Interview with Jenny Zaino at Semanticweb.com


Just wanted to share this interview and article with Jenny Zaino over at Semanticweb.com on my recent patent and related IP.

Manage Structured Data and Reap the Benefits

A detailed paper on this topic is nearing completion and will post a brief and description in the next few days.

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From the trenches: on tech analysts and software patents


On analyzing technology

One of the most destructive messages our culture broadcasts is that proposed solutions that cannot be reduced to 140 characters shouldn’t move forward. If that policy were enforced in decades past, most of the important technology companies wouldn’t exist today. Concepts can be compressed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be understood. Most of the simple problems were solved long ago. Unfortunately, very few are capable of understanding complex solutions prior to a polished end product, including the world’s leading analysts who passed on most of the big wins early on. So if we intend to move forward as a species, we better craft a new policy and improve methods for developing solutions to the actual complex problems we face. My advice to other founders has long-been to ignore the noise, focus, and do your best to attract employees, partners, customers, and investors who have done their homework and have the capacity; much easier said than done with next gen tech across the ever expanding valley of death.

Most analysts who have studied Kyield, reported on it, and/or attempted to label our work were not prepared for the task and could therefore not be in a position to grasp it. This was not entirely unintentional on my part as I learned the hard way long ago to withhold enough information to make reverse engineering difficult. While many are familiar with the potential benefits of exposing and promoting trade craft and IP, few are aware of the risks involved, and those tend to be the ones we need to be concerned with as they are often employed by giant competitors in one form or another. The world has changed; the biggest threat to incumbents are start-ups with ground breaking technology and/or strong innovation, and as we’ve seen in many cases– almost any tactic is employed when enough power or money is at stake. This is obviously a serious problem for anyone who must divulge sufficient information in order to build products, and by extension everyone who depends on a dynamic and diversified economy.

Software patents

I’ve been waiting on standards to mature since the mid 1990s and on the patent application process since April of 2006. Both systems are dysfunctional as they are manipulated (largely by exploiting weaknesses) by mature incumbents who are threatened by invention and innovation. That doesn’t mean, however, that we need less protection for original creative work, rather that we need more protection, of a different type, and much improved.

IP theft and copying of original work products is an enormous problem that is doing massive damage to our economy today, which is unfortunately largely invisible to the super majority of citizens. The IT industry has frankly been an enabler both in choices on architecture and in attempting to manipulate the legal and political system (often with great success). The IP challenge is symptomatic of structural challenges in the U.S., and increasingly related to economic deficits, education, and healthcare. The incumbents and gatekeepers who have de facto veto power through the political process, legal system, and technology are often threatened by any actual improvement to the system, so they tend to be extremely proactive in their defensive tactics, representing a classic negative spiral to broader society. IT has been commoditized across the world in systems we all use and innovation has been severely curtailed, with very little ability for most to establish differentiation, which is essential for survival in a market economy. This situation directly impacts every major challenge facing our world today.

Some software companies, software developers, venture capitalists, and academics have publicly denounced intellectual property rights for software and processes. While each of the common arguments have valid points, we don’t see many independent inventors claiming they need zero protection, and they are the stakeholders who matter in this debate–for the future of everyone else. I suspect that large numbers of authentic creators have simply opted out due to the lack of protection and justice–I have heard from many creative inventors and engineers through the years who are otherwise employed.

I agree that we need foundational reform in IP, part of which is reflected in Kyield, but I see a much higher probability of technical innovation providing solutions to these challenges than our current political system. Indeed, with the current state of our political system, the primary risk is that legislation surviving the dysfunctional process tends to compound challenges for small, independent inventors, as small and micro entities have lost power in our political system. Those arguing against patents seem to be missing two crucial points:

  • No other viable option currently exists to protect original work beyond encryption with specific apps, while most of our challenges are systemic

 

  • Software is increasingly the primary medium to affect and deliver improvements in our society and global economy

 

I too almost gave up on the patent system–it has been among the most frustrating experiences of my life, both in dealing with the system itself and the byproducts created by a failing IP/legal/political system. Any system that averages many millions of dollars to defend a patent no longer serves individual inventors, obviously. However, I came to the conclusion that as dysfunctional as our patent, legal, and political systems are, the probabilities of real reforms surviving are substantially enhanced with patent protection as it is unlikely that any of the other models for reform will work, quite a few of which have now been tested. We obviously need a new IP system that is based on sound technical infrastructure with properly aligned incentives and protection for the individual inventor. Our Kyield system represents a substantial leap forward in the right direction, but it’s only a cornerstone in the foundation (for IP in society-it is a holistic knowledge system).

