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Archive for the ‘IT Governance’ Category

Web Data Mining and Orwellian Risks for Abuse at the Private Individual Level

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This posting consists of my comments per a guest post published on by Chris Taylor, a technologist with TIBCO Software, founder of, & fellow member of LinkedIn group ‘Disruptive Technologies’.

The ever burgeoning data explosion and the resulting technologies being developed to interpret meaningful information from it (e.g., Data Mining; interpretive/predictive analytics; etc.) are here to stay.  The competitive advantages which stand to be gained by companies and the military/security sectors of governments that can effectively glean valuable information from the morass of personal data now available on the world-wide web is immense.  Personal data that is gathered and analyzed/stored at a sector group level seems to present less of a threat to each individual’s personal privacy when used in traditional ways (e.g., company marketing studies).  But the “Orwellian” risks for abuse at the private individual level as the current data mining technologies in use become increasingly more sophisticated cannot be ignored.  Furthermore, the judicial systems of developed countries have not been keeping pace with the burgeoning privacy violation ramifications of the information revolution that is currently taking place.  Exacerbating all of this is the fact that for increased revenue purposes, social networking users are being urged by the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to become more transparent by revealing more of their personal information on these sites; a factor which is serving to make personal transparency in public forums a current “popular culture dynamic”.  So the genie is definitely out of the bottle here, which should behoove users of all social networking sites to become more familiar with the “primitive” privacy settings made available by the provider and use them to tailor who gets to see what parts of their personal information that gets generated as time goes by.

Finally, to effectively manage the increasingly sophisticated video parsing technologies currently being utilized by data mining entities, the use of iconic “monikers” in lieu of facial snapshots for one’s social networking sites would be the best option to use in order to remain anonymous per the analysis of video data by companies (and unscrupulous governments, where they may exist).  In addition, video and photo tagging on social networking sites should also be meticulously controlled via one’s privacy settings as well.

Link to Chris Taylor’s article “While You Slept Last Night: Big Data, Privacy, and the Public Square” –

Chris Taylor’s twitter handle is @Successful Work.

Interested LinkedIn readers are invited to join ‘Disruptive Technologies’ group for discussions on this & similar issues!

Status of Object-Oriented Database Management Systems?

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Being a senior business systems (IT) consultant who has always utilized hierarchical (IMS) and relational database management systems (RDBMS), I’m wondering whatever happened to the concept of object-oriented database management systems (ODBMS), which at one point (i.e., 10 years ago) was considered to be the database structure design of the future by some IT academic types for object-oriented software applications?  Do the newer data storage mechanisms and/or models currently out on the market represent various hybrid versions of ODBMS?  Or has this concept completely gone by the wayside before it ever had a chance to take off due to its being considered “too disruptive” of a technology by IT management?  My impression has always been that an ODBMS persistence structure would need to be in place in order for a true object-oriented software application to be able to make use of (and persist) intensive object nesting, cross-referencing, data type extensions, sub-classing, and inheritance support functions. But perhaps the more powerful RDBMS engines and the extended versions of the same have now enabled object-oriented software applications to circumvent some of the traditional performance and storage issues that traditionally have occurred with RDBMS’s. This would also include circumventing some of the object-to-relational and relational-to-object translation mapping issues that traditionally occur when persisting/recovering software objects using an RDBMS. This translation mapping issue occurs here because the developer has to break the objects apart and then store the different object parts in the various database tables (or files) making up the RDBMS, thus making the translation mapping process tedious at best due to the resulting “semantic gaps” that occur. In any case, my assumption is that providing for the full functionality of an ODBMS, which would also enable developers to persist full class information (including object methods), is the biggest hurdle for the ODBMS genre to try to pass, thus rendering the ODBMS niche as being “too disruptive” of a technology for most IT management types.

Interested LinkedIn members are invited to join the ”Disruptive Technologies” professional group (URL below):

Tech Professional Certification: ICCP’s CCP vs. PMI’s PMP Debate.

