Carole-Ann’s 2011 Predictions for Decision Management

Carole-Ann’s 2011 Predictions for Decision Management

For Ajay Ohri on DecisionStats.com

What were the top 5 events in 2010 in your field?
  1. Maturity: the Decision Management space was made up of technology vendors, big and small, that typically focused on one or two aspects of this discipline.  Over the past few years, we have seen a lot of consolidation in the industry – first with Business Intelligence (BI) then Business Process Management (BPM) and lately in Business Rules Management (BRM) and Advanced Analytics.  As a result the giant Platform vendors have helped create visibility for this discipline.  Lots of tiny clues finally bubbled up in 2010 to attest of the increasing activity around Decision Management.  For example, more products than ever were named Decision Manager; companies advertised for Decision Managers as a job title in their job section; most people understand what I do when I am introduced in a social setting!
  2. Boredom: unfortunately, as the industry matures, inevitably innovation slows down…  At the main BRMS shows we heard here and there complaints that the technology was stalling.  We heard it from vendors like Red Hat (Drools) and we heard it from bored end-users hoping for some excitement at Business Rules Forum’s vendor panel.  They sadly did not get it
  3. Scrum: I am not thinking about the methodology there!  If you have ever seen a rugby game, you can probably understand why this is the term that comes to mind when I look at the messy & confusing technology landscape.  Feet blindly try to kick the ball out while superhuman forces are moving randomly the whole pack – or so it felt when I played!  Business Users in search of Business Solutions are facing more and more technology choices that feel like comparing apples to oranges.  There is value in all of them and each one addresses a specific aspect of Decision Management but I regret that the industry did not simplify the picture in 2010.  On the contrary!  Many buzzwords were created or at least made popular last year, creating even more confusion on a muddy field.  A few examples: Social CRM, Collaborative Decision Making, Adaptive Case Management, etc.  Don’t take me wrong, I *do* like the technologies.  I sympathize with the decision maker that is trying to pick the right solution though.
  4. Information: Analytics have been used for years of course but the volume of data surrounding us has been growing to unparalleled levels.  We can blame or thank (depending on our perspective) Social Media for that.  Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have made it possible and easy to publish relevant (as well as fluffy) information in real-time.  As we all started to get the hang of it and potentially over-publish, technology evolved to enable the storage, correlation and analysis of humongous volumes of data that we could not dream of before.  25 billion tweets were posted in 2010.  Every month, over 30 billion pieces of data are shared on Facebook alone.  This is not just about vanity and marketing though.  This data can be leveraged for the greater good.  Carlos pointed to some fascinating facts about catastrophic event response team getting organized thanks to crowd-sourced information.  We are also seeing, in the Decision management world, more and more applicability for those very technology that have been developed for the needs of Big Data – I’ll name for example Hadoop that Carlos (yet again) discussed in his talks at Rules Fest end of 2009 and 2010.
  5. Self-Organization: it may be a side effect of the Social Media movement but I must admit that I was impressed by the success of self-organizing initiatives.  Granted, this last trend has nothing to do with Decision Management per se but I think it is a great evolution worth noting.  Let me point to a couple of examples.  I usually attend traditional conferences and tradeshows in which the content can be good but is sometimes terrible.  I was pleasantly surprised by the professionalism and attendance at *un-conferences* such as P-Camp (P stands for Product – an event for Product Managers).  When you think about it, it is already difficult to get a show together when people are dedicated to the tasks.  How crazy is it to have volunteers set one up with no budget and no agenda?  Well, people simply show up to do their part and everyone has fun voting on-site for what seems the most appealing content at the time.  Crowdsourcing applied to shows: it works!  Similar experience with meetups or tweetups.  I also enjoyed attending some impromptu Twitter jam sessions on a given topic.  Social Media is certainly helping people reach out and get together in person or virtually and that is wonderful!

A segment of a social network
Image via Wikipedia

What are the top three trends you see in 2011?

