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Updated: 1 year 39 weeks ago

IDG Contributor Network: The privacy legacy of Edith Marcus

June 16, 2017 - 3:18pm

Edith Marcus passed away recently. You may never have heard of Edith; she was a private person in the best sense of the phrase. While Edith did make use of technology, she was keenly aware of the personal information she shared, who she shared It with, and what others did with the information. For privacy professionals, that is her legacy.

Who was Edith Marcus? Bob Siegel

In full disclosure, Edith Marcus was my cousin and was 92 when she passed. She lived an amazing life from her escape from Nazi Germany as a child with her mother and grandmother to learning English by going to the movies while attending New York City schools to taking part in the birth of the state of Israel to being part of the introduction of computers to a Big 8 accounting firm.

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IDG Contributor Network: Has outsourcing lost its strategic relevance?

June 16, 2017 - 3:13pm

For more than 20 years, outsourcing and global delivery were at or near the top of the CIO to-do list. Strategically, outsourcing IT services allowed an enterprise to gain the essential capabilities it needed to endure the dramatic shifts of the last two decades – remediating billions of lines of code to support Y2K, creating first-generation websites, supporting the growth of the dotcom boom, optimizing the supply chain through massive ERP efforts and riding the giant digital transformation wave.

Somewhere along this journey, global delivery of IT services grew less important and less strategic. Cost savings became the key criteria to measure success and service providers commoditized their offerings to meet market demand. But at what cost? Industry vets would likely point to a lack of innovation, poor delivery or the recent trend to repatriate services. Indeed, the desire for continued cost cutting has made functional CIOs and global IT service providers less and less relevant.

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IDG Contributor Network: Why AI is crucial to cyber security

June 16, 2017 - 2:31pm

When you think of AI (artificial intelligence), the first thought you may have is in regards to games, recreation, and futuristic robots. After all, AI is the next big thing in virtual video games, taking "reality" to a whole new level. However, AI is so much more than that. There has been a lot of hype about AI in the last couple of years. Again, most of it in the form of promises of faster answers, better outcomes, and improved productivity. From advanced machine learning and intelligent apps to digital twins and conversational systems, AI is just breaking out of an emerging state with substantial disruptive potential across all industries, says Gartner. Please don't misunderstand, there have been many examples of advancements in various industries with AI algorithms from predictive analytics in healthcare to cognitive science.

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‘DVR for data’ gives TIAA deep insights into its digital business

June 16, 2017 - 11:00am

Imagine an analytics tool that records every transaction that courses through your digital assets in real time and lets you scroll through scores of them to gain insights about your business. If such a tool -- let's call it a TiVo for your digital business -- existed it would prove incredibly valuable in helping you quantify the performance and value of technology initiatives designed to serve customers.

TIAA Chief Digital Officer Scott Blandford has created such a system for the financial services firm. The custom-built THOR (TIAA Hyperdata Online Repository) churns through data streams running through the company's websites, applications and other customer channels. The tool, which Blandford calls the "operating console for our digital business," helps TIAA glean insights about how the company can improve the software services that help consumers manage their retirement wealth and pursue financial advice.

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7 ways AI will revolutionize business travel

June 14, 2017 - 8:38pm

In April, United Airlines hit a huge pocket of public relations turbulence after a passenger was forcibly removed from one of its partners’ airplanes. The incident raised questions about blindly following procedures, passenger rights, and United’s executive leadership.

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(Insider Story)

IDG Contributor Network: Telecom cost control – how to get the most savings for the least amount of effort and risk

June 14, 2017 - 5:01pm

If there’s one thing telecom has taught us over the last decade, it’s that there’s nothing easy about telecom. It’s a notoriously difficult category of spend to keep in check – especially as it relates to cost and usage. Voice, data and network costs span multiple providers and geographies. Invoicing is usually decentralized, and the details are unintelligible. Carrier and provider offerings are all over the map. And, even with commoditized pricing for most services, the majority of enterprises still overspend by 30 percent or more.

Companies that set out to reduce their telecom spend are often confronted with a grim reality – it’s difficult and resource-intensive. It takes a startling amount of work to achieve savings that are meaningful to the bottom line.

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IDG Contributor Network: How DevOps changes the delivery of IT functions

June 13, 2017 - 4:11pm

Labor arbitrage and shared services companies have had a perfect marriage over the last 20 years. Then along came the Digital Revolution with new business models and a new construct for services. One component of the digital model construct is DevOps. It makes a significant impact on business services, but it’s important to understand how it changes the picture for labor arbitrage and shared services.

Shared service companies are structured on a functional basis. One way to think about them is they are a stack of functional expertise. In the case of IT, the stack includes such functions as infrastructure, security, application development and maintenance, and compliance. There is a multiple stack hierarchy, with each functional layer having shared service champions responsible for delivering that function cost-effectively at a high level of quality. Labor arbitrage fits perfectly into this equation in that each functional layer uses people, and the work can often be done more cost-effectively offshore than onshore.