The chief obstacle to real improvement is that technical gatekeepers are also patent trolls who are threatened by improvements to the system. All decision makers need to think long and hard about this situation, not least of whom are those focused on internal defense instead of solving the problems of others. Eventually this deteriorating situation will have negative consequences for everyone. The most obvious immediate threat is a stagnating global economy. With global market power comes global responsibility. The IT industry has a lot of maturing to do before it can live up to its responsibility in the global economy, as do both developed and developing governments.

I have studied the topic of IP systems in detail with the various hats of a citizen, entrepreneur, consultant, incubator operator, venture capitalist and inventor. I see no viable, sustainable alternative to a functional personal property rights governance structure.

–MM

Background of patent #8005778


I am working on multiple articles relating to the patent I was issued last week, at least one of which will be posted here in the next few days, but in the interim I thought some might be interested in the common English portion of the patent. I hadn’t visited this section in some time–from early 2006.

Patent #8005778

Title: Modular System for Optimizing Knowledge Yield In the Digital Workplace (USPTO link to patent)

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to the management of human intellectual capital within computer networked organizations, and more particularly to managing the quantity and quality of digital work flow of individual knowledge workers and work groups for the purpose of increasing knowledge yield, or output.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The volume of data transfer and related human consumption of information is growing exponentially in the network era, resulting in a condition commonly referred to as information overload. The result for the modern organization is an ever increasing challenge to manage the quantity and quality of information being transferred, consumed, and stored within computer networks.

Enormous amounts of structured and unstructured information is being consumed by knowledge workers that is redundant or irrelevant to the knowledge worker’s job, or the mission of the organization, creating serious challenges for organizations while reducing the return on investment for information technologies and knowledge workers.

Systems deployed previously attempting to reduce information overload and increase knowledge worker productivity have been designed primarily to address either the symptoms of the problem, or a specific portion thereof; including desktop productivity suites, higher performance search engines, and reducing unsolicited e-mail.

In recent years, computer standards bodies have been approaching the challenge by improving machine to machine automation and structure to documents with XML, RDF, SOAP, and OWL, commonly referred to as the Semantic Web.

Emerging positions within networked organizations attempting to optimize the digital workplace include the Chief Knowledge Officer (hereinafter “CKO”) who is responsible for improving the value of human and intellectual capital to better achieve the organization’s mission.

Despite these individual and collective efforts, the problems associated with information overload continue to grow exponentially. According to research firms IDC and Delphi Group, the average knowledge worker spends about a quarter of his or her day looking for information.

A related serious problem for knowledge workers affecting productivity and innovation is that intellectual property converted to digital form is simple to copy and distribute, providing disincentives for creative problem solving, the sharing of knowledge and intellectual property, and therefore improving work quality.

Given the complexities of the digital workplace environment, it would be beneficial for organizations to employ a holistic metadata system including modules to manage the knowledge yield for the entire organization, for each work group within the organization, and each individual member of the organization so they can continually optimize his/her knowledge yield for the continuously changing work environment.

Key patent issued


My key patent for Kyield was issued today by the USPTO as scheduled earlier this month.

Title: Modular system for optimizing knowledge yield in the digital workplace

Abstract: A networked computer system, architecture, and method are provided for optimizing human and intellectual capital in the digital workplace environment.

To view our press release go here

To view the actual patent  go here

I will post an article when time allows on the importance of this technology and IP, and perhaps one on the experience with the patent system. Thanks, MM

Clarifying Disruption: Operations vs. Innovation


Part 1 of Series

The word disruption has multiple meanings in global business with the most commonly used definition some variation of “the act of interrupting continuity”.  Within the context of logistics, supply chain, manufacturing, IT, and other business operations, disruption is obviously an experience managers work diligently to avoid.  A good example of a recent operational disruption was caused by the Sendai quake and tsunami; a natural disaster which was unpreventable, but predictable and therefore can be mitigated with careful risk management planning.

