Entries in data management (5)


2013 Predictions On The Data Industry 

It has become a tradition that at the end of each year, predictions of what will happen the following year. I've been thinking about this and would like to share my top 3 predictions in the world of data!

  • Cloud is the New Norm: we’ve all seen how seems to do no wrong and has absolutely eradicated on-premise/legacy systems in a lot of organizations.  However, the focus has been all but on IT governance.  Because businesses want to leverage IT and don’t want it to slow them down, Cloud has effectively fulfilled their needs. However, a gap in the IT governance has yet to be filled by the Cloud. 2013 will be the year for Salesforce to do just that!
  • “Social Media” Disillusions: Companies have expressed great emphasis on social media given how powerful a tool it has become. However, many companies need to re-evaluate their strategies and learn how to leverage it effectively. Recently, IBM has reported that Twitter has contributed absolutely ZERO of the Black Friday traffic! This all suggests that “social” will be short-lived.
  • The CMO Takes Over the CIO: I realize this is merely a prediction, but there’s no doubt that recent debates have emerged about the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) spending more time and money on Information Technology than the CIO (Chief Information Officer). This should not come as a surprise, IT buyers this decade have become much more intelligent than ever before.

This concludes my predictions for 2013, feel free to share yours in the comments below!


manage salesforce data with Cloudingo

Just a few days ago, the folks from Symphonic Source treated me to a preview of their newest Salesforce app, Cloudingo. As you may have noticed, I'm quite a big fan of Symphonic Source's first application, Dupecatcher. It's an extremely simple yet useful tool to prevent anyone from entering duplicate data into Salesforce and thus keep the data quality high. 

Unlike Dupecatcher which prevents the user from entering duplicate data, Cloudingo finds and merges all kinds of Salesforce duplicate objects already in Salesforce

My first impression of Cloudingo was that it is a very efficient tool. I had it installed and up and running in a short time. Much of this was due to Cloudingo's quickness. It scans your data and finds the duplicates surprisingly quickly, and presents them in a dashboard. I also loved the clever phrases on the loading screens from the developers. 

Cloudingo comes with 8 pre-set filters ready to scan for duplicates in your leads, accounts and contacts (it even suppors person accounts!). These filters scan the important information (first name, last name, email, phone etc.) though they can easily be tweaked to search for more specific data. If these existing filters are not enough, the process of adding more is pretty straight-forward. Cloudingo seems to cater to both those who want to truly customize their Salesforce experience and those less involved in the process. 

I quite like the set up of the whole application. The UI is very clean and friendly. So far I haven't noticed any hidden tricks or difficulties of use. I'm finding Cloudingo not only efficient in its speed but also ease of use. 

The benefits of clean data are numerous and this is a tool that might help you manage yours quite a bit better. 

Cloudingo is a paid application and it is, unfortunately, not yet available in Salesforce's Appexchange but you can sign up for a free trial right now at the Cloudingo website!


So, what's up with "Big Data?"

I throw around a lot of terms on this blog and was thinking that it might be a good idea to define and discuss their relevance more in-depth. Since I talked about one of the most used concept last time (and essentially let Salesforce define it for me), cloud computing, I thought I'd focus on another buzzword today. "Big Data." What is it exactly, what does it refer to and what is its significance?

What is it?

As its name suggests, the term refers to large amounts of data. I've read somewhere before that we create something like 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. It's big, certainly. The majority of this data was created in just the last few years thus giving rise to a phrase to describe it. 

What does it mean today?

Well, that's a tough one. The term has encountered many evolutions since being originally defined and it's hard to pin point just one succinct definition. Beyond its fairly literal meaning, the phrase has also come to describe the tools and process a company uses to manage very large amounts of data. This includes terabytes, petabytes or even numbers beyond in some cases. Big data has become important not just due to the large amounts of data customers produce but also as a way to comply with government regulations in certain cases. As digital data gains more importance in legal matters thus arises the need to save all digital data, emails, documents and other forms of electronic communication, in case a firm faces any kind of litigation. 

Why does it matter? 

Well that answer's not so simple. It'll take more than a paragraph to describe why Big Data is important to a business and what can be gained from it. As I was writing this article I was thinking that it might be more fitting to discuss how a business can successfully leverage Big Data in its own blogpost. Now that you have a basic understanding of what Big Data is exactly, we can examine what do with it. 


Integrating What’s In the Cloud

With the ease and speed with which cloud-based computing systems can be purchased and deployed, it is critical to have at least some idea of a strategy for cloud solutions in your organization.  Without some longer-vision, you can easily end up with numerous systems that can’t communicate with one another or are incompatible.  The result is you’ve just eliminated one of the key benefits of moving systems to the cloud in the first place.

Cloud computing brings with it more applications and more application providers to choose from.  These applications are often far less expensive than in-house solutions and are easier to deploy and manage.  But at the same time, they often require new ways of integrating with existing systems and other cloud-based solutions.  It is this last fact that is often, and somewhat dangerously, overlooked.

Cloud computing also brings with it more diverse platforms that can be accessed from just about anywhere.  Before cloud computing really started to take off, most applications were based on-premise and accessed from within the corporate headquarters or over a secured VPN.  But the cloud adds far more complexity to this situation.  With cloud computing the range of applications and their locations has exploded.  And the methods of access to these applications has matched their range of diversity.  The need for real-time information is a high demand of cloud-based solutions making the need to keep all of your various systems in synch that much more critical, and that much more difficult.

Cloud computing also brings with it more sources of data in different formats that need to be managed.  Data now comes from social media, mobile devices, as well as internal systems, and externally sourced data.  With the increase in number of data source comes a concomitant increase in the sheer volume of that data.  With increasingly less expensive storage, it becomes easy retain all of that data.  The challenge then is how to manage it so that it can be used in meaningful ways.

The lesson here is to think through a strategy and be sure to keep tabs on the individuals, groups, and departments that both demand information, and may be implementing their own cloud solutions in isolation so as to access that information.


Deriving Valuable Information

Cloud computing can lead to a wealth of valuable and critical data.  But this fact can be a mixed blessing.  Along with social networking, organizations can collect and store data from internal communications, internal applications, cloud-based solutions, data sourced from external suppliers, industry data and statistics about verticals and companies, and information from public and government sources.  And the truth is, I probably missed quite a few in this list.

Obviously with the number of sources of information, the sheer volume of the data itself is growing exponentially.  Cheap IT devices like servers, databases, hard drives, and processors, make it easy to save all of this data with a minimal impact on operational costs.  BUT, to gain any real business value from this data, and to remain competitive, you need to be able to analyze and put this information to work as quickly and effectively as possible.

On top of integrating data and information from disparate sources, you need to make sure the data is clean, because without clean data, your data is essentially meaningless, or at best, misleading.

I don’t have the perfect solution to this challenge.  I work with my clients to address it on an individual basis because each client has a unique set of systems and needs.  But I wanted to raise the issue here because it’s not going to get any better, and the sooner each of your organizations begins to strategize around the issue of data and information management the better.