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Nov 18

I’m flying back from New York where I presented “The Moneyball Approach to Big Data – Creating an Unfair Advantage” at the Wall Street Technology Association’s Hot Technologies Forum. Big Data is an area technologists are curious about, but I’m concerned there’s a “wait and see” approach. My job is to create value for my customers, and I’d hate for any of you to miss out on this opportunity.

Skepticism or “late adopter” mentality is understandable – if you want to forego a low-risk, high-reward opportunity and let your competition gain the advantage. Everyone is benefitting from Big Data in some form or another – most probably don’t even know it. But believe me, there are 100s of scenarios I could walk you through that could save your company millions of dollars, grow revenue double digit percentages, create more personalized products that delight your customers, automate real-time feedback on your brand, products, and competitor prices, create your own custom research that gives allows you to see trends before your competitors, and overall make you a much more agile business that scales with your new found vigor and growth.

What’s the secret to Big Data rewards? “Relevance”, “Access”, “Intelligence” and “Action”.

The most common definition I’ve seen for Big Data relates to the 3 Vs:

  • Volume: it’s Big – terabytes and petabytes
  • Variety: it comes in many forms – internal, external, structured and unstructured
  • Velocity: it grows fast and changes quickly – making real-time capture and action hugely important

And this is always supported by numbers showing how gynormous Big Data is:

  • The New York Stock Exchange creates 1 terabyte of data per day (InformationWeek)
  • 10,000 payment card transactions are made every second around the world (American Banker)
  • 30 billion pieces of content shared on FB every month (McKinsey)
  • Twitter feeds generate 8 terabytes of data per day (InformationWeek)

Before you go out and buy more storage, consider what you want to do with it. If there are 200M tweets a day equaling 8 terabytes of data, but only 1000 of the tweets relate to your product or company, do you need to store and analyze all 8 terabytes every day? Although Big Data is big, don’t get caught up in all the massive numbers. Stick with what’s relevant to your business.

Forrester Analyst Brian Hopkins made a great point in his blog “Big Data will help shape your markets next big winner”, stating that Forrester estimates enterprises use only 5% of their available data. So the playing field is wide open for anyone to quickly take advantage of the 95% they’re currently ignoring.

But slow down there pardner. Sybase published Big Data, Big Opportunity that stated, “for the median fortune 1000 company… a 10% increase in usability of data translates to an increase of $2.01B in total revenue per year, [and that] a 10% increase in accessibility to data translates to an additional $65.67M in net income per year.” So don’t think you have to go from 5% to 100%. You really only need to go from 5% to 5.5%.

The internet plays a huge role in the rapid growth of Big Data, giving individuals the ability to post and upload immense amounts of pictures, text, video, and mobile data, and businesses the channel to offer access to customers and partners through web-based applications (think Oracle, salesforce.com, social media, procurement, logistics, publishers, and so on).

In reviewing other articles about Big Data, despite all the discussion around the massiveness of Big Data, I didn’t find a single article mentioning the difficulty of accessing the data spread throughout all these applications. This is a HUGE POINT to understand because you are SOL if you can’t access the data you need. If I told you I could guarantee any app or data you can see in your web browser (customer data, bank transactions, twitter, blogs, supply chain vendors, government data, competitor prices, etc.) could be automatically accessed and loaded into the app, database, or spreadsheet of your choice, how many game-changing Big Data projects could you think of? Point-in-time cash position understanding of billions of dollars across 300 banks? No problem. Monitor competitor pricing on 50,000 SKUs every day? Simple. Automate a twenty-three step manual invoicing process to get paid millions of dollars 2 days faster? Done. Real-time, automated access to the data you need is the key to success with Big Data. Lest you think this all fantasy, learn how Kapow Katalyst Application Integration Platform provides real-time access to Big Data.

There’s huge difference between “I have terabytes of data – videos, satellite pictures, social media conversations, and research reports” and “I know where Osama Bin Laden is”. It’s Data vs. Intelligence. Data is useless if you can’t extract meaningful intelligence from it. And the quality of your intelligence is most likely much less dependent on the volume than the relevance and ability to access it.