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For starters let me state that I do value my Certified Computing Professional (CCP) certification and display it proudly (along with the certificate number) on my resume and LinkedIn profile.  Originally my certification was the Certified Data Processor (CDP) designation, which I obtained in 1990, with specializations in Core IT Skills, Systems Development, and Management.  These specialties complement my MBA degree, which I obtained in 1989 from the University of Houston with concentrations in Management Information Systems and Management (and now Finance as well).  In addition, it was an MIS professor at UH who recommended that we obtain the CDP certification to complement our MBA (in MIS) degrees with.  Then the CDP certificate became the CCP at some point during the 1990s due to the restructuring/reorganization move that occurred within the Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals (ICCP) at the time.  Anyway, I believe that the name recognition and status that was then associated with the CDP designation went out the door somewhat with the ICCP mandated name change.

As far as the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is concerned, it seems as if many of the IT team lead and/or project management job requirements being published these days either require the PMP or state that it is a desired credential.  This is why I have stated in previous discussions that the PMP appears to be the credential in vogue these days.  Again, this is primarily due to its claimed recognition of demonstrated knowledge and skills in leading/directing project teams and delivering project results within the defined constraints of schedules, budgets and/or resources.  These skills are what technical project management types are distinctly looking for these days, so perhaps the ICCP should tailor the CCP exams to become more like the PMP, but with a strict adherence to IT applications (i.e., not the generic things that could apply to any technical/scientific project like engineering, etc).

In addition, I firmly believe that the Project Management Institute (PMI) does a real good job of promoting and/or marketing the value-added properties of the PMP certificate to companies and consulting firms (e.g., Accenture, IBM, et al).  And a big part of the issue here has to do with the perceptions (i.e., image) that are out there.  As a result, maybe the ICCP needs to gear up and study the techniques being used by the PMI in order to see what could be implemented to promote the same value added properties of the CCP certificate to IT organizations.  Perhaps the CCP should be marketed as being a certificate that proves to IT (and user) organizations that the holder has obtained the requisite proficiencies in both the basic IT technologies and project management areas.

In terms of comparisons, the highly regarded Certified Public Account (CPA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designations both command a lot of respect within professional circles due to their being required certifications in order to practice and advance within the applicable professions.  In addition, they are both difficult to obtain and take countless hours (and dollars) of dedication and hard work just to get prepared to take each level of the multi-level exams.  There are always a large number of candidates willing to go through all of the “hoops” to obtain these certifications due to the high level of professional status that they both afford and because the top-tier (i.e., high paying) firms require them as basic credentials in order to become employed and move up the ladder to more lucrative positions.  If these requirements were not in place, then no one would be willing to go through the time and expense involved to obtain these two certifications.  Therein lies the problem for the ICCP -> because the CCP is currently not a required credential within the IT project management world, it can never become the demanding, highly statured designation that the CPA and CFA have become. The PMI folks seems to recognize this issue and are doing a good job of promoting (or marketing) the PMP certificate as being a required credential for IT and other types of technical project management openings.  In addition, one other factor that lends credibility to the PMP certificate is that the PMI requires a minimum number of years in a leadership position (e.g., 4 years of project management work) on top of passing the difficult exams in order to get chartered as a PMP.  

One caveat to the importance of certifications is that alot of them seem to come and go based on changes in technology and business models.  I remember when the Microsoft certifications were hot items for a few years (in the 1990s), to the point where MS had convinced IT professionals and companies that it was a necessary credential in order to work on MS products.  But this is no longer the case as the existing products have evolved and other companies’ products have eclipsed some of MicroSoft’s products in the industry, thus rendering the old MS certifications pretty much useless.  The CCP and PMP should not have this particular problem, but it just seems as if PMI is doing an excellent job of promoting the PMP as the certification of choice in the IT world and is convincing alot of companies that it needs to be a required certification (i.e., much like the CPA and CFA). 

