Category: "Business Perspective"

Salesforce1

Back in July, I wrote

[An] excellent example of the importance of the Industrial Internet comes from Salesforce.com use of The Social Machine by Digi International and its Etherios business unit, in bringing sensor data into customer relationship management [CRM] by allowing sensors embedded in industrial refrigerators, hot tubs, and heavy and light equipment of all types to open SFDC chatter sessions and to file cases.

At Dreamforce 2013, Salesforce.com is announcing Salesforce1, their new Internet of Customers ecosystem, bringing together Force.com, Heroku, and ExactTarget FUEL platforms under a united series of APIs controlled by the Salesforce1 App.

Today and tomorrow, Dreamforce is all about the Internet of Things, and I'll be providing my analyses of how SFDC is building out it's massive existing ecosystem of parnters, services and customers into Marc Benioff's evolving vision of the Internet of the Customer. The message here, is how Salesforce1 is ready today to prepare their customers to leverage the opportunities presented by the Internet of Things today. As Cisco states, over a trillion dollars in added value was left on the table this year by companies not taking advantage of IoT. For 2014, SFDC's customers won't have an excuse to leave this money behind.

One challenge for Salesforce1 is its dependence on partners for analytics. Are SFDC partners ready to help in bringing the Internet of Customers to full potential through connected analytics? How will IBM's MQTT, Smarter, and Cognitive Computing, Oracle's Device-to-Data-Center, Teradata's Hub for Monetizing the IoT, Infobright's M2M optimized ADBMS, and many other data management & analytics initiatives focused on M2M and M2H data fit in?

Will Salesforce1 create or be integrated into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems, with the necessary marketplaces for raw, processed and insights from M2M & M2H data? SFCD has never been up to the challenge of analytics in the past. While there are many general BI and Analytics partners, SFDC specific analytics firms have come and gone. Salesforce1 is a broader concept and brings SFDC into a future beyond salesforce automation and customer relationship management.

You can hear more about Salesforce1 on this YouTube video, peruse the official Salesforce1 page, and read a more general account of Salesforce1 by R. Ray Wang.

The IoT Keynote at Dreamforce today, and the packed sessions on IoT will answer some of these questions. I'll be providing my analysis of how well these questions are answered in an Event Report blog post after the close of Dreamforce 2013.

The Internet of Things and Change

Will You Be Ready For the M2M World?

The Internet of Things, the Connected World, the Smart Planet… All these terms indicate that the number of devices connected to, communicating through, and building relationships on the Internet has exceeded the number of humans using the Internet. But what does this really mean? Is it about the number of devices, and what devices? Is it about the data, so much data, so fast, so disparate, that will make current big data look like teeny-weeny data?

I think that it's about change: the way we live our lives, the way we conduct business, the way we walk down a street, drive a car, or think about relationships. All will change over the next decade:

  1. Sensors are everywhere. The camera at the traffic light and overseeing the freeway; those are sensors. That new bump in the parking space and new box on the street lamp; those are sensors. From listening for gun shots to monitoring a chicken coop, sensors are cropping up in every area of your life.
  2. Machine to Machine [M2M] relationships will generate connected data that will affect every aspect of your life. Connected Data will be used to fine-tune predictives that will prevent crimes, anticipate your next purchase and take over control of your car to avoid traffic jams. The nascent form of this is already happening: Los Angeles and Santa Cruz police are using PredPol to predict & prevent crimes, location aware ads popping up in your favorite smartphone apps, and Nevada and California are giving driver licenses to robotic cars.
  3. Sustainability isn't about saving the planet, it's about saving money. Saving the planet, reducing dependence on polluting energy sources and reducing waste in landfills are all good things, but they aren't part of the fiduciary responsibilities of most executives. However, Smart Buildings, recycling & composting, and Green IT all increase a company's bottom line and that does fall under every executive's fiduciary goals.

