Monthly Archives: October 2017

How Big Data Can Tell You Which Book To Read Next

273205 273205 l srgb s gl How Big Data Can Tell You Which Book To Read Next

Let me start with a quote from McKinsey, that in my view hits the nail right on the head:

“No matter what the context, there’s a strong possibility that blockchain will affect your business. The very big question is when.”

Now, in the industries that I cover in my role as general manager and innovation lead for travel and transportation/cargo, engineering, construction and operations, professional services, and media, I engage with many different digital leaders on a regular basis. We are having visionary conversations about the impact of digital technologies and digital transformation on business models and business processes and the way companies address them. Many topics are at different stages of the hype cycle, but the one that definitely stands out is blockchain as a new enabling technology in the enterprise space.

Just a few weeks ago, a customer said to me: “My board is all about blockchain, but I don’t get what the excitement is about – isn’t this just about Bitcoin and a cryptocurrency?”

I can totally understand his confusion. I’ve been talking to many blockchain experts who know that it will have a big impact on many industries and the related business communities. But even they are uncertain about the where, how, and when, and about the strategy on how to deal with it. The reason is that we often look at it from a technology point of view. This is a common mistake, as the starting point should be the business problem and the business issue or process that you want to solve or create.

In my many interactions with Torsten Zube, vice president and blockchain lead at the SAP Innovation Center Network (ICN) in Potsdam, Germany, he has made it very clear that it’s mandatory to “start by identifying the real business problem and then … figure out how blockchain can add value.” This is the right approach.

What we really need to do is provide guidance for our customers to enable them to bring this into the context of their business in order to understand and define valuable use cases for blockchain. We need to use design thinking or other creative strategies to identify the relevant fields for a particular company. We must work with our customers and review their processes and business models to determine which key blockchain aspects, such as provenance and trust, are crucial elements in their industry. This way, we can identify use cases in which blockchain will benefit their business and make their company more successful.

My highly regarded colleague Ulrich Scholl, who is responsible for externalizing the latest industry innovations, especially blockchain, in our SAP Industries organization, recently said: “These kinds of use cases are often not evident, as blockchain capabilities sometimes provide minor but crucial elements when used in combination with other enabling technologies such as IoT and machine learning.” In one recent and very interesting customer case from the autonomous province of South Tyrol, Italy, blockchain was one of various cloud platform services required to make this scenario happen.

How to identify “blockchainable” processes and business topics (value drivers)

To understand the true value and impact of blockchain, we need to keep in mind that a verified transaction can involve any kind of digital asset such as cryptocurrency, contracts, and records (for instance, assets can be tangible equipment or digital media). While blockchain can be used for many different scenarios, some don’t need blockchain technology because they could be handled by a simple ledger, managed and owned by the company, or have such a large volume of data that a distributed ledger cannot support it. Blockchain would not the right solution for these scenarios.

Here are some common factors that can help identify potential blockchain use cases:

  • Multiparty collaboration: Are many different parties, and not just one, involved in the process or scenario, but one party dominates everything? For example, a company with many parties in the ecosystem that are all connected to it but not in a network or more decentralized structure.
  • Process optimization: Will blockchain massively improve a process that today is performed manually, involves multiple parties, needs to be digitized, and is very cumbersome to manage or be part of?
  • Transparency and auditability: Is it important to offer each party transparency (e.g., on the origin, delivery, geolocation, and hand-overs) and auditable steps? (e.g., How can I be sure that the wine in my bottle really is from Bordeaux?)
  • Risk and fraud minimization: Does it help (or is there a need) to minimize risk and fraud for each party, or at least for most of them in the chain? (e.g., A company might want to know if its goods have suffered any shocks in transit or whether the predefined route was not followed.)

Connecting blockchain with the Internet of Things

This is where blockchain’s value can be increased and automated. Just think about a blockchain that is not just maintained or simply added by a human, but automatically acquires different signals from sensors, such as geolocation, temperature, shock, usage hours, alerts, etc. One that knows when a payment or any kind of money transfer has been made, a delivery has been received or arrived at its destination, or a digital asset has been downloaded from the Internet. The relevant automated actions or signals are then recorded in the distributed ledger/blockchain.

