8 items tagged "machine learning"

  • 2017 Investment Management Outlook

    2017 investment management outlook infographic

    Several major trends will likely impact the investment management industry in the coming year. These include shifts in buyer behavior as the Millennial generation becomes a greater force in the investing marketplace; increased regulation from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and the transformative effect that blockchain, robotic process automation, and other
    emerging technologies will have on the industry.

    Economic outlook: Is a major stimulus package in the offing?

    President-elect Donald Trump may have to depend heavily on private-sector funding to proceed with his $1 trillion infrastructure spending program, considering Congress ongoing reluctance to increase spending. The US economy may be nearing full employment with the younger cohorts entering the labor market as more Baby Boomers retire. In addition, the prospects for a fiscal stimulus seem greater now than they were before the 2016 presidential election.

    Steady improvement and stability is the most likely scenario for 2017. Although weak foreign demand may continue to weigh on growth, domestic demand should be strong enough to provide employment for workers returning to the labor force, as the unemployment rate is expected to remain at approximately 5 percent. GDP annual growth is likely to hit a maximum of 2.5 percent. In the medium term, low productivity growth will likely put a ceiling on the economy, and by 2019, US GDP growth may be below 2 percent, despite the fact that the labor market might be at full employment. Inflation is expected to remain subdued. Interest rates are likely to rise in 2017, but should remain at historically low levels throughout the year. If the forecast holds, asset allocation shifts among cash, commodities, and fixed income may begin by the end of 2017.

    Investment industry outlook: Building upon last year’s performance
    Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have experienced positive growth. Worldwide regulated funds grew at 9.1 percent CAGR versus 8.6 percent by US mutual funds and ETFs. Non-US investments grew at a slightly faster pace due to global demand. Both worldwide and US investments seem to show declining demand in 2016 as returns remained low.

    Hedge fund assets have experienced steady growth over the past five years, even through performance swings.

    Private equity investments continued a track record of strong asset appreciation. Private equity has continued to attract investment even with current high valuations. Fundraising increased incrementally over the past five years as investors increased allocations in the sector.

    Shifts in investor buying behavior: Here come the Millennials
    Both institutional and retail customers are expected to continue to drive change in the investment management industry. The two customer segments are voicing concerns about fee sensitivity and transparency. Firms that enhance the customer experience and position advice, insight, and expertise as components of value should have a strong chance to set themselves apart from their competitors.

    Leading firms may get out in front of these issues in 2017 by developing efficient data structures to facilitate accounting and reporting and by making client engagement a key priority. On the retail front, the SEC is acting on retail investors’ behalf with reporting modernization rule changes for mutual funds. This focus on engagement, transparency, and relationship over product sales are integral to creating a strong brand as a fiduciary, and they may prove to differentiate some firms in 2017.

    Growth in index funds and other passive investments should continue as customers react to market volatility. Investors favor the passive approach in all environments, as shown by net flows. They are using passive investments alongside active investments, rather than replacing the latter with the former. Managers will likely continue to add index share classes and index-tracking ETFs in 2017, even if profitability is challenged. In addition, the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule is expected to promote passive investments as firms alter their product offerings for retirement accounts.

    Members of the Millennial generation—which comprises individuals born between 1980 and 2000—often approach investing differently due to their open use of social media and interactions with people and institutions. This market segment faces different challenges than earlier generations, which influences their use of financial services.

    Millennials may be less prosperous than their parents and may need to own less in order to fully fund retirement. Many start their careers burdened by student debt. They may have a negative memory of recent stock market volatility, distrust financial institutions, favor socially conscious investments, and rely on recommendations from their friends when seeking financial advice.

    Investment managers likely need to consider several steps when targeting Millennials. These include revisiting product lines, offering socially conscious “impact investments,” assigning Millennial advisers to client service teams, and employing digital and mobile channels to reach and serve this market segment.

