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Blog: Richard Hackathorn Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

Richard Hackathorn

Welcome to my blog stream. I am focusing on the business value of low latency data, real-time business intelligence (BI), data warehouse (DW) appliances, use of virtual world technology, ethics of business intelligence and globalization of business intelligence. However, my blog entries may range widely depending on current industry events and personal life changes. So, readers beware!

Please comment on my blogs and share your opinions with the BI/DW community.

About the author >

Dr. Richard Hackathorn is founder and president of Bolder Technology, Inc. He has more than thirty years of experience in the information technology industry as a well-known industry analyst, technology innovator and international educator. He has pioneered many innovations in database management, decision support, client-server computing, database connectivity, associative link analysis, data warehousing, and web farming. Focus areas are: business value of timely data, real-time business intelligence (BI), data warehouse appliances, ethics of business intelligence and globalization of BI.

Richard has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications, presented regularly at leading industry conferences and conducted professional seminars in eighteen countries. He writes regularly for the BeyeNETWORK.com and has a channel for his blog, articles and research studies. He is a member of the IBM Gold Consultants since its inception, the Boulder BI Brain Trust and the Independent Analyst Platform.

Dr. Hackathorn has written three professional texts, entitled Enterprise Database Connectivity, Using the Data Warehouse (with William H. Inmon), and Web Farming for the Data Warehouse.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Richard's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Recently in BI and Globalization Category

One of the issues of off-shoring has been security of the information that U.S. companies share with their partners. Outsourcing firms, especially in India, are sensitive to this issue and go to great lengths to assure their corporate clients that their data security is excellent.

Well... As reported by Zonk in Slashdot, Channel 4 in the U.K. did a 12-month TV investigation showing how credit card and passport data on thousands of banking customers could be bought for as little as US$9.50 each.

The fallout from this investigation has been significant! Read the comments on this Slashdot posting over the coming month. There are several insightful comments, along with a diversity of perspectives.


Posted October 7, 2006 12:00 PM
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I had breakfast this morning with Tim Miller, CEO of an exciting software firm in Boulder, Colorado. Rally Development focuses on providing products and training for the Agile lifecycle management, using an on-demand subscription basis. Started in 2002, the company has 50 employees with a growing list of customers, such as BMC, Shopzilla, Sun Microsystems, TimeWarner, and Verizon.

Two points from our discussion stood out...

First, the Agile Methodology is directly appliable to BI development because its objectives are to provide "early and continuous delivery of valuable software" and to be receptive to constantly changing requirements. These objectives match the nature of successful BI efforts. The rigor of the Agile Methodology is certainly desired to the usual 'cowboy coding' practices.

Second, this workflow management is ideal for geographically dispersed group to coordinated their efforts. Thomas Friedman noted that workflow management software was one of the ten 'flattening forces' that fuels globalization. I asked Tim about whether their customers used their product in geographic dispersed teams. He said teams that are 'two doors or a floor away' are already dispersed and might as well be located in India. He estimated that about a third of their customer base is using their product to coordinate offshore groups. An interesting twist was that handing off tasks to later timezones was not an advantage with the Agile Methodology because tasks are decomposed into modules assigned to small self-contained groups, rather than sequencing among groups.


Posted August 23, 2006 10:00 AM
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The July issue of Wired Magazine contained a list of the Wired 40 companies. To be wired implied a "hunger for new ideas and an impatience to put them into practice", along with strategic vision, global reach, and killer technology. The list started with Google, Apple, Samsung, Genentech, Yahoo, Amazon, Toyota, General Electric, News Corp, SAP, and others.

I had to scratch my head a bit to understand why these companies and not some others. Several seem obvious in our interconnected age, like Google and Amazon. But, why was Toyota and General Electric included? Why was UPS not included?

The secret to their wired madness comes from six trends that they feel are driving the global economy:

- People Power - shift of media power from few established channels to an open peer-to-peer interactions among millions of persons. The example of News Corp recently acquisition of MySpace (with its 40 million participants) was citied as the new style of peer production of mass media.

- Video Unlimited - Always on at any time, place and format. An example was the video iPod from Apple.

- Personalize It - Perfect fit to uniquely you of jeans, drugs, music and all other consumer items. An example was Netflix with its individualized recommendations.

- Carbon Killers - Green is in! Companies are charging ahead into a future where carbon emissions and energy consumption are constrained.

- Buy It Now - Acquire innovation by purchasing startup companies who have the edge on key ideas. An example was eBay's acquisition of Skype in voice-over-IP telephony

- All-Access Economy - Open standards not just for infrastructure components like operating systems (Linux), but also open access to thousands of custom services for individuals and companies. An example was Salesforce.com expansion into 2,000 on-demand applications from purchasing to recruiting.

So, how does this all relate to BI? Note that none of the above would be possible without… The integration of data into a consistent view of reality combined with analytics that surface the important relationships and trends within the data. Sounds like BI is an essential enabling ingredient for all of these global wired trends.


Posted August 5, 2006 8:00 AM
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As a BI professional, have you ever worried that your position might be outsourced, offshored, and never seen again? Well, if you have not worried, you should!

Symphony Services is one of a growing number of global outsourcing firms for analytic services. They provide an end-to-end services from data integration, reporting, data modeling, and predictive analytical models, focusing on the marketing area. In addition, they claim to have substantial expertise in specific domains, such as CRM, SCM, and retail.

What is their secret? They are using the business practices and infrastructure of their primary business - complete development lifecycle services for software vendors, such as Ascential, BMC, Hyperion, Oracle, Web Methods, and Yahoo! By focusing that capability toward Business Intelligence, outsourcing companies like Symphony Services are likely to capture a large share of BI systems development work from global corporations.

Are you worried yet?


Posted August 4, 2006 8:00 AM
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This week's BusinessWeek features an article on Emerging Giants. It is about the new multinationals from unexpected countries like Brazil, Turkey, and Russia. The list of emerging giants may not be familiar but will soon be: Cemex, China Mobile, Gazprom, Haier, Koc Holdings, Petrobras, Infosys, Wipro and others.

The tagline reads "They're smart and hungry, and they want your customers. Be afraid. Be very afraid." Catchy line... But, is it realistic amid many established global corporations?

The article points out that their business motivation is "much more than low cost." It continues with, "The best of the pack are proving as innovative and expertly run as any in the business, astutely absorbing global consumer trends and technologies and getting new products to market faster than their rivals."

These companies are smart because they are investing heavily in the infrastructure of Business Intelligence. This is leveling the playing field (i.e. another flattening force of Thomas Friedman). Knowing the market dynamics in a detailed and responsive manner allows the emerging giants to capture focused segments of existing markets.

I wonder what innovations these emerging giants will bring into the practice of BI. Let's watch them closely.


Posted August 2, 2006 8:00 AM
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