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Virginia Backaitis News & Analysis

Dirty Data Be Gone, Check Out CrowdFlower

2014-17-September-Dirty-Cat.jpgTalk to one of those high priced data scientists about their data and you’ll see something quite astounding: they really, really care about it. It’s almost as if it was a garden they were tending or a scruffy, homeless kitten they’ve taken in to raise.

While the sentiment might initially sound ridiculous, it isn’t. Data fuels their work (and the insights that inform yours). And if you pair dirty or poorly labeled data with the best trained models and finest algorithms, it’s a waste of time and energy. The knowledge gleaned will be worthless, at best.

Is IBM's Watson Analytics All That?

2014-17-September-Computer-Watson.jpgIf we got a dollar every time someone told us that they’re democratizing big data, we’d have a hundred dollar bills, and that’s just so far this week.

So when an IBM representative sent a note saying that it was making Watson Analytics available to everyday business users to let them ask questions in plain language and get big data informed answers back in short order, our hearts didn’t patter too much. Even when they said we could try it for free.

After all, we’ve sat side by side, live and in person, with vendors who make big, big data analytics promises. And when we’ve said “Show me, turn me into a data scientist, big data analyst, heck, even novice user,” they haven’t been able to do it.

And maybe it’s us, but more than likely, here’s the deal -- in most cases, these vendors don’t include people like us (non-data workers) as citizens of their democratic, big data republics. And that’s fine, as long as we define that from the start.

Which Matters More: Content Storage or Access?

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Remember when we thought that the leading Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) providers were going to obliterate each other in order to dominate the sector?

It may not look like that anymore. They might become frenemies — or at least coexist within the enterprise instead.

This morning Palo Alto, Calif.-based Accellion, which Gartner places in the EFSS leader’s quadrant, announces that it has built integrations with its competitors Box and Dropbox.

Is Box Writing Enterprise Content Management's Obituary?

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By now it should be clear that Box doesn’t see itself as a simple Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) service. “We certainly do that,” Whitney Bouck, Box’s SVP of Global Marketing told an audience of the faithful at BoxWorks, the company’s annual user conference earlier this month.

“But that’s not where the value is,” she added. “That’s table stakes.”

So while most EFSS vendors aim to provide the best, most secure, relevant and user-friendly file-sharing experience on the planet, that’s where Box says its journey begins rather than ends.

Microsoft Ups Its OneDrive Play

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Microsoft wants be the place for everything in your life, so it's offering you “larger, faster, easier-to-use” features, just as quickly as it possibly can.

Late yesterday Justin Moore, Microsoft’s  group manager for OneDrive, announced that OneDrive now supports uploads of files of up to 10 GB using the desktop apps for Windows and Mac, all of the mobile apps, and the OneDrive website.

“It’s the number one featured request,” wrote Moore in the announcement. And, almost needless to say, the hope is that OneDrive users won’t stray if they know they’re being heard and getting (almost) everything that they want in short order.

Alteryx and Tableau Redefine Analytics #data14

Yesterday’s BI tools just don’t cut it. In today’s world the margin of time between data and decision needs to be instantaneous, or as close to that as we can get. The longer it takes to process information and glean insight from it, the more you can lose.

Data can do more than help companies win sales. It can also save lives.

But it can only do this effectively if a data scientist or data analyst can process all of the information, gather all of the necessary data and make it useful, or present it to decision makers visually so that a viz can speak for the data, tell the story and make decision making easier.

Is Tableau a Canvas for Innovation? #data14

2014-10-September-Tableau.jpgUnleash creativity and the world will never be the same.

The words could belong to Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Pablo Picasso -- but they were coined by the CEO of Tableau, a fast growing software company. It trades on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol DATA.

Addressing a sold out audience at Tableau’s user conference being held in Seattle this week, CEO Christian Chabot proclaimed that the next wave of computing will be less about automating the routine and more about discovering and leveraging “the tremendous creative potential of our minds.”

Why Dell Just Unveiled the Dell Business Phone

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It’s not April and this isn’t a joke. Dell introduced the Dell Business Phone just minutes ago.

It’s interesting news to begin with, but the fact that it comes on the same day that VMWare’s AirWatch makes its Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) announcements, at its annual user conference, makes it even more so.

Never mind the fact that Apple is expected to be unveiling its new iPhones later today. We doubt that those will have an immediate enterprise twist, especially because the IBM + Apple news around mobility in the enterprise was made last July.