  1. Performance:  I might be cheating here.   I was very bullish about predicting much progress for 2010 in the area of Performance Management in your Decision Management initiatives.  I believe that progress was made but Carlos did not give me full credit for the right prediction…  Okay, I am a little optimistic on timeline…  I admit it…  If it did not fully happen in 2010, can I predict it again in 2011?  I think that companies want to better track their business performance in order to correct the trajectory of course but also to improve their projections.  I see that it is turning into reality already here and there.  I expect it to become a trend in 2011!
  2. Insight: Big Data being available all around us with new technologies and algorithms will continue to propagate in 2011 leading to more widely spread Analytics capabilities.  The buzz at Analytics shows on Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a sign that there is interest in those kinds of things.  There is tremendous information that can be leveraged for smart decision-making.  I think there will be more of that in 2011 as initiatives launches in 2010 will mature into material results.
    5 Ways to Cultivate an Active Social Network
    Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr
  3. Collaboration:  Social Media for the Enterprise is a discipline in the making.  Social Media was initially seen for the most part as a Marketing channel.  Over the years, companies have started experimenting with external communities and ideation capabilities with moderate success.  The few strategic initiatives started in 2010 by “old fashion” companies seem to be an indication that we are past the early adopters.  This discipline may very well materialize in 2011 as a core capability, well, or at least a new trend.  I believe that capabilities such Chatter, offered by Salesforce, will transform (slowly) how people interact in the workplace and leverage the volumes of social data captured in LinkedIn and other Social Media sites.  Collaboration is of course a topic of interest for me personally.  I even signed up for Kare Anderson’s collaboration collaboration site – yes, twice the word “collaboration”: it is really about collaborating on collaboration techniques.  Even though collaboration does not require Social Media, this medium offers perspectives not available until now.

Brief Bio-

Carole-Ann is a renowned guru in the Decision Management space. She created the vision for Decision Management that is widely adopted now in the industry. Her claim to fame is the strategy and direction of Blaze Advisor, the then-leading BRMS product, while she also managed all the Decision Management tools at FICO (business rules, predictive analytics and optimization). She has a vision for Decision Management both as a technology and a discipline that can revolutionize the way corporations do business, and will never get tired of painting that vision for her audience. She speaks often at Industry conferences and has conducted university classes in France and Washington DC.

Leveraging her Masters degree in Applied Mathematics / Computer Science from a “Grande Ecole” in France, she started her career building advanced systems using all kinds of technologies — expert systems, rules, optimization, dashboarding and cubes, web search, and beta version of database replication – as well as conducting strategic consulting gigs around change management.

She now tweets as @CMatignon, blogs at blog.sparklinglogic.com and interacts at community.sparklinglogic.com.

She started her career building advanced systems using all kinds of technologies — expert systems, rules, optimization, dashboarding and cubes, web search, and beta version of database replication.  At Cleversys (acquired by Kurt Salmon & Associates), she also conducted strategic consulting gigs mostly around change management.

While playing with advanced software components, she found a passion for technology and joined ILOG (acquired by IBM).  She developed a growing interest in Optimization as well as Business Rules.  At ILOG, she coined the term BRMS while brainstorming with her Sales counterpart.  She led the Presales organization for Telecom in the Americas up until 2000 when she joined Blaze Software (acquired by Brokat Technologies, HNC Software and finally FICO).

Her 360-degree experience allowed her to gain appreciation for all aspects of a software company, giving her a unique perspective on the business.  Her technical background kept her very much in touch with technology as she advanced.

She also became addicted to Twitter in the process.  She is active on all kinds of social media, always looking for new digital experience!

Outside of work, Carole-Ann loves spending time with her two boys.  They grow fruits in their Northern California home and cook all together in the French tradition.

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Filtering to Gain Social Network Value
Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr
Social Networks Hype Cycle
Image by fredcavazza via Flickr

Interview Ajay Ohri Decisionstats.com with DMR

From-

http://www.dataminingblog.com/data-mining-research-interview-ajay-ohri/

Here is the winner of the Data Mining Research People Award 2010: Ajay Ohri! Thanks to Ajay for giving some time to answer Data Mining Research questions. And all the best to his blog, Decision Stat!

Data Mining Research (DMR): Could you please introduce yourself to the readers of Data Mining Research?

Ajay Ohri (AO): I am a business consultant and writer based out of Delhi- India. I have been working in and around the field of business analytics since 2004, and have worked with some very good and big companies primarily in financial analytics and outsourced analytics. Since 2007, I have been writing my blog at http://decisionstats.com which now has almost 10,000 views monthly.

All in all, I wrote about data, and my hobby is also writing (poetry). Both my hobby and my profession stem from my education ( a masters in business, and a bachelors in mechanical engineering).

My research interests in data mining are interfaces (simpler interfaces to enable better data mining), education (making data mining less complex and accessible to more people and students), and time series and regression (specifically ARIMAX)
In business my research interests software marketing strategies (open source, Software as a service, advertising supported versus traditional licensing) and creation of technology and entrepreneurial hubs (like Palo Alto and Research Triangle, or Bangalore India).

DMR: I know you have worked with both SAS and R. Could you give your opinion about these two data mining tools?

AO: As per my understanding, SAS stands for SAS language, SAS Institute and SAS software platform. The terms are interchangeably used by people in industry and academia- but there have been some branding issues on this.
I have not worked much with SAS Enterprise Miner , probably because I could not afford it as business consultant, and organizations I worked with did not have a budget for Enterprise Miner.
I have worked alone and in teams with Base SAS, SAS Stat, SAS Access, and SAS ETS- and JMP. Also I worked with SAS BI but as a user to extract information.
You could say my use of SAS platform was mostly in predictive analytics and reporting, but I have a couple of projects under my belt for knowledge discovery and data mining, and pattern analysis. Again some of my SAS experience is a bit dated for almost 1 year ago.

I really like specific parts of SAS platform – as in the interface design of JMP (which is better than Enterprise Guide or Base SAS ) -and Proc Sort in Base SAS- I guess sequential processing of data makes SAS way faster- though with computing evolving from Desktops/Servers to even cheaper time shared cloud computers- I am not sure how long Base SAS and SAS Stat can hold this unique selling proposition.

I dislike the clutter in SAS Stat output, it confuses me with too much information, and I dislike shoddy graphics in the rendering output of graphical engine of SAS. Its shoddy coding work in SAS/Graph and if JMP can give better graphics why is legacy source code preventing SAS platform from doing a better job of it.

I sometimes think the best part of SAS is actually code written by Goodnight and Sall in 1970’s , the latest procs don’t impress me much.

SAS as a company is something I admire especially for its way of treating employees globally- but it is strange to see the rest of tech industry not following it. Also I don’t like over aggression and the SAS versus Rest of the Analytics /Data Mining World mentality that I sometimes pick up when I deal with industry thought leaders.

I think making SAS Enterprise Miner, JMP, and Base SAS in a completely new web interface priced at per hour rates is my wishlist but I guess I am a bit sentimental here- most data miners I know from early 2000’s did start with SAS as their first bread earning software. Also I think SAS needs to be better priced in Business Intelligence- it seems quite cheap in BI compared to Cognos/IBM but expensive in analytical licensing.

If you are a new stats or business student, chances are – you may know much more R than SAS today. The shift in education at least has been very rapid, and I guess R is also more of a platform than a analytics or data mining software.

I like a lot of things in R- from graphics, to better data mining packages, modular design of software, but above all I like the can do kick ass spirit of R community. Lots of young people collaborating with lots of young to old professors, and the energy is infectious. Everybody is a CEO in R ’s world. Latest data mining algols will probably start in R, published in journals.

Which is better for data mining SAS or R? It depends on your data and your deadline. The golden rule of management and business is -it depends.

Also I have worked with a lot of KXEN, SQL, SPSS.

DMR: Can you tell us more about Decision Stats? You have a traffic of 120′000 for 2010. How did you reach such a success?

AO: I don’t think 120,000 is a success. Its not a failure. It just happened- the more I wrote, the more people read.In 2007-2008 I used to obsess over traffic. I tried SEO, comments, back linking, and I did some black hat experimental stuff. Some of it worked- some didn’t.

In the end, I started asking questions and interviewing people. To my surprise, senior management is almost always more candid , frank and honest about their views while middle managers, public relations, marketing folks can be defensive.

Social Media helped a bit- Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook really helped my network of friends who I suppose acted as informal ambassadors to spread the word.
Again I was constrained by necessity than choices- my middle class finances ( I also had a baby son in 2007-my current laptop still has some broken keys :) – by my inability to afford traveling to conferences, and my location Delhi isn’t really a tech hub.

The more questions I asked around the internet, the more people responded, and I wrote it all down.

I guess I just was lucky to meet a lot of nice people on the internet who took time to mentor and educate me.

I tried building other websites but didn’t succeed so i guess I really don’t know. I am not a smart coder, not very clever at writing but I do try to be honest.

Basic economics says pricing is proportional to demand and inversely proportional to supply. Honest and candid opinions have infinite demand and an uncertain supply.

DMR: There is a rumor about a R book you plan to publish in 2011 :-) Can you confirm the rumor and tell us more?

AO: I just signed a contract with Springer for ” R for Business Analytics”. R is a great software, and lots of books for statistically trained people, but I felt like writing a book for the MBAs and existing analytics users- on how to easily transition to R for Analytics.

Like any language there are tricks and tweaks in R, and with a focus on code editors, IDE, GUI, web interfaces, R’s famous learning curve can be bent a bit.

Making analytics beautiful, and simpler to use is always a passion for me. With 3000 packages, R can be used for a lot more things and a lot more simply than is commonly understood.
The target audience however is business analysts- or people working in corporate environments.

Brief Bio-
Ajay Ohri has been working in the field of analytics since 2004 , when it was a still nascent emerging Industries in India. He has worked with the top two Indian outsourcers listed on NYSE,and with Citigroup on cross sell analytics where he helped sell an extra 50000 credit cards by cross sell analytics .He was one of the very first independent data mining consultants in India working on analytics products and domestic Indian market analytics .He regularly writes on analytics topics on his web site www.decisionstats.com and is currently working on open source analytical tools like R besides analytical software like SPSS and SAS.

The Year 2010

Nokia N800 internet tablet, with open source s...
Image via Wikipedia

My annual traffic to this blog was almost 99,000 . Add in additional views on networking sites plus the 400 plus RSS readers- so I can say traffic was 1,20,000 for 2010. Nice. Thanks for reading and hope it was worth your time. (this is a long post and will take almost 440 secs to read but the summary is just given)

My intent is either to inform you, give something useful or atleast something interesting.

see below-

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
2010 6,311 4,701 4,922 5,463 6,493 4,271
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
5,041 5,403 17,913 16,430 11,723 10,096 98,767

 

 

Sandro Saita from http://www.dataminingblog.com/ just named me for an award on his blog (but my surname is ohRi , Sandro left me without an R- What would I be without R :)) ).

Aw! I am touched. Google for “Data Mining Blog” and Sandro is the best that it is in data mining writing.

DMR People Award 2010
There are a lot of active people in the field of data mining. You can discuss with them on forums. You can read their blogs. You can also meet them in events such as PAW or KDD. Among the people I follow on a regular basis, I have elected:

Ajay Ori

He has been very active in 2010, especially on his blog . Good work Ajay and continue sharing your experience with us!”

What did I write in 2010- stuff.

What did you read on this blog- well thats the top posts list.

2009-12-31 to Today

Title Views
Home page More stats 21,150
Top 10 Graphical User Interfaces in Statistical Software More stats 6,237
Wealth = function (numeracy, memory recall) More stats 2,014
Matlab-Mathematica-R and GPU Computing More stats 1,946
The Top Statistical Softwares (GUI) More stats 1,405
About DecisionStats More stats 1,352
Using Facebook Analytics (Updated) More stats 1,313
Test drive a Chrome notebook. More stats 1,170
Top ten RRReasons R is bad for you ? More stats 1,157
Libre Office More stats 1,151
Interview Hadley Wickham R Project Data Visualization Guru More stats 1,007
Using Red R- R with a Visual Interface More stats 854
SAS Institute files first lawsuit against WPS- Episode 1 More stats 790
Interview Professor John Fox Creator R Commander More stats 764
R Package Creating More stats 754
Windows Azure vs Amazon EC2 (and Google Storage) More stats 726
Norman Nie: R GUI and More More stats 716
Startups for Geeks More stats 682
Google Maps – Jet Ski across Pacific Ocean More stats 670
Not so AWkward after all: R GUI RKWard More stats 579
Red R 1.8- Pretty GUI More stats 570
Parallel Programming using R in Windows More stats 569
R is an epic fail or is it just overhyped More stats 559
Enterprise Linux rises rapidly:New Report More stats 537
Rapid Miner- R Extension More stats 518
Creating a Blog Aggregator for free More stats 504
So which software is the best analytical software? Sigh- It depends More stats 473
Revolution R for Linux More stats 465
John Sall sets JMP 9 free to tango with R More stats 460

So how do people come here –

well I guess I owe Tal G for almost 9000 views ( incidentally I withdrew posting my blog from R- Bloggers and Analyticbridge blogs – due to SEO keyword reasons and some spam I was getting see (below))

http://r-bloggers.com is still the CAT’s whiskers and I read it  a lot.

