What comes first? Micro Services or Micro Segmentation?

It reads like the chicken and egg story only in the case of Micro Services and Micro Segmentation it is very easy to think that they come as a package deal and thus confuse the two. Micro Services

As we have often discussed on the Captain Dash blog, Micro Services refer to a set of services or mini applications making up the application architecture of an organization.

An organization can either break apart an existing Monolithic application to create Micro Services or it can create its architecture as a combination of several Micro Services from scratch.

Micro Segmentation

Micro Segmentation on the other hand deals with breaking up of a network itself. This could be done for several reasons, foremost of which is security.

The point to note though is that when a team uses the Micro Services approach to their architecture a natural bifurcation of the network occurs thus leading to Micro Segmentation. This is also the reason why there can be confusion between the two.

Another significant use for Micro Segmentation is that aside from taking the pressure off of one large network is that it isolates disruption when services need to be changed or upgraded. In case of a single large network one change can have domino effect on the whole network.

Micro Services and Micro Segmentation

In brief these are both methods of segmenting a Monolithic architecture in different domains and turning them into smaller, more scalable and secure components.

Just because a team uses one approach it doesn’t automatically mean that the other follows. Though it is best practice to employ both for optimization.

While one cannot say which one comes first, as a general rule it has been observed that if a team uses Micro Services then Micro Segmentation is quick to follow. On the other hand the employment of Micro Segmentation does not necessarily result in the use of Micro Services by a team.

If your organization has made the switch to Micro Services or to Micro Segmentation we would love to hear which came first for you.

To stay updated with our series on Micro Services architecture follow us on twitter or subscribe to our blog.

Written By: Meghna Verma

10 Tech Buzzwords of 2014, and my personal ratings of their validity

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1. "Big Data"- I only give this one a 6 because it's been proven time and time again that most people don't actually know what these words mean. In my opinion, the past YEARS were the years of big data. The question now is not if you know about it, it’s about what you’re doing with it.

 2. “Going Mobile”- 10!  Captain Dash has been rooting for mobile since the beginning, which is why we’ve made our application on iPad. The modern executive is always on the move and it's not realistic to believe that he can be plugged into a desktop all day long. He/she needs to be able to get updates throughout the day and have the ability to communicate information, analytics, results, data, and news as easily as sending a text message. Controlling a meeting with a mobile device and the tap of a finger…now that’s cool!

3. "The Internet of Things"8. I really like this one, mainly because it sounds like jargon from a novel about a dystopian futuristic society. However, the validity behind this phrase is undeniable. The internet is no longer a web connecting devices. Now that almost everything is digitalized, from our cars to our homes to our treadmills, it’s an internet of…well…things.

 4. “The Year of Visual”- 8. The concept deserves an enthusiastic 10, but I only give it an 8 because EVERY year should have been the year of visual! People have known since ancient Greek times that visual and spatial representation of information increases understanding. The boom of analytics visualizations will certainly pave the way for some cool new innovations by way of interactivity capabilities and visualization methods. Here at Captain Dash, we have an entire gallery of visualization options that allow metrics to be compared across a variety of dimensions, from Sunburst and Sankey diagrams to heat maps.

5. Integration”- 6, because this should be a given, not a buzzword. The three V’s of big data are volume, variety, and velocity. Integrating multiple data sources is the only way to compare metrics across a variety of dimensions, which shouldn't be "buzzy" or "new," but rather essential.

6. “Going Live”- 0. I will not even pretend to know what this means. When have we ever not been live? I'm convinced this is just one of those “power phrases” which worth little more than an enthusiastic adjective and really just adds emphasis to a sentence. “The industry is going live with the most dynamic, powerful, hard-hitting developments that will rock it to it’s core.” If you think about it, that literally means nothing.

7. Gamification” 7. One of this year's underrated buzzword underdogs. Gamification refers to the fact that a lot of applications and websites have incorporated gaming into the user experience, rewarding users points and recognition for using the application/system properly. The gaming aspect capitalizes on people’s competitive instinct, can increase engagement with an interactive aspect, and can actually serve to indirectly train people by rewarding them for using the system/application/website properly.

