Tag Archives: analytics

CAMSS? Just another acronym?

CAMSS. It’s another acronym. Does it look familiar to you? Doing a Google search for ‘CAMSS’ will mostly yield results related to IBM as this is our ‘keyword’ for the future direction the company is taking. Yet, IBM are not the only company diverging and investing in the CAMSS space. Many other global technology corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, Accenture and HP are also heading in a similar direction. However not many people understand just what these initiatives are.

I currently work on account which is the other side of the country to my home town, and any trips back require a number of hours on public transport. I thought one day, whilst I was bored and had just finished an IBM quiz on Cloud, to maybe do an experiment and see who else on the commute would know about cloud, analytics, mobile, social or security. While I think there may be a select few who would understand, the majority of people will probably look at me funny and some would probably tell me to go away. Don’t worry, I didn’t actually go around asking people that, it was the end of a long week of work and I just went to sleep!

If you’re not that sure about CAMSS (Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social and Security) then be glad you have our blog. I will cover briefly what each initiative is, and how it ties in to the work we do to improve the way our clients and people in general work.

Cloud

When we talk about cloud, we don’t talk about things being put on to actual clouds, but keep the metaphor in mind as it is probably the easiest way to explain Cloud to someone who is not necessarily in the know. When a company is looking to upgrade their existing infrastructure, maybe to support a new project or keep up with business demand or growth, a company will probably start costing how much it would be to buy all the networking gear and hire professionals who are able to install the new network. Many companies will probably outsource this work to a reputable company. While this means that company will have their own infrastructure, it is often very costly and, to keep their systems secure and running smoothly, they will likely have to upgrade in the next five (or less) years. So how does a company keep up with demand and technology without having to fork out money every number of years? Turn to the Cloud. Companies like IBM offer Cloud solutions using the latest hardware which can dynamically assign resources depending on the demand from a client. So in the example of an online retailer, Summer can be quiet and the Cloud infrastructure can be scaled down (saving the customer money) and once Christmas hits, more resources can be assigned to cope with the new demand. This is an example of Infrastructure as a Service. You also have Platform as a Service and Software as a Service for hosting singular or a variety of different applications in the Cloud.

Analytics

Data is everywhere. An average person working a 9 to 5 job likely wakes up and checks the latest news or their favourits websites on their phone, eats their favourite cereal or breakfast, washed with certain hygiene products, drives a certain car to work, takes a certain route and when they get to work accesses certain websites or does online shopping buying certain quantities of different products. How much data could you gather from that person based on the above scenario? The same applies to businesses in terms of customer demand, current trends, buying habits, preferred products and financial predictions, for instance when the company is likely to make or lose money. All these data points are useful and Analytics can be utilised to provide a company with useful insights into how their business is operating and can assist in making informed business decisions.

Mobile

In these times, you will struggle to find a person who doesn’t own a mobile phone and smartphone use is ever on the rise. If you were a company looking to improve your web or user experiences for your customers, then it would make sense to go mobile. After all, people are always busy moving around, less people are confined to a desk with one computer for their whole life and much more work is being done on commutes with smartphones or tablets (or other similar devices). A lot of companies and online websites already do a lot of work to make their business experience more mobile. For example, on this Apprentice blog, we’ve done a lot of work this year to make our website more accessible for a range of different users which includes utilising a mobile version of the site and allowing authors to create and edit content on smartphones and tablets (I am writing this article on the bus while on the way to work!). You only need to look at the sheer amount of companies who have a mobile site and initiatives such as Apple Pay to see how seriously companies are taking mobile.

Social

As I type this, Facebook has recently announced that they are celebrating one billion active users online at any one time. Just think on that for a sec, one billion active users with a social media account, that’s 1/7 of the worlds population online at any one time, 1/7 of the worlds population with social media accounts and of those accounts, the average Facebook user has 338 friends (Six Degrees of Seperation Theory anyone?). Companies know the sheer power of social media and are utilising it in many ways such as word of mouth advertising, encouraging users to share experiences of their products, targeted advertising based on a users likes and preferences (again, back to analytics here) as well as Twitter accounts which provide a means of customer service support or providing latest updates (especially useful in terms of transport). Essentially, social media brings customers and companies closer together and the power of communication and human socialising shouldn’t be underestimated.

Security

Increasingly, we are hearing in the news of scandals in terms of data breaches and hacks being performed on major or sensitive websites. (Quite recently, the hacking of Ashley Madison has got quite a few high profile people hot under the collar!). How do these data breaches happen? It’s quite simple: security simply was not good enough. While it’s good to have an amazing infrastructure, servicing customers effectively over social media, a good mobile experiences, it would all amount to nothing if all that customer information was illegally accessed and shared to the wrong person just because of inadequate security. The cost to a company of data breaches is highly significant and has caused companies to go bankrupt from the legal costs associated with compensation for loss of customer data.

