Big data and family quality time



As I was walking with my husband this beautiful Saturday morning in our little village, we were talking about Big Data.

I recently attended a very interesting roundtable on “Big Data – Planning for Growth”. The key questions we tackled there were:

  1. Where and why is your data growing? What is the value of the data?
  2. Is scale an issue? Are the tools we have today good enough?
  3. If I have the scale, what would I do with it? Build an application? Build a marketing campaign?

I heard very different views between different industries. For example in the banking and finance industry the #1 priority seems to be how to use big data to identify security and fraud issues, while in the communication industry it’s more about how to extract value from the vast amounts of personal subscriber data that they hold ‒ but without raising concerns about any abuse of their personal information. (see more in Jeff Barak‘s post here)

The other thing that came up loud and clear in the roundtable discussion was that scale is an issue, and companies don’t have yet the right tools, infrastructure and architecture set up to get started. My husband, that is currently involved in a number of big data projects, claims that the tools are there but the know-how is still missing. The technology itself is simplifying and will eventually become a commodity like a database; It’s the relatively high set-up cost and time that is currently holding companies back.

I guess the bottom line is that this is a chicken and egg scenario. Big data is such an exciting trend with so many possibilities that our heads spin, and maybe what we need to get started is a smaller industry-specific case study that will help us unveil the promise of big data.





On-boarding – is it really important ?


One of my tasks for next week is to finally update our on-boarding deck for new employees in marketing. Is it still such an important thing in today’s environment ?

You can practically find everything you need to know about the company online, identify friends in LinkedIn and Facebook that work there or used to work there and ask them questions, etc. etc.

According to Prof. Michael Watkins in his book The First 90 Days: “Transitions are periods of opportunity, a chance to start afresh and to make needed changes in an organization. But they are also periods of acute vulnerability, because you lack established working relationships and a detailed understanding of your new role.”

Career Builder site agrees: “Effective employee onboarding has a positive domino effect: it ensures that new hires feel welcome and prepared in their new positions, in turn giving them the confidence and resources to make an impact within the organization, and ultimately allowing the company to continue carrying out its mission.”

OK, I’m convinced.

Just one last question: any interesting techniques or technologies leading organizations are using for onboarding ? Well, according to Aberdeen Group research “Onboarding 2013: A New Look at New Hires” we should define metrics in advance, align onboarding with learning initiatives, invest in automating the onboarding process and consider gamification.

8 ways to chase your ambitions


I already told you I was very inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s #DF13 Keynote.
Here is a great summary of her speech, published By  in the Salesforce blog. It focuses on 8 ways the “Lean In” approach encourages women to chase their ambitions. I think it’s relevant to men and women alike.

1. Talk about your needs: Always take the step to have an open discussion about your ideas and challenges. By not talking about it, zero progress can be made. 

2. You can’t be liked by everyone: If you try to please everyone, it will be hard to make progress. Pursue your goals and dreams and be OK with the fact that not everyone is going to like it.

3. Sit at the table: Too often we sit by the sidelines, hold ourselves back and let self doubt persevere. “Leaning In” is about putting fears aside and raising your hand.

4. Find a mentor: Within every organization there is someone you admire and identity with. Find that one trait you want to emulate, and reach out to that person to let them know. Work on this goal together.

5. Take risks: Have an entrepreneurial spirit and try new things. Celebrate risk-taking and stretch your ability to achieve goals.

6. Strengthen a specific skill: Determine a challenging skill and work to enhance it, or strengthen an existing skill that you are already perfecting. Work with others on your team to help you achieve this goal.

7. It’s “We” not “I”: Look for improvements and needs that will benefit the overall team and not just yourself. You’ll have an easier time selling your ideas if they also help others and it will keep you part of a connected group.

8. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Sheryl dove into her job at Facebook as fearlessly as she could. She stresses, “Ask yourself, What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.”