8. “Wearables”- 6. Wearables have been on the horizon for a long time. The rise of Google glass and performance tracking wearables for individuals has shone a light on the existing wearables and highlighted the future possibilities. Although we've known  for a while know about the different options for wearables, the majority of us still just wear wristwatches and the occasional workout tracker. It’s not likely that these will become mainstream just yet.

9. "Going Viral"- 4.  2012 and 2013 reinvented this word with the advent of viral marketing campaigns, buzzfeed, and the fact that every business student in the country was taught that “going viral” is the cheapest and most effective way to gain free publicity. The problem, however, is that not all information has the potential to go viral. With everyone trying so hard to shape whatever message they want to send out in a shareable package, the internet has become overridden with jingles, videos, and “7 things you DON'T KNOW” blog posts. It’s become exhausting.

10. "Hackathon"- 10! Hackathons are awesome, as they allow groups of curious technophiles to join together with a common goal: to produce. Many employees have personal projects that they've thought about but have never had the time or the resources to execute them to fruition. A Hackathon gives them the opportunity be creative, utilize their dormant talents, and learn from others through collaboration. Companies always find that sponsoring a Hackathon leads to the development of new ideas and systems that can integrated into existing systems or applied toward a new product or service. Here at Captain Dash, we hosted our annual Hackathon in January in Tunisia and certainly achieved some awesome results!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anticipatory Computing

predictive-analytics1 There's no denying that the world is spinning at a precarious speed. 90% of the world's data has been created in the past two years alone.  Just several years before that, the term "Big Data" was shrouded in obscurity and ambiguity. Now numerous Big Data mining techniques have been discovered, explored, exploited, and evolved upon. Companies now have to struggle to stand out from the masses that have undertaken Big Data initiatives.

What's Next?

There's a new hot phrase in the data universe: "predictive analysis." It used to be limited simply to certain forward- thinking companies like Amazon who could suggest products to you based on the data of your past purchases. Now, predictive analytics and algorithms, called "anticipatory computing" are gaining traction.

Foursquare, for example, is using predictive models to revolutionize their location-monitoring/management business model. Now, your Foursquare application doesn't just tell you where you are, but also tells you where to go with personalized notifications based on previous behavioral patterns. It can generate push notifications detailing everything from what recommended restaurants are nearby to what items on your To-Do List can be completed within your vicinity.

Amazon has just filed for an "anticipatory shipping" patent, a system based on predictive algorithms that allows them to package, label, and prepare for shipping certain products that they think you will need- perhaps before even you know yourself.

Expect Labs has created an iPad application called MindMeld that listens in on your conference calls and feeds you real-time information relevant to the subjects that you're talking about. For example, if you're video-calling with your colleagues and you're discussing a future meeting with a big client, the application will feed all of you relevant information in real-time about the company such as their Wikipedia page, their publicly available financial data, etc.

How Did This Happen?

The internet of things has led to this. The combination of embedded sensors, location-tracking systems, wearable devices, and smart homes/offices has allowed us to aggregate enough data about ourselves that its analysis is perfectly capable of predicting our future behaviors.

All of this likely sounds useful but creepy, and the good news is that on a personal level your participation is entirely your choice. You can try out the new Foursquare features and love them, or you can accept that they're just not for you. The point is not to drown your world in technology- it's to give you the option to make your smart device an extension of your own mind combined with the intelligence of the universe of available data.

 

Data-Kisses,

Captain Dash

iOS7: Now in Beta

The highly anticipated iOS7 has arrived in Beta format for developers to mess around with according to a recent article on TechCrunch. This can only one thing: we are getting ever closer to the launch of the full version across all iOS enabled products. From the previews we had seen before of it's more colorful, open (ahem! Windows 8) approach, will it ultimately deliver to Apple-lovers the world over?

Before, we witnessed the feud between Apple and Samsung fans (and the corporations themselves alike), however this drastic change to the interface and functionality has sparked controversy between Apple fans. Some respect the tradition upheld by Apple previously of incremental innovations to their hardware's interface, design, and functionality, and ultimately feel disheartened by having to learn an entire new functionality method. On the other hand, people are so blown away by such a bold move by Apple that they wait impatiently the new Operating  System to reach their screens.

