Subcribe to blog


Shawn Rogers - Blog


I'm All in on Big Data Powering Poker

I'm not much of gambler but I do enjoy playing Texas Hold'em when I visit Las Vegas. I like tournaments at least I know how much I stand to lose when I start and sometimes I end up in the money. I cover Big Data as a topic and I am finding more and more use cases where it fits in the Gambling and Hospitality sector.

Poker is a data driven game and stratgies to win are something that can be learned and modeled. So, its not surprising to see that a leading online poker company is using AI, neural networks and billions of pokers hands (data) to create the ultimate  big data driven poker bot. 

Check out this great article on Forbes Poker Bots Bet on Big Data Strategy for more details. Its an interesting use case and author Paul Sonderegger does and excellent job of melding the systems ability to play poker with more mainstream applications of Big Data driven analytics.


Amazon Kinesis Streaming Data in the Cloud

Amazon AWS rolled out its newest Cloud based solution today. Kinesis is Amazon's answer to Streaming Data challenges. The solution is aimed at use cases in the areas of Accelerated Log/Data Feed Ingest-Tranform-Load, Continual Metrics / KPI Extraction, Near real-time Data Analytics and Complex Event Processing (CEP). Kinesis leverages Amazon's investments in S3, DynamoDB and Redshift so customers can aggregate and store the data, extract information from the data as its in flight and apply business anlytics to the information.

The system is designed to meet needs for low end-to-end latency from data ingest to processing, high scalability, data durablity via replication, system elasticity and openess to support application developers who will integrate it with operational workflows. The system is a highly managed service freeing users to focus on thier businees instead of tech.

Getting data into the system is fairly straight forward using the Amazon PUT function, each update is limited to 50kb in size. Assuming standard enterprise bandwidth and fast souce application speeds Kinesis can ingest the information in under a second. Data repllication takes about the same time and in the end Kinesis can make data available within 7 seconds. This isn't how I would define real-time streaming but for many applications its a huge advantage over traditional batch and will often match the speed of business.

As you would expect Amazon has priced the solution as a pay-as-you-go service. You will need to provision 1 shard for every 1000 transaction per second (TPS) you are processing for each 1MB/sec you ingest the cost is $0.015 the same is true for egress of data at 2MB/sec. Additional costs of $0.28 per 1,000,000 PUT transactions will also apply.

I like this offer it fits well between sub-second real-time streaming and batch. Most companies would be challenged to find processes that demand higher speeds that what Kinesis offers so I suspect it will fill a void for many of their clients. Early adopter for Kinesis have come from the Financial services and digital advertising sectors both industries are leaders in real-time adoption.

The product is still in limited BETA so you will have to apply to give it a try.



Push Intelligence

I'm not generally a big fan of new industry acronyms or buzz words. But I have to say I like the term Push Intelligence. It characterizes the value proposition of these type of solutions pretty well.

A leader in this space is Metric Insights. They deliver a platform that starts on the alert end of BI instead of the hunt and search side that many solutions employ. The environment is Key Performance Indicator (KPI) oriented, pushing dashboards and reports to the end user that require attention and skipping the ones that don't. The platform goes a step further in that it offers collaborative features that allow stakeholders to annotate charts to add greater context to the data presented. 

Metric Insights is architected to make embedding easy so companies who need sophisticated alerting and collaborative features can add the solution to their BI strategy. The solution is value priced and integrates well with 100's of data sources including Hadoop. MongoDB and Cassandra.


All you need to do is burn the boats!

I was recently presenting strategies for social networking to an executive team at a software company and someone asked this question. "Couldn't we just do a couple of these things...won't that be enough?" Now I should qualify that up to this point in my presentation I had only covered very elementary steps to implementing a corporate social strategy so I was concerned that he was feeling overwhelmed so early on the process or perhaps apathetic (I couldn't really tell which). My greater concern was several others in the meeting where nodding in agreement and I could see that the growing consensus was "lets make a list of a couple action items and get the hell out of here"

I remembered that a good friend of mine (Bob E) had recently mentioned that most companies he had encountered were in social networking for a penny not a pound. Many enterprises just want to be able to report back to the board that they are active in the space or that they are testing channels or that they have a Twitter presense. This lack of commitment reminded me of the story of Cortez who went into battle back in 1519 and once on the beach instructed his men to Burn the Boats! because if we are to survive we will use our opponents boats to return home. 

Now that's motivation!!! that's commitment!!! and that's what companies need to do to be successful when they make a change of this magnitude Burn the damm boats!!! For every company those boats are different things, culture, naysayers, antiquated thinking, fear, lack of information or strategy. Whatever it is just find it, and burn it and when your done reach down in your pocket skip over the pennies and find that pound because that's what it takes to change how your company does business.

Just to be sure my rant about commitment isn't taken out of context I do believe in a methodical and consistent approach to social networking. You don't have to be on every platform and chase every trend but in the end the commitment to the culture and direction has to be there.

 Interesting speech on commitment and the Cortez story


The Intersection of Business Intelligence and Social CRM

This past week analysts at the Altimeter Group released their study titled "Social CRM: The New Rules of Relationship Management" The study outlines 18 use cases for putting the customer first and the technologies that you need to get that job done. Authors R “Ray” Wang and Jeremiah Owyang did a great job creating what will become the play book for social media integration in the enterprise. In the report they discuss the 5M's of Social CRM as a framework to guide your processes and strategy as you integrate Social CRM into the seven key categories (Customer Insights, Social Marketing, Social Sales, Social Service and Support, Social innovation, Collaboration and Customer Experience) that connect you to your customers.


Enterprise business intelligence tools play a key role in successfully integrating and measuring the unstructured and semi-structured data that drives the social space. SAS, SAP Oracle, Purisma, IBM, DataFlux, Information Builders and others are already addressing the challenges that Social CRM delivers. Its still very early in the adoption process but BI vendors are starting to see the growing opportunity. The interesting thing will be to see who puts a clear end to end offering together first. Monitoring is the popular technology for now but as companies gain better access to the social landscape they will demand integration and measurement. The Social CRM market is moving so fast I can't help but think that the larger slower moving "big stack guys" may be at a disadvantage and susceptible to an innovative upstart.