piece of data gets shoved into some generic container and is stored away, just like the Arc, the data becomes essentially worthless. This is dark data.

Opening up a government agency to all its dark data can have significant impacts, both positive and negative. Here are couple initial tips to get you thinking in the right direction:

  1. Begin with the end in mind – identify quantitative business benefits of exposing certain dark data.
  2. Determine what’s truly available – perform a discovery project – seek out data hidden in the corners of your agency – databases, documents, operational systems, live streams, logs, etc.
  3. Create an extraction plan – determine how you will get access to the data, how often does the data update, how will handle varied formats?
  4. Ingest the data – transform the data if needed, integrate if needed, capture as much metadata as possible (never assume you won’t need a metadata field, that’s just about the time you will be proven wrong).
  5. Govern the data – establish standards for quality, access controls, security protections, semantic consistency, etc. – don’t skimp here, the impact of bad data can never really be quantified.
  6. Store it – it’s interesting how often agencies think this is the first step
  7. Get the data ready to be useful to people, tools and applications – think about how to minimalize the need for users to manipulate data – reformatting, parsing, filtering, etc. – to better enable self-service.
  8. Make it available – at this point, the data should be easily accessible, easily discoverable, easily used by people, tools and applications.

Clearly, there’s more to shining the light on dark data than I can offer in this post. If you’d like to take the next step to learning what is possible, I suggest you download the eBook, The Dark Data Imperative.

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Posted in Big Data, Data Warehousing, Enterprise Data Management, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Intelligent Data Platform, Public Sector | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Making the Hybrid Cloud Work for Public Sector

Making the Hybrid Cloud Work for Public Sector

Hybrid Cloud and Public Sector

If you’ve been working in the government sector for any amount of time, you had to see the advent of the “hybrid cloud” coming. Like all new technologies, when first introduced, “the cloud” was the answer to all your IT woes. It is cheaper, more reliable, infinitely scalable, instantly adaptable, and so on. But, as time has gone by and many of you have dipped your toes in the water, the reality is beginning to surface, and challenges are beginning to appear. Sure, moving email to the cloud was a great first step, and it certainly gave most agencies the ability to show progress in leveraging the cloud. Yes, archiving data to the cloud is also a good use case and is showing progress. But, what’s next? There are plenty of new SaaS offerings popping up, and purpose-built to solve various public sector challenges, and yes, they are generally decent applications. Yet, would it be fair to suggest new challenges are arising as your agency begins to adopt new cloud solutions? In particular, has the advent of specialized applications for government made your overall IT portfolio simpler or more complex? Government has always struggled with a vast array of siloed systems and isn’t the cloud creating yet more challenges in this regard? Well, maybe. Let’s take a look.

What I love about the cloud is it has something of value to offer practically any government organization, regardless of size, maturity, point of view, approach. Even for the most conservative IT shops, there are use cases that just plain make sense. And with the growing availability of FEDRAMP certified offerings, it’s becoming easier to procure. But, thinking realistically, for reasons of law, budget, time, architecture, we know the cloud will not be the solution for every public sector problem. Some applications, some data will never leave your agency’s premises. And here in lies the new complexity. You have applications and data on-prem. You have applications and data in the cloud. And you have business requirements that require these apps to work together, to share data.

So, now that you have a hybrid environment, what can you do about? Let’s face it, we can talk about technology, architecture and approaches all day long, but, it always comes down to this, what should be done with the data. You need answers to questions such as; Is it safe? Is it accessible? It is reliable? How do I know if the integrity has been compromised? What about the quality? How error-prone is the data? How complete is the data? How do we manage it across this new hybrid landscape? How can I get data from a public cloud application to my on-prem data warehouse? How can I leverage the flexibility of public IaaS to build a new application that will need access to data that is also required for an on-prem legacy application?

I know many government IT professional are wrestling with these questions and seeking solutions. So, here’s an interesting thought. Most of these questions are not exactly new, they are just taking on the added context of the cloud. Prior to the cloud, many agencies discovered answers in the form of a data integration platform. The platform is used to ensure every application, every user has access to the data they need to perform their mission or job. I think of it this way. The platform is a “standardized” abstraction layer that ensures all your data gets to where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, in the form it needs to be in. There are hundreds of government IT shops using such an approach.

Here’s the good news. This approach to integrating data can be extended to include the cloud.  Imagine placing “agents” in all the places where your data needs to live, the agents capable of communicating with each other to integrate, alter or move data. Now add to this the idea of a cloud-based remote control that allows you to control all the functions of the agents. Using such a platform now enables your agency to tie on-prem systems to cloud systems, minimizing the effect of having multiple silos of information. Now government workers and warfighters will have the ability to more quickly get complete, accurate data, regardless of where it originates and citizens will benefit from more effectively delivered services.