If you haven't heard by now, the main talking point to the new iOS is the flat interface. The icons are flatly designed and almost psychedelic looking, and are certainly aimed at catching the eye. They have also implemented panels that open on top of apps and transparency effects that provide the user with reminders that apps still operate below. Further, when you tap in numbers for example, an illuminated background can be seen, which is one feature that definitely will impress. It seems to transition a lot smoother than it's predecessor, so maybe this will get past the negativity surrounding it's design.

Of the few that have actually managed to get hold of the new operating system, there have been some positive feedback. Jay Yarow of BusinessInsider was one of the lucky few and described it as "a cleaner look", and "it's a welcome refresh." Yarow's article goes in detail about the Operating System, outlining the negative connotations and looking at them with a deeper perspective. Some bloggers, such as Ian Storm Taylor, described the icons as "rushed" and "childish", as well as some in particular that have maintained their "unhelpful skeuomorphism."

Little remains until we all get the full experience of iOS7. Are you excited? Or do you feel disheartened by Apple's radical design? We'd love to hear your thoughts: tweet us @captain_dash.

Yours Faithfully,

Captain Dash

Windows 8.1: Have they finally got it right?

Steve Ballmer revealed at Microsoft Build yesterday a preview of the forthcoming Windows 8.1, not quite a new OS nor 'just another software update.' On the contrary, there are plenty of glitches fixed, along with added extras that the user can truly benefit from. We've chosen a few that you might like.

Ballmer described the new version as "refining the blend" between desktop and modern UI interfaces. He sure likes his caffeine references, doesn't he? Though a corny description it may be, he hits the nail on the head with this one, as the interface appears more consistent and easier for the user to learn. Let's break down some of the new features:

1. The Return of the Start Button

Yes, we were a little dumbfounded at first at the omission of the Start button with the initial version of Windows 8. It was a brave move, as most would attest that this was Windows' jewel on the crown, and by getting rid of it forced the user into learning new navigation patterns.  However, as it was rumored to return anyway, it is now official, the Start button has returned.

2. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Enhancements

Following a pattern that exists among many offices around the world, Windows 8.1 is now more efficient for companies that apply a BYOD policy. Among some of these enhancements are: Workplace Join, Work Folders, and MDM (Mobile Device Management). Workplace Join allows middle ground between all or nothing access, allowing a user to work on the device of their choice and still have access to corporate resources. If a user registers a device, IT can grant some access while still enforcing some governance parameters on the device. Work Folders allows users to sync data to their device from their user folder located in the corporation's data center. Previously, W8 devices needed to be domain joined (or required domain credentials) for access to file shares. Finally MDM gives the user access the company portal, which provides a more consistent experience for access to their applications, data and management of their own devices. As well as this, it gives the user a deeper management experience with existing tools such as Windows Intune [Source: TechNet Microsoft].

3. Improved UX

The OS has become even more user-oriented, with custom backgrounds and improved, personalized screen savers for the lock screen. The most improved area we found to be was the App Store, which has made it easier now to find apps, as well as automatically update them without appearing as a notification. There is definitely more integration with the desktop, as most people expected, and what's more, searching has been one of the biggest improvements in User Experience, as users can search for apps straight from the desktop, rather than like before going through the Windows App Store.

Download a preview of the software here.

Cheers,

The Captain

The Sixth Annual Hadoop Summit: 26/27 June, San Jose, Calif.

For those who haven't heard about the Hadoop Summit, it will commence tomorrow and Thursday in San Jose, California. It's theme this year is ''Maturation'', as it aims to highlight the application's reputation as a key component of the next generation of data architecture. As well as this, there will be a big emphasis on training, as it will help develop skills in the application.  We've chosen some talks to look out for at the Summit.

To begin, this is the Sixth edition of the Hadoop Summit in the Valley. It originally began with Yahoo! and Horton Works. Both have co-hosted over the years, and it remains to be the premier technology focused summit. John Kreisa, VP of Strategic Marketing at Horton Works, describes Hadoop as: "a large distributed system with lots of moving parts. A modern platform will have 10 or 12 open-source project as sub-components." Here are some of the talks we've highlighted as worth checking out:

Building Hadoop Analytics Applications by Russell Jurney

Russell Jurney, author of  "Agile Data", will speak briefly about what objectives need to be carried out in order to rapidly build Hadoop Applications. He will also go over the timing of the Hadoop ecosystem.