    Regulatory developments: Seeking greater transparency, incentive alignment, and risk control
    Even with a change in leadership in the White House and at the SEC, outgoing Chair Mary Jo White’s major initiatives are expected to endure in 2017 as they seek to enhance transparency, incentive alignment, and risk control, all of which build confidence in the markets. These changes include the following:

    Reporting modernization. Passed in October 2016, this new requirement of forms, rules, and amendments for information disclosure and standardization will require development by registered investment companies (RICs). Advisers will need technology solutions that can capture data that may not currently exist from multiple sources; perform high-frequency calculations; and file requisite forms with the SEC.

    Liquidity risk management (LRM). Passed in October 2016, this rule requires the establishment of LRM programs by open-end funds (except money market) and ETFs to reduce the risk of inability to meet redemption requirements without dilution of the interests of remaining shareholders.

    Swing pricing. Also passed in October 2016, this regulation provides an option for open-end funds (except money market and ETFs) to adjust net asset values to pass the costs stemming from purchase and redemption activity to shareholders.

    Use of derivatives. Proposed in December 2015, this requires RICs and business development companies to limit the use of derivatives and put risk management measures in place.

    Business continuity and transition plans. Proposed in June 2016, this measure requires registered investment advisers to implement written business continuity and transition plans to address operational risk arising from disruptions.

    The Dodd-Frank Act, Section 956. Reproposed in May 2016, this rule prohibits compensation structures that encourage individuals to take inappropriate risks that may result in either excessive compensation or material loss.

    The DOL’s Conflict-of-Interest Rule. In 2017, firms must comply with this major expansion of the “investment advice fiduciary” definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. There are two phases to compliance:

    Phase one requires compliance with investment advice standards by April 10, 2017. Distribution firms and advisers must adhere to the impartial conduct standards, provide a notice to retirement investors that acknowledge their fiduciary status, and describes their material conflicts of interest. Firms must also designate a person responsible for addressing material conflicts of interest monitoring advisers' adherence to the impartial conduct standards.

    Phase two requires compliance with exemption requirements by January 1, 2018. Distribution firms must be in full compliance with exemptions, including contracts, disclosures, policies and procedures, and documentation showing compliance.

    Investment managers may need to create new, customized share classes driven by distributor requirements; drop distribution of certain share classes post-rule implementation, and offer more fee reductions for mutual funds.

    Financial advisers may need to take another look at fee-based models, if they are not using already them; evolve their viewpoint on share classes; consider moving to zero-revenue share lineups; and contemplate higher use of ETFs, including active ETFs with a low-cost structure and 22(b) exemption (which enables broker-dealers to set commission levels on their own).

    Retirement plan advisers may need to look for low-cost share classes (R1-R6) to be included in plan options and potentially new low-cost structures.

    Key technologies: Transforming the enterprise

    Investment management poised to become even more driven by advances in technology in 2017, as digital innovations play a greater role than ever before.

    Blockchain. A secure and effective technology for tracking transactions, blockchain should move closer to commercial implementation in 2017. Already, many blockchain-based use cases and prototypes can be found across the investment management landscape. With testing and regulatory approvals, it might take one to two years before commercial rollout becomes more widespread.

    Big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Leading asset management firms are combining big data analytics along with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to achieve two objectives: (1) provide insights and analysis for investment selection to generate alpha, and (2) improve cost effectiveness by leveraging expensive human analyst resources with scalable technology. Expect this trend to gain momentum in 2017.

    Robo-advisers. Fiduciary standards and regulations should drive the adoption of robo-advisers, online investment management services that provide automated, portfolio management advice. Improvements in computing power are making robo-advisers more viable for both retail and institutional investors. In addition, some cutting-edge robo-adviser firms could emerge with AI-supported investment decision and asset allocation algorithms in 2017.

    Robotic process automation. Look for more investment management firms to employ sophisticated robotic process automation (RPA) tools to streamline both front- and back-office functions in 2017. RPA can automate critical tasks that require manual intervention, are performed frequently, and consume a signifcant amount of time, such as client onboarding and regulatory compliance.

    Change, development, and opportunity
    The outlook for the investment management industry in 2017 is one of change, development, and opportunity. Investment management firms that execute plans that help them anticipate demographic shifts, improve efficiency and decision making with technology, and keep pace with regulatory changes will likely find themselves ahead of the competition.