Making Sense of Inter-Connectedness - Introducing My Internet of Things Mind Map

As you can tell from the mindmap associated with this post, I've been thinking about the Internet of things quite a bit lately. It's a natural progression for me. I'm fascinated by all the new sensors, the Connected Data [you heard it here first] that will swamp Big Data, the advances in data management and analytics that will be needed, the impact upon policy and regulation, and the vision of the people and companies bringing about the Internet of Things. But more, as I've been reading and thinking about the SmartPlanet, SmartCities, SmartGrid and SmartPhones, and that ConnectedData, I realized that I can never look at the world around me in the same way again.

Let's look at some of the "facts" [read guesses] that have been written about the IoT.

Looking to the future, Cisco IBSG predicts there will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020. From The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet Is Changing Everything by Dave Evans, April 2011 [links to PDF]

Between 2011 and 2020 the number of connected devices globally will grow from 9 billion to 24 billion as the benefit of connecting more and varied devices is realised. The Connected Life: A USD4.5 trillion global impact in 2020, [links to PDF] February 2012 by Machine Research for the GSMA.

Two different estimates, one of 24 billion devices of many different types, connected by wireless broadband, and one of 50 billion mobile devices using different types of cellular networks, all by the year 2020. And neither of these estimates include the trillions of other types of things that will deployed over the next eight years. Trillions, not billions, using a variety of personal, local, and wide-area wireless networks.

My Focus Starts at The Intersection of Sensors, Analytics and Smart Cities, with Energy Management and Sustainability

One of the things that will change over time is the way that I look at the Internet of Things. All of it is interesting. But for now, I'll be focusing on the intersection of Sensors, Analytics and Smart Cities, with Energy Management and Sustainability.

Count RFID, Zigbee, MEMS, Smartdust and more traditional sensors, Robots, autonomous vehicles, Healthcare monitors, Smart Meters and more, being distributed in cities, cars, factories, trains, farms, planes, animals and people, and the number of connected devices in 2020 will be in the trillions. Data generated by less than one billion humans using the Internet a few times a day swamped traditional data management & analytics systems, spawning "Big Data". Trillions of devices updating ConnectedData every few nanoseconds will indeed change everything.

Of paramount importance moving forward is determining how to extract business, personal and social value from the intersections, interfaces and interstices of the infrastructure, connected data, objects and people building relationships through the Internet of Things.

Come join me as I look at this convergence and the business impact ahead of us.

Agile Project Management

In response to a comment that I left to a blog post of his in Herding Cats, Glen Alleman said "... phrase Agile Project Management, were so clearly defined". While I'm not an official source of definitions, I would like to take a stab at answering "What is Agile Project Management?". There are really four questions here:

  1. What is Agile?
  2. What is a Project?
  3. What does it mean to manage a project?
  4. How does one manage a project in an Agile fashion?

What is Agile?

Agile is a mindset, a philosophy, for software development. The Agile Manifesto lays it out quite clearly. Any software development, product management, project management or other methods that claims to be Agile must embody the mindset laid out in the Agile Manifesto. You really must read the whole manifesto. I won't copy it here, but I will discuss the main ideas. The emphasis in the Agile Manifesto is on satisfying the customer and responding to changing user needs for competitive advantage. Self-organizing teams, ongoing communication and working end products are preferable to formalized, stultifying processes. Supportive environments for sustainable efforts using simplicity, technical excellence and good design allow the sponsors, developers and users to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. Reflection on the process at regular intervals allows for continual and appropriate tuning and adjustments to the agile process.

Most of this isn't strange to project management, though the concept of "self-organizing teams" might seem a bit odd to a traditional, hierarchical organization. :>>

What is a Project?

A project is a temporary, collaborative effort to achieve a specific goal in a set time. At least, this paraphrases the definition I first saw in my first project activities in the Aerospace & Defense industry back in 1979. I've seen definitions that add things like "create a unique product", but the end result can be almost anything: a product, a pyramid, a rocket engine, a scientific advancement, a data warehouse, etc, etc, etc.

The emphasis for a project is that people and other resources come together temporarily to deliver a well-defined result by a specified due date.

What does it mean to manage a project?

Whips often come to mind. That was the main tool to manage the various pyramid building projects. &#59;) Ok, maybe not.