Hadoop Hardware @Twitter: Size Does Matter! by Joep Rottinghuis & Jay Shenoy

This talk will be about the Centralization v Federation of Hadoop hardware clusters in the enterprise. The pair hope to address some questions related to Twitter and the Hadoop clusters. It will definitely be interesting from a best practices perspective.

LinkedIn Member Segmentation Platform: A Big Data Application by Hien Luu

Given that LinkedIn was one the very first Big Data applications, this talk will be very app-driven. An interesting talk on a company that has monetized applications, and how to apply tools in Big Data to provide products to customers.

So there you have our picks for this year's summit, we didn't want to give too much away, and hope you enjoy it. If you want to watch it live, Hadoop have posted a live stream here.

Cheers,

The Captain.

Windows 8 is NOT like New Coke

[Source: ZDNet]

Call us biased because we're the best business app on the platform [Source: Obvious Fact], but we do not agree with the countless comparisons to Microsoft's Windows 8 platform and New Coke. Yes, we can see from the above chart that Windows 8 has a teeny market share. Yes, it's been confirmed by Microsoft execs that there is a "steep" learning curve. But, New Coke? Really?

Windows 8 isn't anything like Windows XP, Vista (shudder), or 7. We all know that. It's a platform that is optimized for tablets, for touch-interfaces, and for people who aren't afraid of change. Yep, we said it. Many of the people that are clamoring for Microsoft to return to Aero are people who are afraid of change. Who are afraid of such a learning curve. They are ignoring the fact that the entire world is moving away from desktops and towards tablets. Microsoft released an innovative new risk, it just happened to be ahead of its time.

Yes, we can compare Microsoft to Coca Cola. Coca Cola was outrageously successful with a lead market share, and then competition from Pepsi kicked in and they were in trouble. Apple, anyone? So Coca Cola did some super secret market research (named Project Kansas, for you interested history buffs), and their findings turned up that people would respond favorably to a new formula for the popular drink- a sweeter formula. The reason that this new formula backlashed was a pointed aversion to change. Southerners felt that the original Coke formula was engrained in their regional identity, and that changing it was another step towards a more "Yankee" Coca Cola. Some Southern states even rioted because they were so against the change. In a time for the USA when change was viewed negatively by many, this is not surprising.

Knock knock! Who's there? 2013.

We're in an era now in which technological innovations and changes are welcomed, and above all, necessary. Microsoft isn't reformulating Windows 7, not killing off the older and sturdy OS that many have come to love, not ending support (although RIP XP). Microsoft simply released a new OS, with a revolutionary look and feel, something completely new. And we think (despite the Captain Dash bias), that this fact should be celebrated. Not compared to a marketing blunder.

There is a learning curve, it might be a little frustrating to use with a mouse and better for tablets, but that's where the world is heading anyway. Tablets will outstrip PC shipments by 72% in 3 years, according to Gartner. Windows 8 is an OS primed to ride this wave.

So, tech journalists of the world, Windows 8 is not New Coke!

Got it? Now download our app.

Cheers!

The Captain

Europe still lags behind the USA when it comes to start-up development, but all is not lost...

In a recent article published on dw.de, it was mentioned that the reason the U.S.A. are ahead of Europe when it comes to developing start-up companies was because of the 'single digital market'; i.e. one currency, one language, one country. As well as this, because Europe is mainly full of big businesses rather than small ones who employ a number of young people, there is a slight inferior complexity attached to launching a start-up in Europe. We may be small in numbers, but haven't you read David v. Goliath?