    Download 2017 Investment management industry outlook

    Source: Deloitte.com


  • A Shortcut Guide to Machine Learning and AI in The Enterprise


    Predictive analytics / machine learning / artificial intelligence is a hot topic – what’s it about?

    Using algorithms to help make better decisions has been the “next big thing in analytics” for over 25 years. It has been used in key areas such as fraud the entire time. But it’s now become a full-throated mainstream business meme that features in every enterprise software keynote — although the industry is battling with what to call it.

    It appears that terms like Data Mining, Predictive Analytics, and Advanced Analytics are considered too geeky or old for industry marketers and headline writers. The term Cognitive Computing seemed to be poised to win, but IBM’s strong association with the term may have backfired — journalists and analysts want to use language that is independent of any particular company. Currently, the growing consensus seems to be to use Machine Learning when talking about the technology and Artificial Intelligence when talking about the business uses.

    Whatever we call it, it’s generally proposed in two different forms: either as an extension to existing platforms for data analysts; or as new embedded functionality in diverse business applications such as sales lead scoring, marketing optimization, sorting HR resumes, or financial invoice matching.

    Why is it taking off now, and what’s changing?

    Artificial intelligence is now taking off because there’s a lot more data available and affordable, powerful systems to crunch through it all. It’s also much easier to get access to powerful algorithm-based software in the form of open-source products or embedded as a service in enterprise platforms.

    Organizations today have also more comfortable with manipulating business data, with a new generation of business analysts aspiring to become “citizen data scientists.” Enterprises can take their traditional analytics to the next level using these new tools.

    However, we’re now at the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” for these technologies according to Gartner’s Hype Cycle — we will soon see articles pushing back on the more exaggerated claims. Over the next few years, we will find out the limitations of these technologies even as they start bringing real-world benefits.

    What are the longer-term implications?

    First, easier-to-use predictive analytics engines are blurring the gap between “everyday analytics” and the data science team. A “factory” approach to creating, deploying, and maintaining predictive models means data scientists can have greater impact. And sophisticated business users can now access some the power of these algorithms without having to become data scientists themselves.

    Second, every business application will include some predictive functionality, automating any areas where there are “repeatable decisions.” It is hard to think of a business process that could not be improved in this way, with big implications in terms of both efficiency and white-collar employment.

    Third, applications will use these algorithms on themselves to create “self-improving” platforms that get easier to use and more powerful over time (akin to how each new semi-autonomous-driving Tesla car can learn something new and pass it onto the rest of the fleet).

    Fourth, over time, business processes, applications, and workflows may have to be rethought. If algorithms are available as a core part of business platforms, we can provide people with new paths through typical business questions such as “What’s happening now? What do I need to know? What do you recommend? What should I always do? What can I expect to happen? What can I avoid? What do I need to do right now?”

    Fifth, implementing all the above will involve deep and worrying moral questions in terms of data privacy and allowing algorithms to make decisions that affect people and society. There will undoubtedly be many scandals and missteps before the right rules and practices are in place.

    What first steps should companies be taking in this area?
    As usual, the barriers to business benefit are more likely to be cultural than technical.

    Above all, organizations need to make sure they have the right technical expertise to be able to navigate the confusion of new vendors offers, the right business knowledge to know where best to apply them, and the awareness that their technology choices may have unforeseen moral implications.

    Source: timoelliot.com, October 24, 2016


  • Do data scientists have the right stuff for the C-suite?

    The Data Science Clock v1.1 Simple1What distinguishes strong from weak leaders? This raises the question if leaders are born or can be grown. It is the classic “nature versus nurture” debate. What matters more? Genes or your environment?

    This question got me to thinking about whether data scientists and business analysts within an organization can be more than just a support to others. Can they be become leaders similar to C-level executives? 

    Three primary success factors for effective leaders

    Having knowledge means nothing without having the right types of people. One person can make a big difference. They can be someone who somehow gets it altogether and changes the fabric of an organization’s culture not through mandating change but by engaging and motivating others.

    For weak and ineffective leaders irritating people is not only a sport for them but it is their personal entertainment. They are rarely successful. 

    One way to view successful leadership is to consider that there are three primary success factors for effective leaders. They are (1) technical competence, (2) critical thinking skills, and (3) communication skills. 