In the context of innovation, however, and long-term economic survival, disruption can be paradoxical when “the act of interrupting continuity” of tightly controlled markets, stale products, and outdated business models is not an evil, but rather can be a savior to businesses, ecosystems, and economies, preventing eventual operational disruption, or as we’ve seen in many cases—complete failure.

Animal Instincts

Central to the theme of disruption in innovation is the nature of our species.  We humans tend to be creatures of habit even when presented with evidence that the behavior is self-destructive in the long-term.  In similar fashion, individuals and organized groups such as governments and corporations often refuse to change behavior even when continually presented with evidence that the cost of the short-term comfort zone may well be long-term survival, and of course fear and greed are ever present.

While resistance to change is often strongest in absolute monopolies, similar cultures are commonly found anywhere deep disequilibrium exists in the tension between security and progress, speaking to the need for competition.  Entire industries or regions can become static relative to the world quickly today, displaying little evidence of awareness in decision making.  Mix in a heavy dose of risk averse corporate cultures, conflicting (real and perceived) interests internally and externally, a bit of PR spin, and regional translation leakage between multiple native languages, confusion surrounding the issue of disruption becomes the norm rather than the exception.

History is overflowing with examples of the high costs of failing to intentionally disrupt the status quo with innovation.  A few recent cases that come to mind include:

Government

  • Failure to disrupt poor U.S. fiscal management and lack of accountability (in part with innovation) over a long period now threatens operational disruption

  • Failure to disrupt the U.S. healthcare and public educational system has greatly exacerbated the U.S. fiscal challenge, reflecting why prevention of negative spirals with continual improvement is so important

Mobile Technology

  • Nokia’s failure to maintain leadership in smart phones is now significantly impacting not just Nokia, but Finland’s national economy

  • Rim’s response to the iPad, which seemed unable to take the risk to cannibalize, failed to physically disrupt by tethering the Playbook with the Blackberry phone

  • Border’s failure to embrace disruptive digital publishing ended with liquidation

Offensive and Defensive Strategies

The need to disrupt static cultures, reform or replace decaying business models, and introduce competitive products is well known in management circles of course, so many kinds of offensive strategies, tactics, and systems have been crafted to overcome this age-old challenge, including motivational techniques, educational tools, recruitment practices, incentives, internal R&D, outsourcing, partnering, spin-offs, join ventures, acquisitions, IP licensing, and strategic venture capital. Quite a few companies have prospered through multiple business cycles employing a variation of all of the above in a persistent quest to achieve and maintain an optimal balance between growth and risk over the short-term and long.  The number of companies achieving mediocrity upon maturity is far greater, however.

One common method of defense is the formation of cartels, particularly with commodities or commoditized products that are susceptible to innovative new comers or companies moving into their markets.  Cartels and oligopolies can generate high margins for long periods of time and form very strong barriers to innovation, but eventually market and trade imbalances combined with innovation and conflicting interests of the members begin to fragment the cartel and erode market power, opening a window for competition that has proven to be healthy for incumbents, markets, and economies.  When economies stagnate, it’s generally a sign that incumbents have too much market power, usually achieved in part by manipulating the political processes, which is just one reason of many why corruption should be avoided.

The word cannibalism is sometimes used to describe what is often a difficult internal corporate process of intentionally replacing aging products that are still providing a significant portion of cash flow, with more competitive products. Another term used to describe disruptive innovation in the broader economy is creative destruction, popularized by Joseph Schumpeter in the 1940s, which describes the theory of replacing the old with the new in the entrepreneurial process. In the modern global economy, situations and cultures that allow progress without disrupting entrenched interests are quite rare.

In part 2 of the series, we’ll explore how innovation is beginning to revolutionize the innovation process in the digital enterprise.