Paris, along with Berlin, have become popular non-English speaking locations for people to set up their own businesses. Considering that both have quite a young working population in comparison to the rest of Europe, this does not come as a surprise. For a better idea, the guys over at Venture Village posted a cool infographic on the number of start-ups in Berlin. Outside these major business hubs in mainland Europe, a place not so far from them with a fraction of the population has been both a desirable place for people to set up European bases as well as start their own businesses. Oh you haven't guessed already? I'm talking about Dublin. Yes, the Fair City has fast become a tech port for Europe, with Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, DropBox, Microsoft and LinkedIn all having their major offices there. For more on this, check out the video MakeITinIreland posted:

So as you can see, things aren't all that bad in Europe. Ireland in particular is attractive not because of the green, green grass, nor the Guinness, but it's actually for the low Corporation Tax. This makes it a lot easier to set up operations there, and makes it more favorable to other countries where the Corporation Tax is not as low. Yes, it may have been hit quite severely by the recession, resulting in a lot of price hikes and people being more careful with money. But on the contrary, history has proven that people become far more experimental in recessionary times, and are willing to take more risks as there is more of a ''nothing to lose'' attitude.

The way we do business is evolving rapidly, but it is up to us to make use of emerging technologies, and embrace them rather than reject them. Unfortunately the majority of Europe is still suffering from the economic downturn, and we continue to drag our heels, according to OECD.

We are not turning the Daily Dash into an obituary, however we wanted to give our two cents on the situation. The good thing is, Europe is becoming better connected, and if we can work in tandem with each other, we can prove ourselves as worthy contenders to Silicon Valley.

Captain Dash on iPad. It's here.

Captaindash_linkedin

You've been sitting on the edge of your seat. Waiting with bated breath. Hoping that the App Store won't crash and you'll get to install the app that will change your business. That will change your marketing. The wait's over.

There's been some silence... some distance even... maybe a little space... but no, we're not breaking up with you. We just were busy building  you the BEST PRESENT EVER.

Captain Dash has launched the iOS app. The big moment is here! This app, much like the revolution that was our Windows 8 app, will change the world of marketers as we know it.

We know the hardships that marketers face. Milan Kandera said, "Business has only two functions. Marketing. And innovation."  This statement cannot be more true. Here at Captain Dash we can see the revolution is not on the horizon, it is here, and it will not bypass marketers and their function, it will envelop them. And our tool helps them weather that storm and come out on top with faster insights, faster reflex time, and with less complicated lives. No hoops to jump through, no forms to fill out. Just press the center button on your iPad, open up Captain Dash, and see the world of your business, as it happens in real time.

Just try saying it. Out loud. It will sound incredible coming out of your own mouth. "My big data. Totally mobile. And in the cloud."

Let that become your marketing mantra and the Captain will help you tackle your problems head on. While always remaining sleek and well-designed, of course. [Because what marketer ever wants sloppiness?]

So go. Download the app. Install it, for free, start connecting sources, and explore. Your data will begin the day you install, so the sooner the better to get the most of the app. And in the meantime, don't be afraid to poke around the interface... press things you might not think are buttons... use the recommendations and filters section of widget details, etc. We want you to play, because that's how you'll enjoy!

But we won't leave you faithful blog readers hanging. Here's a fun gift, just for you.

The adventure continues

03_The_Adventure_Begins

 DOWNLOAD THE APP

Funding the Future

future

Success stories like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have young people abuzz with entrepreneurial spirit. Gone are the days of slacking off in college. In 2013, starting your own business in tandem with earning your degree has earned college students "rock star" status. Those kids who can list "CEO" on their LinkedIn page before listing "Graduate" are celebrities. But is this just a viral fad? Or is this the future of business...

In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, "data crunchers" are hailed as the new "cool kids on campus." Statisticians, once reserved for the nerd table at the dining hall, can now hold their heads higher as demand for their skills is growing as fast as big data itself. Credit can be given in part to the fantastic schools that are pioneering new programs to provide data analytics and big data management training to their students. These schools include MIT, Northwestern, Harvard, U Ottawa, and NYU.

The current generation of undergraduates represents a selection of young adults with an unprecedented advantage over their more seasoned counterparts in the workforce -- these "millenials" grew up in the internet and technology, and were molded by it. As a result, they have a propensity to adapt to any new technologies that are thrown at them. Not to mention, it has been no secret that the current job market is hostile and volatile, and there's no guarantee these undergrads can find a job. So, what do some students do?

Be their own boss.

As startups have seen increased success and publicity, it seems that anybody can have a great idea and turn it into a profitable venture, and that's exactly what university students across the globe have been doing. A recent article in the Business Insider hails 16 outstanding student startups that have made waves with their ideas. From a student at Duke University who turned toilet paper into reading material and sold ad space to two kids from UT Austin who are using big data to help first-responders and stroke patients, these students are turning real-life problems into real-life solutions and companies.