I hope this article goes a way to clear up what we mean by ‘the CAMSS agenda’ and clarifies why companies like IBM have chosen to guide business direction toward these initiatives. Once again, I look forward to posting to you again soon. – Craig

 

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CAMSS: The mobile world is transforming – Ryan McManus

The mobile era is transforming at an incredible rate and is becoming the centre of everything we do. In this blog I shall be giving a short introduction into what the word “mobile” actually means and how it can be used to make a big impact on day to day operations. You can either look at this blog from a customer perspective – what would I like to see company’s provide me? Or a business perspective – what do I want to provide my customers?

Don’t be confused by the word mobile. It has so much more potential than just how many megapixels your camera is or how many songs your phone can hold. There are over 1.9 billion devices connected to the internet and on average someone looks at their mobile phone 150 times a day, which just shows how much potential can be utilized and transformed into something beneficial.

Why do we need to be more mobile? There are a number of reasons why we are looking to be more mobile and it’s not just for business needs. With an estimated 10 billion mobile connected devices by 2020 there is no sign of the mobile growth slowing down. Living in such a fast paced environment, people want more convenience at their fingertips and not to waste unnecessary time if it can be done faster. The use of physical money, cheques and bank cards is transforming with a contactless functionality added to cards and the introduction of Paym where all you need is a mobile telephone number to pay someone. A more recent example is Apple Pay where you pay for items using your mobile device. Just imagine if in the future you are able to diagnose medical conditions via your mobile at home. No long waiting lists to see a doctor for consultation, but instead, identifying critical conditions at the early stages to give you the best chance to get the right care and diagnostics in your own home.

Mobile can’t perform without the applications that give it purpose. It is no good having all that technology at your fingertips with the fancy memory and top of the range processor without the applications that can be used to provide people with added value. Simply having to zoom in on a web site is not good enough any more. We need applications designed for mobile to be at the centre of our thinking.

From a business perspective, Mobile is not just a tick in the box. Just to say you have an application does not mean you have kept up. It’s how you use the application and how the application can be built upon to deliver continuous benefits ahead of competitors and transform the industry. Your mobile development needs to be created with the mind set of flexibility and opportunity and not with a tunnel vision of one short term accomplishment. Mobile needs to allow quick iterations that can be supported by the infrastructure already in place, to tailor what a business wants to get from it and support their company directive.

It’s not just about what we can do on devices; it’s about what we can learn from them as well. All the data being circulated in the mobile world can be synthesized into useful information to provide knowledge to businesses to help them understand their employees, devices and customer trends. It can then be used to suggest improvements or direct their business initiatives to enable them to grow and become more efficient. Getting the right information first hand enables businesses to act faster and stay ahead of competitors.

Competition is a big factor that also contributes to how fast the mobile market is transforming. As the market has lots of unlocked potential, companies have an opportunity to explore and be proactive to give their company an advantage. Due to the competition, certain companies are forced to embrace the term “keep up or get left behind”. E.g a bank that allows sign up to products via mobile as well as the Internet browsers provides more options of convenience to its customers as opposed to one that just allows ‘in branch sign up’. Using a mobile platform to transform your industry and make processes more efficient and user-friendly could create more areas of opportunity or expansion and therefore revenue.

An application needs to provide a personalized user experience and support anyone’s goal of maximizing productivity. For example a mobile flight check-in to save time or giving employees mobile access to a system that diagnoses faults. It needs to be designed well and be responsive to ensure the user is not kept waiting. The application also needs to be compatible with a lot of different views and different devices to maintain a high customer experience. The applications should be adaptive and have the same look and feel no matter what device.

Mobile also pairs with a lot of areas to provide an ultimate experience. For example your device connects to the cloud to maximise storage and processing power. It also could be linked in with social applications. As mentioned above the mobile data can be used for analytics to gain statistics for change or transformation. A huge area is also security. With all recent things in the news about hacking and loss of personal data it’s no wonder people are nervous about becoming mobile and transforming into a technology driven world.

Although the Mobile world is transforming at a rapid pace, the security of the changes need to transform equally as fast. Security needs to transform at the same rate to keep the Mobile infrastructure, traffic, and networks secure/ private to prevent nervousness and vulnerability to the provider and the consumer.

IBM is playing a huge role in the transformation of the mobile world and a recent example of this is the pairing with Apple to explore the potential of mobile devices. IBM and Apple are working together to combine the power of enterprise data and analytics with an elegant user experience to transform how enterprises empower their professionals to interact, learn, connect and perform.

IBM is also enabling companies to operate on personal devices on the move. This enables employees and businesses to get instant, secure and fast access to essential business functions. A good example of this is IBM empowering companies with a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) strategy.

Mobile change aims to bring people a new, elevated level of convenience with many different benefits for both the customer and the business! I hope you found it a good insight into the mobile world and have a different outlook on the word “mobile”.

CAMSS: Fit for the Future – Guest Post by David Briggs

And so we develop this series once again with a guest post, this time from David Briggs – Delivery Partner, Portfolio of Public Sector accounts & Chair of the UK PM Professions board.  It’s a really good one, so make sure you check it out – and reach out to David (in the comments) and let him know what you think!

