Andrew White

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Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a research vice president and agenda manager for MDM and Analytics at Gartner. His main research focus is master data management (MDM) and the drill-down topic of creating the "single view of the product" using MDM of product data. He was co-chair… Read Full Bio

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IBM’s Information on Demand Conference – Day 2

by Andrew White  |  October 26, 2010  |  Comments Off

Steve Mills kicked off day 2 with his usual gusto with an InfoSphere Keynote.  Steve is always passionate about this turn and he lived up to expectations.  He nicely highlighted insights from IBM’s recent CEO survey.  The number one condition CEO’s are concerned with is “increasing complexity” in their business and environment, and the primary gap they identified to coping with this complexity was not a lack of management discipline, or systems, but a shortage of creativity.  It seems CEO’s are more focused on creativity as a source for all good things – innovation, adaptability, efficiency etc.  So absolutes are “out” and a relative capability – an ability to create something from little or nothing Is what will count.

IBM InfoStreams sounds like a cool product – to embed real time analytics into streaming data certainly seems to provide a new level of awareness to users and timely decision making.  Fraud detection seems an obvious beneficiary to this technology. 

The “Big Data” theme was everywhere today.  Odd how much of that does not look new.  Other than Hadoop, which seems to represent processing capability, there is not much new here that we didn’t really talk about last year.  Maybe Big Data just formalizes a lot of bits and technologies that were disparate and disconnected last year…

On of the real-time survey’s IBM did through the event was very interesting.  Apparently 71% of those that responded suggested that business decisions were made on information that was “un-trusted”.  This does not mean wholly inaccurate data – but not totally verified or governed.  That is a startling response.  But is it so bad?  I guess not totally bad; but competitive victory could be assured of business decisions could be based on a little more trusted data – that was the point.

Steve made some great points about ‘embedding analytics into the business process’ which is perfectly in line with Gartner’s Performance Management research.  In fact, it would seem that Gartner’s BI, Analytics and Performance Management platform is very close to IBM’s platform for supporting BAO.  It’s a shame that “PM” didn’t quite make it; and worse, IBM is positioning PM as an evolutionary pre-curser to BAO.  I rather see BOA as an example of what we would have called “BI, Analytics and PM” but there you are.  That’s why I am not in marketing anymore.

The guest speaker was none other than Dr. Atul Gawande.  This was a really great keynote.  He is clearly an effective orator; the quieter he spoke, and more the large audience hustled down and listened even more intently.  He explores some of his findings in relation to how information helps the US armed forces in reducing fatalities from combat.  A very worthwhile keynote.

At the end of the day 2 there was an InfoSphere Keynote.  This sported several IBM customers presenting on “data integration and governance”, MDM, and business analytics.  Martin Wildberger did a great job highlighting the link between InfoSphere (spanning data integration, governance, MDM etc) supports the IBM vision for BAO.  It was a shame this message was left to a meager audience by comparison to the opening on Monday.  I thought this message could be been clearer sooner in the event.

The one wrinkle in the InfoSphere keynote I spotted came to me when Martin ended his pitch on a visionary thing.  He asked himself, how will IBM start to manage structured and unstructured data, which harked back to the question that drew such a complicated answer from IBM at the opening keynote.  His answer?  Big Data.  Big Data seems to be the preferred battle ground where this self declared battle will be fought; as wave after wave of unstructured data is brought to the fingertips of the business user in a form for them to build “ad hoc” meta-maps in order to relate an insight (from outside the organization) to information (inside the organization).  The problem is – few are thinking about how on earth such ad hoc meta-maps will be managed?  What happens if every user creates the same or virtually same meta-map?  What a right mess we will soon have.  Big Data could very well create Big Mess.  I would have much preferred to have seen an evolutionary road map that starts with solving the most basic of organizational issues – defining and standing up a “governance appliance”.  Well, there is always next year…

Stone Soup rules (I think!)

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