Of course, given the massive amount of data that is created by those sensors, automated signals, and data streams, it is imperative that only the very few pieces of data coming from a signal that are relevant for a specific business process or transaction be stored in a blockchain. By recording non-relevant data in a blockchain, we would soon hit data size and performance issues.

Ideas to ignite thinking in specific industries

  • The digital, “blockchained” physical asset (asset lifecycle management): No matter whether you build, use, or maintain an asset, such as a machine, a piece of equipment, a turbine, or a whole aircraft, a blockchain transaction (genesis block) can be created when the asset is created. The blockchain will contain all the contracts and information for the asset as a whole and its parts. In this scenario, an entry is made in the blockchain every time an asset is: sold; maintained by the producer or owner’s maintenance team; audited by a third-party auditor; has malfunctioning parts; sends or receives information from sensors; meets specific thresholds; has spare parts built in; requires a change to the purpose or the capability of the assets due to age or usage duration; receives (or doesn’t receive) payments; etc.
  • The delivery chain, bill of lading: In today’s world, shipping freight from A to B involves lots of manual steps. For example, a carrier receives a booking from a shipper or forwarder, confirms it, and, before the document cut-off time, receives the shipping instructions describing the content and how the master bill of lading should be created. The carrier creates the original bill of lading and hands it over to the ordering party (the current owner of the cargo). Today, that original paper-based bill of lading is required for the freight (the container) to be picked up at the destination (the port of discharge). Imagine if we could do this as a blockchain transaction and by forwarding a PDF by email. There would be one transaction at the beginning, when the shipping carrier creates the bill of lading. Then there would be look-ups, e.g., by the import and release processing clerk of the shipper at the port of discharge and the new owner of the cargo at the destination. Then another transaction could document that the container had been handed over.

The future

I personally believe in the massive transformative power of blockchain, even though we are just at the very beginning. This transformation will be achieved by looking at larger networks with many participants that all have a nearly equal part in a process. Today, many blockchain ideas still have a more centralistic approach, in which one company has a more prominent role than the (many) others and often is “managing” this blockchain/distributed ledger-supported process/approach.

But think about the delivery scenario today, where goods are shipped from one door or company to another door or company, across many parties in the delivery chain: from the shipper/producer via the third-party logistics service provider and/or freight forwarder; to the companies doing the actual transport, like vessels, trucks, aircraft, trains, cars, ferries, and so on; to the final destination/receiver. And all of this happens across many countries, many borders, many handovers, customs, etc., and involves a lot of paperwork, across all constituents.

“Blockchaining” this will be truly transformational. But it will need all constituents in the process or network to participate, even if they have different interests, and to agree on basic principles and an approach.

As Torsten Zube put it, I am not a “blockchain extremist” nor a denier that believes this is just a hype, but a realist open to embracing a new technology in order to change our processes for our collective benefit.

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Why can’t Mathematica integrate Poisson distribution?

 Why cant Mathematica integrate Poisson distribution?

Whenever I try to integrate the Poisson distribution

$ $ P(\lambda,x) = e^{-\lambda}\frac{\lambda^x}{x!} =e^{-\lambda}\frac{\lambda^x}{\Gamma(x+1)} $ $

 Integrate[Exp[-\[Lambda]] \[Lambda]^x/x!, {x, 0, Infinity}, Assumptions -> {\[Lambda] > 0}] 

Mathematica cannot do it. It returns the exact thing you input.

But this integral, as a probability distribution function, should integrate to 1 and be within the program’s capabilities, shouldn’t it?

It could be that I’m unaware of something about $ P(\lambda,x)$ as I’m currently learning this stuff.

Edit: I’ve learned the integral is not equal to 1. Regardless, why can’t Mathematica handle this?

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Collections Managers — Do You Have “Willful Blindness”?

In the book Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan explains what happens when we choose to ignore the obvious. It’s a fascinating look at why it’s so easy to ignore what’s right in front of our eyes — and I’m afraid that I see many examples right here in the UK credit industry.

Now, I’m not suggesting that the majority of credit grantors are negligent, and bury their heads in the sand when it comes to the challenges that seem blatantly obvious to others. But, for collections and recoveries, credit control or debt management operation across the UK, let’s consider the following:

UK Economics Collections Collections Managers — Do You Have “Willful Blindness”?

