A Few Good Links – Feb 2nd 2010

on February 2, 2010
SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Management Platform

Today, we are inaugurating a new series: “A Few Good Links”.

The idea behind it is fairly simple, and, as for many things, it comes from our everyday life needs. Carole-Ann and I spend a lot of time reading and absorbing information, digging the gold and the silver from the web. We exchange that information, argue and discuss it. The principle here is the same: each week, we’ll select a few interesting sites (not more than 4 or 5), and provide you with the links to them, together with a short description on why we think you could be interested in them.

We welcome feedback, in any form. If you have other related links you would like us to take a look at, or to share with the rest of the readership, please let us know!

This week’s list:

1. From Harvard’s Business Review, Tom Davenport on “connecting the dots” (http://blogs.hbr.org/davenport/2010/01/eight_steps_to_connecting_the.html)

This is a short blog in Tom’s usual style, focusing on the politics and strategic aspects of managing information, and translating it all into requirements on the way organizations ought to think about information management.

2. Scott Berkun (the author of “The Myth of Innovation” http://www.scottberkun.com/books/the-myths-of-innovation/) posted a provocative manifesto on the future of UI (http://www.scottberkun.com/blog/2010/the-future-of-ui-will-be-boring/).

His arguments are interesting. I do not personally agree with them – although my enterprise perspective may taint my position a little. A while ago, as I was ramping up the “common user interface” effort for the enterprise applications suite for my previous employer, I wrote a short note on enterprise user interfaces and the usability challenge as I saw it back then (http://architectguy.blogspot.com/2008/08/enterprise-software-and-usability.html).

The decision support systems world faces the challenge that it needs to combine sophisticated interactions with ease of use. We are starting to see large BI companies investing in making their powerful tools more accessible.It will be interesting to see how long Scott’s opinion stands firm.

3. We have to talk about the Apple iPad and its impact. We will resist referring to the jokes and promise we will not mention MadTV.

One interesting take is the impact iPad will have on the industries that combine reliance on knowledge workers and mobility. A typical example we do not usually think about is healthcare: nurses, doctors, etc, need to move around, keep contact with the patients, yet the knowledge they need to have access to and the information they need to input is significant regardless of location or moment. Seamless interaction with information is key to efficient decision management, and we expect the democratization of easy information access tools like the iPad will accelerate the need for better, more usable, more accessible decision support systems.

HealthTechnica goes along the same lines (http://www.healthtechnica.com/). Of course, the tablet industry already exists and Apple’s competitors are of course pointing that out (http://blogs.msdn.com/healthblog/archive/2010/01/27/a-right-sized-emr-tablet-pc-microsoft-office-onenote.aspx) – and this article also refers to Microsoft OneNote which is a tool I am starting to love in its 2007 version).

But we think Apple will disrupt it and democratize it, albeit with a closed system. Exactly what it did to the SmartPhone world. And that will create challenges and opportunities for us in the decision support systems industry.

4. Finally, for those of you interested in rules engines and AI, and eager to see the effort started by James Owen for October Rules Fest continue, you have an opportunity to help (http://javarules.blogspot.com/2010/02/october-rules-fest-2010-update.html).

ORF has so far been focused on technical issues around rules engines, not really that much on business rules management systems as a whole.  Rules engines and AI technologies remain, however, core to the success of decision support systems.

And lastly Carole-Ann picked a quote of the week, just for fun!

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”
— Aristotle

We hope you enjoy these windows into the web!

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Sparkling Logic Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based company dedicated to helping organizations automate and optimize key decisions in daily business operations and customer interactions in a low-code, no-code environment. Our core product, SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Manager, is an all-in-one decision management platform designed for business analysts to quickly automate and continuously optimize complex operational decisions. Learn more by requesting a live demo or free trial today.