Why I Joined the VelociData Board?

A very few times in person’s career, one comes across an opportunity that is just the right thing at just the right time.  The market is in need; the product is ready; the customers love it; the business model and works; and, most importantly the team is smart in innovation and driven in execution.  VelociData offers just such a unique opportunity with all the attributes required for success.

  • The NEED – I attended the Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) conference in Chicago this past week.  VelociData had a booth at the event and I got a chance to talk with many potential prospects.  VelociData shared some of what we heard via Twitter and Google+ that provides a glimpse of the real, burning issues for which organizations are struggling to find a viable solution.  The @VelociData tweets from the conference below provide a good assessment as to what we are witnessing broadly within our target market of Fortune 1000 organizations.

Picture

Picture

Picture

Picture

Picture

Picture

  • The PRODUCT – VelociData is an amazing engineering work of art.  This “Band of Engineering Brothers” have designed an engineered system that combines the best of software, firmware and hardware to achieve extreme acceleration in the areas of data integration/transformation, address processing and format preserving encryption.  The product snaps into existing reference architectures in tandem with technologies such as Informatica PowerCenter, IBM DataStage, Ab Initio, Talend, Pentaho, various SQL DBs, Hadoop, TeraData, Netezza, GreenPlum and ExaData to improve data integration/transformation, address processing and format preserving encryption by, as much as, 1000X!  This blows my mind.  To provide some context, if the best marathon runner in the world could improve his performance by 1000X, he’d finish the 26 mile race in 7 seconds.  We offloaded a customer’s overloaded ETL functions recently and improved the overall system performance from 16 hours to 45 seconds.  What’s even more amazing about the VelociData engineered system is that you can throw an increasing number of transformation steps with minimal degradation in performance.  This is in complete contrast to the points made by customers above that saw modest initial improvements of performance from ETL push down optimization and, as the data volumes grew, found themselves back in the same unacceptable performance situation within a year and tens of millions of dollars gone from the IT budget.  For organizations with these types of critical needs that find the claims hard to believe, the VelociData team loves the opportunity to prove the case with a POC.
  • The CUSTOMERS – Prospects usually come to the table frustrated in having run out of options for dealing slow data.  The reality for most Fortune 1000 companies is that the   are in every way production systems.  Over the years, data warehouses have become source data used by customer service people to handle customer inquires, GRC functions to manage risk, operations to effectively manage work and resources amongst operating units, buyers to asses market trends and make order decisions, …  This list just goes on and on.  I talked to a person from a hospital network at the conference whose ETL process had failed the previous night.  Their clinics depend on this data being available everyday before the workday begins.  In their case, the ETL process takes too long to restart overnight which causes the clinic to run without the data they need for the day, or worse, longer if the issue can’t get resolved.  VelociData is so transformative that we can alter this state of frustration into a state of competitive advantage within hours after installation.  We had one customer tell us that,”For 20 years they have been tweaking, re-architecting, re-writing and throwing hardware at our ETL processes, but we’ve never been able to get ahead of the escalating requirements in data volume, variety and velocity.  You guys did it in an hour…simply amazing.”
  • The MODEL – The strength of engineering gives VelociData a strong competitive advantage in their business model design.  To illustrate, one of our prospects, that has since become a customer, was left with two options to improve ETL performance.  They could use push down optimization with TeraData at a cost of at least $20M over two years with an expected, never proven, performance improvement of 6X to 8X and a tIme to implementation measured in months …or, alternatively… they could use VelociData to offload the specific, overloaded ETL functions at a cost of $47.1K a month with a proven (we demonstrated this in a POC) performance improvement of 1280X and a time to implementation measured in hours.  That’s a pretty compelling business model from a customer perspective.
  • The TEAM – The President, CTO and Founder of VelociData is Dr. Ron Indeck.  Ron is a Das Family Distinguished Professor from Washington University Department of Electrical Engineering where he was the Director of the Center for Security Technologies.  Ron has a proven track record in business having been a Founder at Exegy that has become market leader with a near zero latency ticker plant solution.  He has earned a world-wide reputation as a leading expert in the areas of  magnetic measurements and modeling, security and authentication, recording physics, magnetic devices, heterogeneous computing, data mining and managing massive databases all wrapped in great sense of humor.  One of his crowning achievements is building and guiding the extremely talented VelociData engineering team.  This Band of Engineering Brothers, with expertise in software, firmware and hardware, focus on creating purpose-built, engineer systems designed to solve the “big hairy audacious performance challenges” in Big Data.  I’ve been in the technology industry for a long time and this team knows their customers, knows their challenges, knows their technology  and knows how to innovate like nothing I’ve ever seen.  As an example, when they talk about reliability, availability and service ability that don’t just talk about five 9s.  They talk about processing non-stop data volumes at speeds that smart people from the industry find unbelievable. The products snap into a customer’s environment and are ready for real work within hours of installation.  The team and methods used to develop the technology are a credit to Ron’s unique ability to both innovate and execute.