And the whole point of having relevant, accessible, intelligent Big Data is that it is actionable. Otherwise it’s just a recommendation or a strategy without execution What’s incredibly cool about Big Data and the web-based nature of so much of it is that just as easily as you can access anything you can see, you can just as easily transform the data, perform an operation on it, and automate a resulting action for you. Huh? Here’s an example. You know consumers and even your B2B purchasers research prices online and that loyalty to any one vendor has deteriorated as buyers have more pricing knowledge a search and mouse-click away. But you are smarter than your competitors because you’re already doing the extra 10%. So you set up automated monitoring of your competitor’s pricing, and when their price drops below yours your Big Data Integration Platform calculates the difference plus 10%, logs into your ecommerce site and adjusts your prices automatically, all within a few ticks of the clock.

And the beauty is that this can all be set up in hours, if not a few days, and you don’t have to bring in an army of developers or consultants to create custom code to do any of this.

So let the Big Data party begin. Kapow Software is here to help. To learn more about Big Data Solutions or to set up a Big Data Sales Consultation, click either link, because you’ve read this far and deserve it!

By: Rick Kawamura Rick Kawamura, Director of Marketing

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Oct 28

The best thing about working in Business Development is meeting with partners and customers. It’s a great way to stay on top of technology trends, and my goal for this blog post is to keep you posted on developments I see on the road.

This year was Kapow Software’s first time exhibiting at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce event where the buzz was all about the social enterprise and the value of collaboration and interaction in business and government. Kapow Software, together with our partner Threshold Consulting, made it to the final of the Salesforce Hackathon with a bi-directional integration between Salesforce Chatter and Google+ — a unique social integration feat because Google+ doesn’t support APIs.

We returned to Moscone Center in San Francisco for Oracle OpenWorld. Arik Hesseldahl, in his AllThingsD.com blog, offers an insightful analysis of the rivalry between Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff, which we witnessed firsthand. Arik also explains the two visionaries’ divergent views of the cloud, which can be summed up as a hybrid environment vs. the pure cloud.

For our part, we knew our Founder and CTO Stefan Andreasen’s session on automating content migration into Oracle OpenWorld resonated when one attendee said, “it made the conference worth it in its own right.” Oracle and Kapow Software announced a Documentum trade-in campaign with a special offer for customers who are making the move from Documentum to Oracle WebCenter, using Kapow Software’s automated migration tools.

Next on my itinerary were two events for the intelligence community. I have never seen so many different national law enforcement agencies, as well as state and local police departments, as I did at ISS World in DC. They came for training on the technologies, techniques, and legal considerations of intelligence gathering and analysis. Back in California was Suits & Spooks, the so-called anti-conference designed to bring the greatest Silicon Valley entrepreneurs together with US intelligence agencies. (There wasn’t an actual suit to be seen anywhere.)

Having been involved with the technology side of intelligence for over 10 years, I’m astounded by how far we’ve come from simple reports and dashboards. The focus now is on social network analysis, geo-location-based visualization, and enhanced reality. But for all of the advances in analytics and visualization, the greatest challenge with intelligence continues to be getting access to the data, particularly as the majority of the data – big data – is outside the control of any one organization.

Last week presented the dilemma of choosing between two events: Pyxis Mobile’s Connect 2011 Summit and GEOINT 2011 Symposium hosted by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF). Kapow Software exhibited and presented at both, but I ended up choosing the Pyxis Mobile conference – and I’m glad I did. We met with a lot of great customers and partners, and my hat goes off to Chris Willis and Pyxis for organizing such a successful event. What was most enlightening for me is the impact that tablets (iPads and Androids) are having on enterprise strategies for mobilization. Most companies are developing strategies to mobile enable enterprise apps and were impressed with Kapow’s ability to integrate web application data without the need for APIs or any other programmable interface. Having resisted mobilization, IT seems to be forced to act finally by the ubiquitous “consumerization” of mobile devices. And tablets are starting to provide to field workers what has been promised for so long.

All in all, technological development in all of these areas is moving at neutrino speed. I’ll do my best to keep you informed. I’m back in the office this week, catching up on everything; hence, the timing of this post.

By: Rory Byrne Rory

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Mar 25

Data assembly is now the biggest barrier to good analytics

Business Intelligence continues to become more and more strategic to companies in order to compete in today’s global economy. Every department is now using analytics to better understand financials, business processes, customers, competitors and market trends – critical understanding needed to optimize execution.

As we all know, analytics is no better than the data behind it, and thus discovery and assembly of data has become an ever more important part of successful business intelligence.

As your company ecosystem grows beyond your firewall into partner apps, competitor websites and social networks, data rapidly spreads and more and more data assembly is now tied up in manual harvesting methods or the purchase of dubious data from vertical information providers.

This means that the knowledge worker spends more time with Data Discovery and Data Assembly, leaving less time for analysis of and execution on the results.