Project management is the skill of leading people and controlling the expenditure of resources to achieve specified goals on-time and within budget.

There are a variety of schools of thought, methodologies and guides to managing a project. I agree with Glen in that a good starting point is the Project Management Institute (PMI) Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK). I would also add PRINCE2 to that. Updated 20100308 per Jay's comments, below: The Prince2 link given is to a USA based training organization; Jay gives a link in his comments, which redirects to a UK based training and accreditation organization, APMG-UK.

I also need to step onto one of my favorite soap boxes for a moment. Project Management does not equal Product Management. Program and Portfolio Management are also unique and separate disciplines. These four professions often get confused. Product Management is a blend of marketing and engineering with the goal of translating user needs into technical specifications that result in marketable goods or services. Program Management specifies, implements and governs large initiatives that impact cross-disciplinary groups within a organization, and changes the process by which an organization conducts its daily affairs; examples are things like a Quality Program or a Decision Support program. Portfolio Management is the art and science of prioritizing and coordinating a set of Projects, often large capital projects, that may or may not overlap in goals, but definitely compete for money, people and resources. Ok, stepping down off the soap box and getting back on point now. :p

How does one manage a project in an Agile fashion?

Ah, well now. This is the point isn't it? Agile project management requires reconciling the discussion of Agile above with the definition of a Project and Project Management and developing a methodology that uses the Agile mindset of customer satisfaction, responding quickly to changing market needs for competitive advantage with self-organizing teams that reflect upon how they work and change their processes on the fly, while delivering working, valuable, as-specified results in an incremental fashion, on-time and in-budget.

Hmm, that doesn't sound so hard, does it?

Over time, we have evolved our project management methodology for delivering data warehousing, business intelligence and MDM solutions in such a way that, in the words of Todd McGrath of supergloo, inc. have become quite agile, and are now deliberately agile. We've gone from five dimensions of a project to eight over the eight years that IASC has been in existence.

Here's a mindmap that gives you an idea of what we're doing. Though there's a lot more to discuss about this, including the strategic, tactical and implementation tracks, and how iterative waterfall and agile mindset must work together to keep everything and everyone working a sustainable fashion, without burn-out and without missed deadlines, while learning from each iteration, and responding to changing user needs.

Open Source Lessons and Tools for Project and Product Management

Over the seven years that Clarise and I have been running InterActive Systems & Consulting, Inc. we've used our 6D™ methodology to manage InterASC Professional Services project engagements. This methodology came about from Clarise's 20-plus years of working in the software industry, and her training and experience as a project manager for IT implementations at HP, Oracle, CapTech, Williams and KP. And she's a PMI certified PMP. In the 1970's & '80's I worked as a program, project and line manager in Aerospace, switching in the '90's and 00's to working in IT. We brought our expertise together first at Oracle, and over the 14 years since, have been working together on refining our approaches to managing IT projects implemented by and for distributed workgroups. Colleagues pointed out that our 6D™ methodology was becoming more and more Agile in its techniques. Over the past two years, as we've been working more with open source, IT appliance and SaaS companies, we've been experiencing more and more about the community approach to managing distributed workgroups.

Learning from the Beekeeper James Dixon, CTO of Pentaho, Susan Gasson of Drexel University, the Agile Alliance and various scrum practitioners, such as Todd McGrath of supergloo, inc. and our own experiences, we had been selected to speak at the PMI NorCal 2007 Symposium at the end of September. For a variety of reasons, we didn't get to present our mindmap of our current thinking.

We generally start our presentations with the mindmap collapsed so that only the first level of branches show, and then expand along the branches in which the audience seems interested. If they don't tell us what interests them, we ask. &#59;) That's difficult to do through a blog, so we're just showing the whole thing.

As time permits, we'll be discussing our 7D™ methodology with it's Strategic, Tactical and Scrum tracks in this blog.