This is a company to watch and I’m honored to be a part.

Best regards,

Chris

Posted in Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Big Data’s Equivalent Of Baseball’s “Tinker To Evers To Chance”?

Tinker to Evers to Chance

Tinker to Evers to Chance

Baseball’s back with all its nostalgia and hope eternal that this will be your beloved team’s year to remember.

I’ve always been fascinated with the rich history and lexicon of baseball.  I was doing some research recently and I tripped across the poem that immortalized the phrase, “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”  The poem was written by Franklin Adams in 1910 and reflected a New York Giant fan’s sense of despair in facing that legendary Chicago Cubs’ double play combination.

The poem was entitled, “That Double Play Again” and was published on July 12, 1910 in the New York Evening Mail.

       These are the saddest of possible words:
       “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
       Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
       Tinker and Evers and Chance.
       Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
       Making a Giant hit into a double –
       Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
       “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

When you read the poem, you can imagine the speed of Tinker, the shortstop, charging a grounder, cleanly fielding the ball and speedily throwing a perfect strike to the agile second baseman, Evers.  Evers takes the throw belt high and gracefully pivots towards first base knowing that the base runner will be barreling towards him.  Evers nimbly adapts his motion to avoid hitting the runner while making an accurate throw to the first baseman, Chance.  Chance holds his ground, makes the easy catch and regains the advantage for the Cubs.

Three separate roles, each with distinct capabilities, combining into a single system that performed so brilliantly that an opposing fan was inspired to write a woeful poem to capture his feelings.  In a game of inches that is baseball…speed, agility and gaining the advantage are everything.

I can’t help, but find parallels between these factors and what’s required for organizations to be successful in leveraging Big Data.  Big Data systems can reasonably be divided into three categories of solutions.  Fast Data, Agile Information and Insight Advantage.  Fast Data is all about integrating and transforming all relevant data (e.g., ERP, CRM, Social Media and in-house s) at speeds approaching real time and of unquestionable quality and security (e.g., VelociData).   Agile Information is all about providing flexible access to vast volumes and varieties of collected information (e.g., Hadoop).   Insight Advantage is all about simple, yet powerful analytics tools that enable smart decisions through information exploration, modeling and discovery (e.g., R, Tableau, Platfora, Spotfire, Pentahoe, Splunk, MicroStrategy, Business Objects, SAS, …).  All three (Fast Data to Agile Information to Insight Advantage) are critical parts of an effective Big Data system.

Maybe someday a competitor of your company will write a similar woeful poem about Big Data’s equivalent of “Tinker to Evers to Chance” that goes something like this:

VelociData to Hadoop to Analytics

       These are the saddest of possible words:
       “VelociData to Hadoop to Analytics.”
       Trio of data wizards, and fleeter than birds,
       VelociData to Hadoop to Analytics.
       Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
       Making our company into a market bumble–
       Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
       “VelociData to Hadoop to Analytics.”

Let’s Play Ball!

Please visit us at www.velocidata.com and feel free to email me at comalley@velocidata.com.