    You know there is a problem when a leader says, “I don’t do that; I have people who do that.” Good leaders do not necessarily have high intelligence, good memories, deep experience, or innate abilities that they are born with. They have problem solving skills. 

    As an example, the Ford Motor Company’s CEO Alan Mulally came to the automotive business from Boeing in the aerospace industry. He was without deep automotive industry experience. He has been successful at Ford. Why? Because he is an analytical type of leader.

    Effective managers are analytical leaders who are adaptable and possess systematic and methodological ways to achieve results. It may sound corny but they apply the “scientific method” that involves formulating hypothesis and testing to prove or disprove them. We are back to basics.

    A major contributor to the “scientific method” was the German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler. In the early 1600s Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion led to the Scientific Revolution. His three laws made the complex simple and understandable, suggesting that the seemingly inexplicable universe is ultimately lawful and within the grasp of the human mind. 

    Kepler did what analytical leaders do. They rely on searching for root causes and understanding cause-and-effect logic chains. Ultimately a well-formulated strategy, talented people, and the ability to execute the executive team’s strategy through robust communications are the key to performance improvement. 

    Key characteristics of the data scientist or analyst as leader

    The popular Moneyball book and subsequent movie about baseball in the US demonstrated that traditional baseball scouts methods (e.g., “He’s got a good swing.”) gave way to fact-based evidence and statistical analysis. Commonly accepted traits of a leader, such as being charismatic or strong, may also be misleading.

    My belief is that the most scarce resource in an organization is human ability and competence. That is why organizations should desire that every employee be developed for growth in their skills. But having sound competencies is not enough. Key personal qualities complete the package of an effective leader. 

    For a data scientist or analyst to evolve as an effective leader three personal quality characteristics are needed: curiosity, imagination, and creativity. The three are sequentially linked. Curious people constantly ask “Why are things the way they are?” and “Is there a better way of doing things?” Without these personal qualities then innovation will be stifled. The emergence of analytics is creating opportunities for analysts as leaders. 

    Weak leaders are prone to a diagnostic bias. They can be blind to evidence and somehow believe their intuition, instincts, and gut-feel are acceptable masquerades for having fact-based information. In contrast, a curious person always asks questions. They typically love what they do. If they are also a good leader they infect others with enthusiasm. Their curiosity leads to imagination. Imagination considers alternative possibilities and solutions. Imagination in turn sparks creativity.

    Creativity is the implementation of imagination

    Good data scientists and analysts have a primary mission: to gain insights relying on quantitative techniques to result in better decisions and actions. Their imagination that leads to creativity can also result in vision. Vision is a mark of a good leader. In my mind, an executive leader has one job (aside from hiring good employees and growing them). That job is to answer the question, “Where do we want to go?” 

    After that question is answered then managers and analysts, ideally supported by the CFO’s accounting and finance team, can answer the follow-up question, “How are we going to get there?” That is where analytics are applied with the various enterprise and corporate performance management (EPM/CPM) methods that I regularly write about. EPM/CPM methods include a strategy map and its associated balance scorecard with KPIs; customer profitability analysis; enterprise risk management (ERM), and capacity-sensitive driver-based rolling financial forecasts and plans. Collectively they assure that the executive team’s strategy can be fully executed.

    My belief is that that other perceived characteristics of a good leader are over-rated. These include ambition, team spirit, collegiality, integrity, courage, tenacity, discipline, and confidence. They are nice-to-have characteristics, but they pale compared to the technical competency and critical thinking and communications skills that I earlier described. 

    Be analytical and you can be a leader. You can eventually serve in a C-suite role

    Author: Gary Cokins 

    Source: Information Management

  • Hé Data Scientist! Are you a geek, nerd or suit?

    NerdData scientists are known for their unique skill sets. While thousands of compelling articles have been written about what a data scientist does, most of these articles fall short in examining what happens after you’ve hired a new data scientist to your team. 

    The onboarding process for your data scientist should be based on the skills and areas of improvement you’ve identified for the tasks you want them to complete. Here’s how we do it at Elicit.

    We’ve all seen the data scientist Venn diagrams over the past few years, which includes three high-level types of skills: programming, statistics/modeling, and domain expertise. Some even feature the ever-elusive “unicorn” at the center. 

    While these diagrams provide us with a broad understanding of the skillset required for the role in general, they don’t have enough detail to differentiate data scientists and their roles inside a specific organization. This can lead to poor hires and poor onboarding experiences.

    If the root of what a data scientist does and is capable of is not well understood, then both parties are in for a bad experience. Near the end of 2016, Anand Ramanathan wrote a post that really stuck with me called //medium.com/@anandr42/the-data-science-delusion-7759f4eaac8e" style="box-sizing:border-box;background-color:transparent;color:rgb(204, 51, 51);text-decoration:none">The Data Science Delusion. In it, Ramanathan talks about how within each layer of the data science Venn diagram there are degrees of understanding and capability.

    For example, Ramanathan breaks down the modeling aspect into four quadrants based on modeling difficulty and system complexity, explaining that not every data scientist has to be capable in all four quadrants—that different problems call for different solutions and different skillsets. 

    For example, if I want to understand customer churn, I probably don’t need a deep learning solution. Conversely, if I’m trying to recognize images, a logistic regression probably isn’t going to help me much.

    In short, you want your data scientist to be skilled in the specific areas that role will be responsible for within the context of your business.

    Ramanathan’s article also made me reflect on our data science team here at Elicit. Anytime we want to solve a problem internally or with a client we use our "Geek Nerd Suit" framework to help us organize our thoughts.

    Basically, it states that for any organization to run at optimal speed, the technology (Geek), analytics (Nerd), and business (Suit) functions must be collaborating and making decisions in lockstep. Upon closer inspection, the data science Venn diagram is actually comprised of Geek (programming), Nerd (statistics/modeling), and Suit (domain expertise) skills.

    But those themes are too broad; they still lack the detail needed to differentiate the roles of a data scientist. And we’d heard this from our team internally: in a recent employee survey, the issue of career advancement, and more importantly, skills differentiation, cropped up from our data science team.

    As a leadership team, we always knew the strengths and weaknesses of our team members, but for their own sense of career progression they were asking us to be more specific and transparent about them. This pushed us to go through the exercise of taking a closer look at our own evaluation techniques, and resulted in a list of specific competencies within the Geek, Nerd, and Suit themes. We now use these competencies both to assess new hires and to help them develop in their careers once they’ve joined us.

    For example, under the Suit responsibilities we define a variety of competencies that, amongst other things, include adaptability, business acumen, and communication. Each competency then has explicit sets of criteria associated with them that illustrate a different level of mastery within that competency. 

    We’ve established four levels of differentiation: “entry level,” “intermediate,” “advanced” and “senior.” To illustrate, here’s the distinction between “entry level” and “intermediate” for the Suit: Adaptability competency:

    Entry Level:

    • Analyzes both success and failures for clues to improvement.
    • Maintains composure during client meetings, remaining cool under pressure and not becoming defensive, even when under criticism.


    • Experiments and perseveres to find solutions.
    • Reads situations quickly.
    • Swiftly learns new concepts, skills, and abilities when facing new problems.

    And there are other specific criteria for the “advanced” and “senior” levels as well. 

    This led us to four unique data science titles—Data Scientist I, II, and III, as well as Senior Data Scientist, with the latter title still being explored for further differentiation. 

    The Geek Nerd Suit framework, and the definitions of the competencies within them, gives us clear, explicit criteria for assessing a new hire’s skillset in the three critical dimensions that are required for a data scientist to be successful.

    In Part 2, I’ll discuss what we specifically do within the Geek Nerd Suit framework to onboard a new hire once they’ve joined us—how we begin to groom the elusive unicorn. 

    Source: Information Management

    Author: Liam Hanham

  • Kunstmatige intelligentie leert autorijden met GTA

    Zelfrijdende auto toekomst-geschiedenis

    Wie ooit Grand Theft Auto (GTA) heeft gespeeld, weet dat de game niet is gemaakt om je aan de regels te houden. Toch kan GTA volgens onderzoekers van de Technische Universiteit Darmstadt een kunstmatige intelligentie helpen om te leren door het verkeer te rijden. Dat schrijft het universiteitsmagazine van MIT, Technology Review.

    Onderzoekers gebruiken het spel daarom ook om algoritmes te leren hoe ze zich in het verkeer moeten gedragen. Volgens de universiteit is de realistische wereld van computerspelletjes zoals GTA heel erg geschikt om de echte wereld beter te begrijpen. Virtuele werelden worden al gebruikt om data aan algoritmes te geven, maar door games te gebruiken hoeven die werelden niet specifiek gecreëerd te worden.

    Het leren rijden in Grand Theft Auto werkt ongeveer gelijk als in de echte wereld. Voor zelfrijdende auto’s worden objecten en mensen, zoals voetgangers, gelabeld. Die labels kunnen aan het algoritme, waardoor die in staat is om in zowel de echte wereld als de videogame onderscheid te maken tussen verschillende voorwerpen of medeweggebruikers.

    Het is niet de eerste keer dat kunstmatige intelligentie wordt ingezet om computerspelletjes te spelen. Zo werkte onderzoekers al aan een slimme Mario en wordt Minecraft voor eenzelfde doeleinde gebruikt als GTA. Microsoft gebruikt de virtuele wereld namelijk om personages te leren hoe ze zich door de omgeving moeten manoeuvreren. De kennis die wordt opgedaan kan later gebruikt worden om robots in de echte wereld soortgelijke obstakels te laten overwinnen.

    Bron: numrush.nl, 12 september 2016


  • Machine learning is changing the data center

    machine learningEvery year, the technology industry seems to come up with new products that have the capability to manage themselves. From cars that tell us if we’re backing up too fast to AC units that turn on when they realize the residents are on their way home, we’re seeing technology continuing to advance in their ability to self-manage.

    The next logical step we are seeing is self-managing data centers, where automation and machine learning handle administrative storage tasks.

    Even for those who don’t believe machines can execute the tasks of an IT manager more effectively than their human counterparts, the efficiency gains from offloading repetitive functions -- or making connections between dissimilar, often unrecognized events – should give businesses the ability focus on strategic objectives that will help the company flourish.

    Like self-driving cars, the self-managed data center that rarely needs human intervention could be coming sooner than we think. Data centers are increasingly utilizing full self-managed capabilities, which wouldn’t be possible without automation and machine learning technology. 

    Below are the three main trends that are helping to make self-managed data centers a reality.

    Promising performance without intervention

    Automation and machine learning offer multiple capabilities that aid in developing the self-managed data center. 

    One is that organizations can guarantee performance without intervention. With traditional storage, applications compete for resources from a fixed number of buckets or IOPS. Guaranteeing a set number of IOPS for a particular application prevents organizations from accessing those IOPS for other apps. 

    Automation enables organizations to access IOPS resources and allows virtual machines (VMs) to employ them for other necessary purposes. So, although it ensures a clear lane for every VM, it also enables the VMs to access IOPS as necessary. 

    This approach avoids the danger of saving and wasting unused IOPS, instead making them available when needed.

    Ensuring a clear lane for very every virtual machine

    In the future, machine learning and automation promise to optimize the performance of storage arrays and predict future usage trends. It can analyze past performance to predict trends for the next two months, for example, giving organizations insight into what’s necessary to optimize performance and capacity for storage-array pools.

    Machine learning should enable organizations to move VMs from a particular array to somewhere else in the pool if through its ability to analyze performance trends. Furthermore, it would allow organizations to predict and address poor performance on an array.

    Machine learning can also help businesses plan for their future. Analytics would enable organizations to improve predictions and make savvier decisions about infrastructure requirements to avoid downtime. It’s like building another wing on an apartment complex to address growing resident occupancy in the future.

    Optimizing the performance of storage arrays and predicting future usage trends

    Additionally, by giving each VM its own lane, organizations could make optimal use of all their performance all the time. On those rare occasions when VMs ask for more than the storage can deliver, performance could be assigned dynamically to applications that require it rather than on a first-in, first-out basis.

    When further development of apps and devices that use machine learning take place, companies will try to find new and exciting ways to incorporate AI.

    The controversial debates about AI will continue, but there are ways to utilize it without going overboard and giving over too much control. 

    Automated, self-managed data centers are becoming a reality, promising real-time, predictable performance without IT intervention. Even dense IT infrastructure that’s typically difficult and time-consuming to upgrade and control is becoming automated and divided into elements managed through software instead of hardware. These data centers are increasingly utilizing full self-managing capabilities. 

    Ultimately, with the combination of AI and machine learning, IT teams should finally have the ability to focus their time on more important tasks that add real value to the company rather than being stuck in the back end of the data center. 

    The data center that manages itself and rarely needs assistance has the potential to arrive sooner than expected. In the coming months, you’ll start to see how machine-learning-based intelligent automation will become a critical component of the modern data centers

    Author: Chris Colotti

    Source: Information Management

  • Visualization, analytics and machine learning - Are they fads, or fashions?

    Machine learningI was recently a presenter in the financial planning and analysis (FP&A) track at an analytics conference where a speaker in one of the customer marketing tracks said something that stimulated my thinking. He said, “Just because something is shiny and new or is now the ‘in’ thing, it doesn’t mean it works for everyone.”

    That got me to thinking about some of the new ideas and innovations that organizations are being exposed to and experimenting with. Are they fads and new fashions or something that will more permanently stick? Let’s discuss a few of them:


    Visualization software is a new rage. Your mother said to you when you were a child, “Looks are not everything.” Well, she was wrong. Viewing table data visually, like in a bar histogram, enables people to quickly grasp information with perspective. But be cautious. Yes, it might be nice to import your table data from your spreadsheets and display them in a dashboard! Won’t that be fun? Well it may be fun, but what are the unintended consequences of reporting performance measures as a dial or barometer?

    A concern I have is that measures reported in isolation of other measures provides little to no context as to why the measure is being reported and what “drives” the measure. Ideally dashboard measures should have some cause-and-effect relationship with key performance indicators (KPIs) that should be derived from a strategy map and reported in a balanced scorecard. 

    KPIs are defined as monitoring the progress toward accomplishing the 15-25 strategic objective boxes in a strategy map defined by the executive team. The strategy map provides the context from which the dashboard performance indicators (PIs) can be tested and validated for their alignment with the executive team’s strategy.

    Business analytics

    Talk about something that is “hot.” Who has not heard the terms Big Data and business analytics? If you raised your hand, then I am honored that I am apparently the first blogger you have ever read. Business analytics is definitely a next managerial wave. I am biased towards them because my 1971 university degree was in industrial engineering and operations research. I love looking at statistics. So do television sports fans who are now provided “stats” for teams and players in football, baseball, golf and every kind of televised sport. But the peril of business analytics is they need to serve a purpose for problem solving or seeking opportunities. 

    The analytics thought leader James Taylor advises, “Work backwards with the end in mind.” That is, know why you are applying analytics. Experienced analysts typically start with a hypothesis to prove or disprove. They don’t apply analytics as if they are searching for a diamond in a coal mine. They don’t flog the data until it confesses with the truth. Instead, they first speculate that two or more things are related or that some underlying behavior is driving a pattern seen in various data.

    Machine learning and cognitive software

    There are an increasing number of articles and blogs with this theme related to artificial intelligence – the robots are coming and they will replace jobs. Here is my take. Many executives, managers, and organizations underestimate how soon they will be affected and the severity of the impact. This means that many organizations are unprepared for the effects of digital disruption and may pay the price through lower competitive performance and lost business. Thus it is important to recognize not only the speed of digital disruption, but also the opportunities and risks that it brings, so that the organization can adjust and re-skill its employees to add value.

    Organizations that embrace a “digital disruptor” way of thinking will gain a competitive edge. Digitization will create new products and services for new markets providing potentially substantial returns for investors in these new business models. Organizations must either “disrupt” or “be disrupted”. Companies often fail to recognize disruptive threats until it is too late. And even if they do, they fail to act boldly and quickly enough. Embracing “digital transformation” is their recourse for protection.

    Fads or fashions?