I often see scenarios where knowledge workers spend more than 50% of their time on just data assembly, time which takes away from analysis, reporting and execution.

This is not good.

And it’s exactly why more companies rely on automating the data assembly process. Finding methods to easily and scalably instruct which data to get from where and how to transform it into the needed format – basically they look for a solution to do automated data delivery.

The good news is that this solution already exists. The Kapow Katalyst platform is proven by more than 500 companies all over the world.

Here’s a concrete example. Fiserv, a large financial services company, needed to understand the value of their assets in real-time for compliance reasons. To solve this problem the treasurer hired a group of people to manually log-in to Fiservs accounts spread over more than 300 banks in more than 20 countries. This was expensive, error-prone, and data was often outdated.

Consequently, Fiserv looked for an automated solution and found Kapow Katalyst. Within 3 months they had built Kapow ETL robots that could automatically log-in to the web front-end of Fiserv accounts at all 300 banks and pull out the required information. Not only did this relieve the knowledge workers from manual data assembly it also gave the treasurer real-time data for point-in-time regulatory compliance.

Needless to say this created a lot of value for Fiserv.

I recommend you read the whitepaper, Hyper Management of Working Capital, written by Thomas W. Warsop, Group President for Fiserv.

By: Stefan Andreasen Stefan Andreasen

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Feb 24

Boris Evelson wrote and interesting  blog, “How Do We Define a BI Vendor”, on the Information Management site. It’s a great summary of the features that characterize a BI vendor (or product), but IMHO it’s missing the most vital characteristic of the all, data access to the right data.

BI analytics is useless without the right data.  No advanced BI feature can compensate for not having access to the most relevant and timely data.

Unfortunately for business analysts, a growing volume of relevant BI data is locked in Web sites beyond the reach of any standard data access method available in BI products on the market today.

Fortunately there is a solution; it’s called Web Data Services, a convenient, economical way to access data through an existing Web presentation layer (the same interface used by normal Web browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari). Web Data Services can both consolidate Web data into a standard database or wrap it into standard Web services, both of which can then be easily consumed by any BI product on the market.

Suddenly business analysts can access all the data they know from their application interfaces directly in the BI tools.

Jim Ericson recently wrote a nice article ( Net Expectations -What a Web data service economy implies for business ) about the value of Web Data Services in which he digs in to all the aspects of using the Web as a new way to get data that’s faster and more cost-effective.

The article includes this quote by longtime BI analyst Howard Dresner:

“The nice thing about Web data services… is that it’s easy, it’s relatively inexpensive to create or consume and it’s immediate. Business doesn’t want to wait until next quarter, and IT is gravitating this way too because they have only so much budget and so many people.”

What a powerful statement. With Web Data Services, it suddenly becomes easy, inexpensive and immediate to obtain data access, something I am sure many IT departments will praise while they struggle to deliver the necessary data in-time and within-budget to their increasingly data-hungry Lines of Business.

What is unique about the Kapow Web Data Server is that it can get you the data even when no APIs exist by leveraging the Web presentation layer interface that always exists on the Web.

Even if there is an API, the no coding robotic approach by Kapow Technologies is typically a lot faster and  an easier way to access the data.

Think about it. If I am a business analyst and need Salesforce.com data in my BI dashboard, I really don’t want to learn about Salesforce APIs and program lines of code. I’d much rather just point at the data with my mouse in the Kapow RoboMaker Visual IDE, and get data access directly the way I am used to. Here at Kapow Technologies we have dozens of these “robots” integrating SalesForce with Marketo (our marketing automation tool), our Emails in Microsoft Exchange, Jigsaw, our customer bug tracking system, our ERP systems, and so on… and we would never dream about using the APIs.

To make my final point, go back to Jim Ericson’s article to learn more about how Fiserv uses the Kapow Web Data Server to integrate with 300 banks in 10 countries, all with no coding. It’s an impressive real-life story about the value of Web Data Services.

As always, please send me your comments, my email is SA at kapowtech dot com

By:  Stefan Andreasen Stefan Andreasen, CTO and Founder

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Sep 21

Please check out Dana Gardner’s Briefings Direct podcast for a lively discussion with Howard Dresner and myself around how “Web Data Services and Web-based Information Pave the Way for Better Decision Making”.  Enjoy the show and gain valuable insight to the future of Business Intelligence!  Howard is President and Founder of Dresner Advisory Services, and also inventor of the term “Business Intelligence”.

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