We know all this – so what’s so obvious? Well, let’s add this to the mix:

  1. An unstable political landscape, coupled with difficult Brexit negotiations, leading to market uncertainties
  2. Regulatory changes for 2018 including IFRS 9, GDPR and PSD2
  3. The Bank of England continuing to hint at interest rate rises in the near future
  4. UK GDP forecast to fall to 1% in 2018
  5. A recent study conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority study found that an estimated 4.1 million people are in financial difficulty owing to missed domestic or credit bills

This would appear to add up to what some might describe as an impending “perfect storm.”

If so, you would expect that every business running a collections and recoveries, credit control or debt management operation would have a sense of urgency around investing wisely to ensure that they are able to adequately protect their assets, their cash flow and their customers against the impacts of all these challenges.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. While there are some great examples of businesses, across the UK and EMEA, that are on the front foot and delivering transformation in these areas, there are also too many examples of businesses where decisions, on whether to invest in collections and recoveries, credit control or debt management operations are being still being “discussed”, “prioritised” and even “delayed”. These businesses are likely to be in trouble when the storm hits, and fall behind in their ability to:

  • To provide a stable collections operating environment when things get really busy
  • Upscale their collections operations due to dependencies on non-automated technology & manual processes
  • Provide “Best in Class” support for customers who will be experiencing financial vulnerability, maybe for the first time

With so much “obvious” information available to us, so many “obvious” statistics, and so many “obvious” challenges on the horizon, investment in your collections and credit operations should be equally obvious. If it’s not, you may be displaying all the symptoms of willful blindness. The challenge is to recognize it now and do something about it before it’s too late.

FICO has significant experience of working with collections and recoveries, credit control and debt management operations across the globe, helping to solve the challenges described in this blog. If you would like to discuss how we might be able to help you act now, rather than leaving things too late, please contact huwvaughan@fico.com.

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About Krisgo

I’m a mom, that has worn many different hats in this life; from scout leader, camp craft teacher, parents group president, colorguard coach, member of the community band, stay-at-home-mom to full time worker, I’ve done it all– almost! I still love learning new things, especially creating and cooking. Most of all I love to laugh! Thanks for visiting – come back soon icon smile Still counts, right?!

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Jerry West’s Lessons in Leadership from SuiteConnect

Posted by Barney Beal, Content Director

Jerry West, NBA champion, Hall of Fame player, successful executive and literal icon of the 171004 SC SF17 KeynoteWednesdayAM 008157 Jerry West’s Lessons in Leadership from SuiteConnectleague, shared the lessons he’s learned about leadership and success at the recent Oracle OpenWorld and SuiteConnect events this month.

West’s illustrious 14-year playing career was spent solely with the Los Angeles Lakers, taking over as coach after he retired from the game. He also served as General Manager of the Lakers, which included trading for the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft Kobe Bryant as well as signing Shaquille O’Neal as a free agent.

“After many long conversations, the greatest elation I’ve ever had in my life was when I heard, ‘I’m coming. I’m coming to Los Angeles,’” West said of his recruitment of O’Neal. “The fortunes of this franchise changed overnight.”

171004 SC SF17 KeynoteWednesdayAM 008291 Jerry West’s Lessons in Leadership from SuiteConnectWest also served as the general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies before taking on consulting roles, most recently with the LA Clippers after a similar stint with the Golden State Warriors team that has won two of the last three NBA championships. He began with some quotes and readings that had inspired his leadership style over the years. West quoted JC Penney, “Show me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll show you a man who will make history. Show me a stock clerk without a goal, and I will show you a stock clerk.” And Eleanor Roosevelt, “learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

But West also shared lessons learned and some guiding principles he arrived upon over a lengthy career in the NBA. They were:

  1. Life must be fun, kindness is essential, and you do need to work at both.
  2. Smile, laugh, and be pleasant. This may sound naïve. It’s not.
  3. Be strong enough to say, “I don’t know.” When you don’t know or understand something, say so. Don’t guess, don’t fake it. If you don’t have the answer, say so. The following seven words often work best, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” You won’t mislead your colleagues, and people will respect your honesty and self-assurance.
  4. Life is too hard to be lived alone. Find time for your family. You only get one. Work at friendship. Develop a talent for friendship. Friends fill our life. They represent, perhaps, the purest choice you ever make in your life.
  5. Don’t be color blind. People are different. Your world is, indeed, a rich, open, diverse, multicolored, multiethnic, multi-textured, multicultural experience. Declaring that all groups are the same is a deception. Believing that some ethnic groups are better than others is a moral disgrace. We aren’t all the same. We shouldn’t try to be. Opposites attract and they also educate.
  6. Help some people along the way. Find a cause you care about. Involve yourself and start early in life. Try to start a fire in someone’s life who has enormous talent. And if you’re a leader, you’re going to make a difference in that person’s life. It is hard work identifying those talented people. Do not let them quit. Make sure you set high standards and goals for them.