And no, these startups aren't being financed through trust funds or handouts, but through the hard work and arduous tenacity of these students. From vicious competitions both internal to universities and external nationwide/worldwide competitions, these fledgling startups work hard for their success, and it's clear that it's paid off.

And so, in a future that seems to have big data, technological know-how, and forward-thinking as prerequisites for success, these young professionals, and their innovative startups are shining brightly as beacons of hope for the future. Benjamin Franklin said "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." Time to test that theory.

Faithfully Yours,

Captain Dash

Quantified [insert everything]

boss with magnifying glass

We know all about the Quantified Self movement. People today are tracking their every move for the (perceived) benefit to their daily lives. Their routines run smoother, they have statistical proof that they need to lose more weight, and they have visualized motivation to do so. But the Quantified Self movement has transcended to other areas of our lives. Enter, Qualified Work.

An interesting article in Wired has reported on the influence of the Quantified movement on the lives of employees of certain companies. For example, Tesco, a grocery chain from Great Britain, uses digitized armbands to track the performance of their employees. For every task that an employee does, points are assigned. Complete the task in the time allotted, win 100 points. Complete that same task in half the time, receive 200 points. 25 minutes for break. Go to the bathroom and don't register it as a break? You just lost points. One employee has described the atmosphere as a bunch of sweaty, tired, speeding workers that sacrifice the quality of the work for the speed. "Everyone's just throwing things around."

Tesco's not the only one. Call centers have long had metrics that measure the performance of their employees, such as call time. Darpa (US Government) wants to implant soldiers with little biosensors that would measure health and stress levels. IBM can tag disgruntled employees through quick scans of emails and using Big Data software. Fitbit will give employers fitness reports about their employees on a non-individualized basis.

Data on such a scale would've become available to the masses eventually. It's clear that's where we're headed. All of this accessible and easily analyzable data has given huge advantages to employers and businesses to be "in the know" without having to involve expensive agencies or go through hoops with their IT team. The efficiency that can be had by statistical analysis is just too attractive, and so people will go there. The simplicity with which one can visualize and interpret large amounts of data  is pretty much a click away nowadays. But at what point does Quantified turn into Big Brother? One Twitterer thinks that point is now:

bigdatabrothertweet

#QuantifiedEverything, is that where we're headed? Go ahead and run the Twitter search #bigdata #bigbrother. So many who think that we're going to become a world of grayscale and precision. While that's an interesting (and a little pessimistic) take on things, we try to look to a brighter future, not a darker one. We welcome the advent of world-wide access to big data, not only because we're in that business but also because opendata is the only way that this world will keep spinning once we're finally saturated with it. But it's an interesting thought... will there come a time when quantified/collated/recorded won't be just a saying but a stark reality? Probably. But what will differentiate the world from George Orwell's dark 1984 and a world that's smarter, brighter, faster, simpler, and more efficient will, undeniably, be the humans who use the technology.

Alas, it all comes back down to this. Good? Or evil...

Your objective (but good) data superhero,

Captain Dash

Post - IBM SmartCamp Interview with Captain Dash Founders

IBM Smartcamp

The IBM SmartCamp competition was one of the proudest moments for Captain Dash, hands down. To be able to participate in such a prestigious and illustrious event, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, surrounded by intelligence and innovation- that was definitely a shining moment. Not to mention the amazing honor it was to win the People's Choice award in the competition. So it's no doubt that the Captain Dash founders were eager to share their reactions to the event. 

It must come as no surprise that the founders absolutely loved New York. Who wouldn't, right? However what was truly interesting was their takeaways from the competition. Captain Dash received extraordinary advice from the wonderfully skilled and intelligent team of mentors. The advice that stuck out to them though, was to remember that being French, they tend to glaze over topics such as the finances of their company or the financial portion of their business plan. So one mentor said, "You guys aren't in France anymore, so don't be afraid of the tax man."

Advice received is an integral part of a successful start-up's lifecycle. But, as our serial entrepreneur founders can tell you, this business will also produce many tidbits of advice that can be passed down to new entrepreneurs hoping to build their own successful companies.