On Her 235th Birthday, America Desperately Needs Lean, Open, and Secure Governance


Baby boomers like myself clearly recall the tumultuous years leading up to the Bicentennial of the United States.  The world we grew up in was near the peak of the industrial revolution, dominated by the aftermath of the Great Depression, WW2, and the Cold War.  We were raised in a culture that had witnessed first-hand the power of a unified government, which led to the victory of fascism in our parent’s generation, followed by a round trip to the moon in our own. In the childhood of my generation, nothing was impossible with sufficient government power.

By 1976, however,  America had endured the 1960s cultural revolution, the Vietnam War,  a serious energy crisis, stagflation, and Watergate.  We were experiencing the shocking end to the post war boom, with new revelations that success had a price, military power had limits, government was not always trustworthy, and our industrial economy had a soft underbelly leaking oil.

By the late 1970s, interest rates were skyrocketing, inflation seemed out of control, the Cold War was threatening to become white hot, and U.S. public debt had risen to the shocking level of $900 billion, representing one third of U.S. GDP.  During the next decade of economic expansion led largely by financial engineering and services, the U.S. debt more than tripled in dollar terms, rising to nearly 60% of GDP.

During the 1990s, with the commercialization of the Internet and exponential adoption of computer networking worldwide, the global economy began to shift, but the information revolution did not result in taming the industrial revolution—at least in the short-term, but rather acted as a catalyst in shifting heavy industry from West to East in our never ending quest for growth and scale. The dot-com bubble provided a very brief respite from accumulating debt in the form of capital gains, but it was a one-time gain.

By the late 1990s it became apparent that the unfettered Internet, in ironic contrast to the core message in The Wealth of Nations, offered such disruptive efficiency that many industries would be radically transformed, including the service economy that had become dominant in the U.S.

Meanwhile, global companies became too big to fail, increasingly divorcing themselves from U.S.interests in what became the primary global strategy for risk reduction and growth, which only compounded the challenges facing the U.S. economy.  By extension, regional and national economies dependent on the industrial revolution or services would also need to adopt the efficiencies offered by the new medium in order to avoid eventual bankruptcy.  In modern parlance, the trajectory of our national budget was increasingly in misalignment with the needs of our economy, the super majority of our citizens, and our collective future.

Rather than downsize to meet the new reality and future obligations, the post 9/11 economy witnessed increased liquidity that  “saved the economy” (Alan Greenspan), combined with post war guarantees in banking, systemic corruption, and ideological activism to enable the mega housing bubble, followed by the inevitable correction and almost certain economic depression if not for historic levels of Keynesian intervention. Rather than invest massive stimulus in converting to a sustainable trajectory, however, most of the spending was targeted at populist programs that continued to expand government overhead, thus increasing long-term liabilities, primarily in very temporary form that now leaves regional economies facing an even more challenging future, and citizens faced with much greater national debt; short, mid, and long-term.  The promises made by government during and after the Great Depression were obviously not only unfunded, but increasingly unfundable.

The most recent example of kicking the can down the road has been unprecedented life support from the FRB in financing 70% of the U.S. debt in QE2, while once again warning Congress and the White House to get its long-term fiscal house in order.  The result, once again, was to witness excess liquidity flow to the most speculative markets, not the fundamental investments required to transition to a sustainable economy, confirming that we have yet to address the underlying structural problems.  The cost of avoiding another Great Depression by stimulus and liquidity has been to advance U.S. insolvency by more than a decade; and quite probably more than two.

Port of Call in the Voyage of Fiscal Denial

Regardless of how one interprets the voyage, the destination that our culture is finally beginning to awaken to is tragic. Under what most believe to be an optimistic forecast, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warns us that public debt will rise from around 70% of GDP currently to 84% by 2035, with interest payments rising to 4% of GDP from 1% at current levels. This “extended-baseline” scenario is dependent upon a great many things that have not occurred in the past, however, nor are expected by most, including low inflation and a relatively disciplined Congress. The more consensus forecast, or “alternative fiscal scenario”, projects public debt to rise to 100% of GDP by 2021 and 190% by 2035. However, anyone observing financial crises can attest that these events do not occur on an even gradual basis, but rather reach a tipping point.