How would such an approach change your ideas on how to leverage the cloud for your agency? If you live near the Washington, DC area, you may wish to drop in on the Government Cloud Computing and Data Center Conference & Expo. One of my colleagues, Ronen Schwartz will be discussing this topic. For those not in the vicinity, you can learn more here.

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Is the Internet of Things relevant for the government?

Get connected. Be connected. Make connections. Find connections. The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about connecting people, processes, data and, as the name suggests, things. The recent social media frenzy surrounding the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has certainly reminded everyone of the power of social media, the Internet and a willingness to answer a challenge. Fueled by personal and professional connections, the craze has transformed fund raising for at least one charity. Similarly, IoT may potentially be transformational to the business of the public sector, should government step up to the challenge.

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Is the Internet of Things relevant for the government?

Government is struggling with the concept and reality of how IoT really relates to the business of government, and perhaps rightfully so. For commercial enterprises, IoT is far more tangible and simply more fun. Gaming, televisions, watches, Google glasses, smartphones and tablets are all about delivering over-the-top, new and exciting consumer experiences. Industry is delivering transformational innovations, which are connecting people to places, data and other people at a record pace.

It’s time to accept the challenge. Government agencies need to keep pace with their commercial counterparts and harness the power of the Internet of Things. The end game is not to deliver new, faster, smaller, cooler electronics; the end game is to create solutions that let devices connecting to the Internet interact and share data, regardless of their location, manufacturer or format and make or find connections that may have been previously undetectable. For some, this concept is as foreign or scary as pouring ice water over their heads. For others, the new opportunity to transform policy, service delivery, leadership, legislation and regulation is fueling a transformation in government. And it starts with one connection.

One way to start could be linking previously siloed systems together or creating a golden record of all citizen interactions through a Master Data Management (MDM) initiative. It could start with a big data and analytics project to determine and mitigate risk factors in education or linking sensor data across multiple networks to increase intelligence about potential hacking or breaches. Agencies could stop waste, fraud and abuse before it happens by linking critical payment, procurement and geospatial data together in real time.

This is the Internet of Things for government. This is the challenge. This is transformation.

This article was originally published on www.federaltimes.com. Please view the original listing here

 

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One Search Procurement – For the Purchasing of Indirect Goods and Services

One Search Procurement – for purchasing of indirect goods and services 

Informatica Procurement is the internal Amazon for purchasing of MRO, C-goods, indirect materials and services. Informatica Procurement supports enterprise companies in catalog procurement with an industry-independent catalog procurement solution that enables fast and cost-efficient procurement of products and services and supplier integration in an easy to use self-service concept.

Information Procurement at a glance

informatica-procurement-at-a-glance

Informatica recently announced the availability of Informatica Procurement 7.3, the catalog procurement solution. I meet with Melanie Kunz our product manager to learn from here what’s new.

Melanie, for our readers and followers, who is using Informatica Procurement, for which purposes?

Melanie Kunz

Melanie Kunz: Informatica Procurement is industry-independent. Our customers are based in different industries – from engineering and the automotive to companies in the public sector (e.g. Cities). The responsibilities of people who work with Informatica Procurement differ depending on the company. For some customers, only employees from the purchasing department order items in Informatica Procurement. For other customers, all employees are allowed to order their needs themselves. Examples are employees who need screws for the completion of their product or office staff who ordered the business cards for the manager.

What is the most important thing to know about Informatica Procurement 7.3?

Melanie Kunz: In companies where a lot of IT equipment is ordered, it is important to always see the current prices. With each price changes, the catalog would have to be imported into Informatica Procurement. With a punch out to the online shop of IT equipment manufacturer, this is much easier and more efficient. The data from these catalogs are all available in Informatica Procurement, but the price can always be called on a daily basis from the online shop.

Users no longer need to leave Informatica Procurement to order items from external online shops. Informatica Procurement now enables the user to locate internal and indexed external items in just one search. That means you do not have to use different eShops for when you order new office stationary, IT equipment or services.

Great, what is the value for enterprise users and purchasing departments?

Melanie Kunz: All items in Informatica Procurement have the negotiated prices. Informatica Procurement is simple and intuitive that each employee can use the system without training. The view concept allows the restriction on products. For each employee (each department), the administrator can define a view. This view contains only the products that can be seen and ordered.

When you open the detail view for an indexed external item, the current price is determined from the external online shop. This price is saved in item detail view for a defined period. In this way, the user always gets the current price for the item.