Best regards,

Chris

Posted in Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Give Me Liberated Data Or Give Me Someone That Can

I’ve had countless conversations with business executives on the topic of liberating data as a means to better and faster decisions.  From those conversations, I have witnessed a pattern of business goals and challenges that executives are struggling to resolve.

These discussions normally start with a description of their respective organization’s intense frustration in efforts to leverage data as an asset. In one example, I heard from a business-to-business insurance executive that his company, as a normal course of business, suffers losses on underwriting, but overachieves on the investment of premiums. The losses in underwriting are frustratingly tolerated because of the extreme difficulty in correctly pricing a new policy on a timely basis. In her company’s case, the analytics time required to get the pricing right would take as much as three days. In the business-to-business insurance market, buyers demand a rapid turnaround on quotes and will factor the quality of the response when assessing how they would be serviced as a future customer. Given that a three-day turnaround would make the proposal dead on arrival, sales people resort to matching competitive bids or leveraging their experience to make an educated guess. The entire organization knows that they must do better, but data physics seemingly lock them into this frustrating situation.

After spending time on the risks found in the “Aggravated Forest”, business executives will then step back and get excited about the outcomes that could be achieved by solving these data physics challenges. I hear remarks such as, “It would be a great win for the business to be more timely and accurate in pricing and, as a result, make better underwriting decisions on a given policy to a given customer, but solving these challenges in real time would create a whole new set of competitive possibilities for the company.” The discussion then becomes more specific on possible competitive advantages that could be gained.

“Imagine how our brand image could be changed and our winning percentage improved if our sales people could quote a policy while sitting in front of a customer. Customer experience plays a big factor in the decision process and being nimble in the sales process can often make the difference in earning the business.

With analytics that can be done in real time, imagine how much more productive our sales force could become. First, we could get more of sales people’s time in front of prospects building relationships rather than sitting in the office building proposals. Second, we could increase sales people’s confidence in pricing as to being reasonable and fair. This would more effectively guide their tactics and decisions during negotiations. Third, the increase in productivity could allow the company to have sales people cover a larger territory thus reducing the cost of sale.

Imagine how the buy side/sell side stock market analysts that follow our company would show support for our stock if we could demonstrate a proven method for profitable underwriting.”

This pattern of thought is one of being sensitive to mitigating business risk while imagining how such efforts could seize market opportunity. Liberating data to make better and faster decisions can improve performance from both a bottom line and top line perspective. New innovations, such as VelociData, are radically changing what is possible in leveraging data assets in terms of velocity, volume and variety.

Please visit us at www.velocidata.com

Best regards,

Chris

Posted in Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IT “Sense And Sensibility”

What can make the game of IT so challenging is finding the right balance between strategic and tactical investments.  CIOs must decide on the best mix of initiatives that hold both compelling long-term ROI potential, as well as, those that provide tactical service improvements for supporting existing demands.  In the real world, budget pressures often have a way of pre-determining this balance to the tactical extreme.   “The year dedicated to cutting costs while meeting ongoing demands” seems to have a never-ending run at the IT box office.  Additionally, IT aspirations have been burdened by the conventional wisdom that high-risk/high-return long-term initiatives can be harmful to ones career.  As the joke goes, “Show me a CIO that took a strategic risk and I’ll show you a CIO that updated his LinkedIn profile.”

For all these reasons, CIOs that fight for the strategic side of the equation and persevere to win have a huge impact on an organization’s competitive advantage.  Randy Mott of GM and Rob Carter of FedEx are great examples of CIOs that have developed a repeatable formula for successfully leading IT as a partner with the business on transformational efforts while still maintaining extraordinary, day-to-day operational effectiveness.

On the road to building a winning approach, CIOs must hold two-dimensional responsibilities for gaining a “sense” for how IT can be leveraged to gain competitive advantage while staying true to the “sensibility” of what is required to sustain competitiveness.  Every year there is a new set of “sense and sensibility” opportunities presented to CIOs for which they must make a go/no go/wait decision.  Along the way, CIO must collect wins that pave the road for more ambitious efforts in the future.  Once in a very long while, the balance in these decisions is made easier by an innovation that solves both critical tactical challenges, as well as, transforms the capabilities of IT for supporting future business demands.  Virtualization was a perfect example of both solving the cost of server sprawl while vastly improving IT’s agility in responding to changing business demands.  Similarly, there are new innovations coming into the market that solve new challenges that present CIOs great opportunities to pursue.