“And finally, I’m going to leave you with these words,” West said. “How you work with each person is a unique art. Effective leadership depends on your ability to connect and motivate people. Not on your title, position, or power, but on the trust and respect for you. To me, it’s crucial for everyone’s success, particularly if you’re designed as a leader. People will forget what you said, and forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.“

Posted on Wed, October 18, 2017
by NetSuite filed under

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Get our latest eBook – Mainframe Challenge: Unlocking the Value of Legacy Data

If your organization is running legacy systems, you’re likely struggling to fully integrate your legacy data into new data analytics platforms and your business intelligence deliverables. That siloed data can also compromise data governance and security.

In our latest eBook, Mainframe Challenge: Unlocking the Value of Legacy Data, we review ways to help you tackle these obstacles so you can unlock the value of your mainframe data.

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Day 74 of golf for president of the US Virgin Islands – Fifth Weekend in a row

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Sending Web Requests to a REST API from a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Plugin

Recently I was tasked with developing a plugin that would send information from Microsoft Dynamics 365 to a REST API. Originally, I had developed this plugin in an on-premise environment, which caused issues for when I eventually needed to move it to an Online instance. I will discuss more on this shortly.

image thumb 2 Sending Web Requests to a REST API from a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Plugin

After creating the base for the plugin, as shown in the screenshot above, and creating an empty method which would send data to an API, I needed to decide on a JSON Serializer. This proved to be the most important decision I would need to make. C# has a bunch of options for working with JSON Serialization with built-in examples like JavaScriptSerializer and DataContractJsonSerializer. Third party serializers also exist online which work well like Json.Net. Originally, I decided to use the JavascriptSerializer class, which was personally easier for me to use as I was more familiar with it. This seemed to work when fully developed, but the catch was that the plugin would have to be registered with Isolation Mode = None. This caused an issue when moving the plugin Online, as plugins must be registered in the Sandbox.

To work around this problem, I decided to change my web request code to use the DataContractJsonSerializer class instead. Doing this meant I would need to add DataContract and DataMember attributes to the object classes and slightly alter the data that is being passed into the request.

image thumb 3 Sending Web Requests to a REST API from a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Plugin

After making this change I could send web requests to a REST API from my plugin. The code above is the method I used to accomplish this, which made multiple Post requests and passed in multiple DataContract objects.

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Georgia State University receives grant to train underrepresented students in IoT tech

 Georgia State University receives grant to train underrepresented students in IoT tech

Georgia State University (GSU) has received a $ 300,000 Digital Economy Initiative grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the largest community foundation in the world, in collaboration with Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility, to propel students, especially those underrepresented in the tech scene, to pursue a technology career.

“One of the biggest challenges facing technology organizations is finding talent to successfully navigate the next digital revolution, with new technologies such as the Internet of Things transforming the globe,” Phil Ventimiglia, GSU’s chief innovation officer, told Hypepotamus. “To be successful, students need to be able to effectively communicate, collaborate, and solve problems digitally.”

The three-year grant will fund a new Digital Learners to Leaders program, an initiative to encourage students to use IoT technology — from data sensors and machine learning to smart city software — to create solutions for challenges within their community.

“At Georgia State, we have been working to incorporate digital literacy skills and competencies throughout our core curriculum. This grant allows our students to augment in-class learning with exposure to professional problem-solving that will prepare them for the careers of today, and for future careers that do not even exist yet,” says Ventimiglia.

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) will lead the program and will host and pair high school students with university students to look at pain points across Atlanta’s educational, business, government, and nonprofit community. Through workshops, online activities, an annual conference, and internships, students will identify more effective solutions for those issues.

“It is part of CETL’s mission to provide innovative learning opportunities for Georgia State’s students,” says Julian Allen, senior director of learning innovations at CETL. “This program encourages students from diverse backgrounds to engage with leading technology experts to create real technology solutions that will benefit the local community.”