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Inside Symantec’s bid to build the Amazon of cybersecurity tools

June 13, 2017 - 11:05am

If Sheila Jordan and the rest of Symantec's senior leadership team complete their vision they will transform the company into the of cybersecurity, essentially a one-stop shop where CIOs and consumers alike can buy digital tools to protect their data assets. The Symantec CIO is deploying her IT department's resources to help build out a software subscription platform for SaaS applications, part of a broader strategy to deliver solutions that are more in line with the evolving purchasing preferences of CIOs and CISOs.

"We want it to be like an Amazon experience where with a handful of clicks you can book your cloud security subscription," Jordan tells

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IDG Contributor Network: How big data is transforming the automotive industry

June 9, 2017 - 1:42pm

The rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT) is seeing more and more devices connected to the internet. Traditionally, these have been biometric wearables, home appliances and audio-visual equipment. Automobile manufacturers, however, are making a play to corner this market for their own ends.

Entrenching Wi-Fi into automobiles opens an entirely new avenue of pursuit that entails vehicles communicating directly with the internet for GPS navigation, email and music streaming, for example.

By 2020, the connected car market report states that connected car services will account for approximately $40 billion annually. These services include infotainment, navigation, fleet management, remote diagnostics, automatic collision notification, enhanced safety, usage based insurance, traffic management and, lastly, autonomous driving. The root of these applications is big data, as increasing amounts of data are collected from remote sensors; this information is being interpreted and leveraged to transform the automotive industry into one of automation and self-sufficiency.

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IDG Contributor Network: Why Google might lose the enterprise AI wars

June 8, 2017 - 3:25pm

“Google has never understood enterprise,” asserts Chris Nicholson, CEO of Skymind. By contrast, Nicholson gets how businesses think. His company builds Deeplearning4j, the leading open-source enterprise-ready library for deep learning. “You can do anything you want in consumer, because people aren’t paying. In enterprise, your customers hand you eight figure checks and expect top-notch professional service along with golf games and steak dinners.”

The three current leaders in cloud computing services - Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure), and IBM (IBM Cloud) - understand this dynamic very well. While Google is widely acknowledged as the defacto leader in AI research with DeepMind and Google Brain, winning the “Machine Learning As A Service” (MLaaS) wars is much harder than simply releasing free tools like TensorFlow.

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IDG Contributor Network: How to Launch a Successful Video Product Review Campaign

June 8, 2017 - 3:18pm

Video content is powerful. From a marketing perspective, user-generated content is even more powerful. But if you’ve never run a user-generated video review campaign in the past, trying to start one from scratch can be a little intimidating. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be difficult.

The Power of Video Product Reviews

The power of video as a content medium is undeniable. All you have to do is take a look at some of the different data points and statistics curated by HubSpot:

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IDG Contributor Network: Plausibility as a data quality metric...Are you kidding, ECB?

June 7, 2017 - 1:31pm

In Financial Services companies, It is a long game explaining to the business about the benefits of good data quality. Historically any data quality initiatives were being downgraded by CFOs / CEOs while regulatory initiatives were prioritised. Data professionals were longing to create a structured framework for data governance and data quality. After a long period, Data professionals are delighted that the banking industry is coming to terms with data governance and data quality initiatives largely driven by regulatory pressures such as BCBS 239.

Certain regulators are taking the data quality regime to the next level by defining data quality in a more holistic way. For example European Central Bank (ECB) has included “Plausibility” as a measure of data quality. ECB has broken Plausibility in to two; “Stability” and “Outlier analysis”.

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IDG Contributor Network: Era of integrated platforms

June 7, 2017 - 1:09pm

As health systems continue to extend their services beyond inpatient and outpatient care, incorporating a robust integrated platform has become mission critical for CIOs. This article will highlight the three key ingredients for integrated platforms from an operator’s perspective:

1.)     The ability to scale while maintaining interoperability with legacy systems,

2.)     Drive patient engagement,

3.)     Add innovation.

Before we dive into the three ingredients, it is important to first define what an integrated platform is.  An integrated platform is comprehensive of a practice management system, a billing system that keeps pace with the changes in healthcare reimbursement, and a robust electronic health records system that promotes interoperability across the care continuum.

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Digital transformation sparks sales of U.S. IT services abroad

June 7, 2017 - 11:05am

With all the talk of U.S. trade deficits, one tech sector is beginning to shine. Fueled by interest in digital transformation, American IT services firms are running a significant surplus, exporting software and digital services to foreign companies seeking to overhaul their business processes.

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(Insider Story)

IDG Contributor Network: Have you had your Bezos moment? What you can learn from Amazon

June 6, 2017 - 1:28pm

When people and companies grow wildly successful, we often forget that they have the same number of hours in the day as everyone else. Yet, we often find ourselves speculating, how do they do what they do…and how do they do it so well? 

For Amazon, the answer might not be so clear-cut to the everyday user. Yes, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is a visionary and fearless leader. However, his company–as big as it has grown–seems to change, bend and release new products and services faster than everyone else. How is it possible?

I believe Amazon’s transformation from an online bookstore to one of the world’s most successful internet companies started in 2002. More specifically, when Jeff Bezos issued the infamous Bezos Mandate to his internal development teams regarding how software was to be built at Amazon:

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IDG Contributor Network: Strategic guidelines for CIOs to lead the digital age

June 5, 2017 - 2:20pm

It’s safe to state that digital innovation has already paved the way for everyday technologies, such as the laptop computers, the Internet, mobile phones and tablets, social media and cloud computing, and it keeps bringing more new technologies, such as the most recent arrivals that include 3D printing, immersive computing, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), while Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are beginning to reach their long-promised and over-hyped potential. Whenever it is stated that, from a technological perspective, such innovations are quite disruptive, it must be understood that the way digital innovation has transformed the way companies do business and the way is influencing every aspect of human activity is a true and ongoing revolution. The new digital world is drastically changing how people live, communicate, manufacture, produce, learn, collaborate and make decisions, even the most critical ones, in a way that is breaking down traditional barriers to entering markets, such as access to capital for innovation, distribution, customers, information and talent.

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IDG Contributor Network: Blockchain-enabled “smart contracts” solve problems in administering IT ecosystem services

June 5, 2017 - 1:09pm

Businesses are moving into a software-defined world with usage-based service contracts and an “Everything-as-a-Service” ecosystem of providers. But there’s a problem: Contracts have not kept up with the desire to buy things in an as-a-service model in an ecosystem. Thus, the contracts provide no accurate way to account for usage adjustments that need to be made. This is a huge, nettlesome problem for service providers and customers, which I’ve recognized for years. Now there is finally a powerful solution, and I’m excited to share with you how blockchain-enabled “smart contracts” can solve this dilemma.

The problem

Companies want to pay for services based only on usage and only pay when they get the results. In addition, companies are moving to as-a-service models delivered across an ecosystem instead of services delivered by just one party. Our current contracting structure is woefully inadequate to administer this environment. No one contract between two entities can appropriately administer usage-based services delivered in an as-a-service (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS) and delivered by multiple providers.

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IDG Contributor Network: Upgrade Your Skills to be a Tech Savvy Executive

June 5, 2017 - 1:00pm

The pace of change today is unlike anything we’ve experienced in our lifetimes, and it’s only getting faster.  Even relatively tech-savvy people can be overwhelmed sometimes.  Many older, “seasoned,” executives often find their heads spinning while Millennials are seemingly born with the latest gadgets in their hands – or at least trained on them before they even go home from the hospital.

So how can older business leaders keep up with advances in technology?

A low-pressure way to start is by introducing technology in your personal life.  Become more familiar with apps and gadgets on your own time so it’s easier in more formal, high-pressure business settings.  Just as many of us learned to make the transition from typewriters to computers, faxes to emails, and from landlines to pagers to cell phones in our personal lives, we now need to accelerate our ability to learn in a faster, more agile way in the professional world.  Believe it or not, kids (or even grandkids) can be great teachers for us!  Smartphones are super computers in your pocket, and with thousands of new apps being added per day, the options are endless.  Try video chats with family members around the world.  Not only do you get to catch up with people in a more personal way, you get more comfortable with the technology.  Use cloud storage for personal files.  Not only does it free up valuable real estate on your devices, but using a very simple and user-friendly tool like Dropbox or Google Drive gets you more comfortable with the technology, which you can then implement and refine in the workplace.

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IDG Contributor Network: The 5 key components to creating a goal-oriented technical operation

June 5, 2017 - 1:00pm

I have been accused in the past of using a “gotcha” question. For those who do not know what that means, a “gotcha” question usually has no incontrovertible answer. “What is the meaning of life?” is probably the most popular example (although most of us know that answer to be 42). My accused gotcha question to IT decision makers is simply: “How do you know IT had a successful month?”

 The answer I’m usually given is short sighted and incomplete, a combination of uptime/fire fighting/upgrades and SLAs. The best answer is, “We met or exceeded all of our defined objectives.” Getting everyone on board with that as the best answer though, can be problematic. The traditional mindset of IT is to be focused mostly on tactical tasks; keeping the lights on stuff. While that will get you to a certain level of IT Nirvana, eventually it will lead to a lot of problems.

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IDG Contributor Network: Why a hackathon may not be a good strategy for your company

June 1, 2017 - 6:45pm

Hackathons, or hackfests, are getting a lot of buzz for being a collaborative, crowdsourced way of generating new product or service ideas. Sometimes they’re even touted for ideas that drive change and create a competitive advantage. But if that’s what you have in mind for a hackathon at your company, prepare for a letdown.

The buzz isn’t all hype. Entirely new companies (such as GroupMe, which was acquired by Skype) have been birthed from hackathons. And Facebook’s “like” button originated in an internal hackathon at Facebook. Some hackathons resulted in government entities capturing new ideas on how to improve government services. And an increasing number of companies find hackathons to be an effective strategy for improving employee engagement.

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