A challenge on the top of many CIOs list today is that business leaders have an insatiable appetite for gaining market insight to improve their decision making while, at the same time, IT is becoming overwhelmed with data volume demands and velocity requirements.  The impact of the challenge can be best witnessed in Fortune 1000 companies that often times have legacy ETL processes that are missing daily service level agreements for refreshing data-marts.  Meanwhile, users are pressing IT aggressively for even greater sources and varieties of data with real time availability.  The “sense” for Big Data cannot be achieved without the “sensibility” of getting current data management challenges, not just under control, but transformed to support a radically changing set of future data requirements.

Similar to the disruption created by VMware, VelociData is an amazing innovation that solves this critical business challenge.  In less than a single day, VelociData can demonstrate >100X improvement in ETL process performance.  As an illustration, VelociData recently transformed an existing 16-hour ETL process at a Fortune 500 customer into one that now completes in just 45 seconds!  VelociData didn’t just solve a tactical problem, but, in fact, shattered conventional wisdom for what is possible.  Imagine the creative energy gained by a company when actionable insight can be gained >1000X faster than anyone thought possible.

Sometimes the “sensibility” of solving burning issues can be a catalyst for a “sense” of big ideas to come. VelociData offers just such an opportunity.

Best regards,

Chris

Posted in Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oracle’s Earnings Reveal CIO’s Growing Preference For Engineered Systems

Oracle released their earnings this evening beating expectations.  In response, Michael Hickins, Editor – WSJ CIO Journal, wrote this article with the assertion that CIOs are increasingly focused on eliminating complexity and, as a result, CIOs are more willing to embrace both the cloud and engineered systems.  The goals CIOs are seeking are reduced expense and faster time to value.

This excerpt from the article captures the insight well:

“CIOs are also showing more of a preference for holistic, packaged systems that include hardware and application suites over acquiring software specialized in limited areas such as sales contact management. CIOs are also becoming more comfortable with standardized applications that, while not providing as many options for customization, reduce the expense and complexity associated with traditional software implementations. CIOs “have more confidence with engineered systems and what Oracle has done around business accelerators, and that allows customers to predict what it’s going to cost them and how long it will take to get it up and running,” Wettemann told CIO Journal. “They want applications that are designed to be more out of the box and that require less consulting and customization,” Wettemann said.”

I was so intrigued by this article because the CIO insights expressed exactly our maniacal focus in the design of VelociData’s value proposition.  VelociData is an engineered system purpose built for data-integration acceleration that provides a >100X improvement in the time required for ETL functions such as data ingest and encryption.  This patented, hyper-performance combination of software, firmware and hardware has been proven to take ETL functions that now take hours to complete into just seconds.

Whether the business requirement is shortening the maintenance refresh cycle for the data warehouse that has become dangerously close to missing service levels or based on a critical need for information at near zero latency, an engineered system is proving itself to be the best option from an expense reduction and time to value perspective.  As a case in point, the VelociData solution complements existing ETL tools, so mush so, that our proof of concepts at Fortune 1000 companies demonstrates >100x improvement in performance within just a few hours.

Too good to be true?  An EVP at our newest customer had this to say to us last week, “Rare is the vendor that does what they say they can do.”  In their case, we took an ETL process that took 16 hours down to 45 seconds.

You can visit our website at: http://www.velocidata.com

Best regards,

Chris

Posted in Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On A Mission “As-Possible” With Big Data

I’ve made a bunch of calls over the last few weeks with the VelociData team and I’m seeing a clear and consistent pattern emerge amongst prospects. Knowledge workers are pressing IT for analytics derived from as much dataas possible, that is as complete as possible, that is as up-to-date as possible and that is delivered as fast as possible.  This ever increasing, higher order demand, “Mission As Possible”, creates a new set of unsolved requirements in managing data volume variety and velocity.  It’s not just “Big Data,” but “All Data” delivered real-time as actionable intelligence.