    Are these fads and fashions or the real deal? Are managers attracted to them as the shiny new toys that they must have on their resume for their next bigger job and employer? My belief is these three “hot” managerial methods and tools are essential. But they need to be thought through and properly designed and customized; and not just slapped in willy-nilly just to have them as shiny new toys.

    Bron: Gary Cokins (Information Management)

  • Wie domineert straks: de mens of de machine?

    mens of machineDe ontwikkelingen op informatie-technologisch gebied gaan snel en misschien wel steeds sneller. We horen en zien steeds meer van business intelligence, self service BI, artificial intelligence en machine learning. We zien dit terug bij werknemers die steeds meer de beschikking hebben over stuurinformatie via tools, zelfsturende auto’s, robots voor dementerenden maar ook computers die de mens verslaan spelletjes.

    Wat betekent dit?

    • Verdienmodel van bedrijven zullen anders worden
    • Innovaties komen misschien niet meer primair van de mens
    • Veel meer nu nog menselijke arbeid zal door machines worden overgenomen.

    Een paar ontwikkelingen in dit artikel worden uitgelicht om aan te geven hoe belangrijk business intelligence vandaag de dag is.

    Verdienmodel op basis van data

    Dat de informatietechnologie bestaande verdienmodellen op z’n kop zet lezen we dagelijks. We hoeven alleen maar naar V&D te kijken. De hoeveelheid bedrijven  die gebruik maken van een business model waarbij externe dataverzameling en analyse een cruciaal onderdeel is van het verdienmodel neemt hand over hand toe. Zelfs in tot nu toe sterk gedomineerde overheidssectoren zoals onderwijs of gezondheidszorg. Bekende bedrijven, zoals Google en Facebook, zijn overigens zonder concreet verdienmodel begonnen, maar zouden niets meer kunnen zonder genoemde data(analyse).


    Neem bijvoorbeeld een bedrijf als Amazon dat volledig draait op data. De verzamelde data heeft in grote mate betrekking op wie we zijn, hoe we ons gedragen en op onze voorkeuren. Amazon geeft deze data steeds meer betekenis door de toepassingen van de nieuwste technologieën. Een voorbeeld is hoe Amazon zelfs films en boeken ontwikkelt op basis van ons aankoop, kijk- en leesgedrag en hier zal het zeker niet bij blijven. Volgens Gartner is Amazon een van meeste leidende en visionaire spelers in de markt voor Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Bovendien prijst Gartner Amazon voor haar snelle manier van anticiperen op de technologische behoeftes uit de markt.


    Volgens de Verenigde Naties zullen de nieuwste innovaties ontstaan vanuit kunstmatige intelligentie. Dit veronderstelt dat de machine de mens passeert met betrekking het bedenken van vernieuwingen. De IBM Watson-computer heeft bijvoorbeeld de mens al verslagen met het spelprogramma Jeopardy. Met moeilijke wiskundige berekening kunnen we niet meer zonder computer, maar dat wil nog niet zeggen dat de computer de mens overal in voorbij streeft. Met de ontwikkeling van zelfsturende auto’s is onlangs aangetoond dat middels machine learning de mens nog steeds leidend kan zijn en per saldo was er veel minder ontwikkelingstijd nodig.

    Mens of machine?

    Een feit is dat de machine steeds meer taken van de mens gaat overnemen en de mens in denkvermogen soms zelfs gaat overtreffen. De mens en machine zullen in de komende periode steeds meer naast elkaar gaan leven en de computer zal het menselijk handelen steeds beter begrijpen en beheersen. Het gevolg is, dat bestaande business modellen zullen gaan veranderen en veel banen in bestaande sectoren verloren zullen gaan. Maar of de computer de mens voorbij streeft en dat in de toekomst zelfs alleen innovatie via kunstmatige intelligentie komt is nog maar de vraag? Ok de industriële revolutie heeft een zeer grote impact op de mensheid gehad en terugkijkend heeft deze vele voordelen gebracht al zal het voor velen in die tijd niet altijd gemakkelijk geweest zijn. Laten we kijken hoe we hier ons voordeel mee kunnen doen. Geïnteresseerd? Klik hier voor meer informatie.

    Ruud Koopmans, RK-Intelligentie.nl, 29 februari 2016


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