The warning I offer today is that economists have based their forecasting on comparable situations in very small economies relative to the U.S., not the world’s largest that also manages the global currency, not to mention the only global military power.  Every forecast, scenario, and metric I have observed in economics is based on a very different history than the situation we face today, all of which assumes the post war experience of a stable U.S. economy.

To capture the situation, consider that while each have proposed different remedies, the best economic forecasters of our time, to include investors, Nobel Laureates, current and past FRB chairs, and regardless of party or ideology, all essentially agree that this unsustainable trajectory has nearly reached its pinnacle.  All are raising red flags, and none can (or have to my knowledge) deny that when the herd finally changes course in bond markets, as we’ve seen most recently in Greece, the stampede is swift and brutal.

Lean, Open, and Secure Governance = The Semantic Enterprise

The Levin–Coburn Report found that the financial crisis was the “result of high risk, complex financial products; undisclosed conflicts of interest; and the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street.”

The U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry concluded that the crisis was caused by:

  • “Widespread failures in financial regulation, including the FRB’s failure to stem the tide of toxic mortgages”

  • “Dramatic breakdowns in corporate governance”

  • Key policy makers “ill prepared for the crisis, lacking a full understanding of the financial system they oversaw”

  • “Systemic breaches in accountability and ethics at all levels”

In early January of 2008, former GAO Director David Walker suggested that four types of deficits caused the underlying fiscal problem: budget, trade, savings, and leadership. While these four causal factors are without question, I suggest that all of our deficits depend upon the integrity of governance structure, including our increasing deficits in knowledge, competitiveness, security, and happiness.

The only reliable method to achieve a sustainable governance infrastructure in the network economy is with semantic enterprise architecture, which is based on many years of research and testing. For a brief video description of the semantic enterprise, see my elevator pitch, and for a more in-depth discussion, view this keynote at the recent SemTech conference by Dennis Wisnosky on the transformation of the DoD.

Is the customer’s customer a tipping point for enterprise IT?


In early 1996 we spun out a radical concept from my consulting firm on the newly commercialized web that attempted to level the playing field between small business and large. The vision was grander than the technical capabilities at the time, but despite our many weaknesses it became a niche market leader.

Even though we had recent experience representing clients who were competing with market leaders, I was still surprised by the response in some sectors. In our attempt to partner with multinationals, we found primarily fear and defense, including in finance. It was quite clear that the majority of leaders in the corporate world were not terribly thrilled with our efforts. From my perspective, however, given the advantages of incumbents, the long-term risk was far greater to most of their companies if such efforts did not succeed. Having been on all sides of this issue, I was closer to the challenges than they were (and had deeper intel).

Fast forward to 2008. During the initial wave of the global financial crisis I had a private email exchange with one of the leading economic editors, who is a respected centrist thought leader I had known for over a decade. While we have very different backgrounds and experiences, we were in agreement that the initial reaction to the crisis, even though understandable, were misguided. Due to a myriad of factors, including consolidation, centralization, internal financial conflicts, expediency, scale, political activism favoring large institutions, and technology, the small business engine was already in trouble in the west, buoyed primarily by easy credit and the housing bubble in previous years. Based on the evidence in previous recessions, we had very little confidence that the existing financial infrastructure could serve the needs of small business, particularly in current form. One need only travel in the rural U.S. or observe a few SME P&Ls to conclude in hindsight that we were correct.

Fast forward to the present day. On Meet The Press last Sunday, David Brooks sent a warning that I fear will go unheard in the very ivory towers that need to heed the message: “I was up on Wall Street the other day. I know political risk better than they do; they are vastly underestimating the source of political risk out there. We could have a massive problem in the next couple of years.” The source Brooks is referring to, of course, is the American citizen and consumer.

A headline on Wednesday (6/1) at CNBC echoes the disconnect: Wall Street Baffled by Slowing Economy, Low Yields. These are not isolated cases, but rather symptoms of a greater problem at work in the decision process found in every crisis over the past 15 years. I don’t know what data these analysts are consuming, or what tools they are using, but their systems and methods continue to fail them if these and other reports are true.