When I look back over my career and the clients I’ve worked with over the years I’m filled with pride at some of the amazing things that IBM does and the difference we make to people’s lives. I’ve mostly worked in the Public Sector and began by designing and testing some of the UK Air Traffic Control system. On very rare occasions the system had issues and they have to revert to their back up procedures, but generally I always had huge satisfaction knowing the system worked as I and others had tested it .. .and no one died! I started as a tester many years ago and I’ve always found it useful to have an excellent understanding of delivery and risks. As I’ve progressed through test management, into project and programme management, I’ve always tried to utilise the key experiences and knowledge I gained at each stage with re-inventing myself as technology and clients have changed.

I’m motivated by delivering leading edge solutions to clients that make a real difference and helping to develop people to grow their skills and capabilities. I have worked with incredible people over the years and it has been their skills and dedication that has meant we’ve delivered and made a massive difference to our clients. Over the years the technology, delivery approach, and solutions have evolved and the IBMers delivering them have evolved as well. It is our adaptability and flexibility combined with our excellent engineering capability that means that we can continue to move with the demands of our clients and the market.

The latest of these shifts in our client’s demands is the move to an agile and develops delivery method with a focus on transforming the business through CAMSS. As I discuss how clients in the Public Sector are looking to deliver their services to the public, it is clear that they are recognising that customer needs are changing. In particular, the need for delivery of these services using mobile devices and to utilise analytics to make smarter, quicker decisions and apply appropriate risk.

As IBMers we mustn’t throw away our experience and knowledge in pursuit of these new capabilities as they are critical to differentiating ourselves from our competitors. It is because of the people we have working for IBM that I’m confident that we can make this transition and stay ahead of our competitors by continuing to successfully deliver highly complex solutions. Sometimes we can lose focus on the huge opportunity and real challenges of moving with the technology and we can feel uncomfortable and personally threatened by the messages around CAMSS and Fit for the Future. One of the key lessons I’ve learnt over the years is that you shouldn’t be afraid of change and to evolve. We already have superb capabilities and skills that mean that we can evolve more easily than our competitors, even if we personally don’t feel confident in that, and we can continue to make a real difference to our clients and society.

CAMSS: The Apprentice Viewpoint – Josh White

Kicking off our next blog series, we have Josh White explaining CAMSS – the 5 technology ‘pillars’ that IBM has identified as the key growth areas for the industry and which shape the strategic direction of IBM world, R&D, acquisitions and day-to-day conversation with colleagues and clients. CAMSS – Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social and Security are the vital areas of technological growth, crucial to both the Enterprise (IBM’s client base) and the end customer/consumer (Social in particular is expected to change the way businesses are run, interact with their customers and develop to meet the real time needs and wants of the world).

But given the key role that these technology pillars play, it is easy for them to be misunderstood, misrepresented or simply underestimated. Fear not though, as our IBM Apprentices will, over the course of the next series, explore these areas, explain the concepts in their own words and give you an insight into how these key areas of business development and strategy shape and define their day to day work. Enjoy ….

 

CAMSS (Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social and Security) has changed the way we interact with each other and the way businesses interact with their customers. IBM is investing vast amounts of money in these areas in order to differentiate itself from other technology companies and to create opportunities for its clients and business partners.

I am quite lucky to be on an account where the projects touch on every aspect of the CAMSS agenda one way or another. The main areas of CAMSS I have been involved with are Mobile and Analytics. I am currently a Business Analyst on a project that is building an iPad application to support a web based reporting tool that our client went live with late last year. The app will enable users to input data which will appear on a report you can view using the web app. I am also working on a project which analyses data of electricity companies against government measures. The system, once complete, will determine whether these companies meet the government’s criteria or not.

I am a big rugby fan and since joining IBM I have been interested in the IBM Try Tracker which uses analytics to provide fans with real-time insights into the game, including information about individual performance by players and predictions on the performance the rugby teams. The way it works is that IBM’s Predictive Analytics software will analyse historic and current rugby data provided by Opta, the world’s leading sports data provider, to provide valuable in-game stats. It gives viewers access to insights that will heighten their understanding of what to watch for in each game and explain what needs to be done to increase the likelihood of a teams win against a specific opponent.

As well as analytics the Try Tracker can be used on Mobile devices and tablets. Just watching the game is not enough any more for a lot of sports fans. They like to know how many tackles their favourite player made during the game, how many meters they ran, how many turnovers their team got or kick accuracy.

One feature of the IBM Try Tracker that links in well with my current project is its predictive analytical features. The Try Tracker will predict what 3 key things a team will have to do during the match in order to win. For example if each team achieves the below 3 objectives over the course of a match, they will win:

England Keys
•    Win more than 14 turnovers
•    Get more than 5 linebreaks
•    Achieve a successful goal kick percentage of more than 74%
Scotland Keys
•    Achieve a tackle success rate greater than 95%
•    Win more than 85% of own lineouts thrown
•    Have more than 6 attempts at goal

On my current project the system we are working on will use data which has been entered into a database to produce an outcome, and produce a different outcome if the data is changed. The end user will see the input data and the output data. In between this, the system is analysing a lot of data with multiple possible outcomes and producing the correct end result.

There are also a lot of exciting things that IBM is doing with Wimbledon which involves every aspect of CAMSS so please go and have a look at this as it is very interesting: http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/slamtracker/

Happy reading, Josh.