Our founders have this piece of advice to share - "Don't be afraid of falling. Just remember when you were learning how to walk; it was all of the falls you experienced that taught you how to walk tall and proud today."

To read the full interview, click on the link below.

Full Interview Transcript Captain Dash

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn!

Super Chiefs, Assemble!

IBM-Superhero-615x350.jpg Now this is a comparison I can understand. The CMO and the CIO : two superheroes capable of adding enormous amounts of value to a company with the right collaborative decisions. Add the Captain to that equation, and you have a veritable dream team on your hands.

Christine Jacobs, the Director of North American Marketing Demand Programs at IBM, uses this comparison in her latest blog post on theatlantic.com. She mentions that thanks to the higher expectations of customers (as a result of the share-power of social media and the internet in general these days), marketers have to gain a 360° understanding of their customer - the what, where, why, when, and hows of their needs.

This is where the CIO comes in. It's the job of the IT department, to sift through and decipher all of the customer-created and customer-driven data that flow in and out of the company. Very few CMOs have the capabilities to do this, especially since 90% of the digital data is unstructured. So, they rely on their partner-in-crime, the CIO.

This partnership is changing from "friendly C-Suite neighbors" to "you are my new best friend." Or worst enemy, depending on the chemistry, or lack thereof.  Throw into this equation the prediction that social media will soon become the #2 way to interact with customers, and you have either an unprecedented opportunity to rise above your competitors, or you'll reject the new trend and in turn get rejected by your customers.

And so, what's necessary for this partnership to succeed?

You guessed it. Technology.

These executives need to invest in technology that will quickly and efficiently help them sort through the big data at hand, make the right decisions, and keep their organization on the customer's radar. The good news is, according to IBM most of the CIOs already have these technology solutions on their radar. 83% are currently focused on finding effective business intelligence / analytics solutions, and the rest on mobility and social networking.

So to all the CMOs / CIOs out there : find your counterpart, shake their hand, maybe make a plan to move in together, and know that you two will be the new backbone of your enterprise. Bonne chance!

What is a smarter planet? IBM has the answer.

  As you all know by now, Captain Dash has been selected as a finalist to travel to New York City to compete in the IBM SmartCamp competition.

Let's put the competition aside for a minute and focus on the bigger picture : IBM's vision for a smarter world. IBM's "Smarter Planet" initiative is their commitment to changing the world's paradigm from "react" to "anticipate." They foresee, as do we, a world in which the business leaders aren't ignoring the wealth of data and possibility around them. Yes, the most successful CMOs in the best companies have incredible instincts and a wealth of experience, but in 2013, executives cannot let their gut be the first and final word on a decision. It's time we anticipated problems and outcomes instead of simply reacting to billions lost on a failed marketing campaign.

But it's not just about business. This philosophy (that will soon be simple reality), applies to other parts of life. For example, law enforcement is working on preventing crimes before they happen, as opposed to simply dealing with them after they occur. City leaders are now judged by how they anticipate a crisis instead of how they react to one. For the first time, the world is BEHIND the technology available. The tools to make this smarter world happen are in reach. We have the ability to take the monolithic amount of data in the world and use it. We have the ability to analyze the data and find patterns. We have the ability to use these patterns to predict the future. And with some conviction, imagination, and insight, the new world's leaders can use these predictions to make informed decisions that will make the world a better, and smarter place. It just requires an open mind and a strong will.

IBM : http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/overview/ideas/index.html

Recruiting Big Data : Trends in IT Jobs

For the first time ever, jobs relating to big data are ranking high among the IT skills wish lists of top executives. With the increased demand of big data analytic capabilities and the increased need to control the data bottleneck, enterprises are hiring skilled coders, programmers, and “data scientists” more than ever.

In fact, data analysis/analytics ranked 4th in skills recruiters desire for 2013 ; it was not even in the top 10 in 2012, according to a survey by technology career site Dice.com. Gartner analysts project that by 2015, 4.4 million IT jobs will be related to managing big data and interestingly enough, one of the most popular job titles, “Software Engineer” is dwindling on job boards as companies are looking for more specific skills.