The business needs driving these requirements vary by customer and vertical, but you consistently hear examples such as understanding customer sentiment; customer experience immersion; identifying new prospects, uncovering new market trends; finding new opportunities to engage buyers; discovering new insights for products; uncovering new demographic patterns; and watching for new patterns of fraud. These are all critical factors for both improving strategic plans and execution effectiveness and it only makes sense that supporting decisions be guided by facts.

When these types of large-scale, high-velocity data gathering and associated analytics become the norm, as well as, the means of building competitive advantage, things start to get awfully interesting.  At a certain point, all enterprise data becomes “production grade” (i.e., real time, actionable intelligence across all data sources).  The labels of “Big Data”, “Small Data”, “Structured Data”, Unstructured Data”, “Production Data”, “Data Mart”, … will no longer be distinguishable by differences in service levels.  It’s all just raw materials to make the real-time, actionable intelligence plant run that’s driven to ever-greater extremes by Mission As Possible.

I met with a Chicago based CIO a few months ago while doing some research and he explained that enterprise IT of the near future will resemble the models found in trading firms.  At the time, I didn’t fully appreciate how right he was.  I do now.

Best regards,

Chris

Posted in Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joining YJT Solutions’ Board

I’m excited to serve on YJT Solutions’ Board (See Article Here).  I’ve gotten to know YJT over the last year initially as an implementation partner for Nimsoft and, more recently, by being involved in the development of their strategic plans.  From the first day, I’ve been incredibly impressed with the drive and determination to build an even better business from a company that has earned a long history of success.  Overcoming organizational inertia in a highly successful company can be very difficult, but YJT has always been a force in motion that sees incredible opportunities on the horizon.

I thought I’d take the opportunity to list a few key reasons for my decision to join YJT’s board and assist the executive management team in designing the business for the future.

1.     Reputation – The value of a business can be found in the perceptions of its customers.  YJT has aggressively worked for over a decade to earn an outstanding reputation amongst its customers.  They have a long tradition of success in the financial services and managed service provider markets.  More recently, they’ve broadened their focus, which is illustrated by their success at American Medical Association (See Article Here).

2.     Expertise – YJT’s genesis was in serving the demands of trading firms in Chicago.  In my experience, the scale, complexity and velocity requirements from trading firms is about as tough as they come.   Serving those demands aided YJT Solutions in building a business dedicated, by design, to performance and quality through process excellence.  Now, after more than a decade in the making, YJT Solutions’ developed expertise is invaluable to any IT organization considering either managed services or cloud services.

3.     People – The simple truth is that the entire YJT team works passionately to exceed customer expectations everyday.  The culture is one of always getting the basics right while striving to find innovative means to better serve their customers.  This culture is instilled on the first day for new hires though an intensive training program that quickly brings people up to “YJT speed” while welcoming them into the support structure of the entire YJT family.

4.     Value – IT organizations have more business demands and more solution options than ever before.  Cloud disruption is shaking conventional IT models to its core.  IT is looking for trusted partners to help built pragmatic plans to best support their business and demystify the complex array of available solutions in order to make proper decisions.  YJT is designed for helping customers with exactly these needs.

5.      CEO – Linda Bracken is the founder and CEO of YJT Solutions.  She personifies the “American Dream” of one who boot strapped an idea into a thriving business.  Her hard work and dedication has translated into a valuable asset to her customers and an awesome place to work for her employees.  Her enthusiasm for the business and entrepreneurial spirit for the future make for a fun environment for me to lend a hand.

I’m confident in YJT’s future and look forward to offering my expertise in the effort.

I wouldn’t be me without making a pitch for YJT Solution services (See Website Here).  Please keep us in mind and let us know how we can help .

Best regards,

Chris

Posted in Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment