Interview Beth Schultz Editor AllAnalytics.com

Here is an interview with Beth Scultz Editor in Chief, AllAnalytics.com .

Allanalytics.com http://www.allanalytics.com/ is the new online community on Predictive Analytics, and its a bit different in emphasizing quality more than just quantity. Beth is veteran in tech journalism and communities.

Ajay-Describe your journey in technology journalism and communication. What are the other online communities that you have been involved with?

Beth- I’m a longtime IT journalist, having begun my career covering the telecommunications industry at the brink of AT&T’s divestiture — many eons ago. Over the years, I’ve covered the rise of internal corporate networking; the advent of the Internet and creation of the Web for business purposes; the evolution of Web technology for use in building intranets, extranets, and e-commerce sites; the move toward a highly dynamic next-generation IT infrastructure that we now call cloud computing; and development of myriad enterprise applications, including business intelligence and the analytics surrounding them. I have been involved in developing online B2B communities primarily around next-generation enterprise IT infrastructure and applications. In addition, Shawn Hessinger, our community editor, has been involved in myriad Web sites aimed at creating community for small business owners.

 Ajay- Technology geeks get all the money while journalists get a story. Comments please

Beth- Great technology geeks — those being the ones with technology smarts as well as business savvy — do stand to make a lot of money. And some pursue that to all ends (with many entrepreneurs gunning for the acquisition) while others more or less fall into it. Few journalists, at least few tech journalists, have big dollars in mind. The gratification for journalists comes in being able to meet these folks, hear and deliver their stories — as appropriate — and help explain what makes this particular technology geek developing this certain type of product or service worth paying attention to.

 Ajay- Describe what you are trying to achieve with the All Analytics community and how it seeks to differentiate itself with other players in this space.

 Beth- With AllAnaltyics.com, we’re concentrating on creating the go-to site for CXOs, IT professionals, line-of-business managers, and other professionals to share best practices, concrete experiences, and research about data analytics, business intelligence, information optimization, and risk management, among many other topics. We differentiate ourself by featuring excellent editorial content from a top-notch group of bloggers, access to industry experts through weekly chats, ongoing lively and engaging message board discussions, and biweekly debates.

We’re a new property, and clearly in rapid building mode. However, we’ve already secured some of the industry’s most respected BI/analytics experts to participate as bloggers. For example, a small sampling of our current lineup includes the always-intrigueing John Barnes, a science fiction novelist and statistics guru; Sandra Gittlen, a longtime IT journalist with an affinity for BI coverage; Olivia Parr-Rud, an internationally recognized expert in BI and organizational alignment; Tom Redman, a well-known data-quality expert; and Steve Williams, a leading BI strategy consultant. I blog daily as well, and in particular love to share firsthand experiences of how organizations are benefiting from the use of BI, analytics, data warehousing, etc. We’ve featured inside looks at analytics initiatives at companies such as 1-800-Flowers.com, Oberweis Dairy, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, and Thomson Reuters, for example.

In addition, we’ve hosted instant e-chats with Web and social media experts Joe Stanganelli and Pierre DeBois, and this Friday, Aug. 26, at 3 p.m. ET we’ll be hosting an e-chat with Marshall Sponder, Web metrics guru and author of the newly published book, Social Media Analytics: Effective Tools for Building, Interpreting, and Using Metrics. (Readers interested in participating in the chat do need to fill out a quick registration form, available here http://www.allanalytics.com/register.asp . The chat is available here http://www.allanalytics.com/messages.asp?piddl_msgthreadid=241039&piddl_msgid=439898#msg_439898 .

Experts participating in our biweekly debate series, called Point/Counterpoint, have broached topics such as BI in the cloud, mobile BI and whether an analytics culture is truly possible to build.

Ajay-  What are some tips you would like to share about writing tech stories to aspiring bloggers.

Beth- I suppose my best advice is this: Don’t write about technology for technology’s sake. Always strive to tell the audience why they should care about a particular technology, product, or service. How might a reader use it to his or her company’s advantage, and what are the potential benefits? Improved productivity, increased revenue, better customer service? Providing anecdotal evidence goes a long way toward delivering that message, as well.

Ajay- What are the other IT world websites that have made a mark on the internet.

Beth- I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to UBM TechWeb sites, including InformationWeek, which has long charted the use of IT within the enterprise; Dark Reading, a great source for folks interested in securing an enterprise’s information assets; and Light Reading, which takes the pulse of the telecom industry.

 Biography- 

Beth Schultz has more than two decades of experience as an IT writer and editor. Most recently, she brought her expertise to bear writing thought-provoking editorial and marketing materials on a variety of technology topics for leading IT publications and industry players. Previously, she oversaw multimedia content development, writing and editing for special feature packages at Network World. Beth has a keen ability to identify business and technology trends, developing expertise through in-depth analysis and early-adopter case studies. Over the years, she has earned more than a dozen national and regional editorial excellence awards for special issues from American Business Media, American Society of Business Press Editors, Folio.net, and others.

 

Interview John F Moore CEO The Lab

Social Media Landscape

Here is an interview with John F Moore, social media adviser,technologist and founder and CEO of The Lab.

Ajay-  The internet seems to be crowded by social media experts with everyone who spends a lot of time on the internet claiming to be one? How  does a small business owner on a budget distinguish for the correct value proposition that social media can give them. 

John- You’re right.  It seems like everytime I turn around I bump into more social media “experts”.  The majority of these self-proclaimed experts are not adding a great deal of value.  When looking to spend money for help ask the person a few questions about their approach. Things you should be hearing include:

  • The expert should be seeking to fully understand your business, your goals, your available resources, etc..
  • The expert should be seeking to understand current management thinking about social media and related technologies.

If the expert is purely focused on tools they are the wrong person.  Your solution may require tools alone but they cannot know this without first understanding your business.

Ajay- Facebook has 600 million people, with people preferring to play games and connect to old acquaintances rather than use social media for tangible career or business benefit..

John- People are definitely spending time playing games, looking at photos, and catching up with old friends.  However, there are many businesses seeing real value from Facebook (primarily by tying it into their e-mail marketing and using coupons and other incentives).  For example, I recently shared a small case study (http://thejohnfmoore.com/2010/10/07/email-social-media-and-coupons-makes-the-cfo-smile/) where a small pet product company achieved a 22% bump in monthly revenue by combining Facebook and coupons together.  In fact,45% of this bump in revenue came from new clients.  Customer acquisition and increased revenue were accomplished by using Facebook for their business.
Ajay-  How does a new social media convert (individual) go on selecting communities to join (Facebook,Twitter,Linkedin,Ning, Ping,Orkut, Empire Avenue etc etc.
How does a small business owner take the same decision.

John- It always starts with taking the time to define your goals and then determine how much time and effort you are willing to invest.  For example:
  • LinkedIn. A must have for individuals as it is one of the key social networking communities for professional networking.  Individuals should join groups that are relevant to their career and invest an hour a week.  Businesses should ensure they have a business profile completed and up to date.
  • Facebook can be a challenge for anyone trying to walk the personal/professional line.  However, from a business standpoint you should be creating a Facebook page that you can use to compliment your other marketing channels.
  • Twitter.  It is a great network to learn of, to meet, and to interact with people from around the world.  I have met thousands of interesting people, many of which I have had the pleasure to meet with in real life.  Businesses need to invest in listening on twitter to determine if their customers (current or potential) or competitors are already there discussing them, their marketplace, or their offerings.
In all cases I would encourage businesses to setup social media accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.  You want to ensure your brand is protected by owning these accounts and ensuring at least the base information is accurate.
Ajay- Name the top 5 points that you think make a social media community successful.  What are the top 5 points for a business to succeed in their social media strategy.

John-
  • Define your goals up front.  Understand why you are building a community and keep this goal in mind.
  • Provide education.  Ideally you want to become a thought leader in your space, the trusted resource that people can turn to even if they are not using your product or services today.
  • Be honest.  We all make mistakes.  When you do, be honest with your community and engage them in any fall-out that may be coming out of your mistake.
  • Listen to them.  Use platforms like BubbleIdeas to gather feedback on what your community is looking for from the relationship.
  • Measure.  Are you on track with your goals?  Do your goals need to change?
Ajay- What is the unique value proposition that “The Lab” offers

John- The Lab understands the strategic importance of leveraging social media, management and leadership best practices, and our understanding of local government and small and medium business to help people in these areas achieve their goals.  Too many consultants come to the table with a predefined solution that really misses the mark as it lacks understanding of the client’s goals.
Ajay-  What is “CityCamp in Boston” all about.

John- CityCamp is a FREE unconference focused on innovation for municipal governments and community organizations (http://www.citycampboston.org/what-is-citycamp-boston/).  It brings together politicians, local municipal employees, citizens, vendors, developers, and journalist to build a common understanding of local government challenges and then works to deliver measurable outcomes following the event.  The key is the focus on change management, driving change as opposed to just in the moment education.
Biography-

John F Moore is the Founder and CEO of The Lab (http://thelabinboston.com).  John has experience working with local governments and small and medium business owners to achieve their goals.  His experience with social media strategies, CRM, and a plethora of other solutions provides immense value to all of our clients.   He has built engineering organizations, learned sales and marketing, run customer service teams, and built and executed strategies for social media thought leadership and branding.  He is also a prolific blogger as you can see by checking out his blog at http://thejohnfmoore.com.

Why Cloud?

Here are some reasons why cloud computing is very helpful to small business owners like me- and can be very helpful to even bigger people.

1) Infrastructure Overhead becomes zero

– I need NOT invest in secure powerbackups (like a big battery for electricity power-outs-true in India), data disaster management (read raid), software licensing compliance.

All this is done for me by infrastructure providers like Google and Amazon.

For simple office productivity, I type on Google Docs that auto-saves my data,writing on cloud. I need not backup- Google does it for me.  Ditto for presentations and spreadsheets. Amazon gets me the latest Window software installed whenever I logon- I need not be  bothered by software contracts (read bug fixes and patches) any more.

2) Renting Hardware by the hour- A small business owner cannot invest too much in computing hardware (or software). The pay as you use makes sense for them. I could never afford a 8 cores desktop with 25 gb RAM- but I sure can rent and use it to bid for heavier data projects that I would have had to let go in the past.

3) Renting software by the hour- You may have bought your last PC for all time

An example- A windows micro instance costs you 3 cents per hour on Amazon. If you take a mathematical look at upgrading your PC to latest Windows, buying more and more upgraded desktops just to keep up, those costs would exceed 3 cents per hour. For Unix, it is 2 cents per hour, and those softwares (like Red Hat Linux and Ubuntu have increasingly been design friendly even for non techie users)

Some other software companies especially in enterprise software plan to and already offer paid machine images that basically adds their software layer on top of the OS and you can rent software for the hour.

It does not make sense for customers to effectively subsidize golf tournaments, rock concerts, conference networks by their own money- as they can rent software by the hour and switch to pay per use.

People especially SME consultants, academics and students and cost conscious customers – in Analytics would love to see a world where they could say run SAS Enterprise Miner for 10 dollars a hour for two hours to build a data mining model on 25 gb RAM, rather than hurt their pockets and profitability in Annual license models. Ditto for SPSS, JMP, KXEN, Revolution R, Oracle Data Mining (already available on Amazon) , SAP (??), WPS ( on cloud ???? ) . It’s the economy, stupid.

Corporates have realized that cutting down on Hardware and software expenses is more preferable to cutting down people. Would you rather fire people in your own team to buy that big HP or Dell or IBM Server (effectively subsidizing jobs in those companies). IF you had to choose between an annual license renewal for your analytics software TO renting software by the hour and using those savings for better benefits for your employees, what makes business sense for you to invest in.

Goodbye annual license fees.  Welcome brave new world.