The newly designed detail view has an elegant and clear layout. Thus, a high level of user experience is safe. This also applies to the possibility of image enlargement in the search result list.

What if I order same products frequently, like my business cards?

Melanie Kunz: The overview of recent shopping carts help users to reorder the same items on an easy and fast way. A shopping cart from a previous order can use as basis for this new order.

Large organizations with 1000s of employees are even more might have totally different needs what they need for the daily business and maybe dedicated to their career level. How do you address this?

Melanie Kunz: The standard assortment feature has been enhanced in Informatica Procurement 7.3. Administrators can define the assortment per user. Furthermore, it is possible to specify whether users have to search the standard assortment first and only search in the entire assortment if they do not find the relevant item in the standard assortment.

All of these features and many more minor features not only enhance the user experience, but also reduce the processing time of an order drastically.

Informatica Procurement 7.3 “One Search” at a glance

One Search Procurement

 

Learn more on Informatica Procurement 7.3 with the latest webinar.

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Posted in Data Integration, Enterprise Data Management, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Marketplace, Master Data Management, News & Announcements, Operational Efficiency, PiM, Public Sector | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Is Big Data Good or Evil? Maybe Neither?

I just finished reading a great article from one of my former colleagues, Bill Franks. He makes a strong argument that Big Data is not inherently good or evil anymore than money is. What makes Big Data (or any data as I see it) take on a characteristic of good or evil is how it is used. Same as money, right? Here’s the rest of Bill’s article.

Bill framed his thoughts within the context of a discussion with a group of government legislators who I would characterize based on his commentary as a bit skittish of government collecting Big Data. Given many recent headlines, I sincerely do not blame them for being concerned. In fact, I applaud them for being cautious.

At the same time, while Big Data seems to be the “type” of data everyone wants to speak about, the scope of the potential problem extends to ALL data. Just because a particular dataset is highly structured into a 20 year old schema that does not exclude it from misuse. I believe structured data has been around for so long people are comfortable with (or have forgotten about) the associated risks.

Any data can be used for good or ill. Clearly, it does not make sense to take the position that “we” should not collect, store and leverage data based on the notion someone could do something bad.

I suggest the real conversation should revolve around access to data. Bill touches on this as well. Far too often, data, whether Big Data or “traditional”, is openly accessible to some people who truly have no need based on job function.

Consider this example – a contracted application developer in a government IT shop is working on the latest version of an existing application for agency case managers. To test the application and get it successfully through a rigorous quality assurance process the IT developer needs a representative dataset. And where does this data come from? It is usually copied from live systems, with personally identifiable information still intact. Not good.

Another example – Creating a 360 degree view of the citizens in a jurisdiction to be shared cross-agency can certainly be an advantageous situation for citizens and government alike. For instance, citizens can be better served, getting more of what they need, while agencies can better protect from fraud, waste and abuse. Practically any agency serving the public could leverage the data to better serve and protect. However, this is a recognized sticky situation. How much data does a case worker from the Department of Human Services need versus that of a law enforcement officer or an emergency services worker need? The way this has been addressed for years is to create silos of data, carrying with it, its own host of challenges. However, as technology evolves, so too should process and approach.

Stepping back and looking at the problem from a different perspective, both examples above, different as they are, can be addressed by incorporating a layer of data security directly into the architecture of the enterprise. Rather than rely on a hodgepodge of data security mechanisms built into point applications and silo’d systems, create a layer through which all data, Big or otherwise, is accessed.

Big Data - Good or Evil

Through such a layer, data can be persistently and/or dynamically masked based on the needs and role of the user. In the first example of the developer, this person would not want access to a live system to do their work. However, the ability to replicate the working environment of the live system is crucial. So, in this case, live data could be masked or altered in a permanent fashion as it is moved from production to development. Personally identifiable information could be scrambled or replaced with XXXXs. Now developers can do their work and the enterprise can rest assured that no harm can come from anyone seeing this data.

Further, through this data security layer, data can be dynamically masked based on a user’s role, leaving the original data unaltered for those who do require it. There are plenty of examples of how this looks in practice, think credit card numbers being displayed as xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-3153. However, this is usually implemented at the application layer and considered to be a “best practice” rather than governed from a consistent layer in the enterprise.

The time to re-think the enterprise approach to data security is here. Properly implemented and deployed, many of the arguments against collecting, integrating and analyzing data from anywhere are addressed. No doubt, having an active discussion on the merits and risks of data is prudent and useful. Yet, perhaps it should not be a conversation to save or not save data, it should be a conversation about access

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