I still dont know who linked my blog to a free sex movie site with 400 views but I have a few suspects.

2009-12-31 to Today

Referrer Views
r-bloggers.com 9,131
Reddit 3,829
rattle.togaware.com 1,500
Twitter 1,254
Google Reader 1,215
linkedin.com 717
freesexmovie.irwanaf.com 422
analyticbridge.com 341
Google 327
coolavenues.com 322
Facebook 317
kdnuggets.com 298
dataminingblog.com 278
en.wordpress.com 185
google.co.in 151
xianblog.wordpress.com 130
inside-r.org 124
decisionstats.com 119
ifreestores.com 117
bits.blogs.nytimes.com 108

Still reading this post- gosh let me sell you some advertising. It is only $100 a month (yes its a recession)

Advertisers are treated on First in -Last out (FILO)

I have been told I am obsessed with SEO , but I dont care much for search engines apart from Google, and yes SEO is an interesting science (they should really re name it GEO or Google Engine Optimization)

Apparently Hadley Wickham and Donald Farmer are big keywords for me so I should be more respectful I guess.

Search Terms for 365 days ending 2010-12-31 (Summarized)

2009-12-31 to Today

Search Views
libre office 925
facebook analytics 798
test drive a chrome notebook 467
test drive a chrome notebook. 215
r gui 203
data mining 163
wps sas lawsuit 158
wordle.net 133
wps sas 123
google maps jet ski 123
test drive chrome notebook 96
sas wps 89
sas wps lawsuit 85
chrome notebook test drive 83
decision stats 83
best statistics software 74
hadley wickham 72
google maps jetski 72
libreoffice 70
doug savage 65
hive tutorial 58
funny india 56
spss certification 52
donald farmer microsoft 51
best statistical software 49

What about outgoing links? Apparently I need to find a way to ask Google to pay me for the free advertising I gave their chrome notebook launch. But since their search engine and browser is free to me, guess we are even steven.

Clicks for 365 days ending 2010-12-31 (Summarized)

2009-12-31 to Today

URL Clicks
rattle.togaware.com 378
facebook.com/Decisionstats 355
rapid-i.com/content/view/182/196 319
services.google.com/fb/forms/cr48basic 313
red-r.org 228
decisionstats.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/the-top-statistical-softwares-gui 199
teamwpc.co.uk/products/wps 162
r4stats.com/popularity 148
r-statistics.com/2010/04/r-and-the-google-summer-of-code-2010-accepted-students-and-projects 138
socserv.mcmaster.ca/jfox/Misc/Rcmdr 138
spss.com/certification 116
learnr.wordpress.com 114
dudeofdata.com/decisionstats 108
r-project.org 107
documentfoundation.org/faq 104
goo.gl/maps/UISY 100
inside-r.org/download 96
en.wikibooks.org/wiki/R_Programming 92
nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2010/12/07/07readwriteweb-report-google-offering-chrome-notebook-test-11919.html 92
sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/rkward/index.php?title=Main_Page 92
analyticdroid.togaware.com 88
yeroon.net/ggplot2 87

so in 2010,

SAS remained top daddy in business analytics,

R made revolutionary strides in terms of new packages,

JMP  launched a new version,

SPSS got integrated with Cognos,

Oracle sued Google and did build a great Data Mining GUI,

Libre Office gave you a non Oracle Open office ( or open even more office)

2011 looks like  a fun year. Have safe partying .

Protected: Analyzing SAS Institute-WPS Lawsuit

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Twitter Cloud and a note on Cloud Computing

That’s what I use twitter for. If you have a twitter account you can follow me here

http://twitter.com/decisionstats

A couple of weeks ago I accidentally deleted many followers using a Twitter App called Refollow- I was trying to clean up people I follow and checked the wrong tick box-

so please if you feel I unfollowed you- it was a mistake. Seriously.

[tweetmeme=”decisionstats”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Cloud Computing- and Google- rumours ( 🙂 ) are emerging that Google’s push for cloud computing is to turn desktop computing to IBM like mainframe computing .  Except that there are too many players this time. Where is the Department of Justice and anti trust – does Amazon qualify for being too big in cloud computing currently.

Or the rumours could be spread by Microsoft/ Apple / Amazon competitors etc. Geeks are like that sometimes.