In conclusion, the ICCP has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to keep the CCP designation from being entirely eclipsed by the PMP designation over the next few years as a lot of companies seem to be getting on board with the PMI’s mantra.  As a result, I firmly believe that the ICCP needs to study the successful marketing techniques being employed by the PMI in order to emulate them for use in promoting the CCP certificate and bringing it up to par with the PMP in terms of name (or brand) recognition within the IT project management world.  One advantage that should be publicized by the ICCP is that one must pass all ICCP exams with a score of 70% or higher in order to get certified as a CCP; whereas one only needs to pass the PMI exams with a score of 60% or higher in order to get certified as a PMP.  In addition, the ICCP exams are applicable strictly to the IT sector of technology, whereas the PMI exams are not really IT specific in scope as they seem to try to encompass all types of project management sectors (e.g., engineering, etc).  So there are several areas of advantage that the ICCP has over the PMI in the IT certification sector that need to be exploited and publicized by the ICCP in order for it to become a more recognized player in the industry.

NOTE:  Interested LinkedIn members having IT/Technological interests are invited to join LinkedIn Group ”Disruptive Technologies” at .

Ten Most Disruptive Technologies of 20th and 21st Centuries!

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My choices for the ten most disruptive technologies of the 20th and 21st centuries per the related Discussion issue in LinkedIn professional group “Disruptive Technologies” are as follows:

20th Century –

01).  Advent of nuclear technology, which drastically changed the balance of power in the world via its weapons applications, and it is still a burgeoning factor as the technology spreads.

02).  Advent of the automobile and airplane, which revolutionized the transportation industry and made traversing the world alot more feasible in terms of time, distance covered, and costs.

03).  Advent of Wernher von Braun’s rocket technology, which revolutionized the communications industry (via satellites), made space travel possible, and drastically changed military strategies and power structures.

04).  Advent of digital data processing at the large mainframe level (starting with Rand’s Eniac).

05).  Advent of the transistor, which replaced vacuum tube technology and allowed for start of integrated circuit technology.

06).  Advent of the integrated circuit technology from transistors, which enabled the commoditization of computer technology via the resulting dissemination of higher speed, lower cost computers (and more portable computers due to the resulting miniaturization).

07).  Advent of the personal computer, which replaced the mainframe as the primary means of computing and has greatly expanded access to computer technology to the masses.

08).  Advent of the world wide web (Internet), and the resulting information and communications revolution that it has invoked.

21st Century (so far) –

09).  Advent (emerging) of nanotechnology and its potentially huge impact on medical technologies and society in the not-too-distant future (e.g., “Singularity” type issues, etc).

10).  Advent (emerging) of teleportation technology at the level of the atom, which is in the beginning stages of greatly increasing the speed and overall power of computer technology (i.e., quantum information processing); its crossover to other applications includes possible revolutionary changes in travel technology at the surreal level by the end of the century.

Addendum1:  Taking item 10’s discussion a step further within the context of disruptive microchip techology, I still like the idea of developing data teleportation technology at the level of the atom, which stands to greatly increase the speed and overall power of computer technology (i.e., quantum information processing). The possible crossovers to other product applications, including surreal, revolutionary changes in travel and shipping technology, is what has really piqued my interest. But in discussing this issue with an executive at one of the major chip firms over the holiday, it was conveyed to me that the atomic teleportation of data is still at least twenty years away in terms of becoming feasible enough to be a disruptive technology per the quantum information processing genre. I would think that the speeding up of the development process for this entity would have to represent a major competive advantage for a developer within the microchip (or academic) industry, especially considering the possibilities represented by revolutionary crossover product development (i.e., major disruptive technologies)!

Addendum2:  the fulfillment of emerging items 09 and 10 is hghly contingent on the continued mitigation of item 01.

Note: From an IT standpoint, I especially like the world-class Gartner Group’s clear, concise definition of what constitutes a disruptive technology from a business systems standpoint: “…[as] one that causes major change in ‘the accepted way of doing things’, including business models, processes, revenue streams, industry dynamics and consumer behaviour”:

Interested LinkedIn members are invited to join the ”Disruptive Technologies” professional group (URL below):