Is Dell’s timing a coincidence? We think so. It’s hard to imagine why it would want to risk its vitally important news to get lost in the crowd. So what card is it playing?

DataStax Gets Cash to Leave Oracle in the Dust

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Ask DataStax co-founders Jonathan Ellis and Matt Pfeil who their competition is and they won’t put a single NoSQL database provider on their list.

“It’s Oracle,” said Ellis. “We are displacing it as fast as we can,” adds Pfeil.

The pair is sure that the database that Larry Ellison helped build 37 years ago can’t handle today’s workloads. It can take Oracle five to seven minutes to execute the same query that DataStax’s enterprise version of Cassandra can answer in milliseconds, according to the pair.

Is Box Solving Its Cloud-Only Problem? #BoxWorks

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Box CEO Aaron Levie loves the cloud. He wears cloud socks, his license plate said “GoCloud” and he knocks on-prem storage as if it were an artifact from the Flintstone era anytime he gets the chance.

Hip and forward thinking as he may be, being “cloud only” is one of Box’s biggest problems. In its most recent Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) Gartner wrote:

Despite implementations in proprietary data centers, Box's offering is available only in a public cloud model. No hybrid model for data storage on-premises is supported. The movement or replication of corporate content in Box's cloud repository is not a viable option for some IT organizations."

The reality is that Levie’s stance is costing Box business because many, many enterprises aren’t willing to store their most precious, most sensitive, most strategic information on the public cloud.

Hello ECM Managers, Check Out Box Workflow #BoxWorks

Workflow solutions aren’t very stimulating, unless you’re managing content, that is. Or working with it in a compliant, secure environment. Or not in detail.

Then, of course, there’s also the fascination that document management and enterprise content management professionals have had with automated workflow over the past few decades in a seemingly never ending quest to make working with content in the workplace smarter.

So, when Box CEO Aaron Levie introduced Box Workflow, it’s worth taking notice.

After all, Levie may have a point when he said that the software was built more around the process than the user. And what this has meant for users is having to stop what they’re doing to grab the files they need or to waste time weeding through files that are irrelevant to the task at hand.

Box Offered Nice Productivity News, Anyone Notice? #BoxWorks

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Box CEO Aaron Levie set himself up with an interesting line to tow at BoxWorks, his company’s user conference being held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center this week.

But how do you make your product announcements shine in a room where Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg talks about Walt Disney’s mission to “make movies for children and the child inside all of us,” where Academy award winner Jared Leto pontificates on his early days as an entrepreneur selling weed and where an Oscar is passed around so the audience can take selfies with it?

 

Can a Box integration with Office 365 garner the same enthusiasm? Maybe it would in another context on another day, and we’re here to say it is notable.

Are Hortonworks + Hive Community Paving Hadoop's Future?

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Marry a big vision and a vibrant open source community and you’ll get something pretty special. In this case we’re talking about delivery on the Stinger initiative, which teamed engineers from Hadoop distro provider Hortonworks with more than 140 developers to advance interactive SQL querying ability on Apache Hive at scale in pure open source.

The initiative, which was completed in April, brought together over 390,000 lines of code contributed by developers from 44 companies, to provide business analysts and data workers with one powerful engine for SQL queries on big data sets at speed and at petabyte scale.

It does something that other big data solutions like it do not do: it gives users a single, simple tool to use for either interactive or batch processing.

If the Cloud Isn't Safe for Jennifer Lawrence, Is it Safe for Enterprises?

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What bad timing for Box. On the eve of Boxworks, the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) vendor’s biggest user conference to date, we saw headlines asking  “Are we too quick to trust cloud storage?”

The question didn’t come out of thin air.

Over the Labor Day weekend, nude, private photographs of model Kate Upton and Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence began to go viral on the web.  They had been taken, it seems (not verified) with iPhones and stored on the iCloud. Hackers allegedly accessed the photos, posted them on the popular image-sharing site 4chan and voila!

Not surprisingly, the photos spread rapidly on social media sites like Twitter.

Watch Your Favorite Tech Exec Get Wet: Ice Bucket Challenge

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The summer of 2014 will be known for many things. Among them, the cloud storage wars, Microsoft’s new Mobile First, Cloud First mantra, and the battle for the enterprise among Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) vendors.

It will also go down as the summer of the ice bucket challenge when everyone from Cristiano Ronaldo toKaty Perry to Jack Black to Novak Djokovic to Taylor Swift and Oprah dumped buckets of ice over their heads to raise money to fund research and bring awareness to ALS, a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.

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