A glance at the quarterly reports of even the largest consumer companies would reveal a combination of inflation and weak spending that is beginning to negatively impact earnings. Given the massive scale and tight margins facing most of these companies, it should serve as a long over-due wake-up call that it’s time for the IT industry cluster to execute competitive, cost effective solutions to help the customer’s customers compete. This is not an immediate crisis begging for knee jerk reactions, but rather a trend long in the making, dealing with underlying structural problems in the economy that are essential to overcome.

One does not need to search far and wide to discover a variety of profitable methods and models to extend high-end functionality to the SME market, provided of course one is looking, not consumed with protectionism, and obstacles are removed. Regardless of what sector of the economy each serves, ultimately there is no escaping the impact of macro economic conditions, to include the impact of technology on customers of customers.

Overcoming the Enterprise Differentiality Paradox


The low cost of replication with digitized products has long been known to be seriously disruptive in the music and publishing industries. However, the conflict between low cost replication of business software, rigid architecture, and customer differentiation relative to the broader economy is not generally well understood, although vitally important.

When enterprise software matured to the point of early adoption in the 1970s, it provided a substantial competitive advantage to those in a position to leverage wisely. Followers of the early adopters did so largely due to the perception by decision makers—based on compelling evidence—that adoption was essential to their future, and so the great commoditization cycle in enterprise software had begun. In the early 1980s a very similar pattern began with front office software, captured primarily by Microsoft, with commoditization slowly gaining strength in the 1990s.

While front office software could be neatly packaged and sold in storefronts or through consultants for desktop installation, back office systems for operations required on-premise customization and integration with incompatible systems, meaning a very large investment with ongoing maintenance, and high costs for adaptation. Within a few years, custom applications were increasingly sold as products, exploiting the nearly free replication costs, but this benefit was not without cost as wider adoption of back-office products soon began to erode the competitive advantage; the commoditization cycle was in motion.

In addition to the direct impact of commoditization on the software industry, which is well understood in business and finance, another dynamic was occurring that was considerably less visible and largely misunderstood, which is the impact on organizations when the vast majority worldwide are using the same operating and decision systems. As software systems became more ubiquitous, competitors in industry after industry were increasingly using similar systems, which began to extend the software industry’s commoditization to customers, and by extension the broader economy. This dynamic extension of commoditization evolved in conjunction with globalization and consolidation of industries over the past two decades. Indeed, the commoditization of business software acted as a catalyst to global consolidation of industries as business software customers were increasingly competing on price rather than value added differentiality. Competing on price alone with reasonably good management dictates outcomes that are primarily due to scale, particularly when automation systems are very similar between competitors; not quite singularity in the enterprise given the current maturity of technology, yet trending in that direction. Lack of differentiation does not a robust, durable economy make; competing on scale and price alone is a race to the bottom for everyone but market leaders.

This situation may at first appear attractive for business software vendors and their investors, particularly market leaders, as managing a commodity that has become essential can be a lucrative annuity. Dancing with complexity in technology, however, contains considerable risk of broken toes, particularly with software, which is anything but a finite resource. History has proven that substantial risk exists for incumbents that commoditize their customers.

Enter the Internet and Web, followed by cloud computing, and much smarter mobile adoption. Taken together with advances in hardware, software, semantics, analytics, and organizational systems, the opportunity to introduce truly adaptive enterprise computing in near real-time has finally arrived. It’s been a long voyage; one full of discovery and adventure which I hope will prove to have been worthy of our patience.

Data Integrity: The Cornerstone for BI in the Decision Process


When studying methods of decision making in organizations, mature professionals with an objective posture often walk away wondering how individuals, organizations, and even our species have survived this long. When studying large systemic crises, it can truly be a game changer in the sport of life, providing motivation that extends well beyond immediate personal gratification.

Structural integrity in organizations, increasingly reflected by data in computer networking, has never been more important. The decision dimension is expanding exponentially due to data volume, global interconnectedness, and increased complexity, thus requiring much richer context, well-engineered structure, far more automation, and increasingly sophisticated techniques.

At the intersection of the consumer realm, powerful new social tools are available worldwide that have proven valuable in affecting change, but blind passion is ever-present, as is self-serving activism from all manner of guild. Ideology surrounding the medium plays a disproportionate role in phase 3 of the Internet era, to include crowdsourcing, social networking, and mainstream journalism. Sentiment can be measured more precisely today, but alignment is allusive, durability questionable, and integrity rare.

Within the enterprise, managers are dealing with unprecedented change, stealthy risk, and compounding complexity driven in no small part by technology. Multi-billion dollar lapses sourced from multiple directions have become common, including a combination of dysfunctional decision processes, group/herding error, self-destructive compensation models, conflicting interests, and poorly designed enterprise architecture relative to actual need.

Specifically to enterprise software, lack of flexibility, commoditization, high maintenance costs, and difficulty in tailoring has created serious challenges for crisis prevention, innovation, differentiation, and global competitiveness. It is not surprising then, given exponential growth of data, which often manifests in poor decisions in complex environments, Business Intelligence (BI) is a top priority in organizations of all types. BI is still very much in its infancy, however, often locked in the nursery, subjecting business analysts to dependency on varying degrees of IT functionality to unlock the gate to the data store.

Given the importance of meaningful, accurate data to the mission of the analyst and future of the organization, recent track records in decision making, and challenges within the organization and IT industry, it is not surprising that analysts would turn to consultants and cloud applications seeking alternative methods, even when aware of extending the vicious cycle of data silos.

Unfortunately, while treating the fragmented symptoms of chronic enterprise maladies may provide brief episodic relief, only a holistic approach specifically designed to address the underlying root causes is capable of satisfying the future needs of high performance organizations.

The dirty dozen fault lines to look for in structural integrity of data

  1. Does your EA automatically validate the identity of the source in a credible manner? (Y/N)

  2. Is your IT security redundant, encrypted, bio protected, networked, and physical?  (Y/N)

  3. Are your data languages interoperable internally and externally? (Y/N)

  4. Is the enterprise fully integrated with customers, partners, social networking, and communications? (Y/N)

  5. Do you have a clear path for preventing future lock-in from causing unnecessary cost, complexity, and risk?  (Y/N)

  6. Are data rating systems tailored to specific needs of the individual, business unit, and organization? (Y/N)

  7. Are original work products of k-workers protected with pragmatic, automated permission settings? (Y/N)

  8. Does each knowledge worker have access to organizational data essential to their mission? (Y/N)

  9. Are compensation models driving mid to long-term goals, and well aligned with lowering systemic risk? (Y/N)

  10. Is counter party risk integrated with internal systems as well as best available external data sources? (Y/N)

  11. Does your organization have enterprise-wide, business unit, and individual data optimization tools? (Y/N)

  12. Are advanced analytics and predictive technologies plug and play? (Y/N)

If you answered yes (Y) to all of these questions, then your organization is well ahead of the pack; even if perhaps a bit lonely. If you answered no (N) to any of these questions, then your organization likely has existing fault lines in structural integrity that will need to be addressed in the near future.  The fault lines may or may not be visible even to the trained professional, until the next crisis of course, at which time it becomes challenging for management to focus on anything else.

Innovation in the Enterprise


One of the better reports on innovation in the enterprise was published by PWC, so I wanted to share a link to it and provide a few comments.

Generally speaking this report supports most of the claims we’ve made at Kyield during our applied R&D journey, including knowledge systems, the power of semantic search, an integrated systems approach to the innovation challenge, and what the role of the CIO should be, among others.

What I do not see discussed is the importance of meritocracy, although to be fair to PWC they discuss it elsewhere in detail; nor is there much discussion on the need to protect the ideas of the best and brightest in social environments, without which those ideas are likely to exit and become disruptive.

In the digital world, despite the needs of individual members of the ecosystem, one cannot (nor should not attempt to) silo innovation from crisis prevention or meritocracy, meaning also the need to embrace management of internal cannibalism. Let’s not forget our important lessons of the broader needs of the economy with respect to creative destruction, or we will indeed likely continue to see a continuation of jumping from one systemic crisis to another. So while they have done better than most revealed publicly, it does not appear that they have completely mapped the innovation genome.

That said, this report by PWC is worth serious time and reflection. Their domain is after all, like thousands of other market leaders, frequently found in our web logs.

Mark Montgomery