OSCMS Summit 2007 Elastic CMS Deployment

Elastic CMS Deployments with Amazon Web Services & Server Virtualization Technology by Reuven Cohen, Chief Technologist, hosted by Derek Anderson, Lead Developer, Enomaly Inc

"Elastic CMS deployment is a model that allows for a operating system to be packaged as a virtual appliance in conjunction to the core content management system components. As system requirements change the CMS can intelligently adapt itself with little or no human involvement.

"Applying the designs of Virtualization, Business Process Execution Language, SOA, Amazon Web services (EC2 & S3) with content management presents an opportunity for a virtual content layer, whereby enterprise content management is defined not as a monolithic repository but rather as a logical library of interchangeable self-describing & self replicating components based on established performance policies.

"This approach allows for content management systems that can be configured to scale across single servers, multiple physical servers, multiple virtualized servers, grids or a combination of all of the above, natively, without modification. The approach allows for even the simplest applications (CMS,CRM,Blog,Forum,etc) to be scaled to millions of users with little or no additional development work. As system requirements grow, so does your content management system, on the fly.

"This presentation will demonstration the elastic capabilities of the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon S3, Xen virtualization with open source CMS systems TYPO3, Alfresco and Drupal. Elastic server management will be provided by the Enomalism (LGPL) open source virtual server dashboard."
end quotation
-- Abstract for Elastic CMS Deployments with Amazon Web Services & Server Virtualization Technology by Reuven Cohen, Chief Technologist, Enomaly Inc

The presentation was done by Derek, who likes to code when the snow gets deep up in Canada, eh. &#59;)

Elastic computing provides web services via SOAP or other API to allow one to remotely provision and manage one's virtual appliance. [Definition: a virtual appliance is a pre-packaged guest operating system with optimized software to perform a specific function or support a specific process.] Essentially, infrastructure as a service. Virtualization combines the advantages of distributed, small, inexpensive computing with those of large, centralized servers.

Customers like having their own virtual box, and the hoster can be comfortable with the fact that each customer can have exactly the configuration they need, without version/patch conflicts, and if a customer does destroy their "box", all other customers are unaffected.

Virtually also provides some less than obvious advantages such as eliminating hardware incompatibility, having the production box be exactly the same as the development box, scalability and reliability/recovery.

Discussion of hard drive requirements - mainly an infrastructure issue to be considered. RAIS, SAN(?), S3, etc.

Now on reserve battery power; I'll publish now, and maybe update later.

Update...

Enomaly has developed vmcast to distribute VM disk images via RSS2 as an enclosure, much like a podcast can be syndicated. Enomaly's product is open source, so one can imagine many developers making a virtual machine using their own operating system [Linux or openBSD or netBSD or freeBSD or openSolaris or openVMS or, or whatever works best for them] distribution, optimized for their application with a complete stack from VM APIs to OS, database, file system, application and its APIs distributed, perhaps even updated or provisioned, via RSS as simply as getting a podcast today.

Derek gave a brief comparison of EC2 and Enamolism, and Luis Sala of Alfresco, who is an EC2 beta tester and Alfresco is an Enamoly partner, provided a demonstration of EC2.

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This Web Log (Blog) is intended as a discussion of the business processes, life choices, management challenges, wireless networks, mobile devices, collaboration software, social networks and technical issues facing organizations and individuals: distributed workgroups, digital lifestyle aggregation, telecommuting, road warrior and all ways in which you can live the TeleInterActive Lifestyle™. It is a service of InterActive Systems & Consulting, Inc.

InterActive Systems & Consulting, Inc. (IASC) performs research in the areas of data analytics, collaboration and remote access.

InterASC Professional Services, a service mark of IASC, provides strategic consulting and project management for data warehousing, business intelligence and collaboration projects using proprietary and open source solutions. We formulate vendor-independent strategies and solutions for information management in an increasingly complex and distributed business environment, allowing secure data analysis and collaboration that provides enterprise information in the most valuable form to the right person, whenever and wherever needed.

TeleInterActive Networks, a service mark of IASC, hosts open source applications for small and medium enterprises including CMS, blogs, wikis, database applications, portals and mobile access. We provide the tools for SME to put their customer at the center of their business, and leverage information management in a way previously reserved for larger organizations.

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