The program aims to help develop the state’s future technology-focused workforce and bring diversity to a growing field in need of new perspectives for problem-solving, says Tiffany Green-Abdullah, manager of learning community development at CETL. Georgia State, which is located in downtown Atlanta, has a diverse student body and connections to local businesses and community partners, and thus makes an ideal hub for this program.

“As technology transforms the way we live and work, Cisco believes educational institutions and organizations focused on emerging entrepreneurs can be a powerful force for change for local economic development,” says Tae Yoo, senior vice president of Cisco Corporate Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility, in a statement.

“Public universities such as Georgia State University not only have the capacity to meet industry demand for a digitally skilled workforce in the Atlanta area, but also play a leading role in shaping entirely new ideas and industries to fuel the local economy and create the jobs of the future.”

This story originally appeared on Hypepotamus.com. Copyright 2017

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Big Data – VentureBeat

PayPal Lets Messenger Users Send Money to Buddies

PayPal on Friday announced the immediate availability of its peer-to-peer payment service on Facebook Messenger, making it easy to exchange money between friends and family.

paypal mobile PayPal Lets Messenger Users Send Money to Buddies

PayPal also introduced its first-ever customer service bot, which gives Messenger customers payment and account support right in the app.

An agreement struck last year with Facebook allowed 2.5 million PayPal customers in the U.S. to connect their accounts with Messenger and use PayPal to shop on Messenger, as well as to communicate with other PayPal users, noted COO Bill Ready.

PayPal is the leader in P2P payments, he pointed out, with US$ 24 billion in volume during the third-quarter of 2017, up 47 percent year-over-year.

“We’ve seen interest from the 2.5 million people who have connected their PayPal accounts to Facebook Messenger that they would like to use this as a way to communicate with us,” said PayPal spokesperson Juliet Niczewicz.

Further, “the new PayPal bot for Messenger will enable people to have meaningful customer service interactions,” she told the E-Commerce Times, “such as resetting passwords, handling account inquiries, and helping with refunds or payment issues so they can handle their business in the context they are in.”


84899 620x292 small PayPal Lets Messenger Users Send Money to Buddies

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PayPal previously entered deals with Apple’s Siri to do transactions with voice commands, Niczewicz noted. It also partnered with Microsoft to allow money to be sent using Skype’s chat function.

PayPal earlier this year launched a bot on Slack that allows users to send payments while inside a Slack conversation, she added.

Payments can be made in Messenger by pressing the blue plus icon when composing a message and then tapping the green payments button.

To use the bot, customers can look for PayPal in the search field, type a message to PayPal, and the bot will appear inside the Messenger app. Customers needing further help can choose to connect to live PayPal customer service.

Expanding Messenger

Facebook originally enabled the sending of payments through Messenger more than two years ago, according to spokesperson Jennifer Hakes. That functionality required customers to enter a Visa or Mastercard debit number issued by a U.S. bank into Messenger, and it offered the option of adding a PIN for greater security.

Facebook has adopted a strategy of creating a broad consumer technology platform and working to keep users within it by offering services through Messenger, observed Jack Kent, director for operators and mobile media at IHS Markit.

“Making Messenger more of a platform for commerce and transactions also serves Facebook’s wider ambitions to drive platform monetization,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Bringing payments and advertising closer together can help drive up the value of ads and promotions inside the app.”

Chatbots help customers deal with straightforward transactions like reorders, sending gift cards or paying bills, said Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Promoting commerce inside a messaging app has been a standard tool in Asia for years — for example, with WeChat in China, she told the E-Commerce Times.

It has started to take hold in the U.S., she noted, with rival social media platforms embracing in-app commerce. Pinterest has introduced buyable pins, for example, and users can shop on Instagram.

While there appears to be a heightened in interest in automating these transactions, customers may rebel against having to interact with intelligent bots instead of live customer service agents, suggested Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at
RSR Research.

“Have customers embraced outsourced, scripted customer service reps who know nothing about the country or the products they’re supporting? No they have not,” she told the E-Commerce Times.

The best customer service often results form shaming companies over social media, Rosenblum said, based on her experience.

“Otherwise I end up with one of those scripted reps,” she said, “and it drives me nuts.”
end enn PayPal Lets Messenger Users Send Money to Buddies


David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.

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