Regina Casonato, managing vice president of information management research at Gartner, says that “In IT, we believe there will be need for individuals skilled in data integration, data preparation, enterprise content management, datawarehousing, large-scale database management systems, and data sourcing -- how to get data from social, public sites and censuses.” Casonato even believes that the role of “Chief Data Officer” will soon emerge. Unfortunately, due to the lack of formation and education in these types of specialities, a third of the 4.4 million big data-related jobs will remain unfilled. So to stay ahead of the trend and find innovative and unique job opportunities, unemployed IT professionals should avoid the uneducated curve and specialize in big data.

Windows 8 and the new birth of Business App

 

App are cool, business app are cooler.

When Windows 8 hits the markets on October 26th a new generation of business applications will begin. It’s true that the introduction of the iPad by Apple spurred a growth in business applications but Microsoft feels that many businesses are holding out for an app “that provides deep, out-of-the-box integration with their backend infrastructure and security services.” When the new software package comes out, businesses will find at their disposal a new resource to help their company succeed in reaching customers.

One example of this is the furniture store Rooms To Go, who plan to use Windows 8 to connect more efficiently to their customers. One way they plan to use business apps on the Surface Tablet to keep inventory on different products on the display floor and in the stock room. Furthermore, they plan to use the apps to have virtual shopping carts for customers and to check them out quicker.

Microsoft feels that specific features about their new software will give them a leg up over Microsoft and Android- their primary competition. One particular feature they hope businesses is the new tile-based start screen. Under this feature, each tile will represent an application. Each of these tiles will display some relevant information to this application such as the main KPI for a company. The organisation can choose to show specific analytics to its employees. Microsoft hopes businesses will be attracted by the ease of use that this feature displays; a company will now be able to just quickly scroll to see what apps warrant their immediate attention. Erwin Visser, senior director for Microsoft's Windows Commercial group, further argues that Windows 8 offers “chips, provides management, security, and virtualization features” that are currently unavailable on a iPad or Android tablet.

Furthermore, Windows 8’s pricing scheme will benefit both developers of the applications as well as business. Prices will start at $1.49, 50 cents more than the base price for Apple and Android apps. Developers will benefit from this pricing and they will earn more revenue for an app. Additionally, after $25,000 revenue from an app Microsoft will drop the percent they collect from the typical 30% to 20%. This gives developers an advantage to run their app on Microsoft over their competitors since 25,000 is a fairly low level of revenue necessary to attain. Businesses, subsequently will have an advantage in using Microsoft 8 because they will have the opportunity to test an application for a week before paying the full price. So, despite having to pay a bit more for the cheapest app, businesses do not have to worry about purchasing an app and then finding out it doesn’t pertain to their company.

We’d love to hear your feedback on both Windows 8 and the CaptainDash application so don't hesitate to make a review on the windows store and let us know what you think!

Our Thoughts on Microsoft's Big Announcements

Microsoft made two major announcements this week, revealing the Surface, which is an advanced hybrid of a PC and tablet, and the Windows Phone 8. These new developments, coupled with the new Windows 8 software, allow us to offer a better CaptainDash experience to users.

We have been working closely with the Microsoft developers of Windows 8 over the past 18 months to develop a useful business-oriented application. After much discussion, we have made many changes in order to make the application very user-centric. In other words, you don’t have to be a technology wizard to operate the application because we have shared the core W8 philosophy, which is to make operations simple and intuitive. You can organize large amounts of data to discover cause-and-effect patterns and track internal and external changes in business operations and consumer behavior. It’s all about the final user experience; if you have all the internal and external data at your fingertips that you need to learn about your business and make decisions, we have done our job. Synergy of all your information is the end goal.

The new Surface tablet specifically offers users greater mobility and personalization. This means that you can now set up your office to plug-into your business anytime, anywhere. You don’t want reports months from now explaining what is going on in the present (which quickly becomes the past), so we give you the power to connect and interact in real time. The tablet is a window into your entire network of data, and with it you will become a part of the data revolution.

We are looking forward to offering the CaptainDash experience on the finalized Windows 8 software, including the Surface tablet, which will be available in the near future. Be sure that we will keep you updated on how I plan to use these new gadgets to equip your company with marketing superpowers.

Captain Dash