internal_systems   11

Everything still to play for with AI in its infancy
February 14, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

the future of AI in business up for grabs--this is a clearly a time for big bets.

Ginni Rometty,IBM CEO, describes Big Blue’s customers applications of powerful new tools, such as AI: “Random acts of digital”. They are taking a hit-and-miss approach to projects to extract business value out of their data. Customers tend to start with an isolated data set or use case — like streamlining interactions with a particular group of customers. They are not tied into a company’s deeper systems, data or workflow, limiting their impact. Andrew Moore, the new head of AI for Google’s cloud business, has a different way of describing it: “Artisanal AI”. It takes a lot of work to build AI systems that work well in particular situations. Expertise and experience to prepare a data set and “tune” the systems is vital, making the availability of specialised human brain power a key limiting factor.

The state of the art in how businesses are using artificial intelligence is just that: an art. The tools and techniques needed to build robust “production” systems for the new AI economy are still in development. To have a real effect at scale, a deeper level of standardisation and automation is needed. AI technology is at a rudimentary stage. Coming from completely different ends of the enterprise technology spectrum, the trajectories of Google and IBM highlight what is at stake — and the extent to which this field is still wide open.

Google comes from a world of “if you build it, they will come”. The rise of software as a service have brought a similar approach to business technology. However, beyond this “consumerisation” of IT, which has put easy-to-use tools into more workers’ hands, overhauling a company’s internal systems and processes takes a lot of heavy lifting. True enterprise software companies start from a different position. They try to develop a deep understanding of their customers’ problems and needs, then adapt their technology to make it useful.

IBM, by contrast, already knows a lot about its customers’ businesses, and has a huge services operation to handle complex IT implementations. It has also been working on this for a while. Its most notable attempt to push AI into the business mainstream is IBM Watson. Watson, however, turned out to be a great demonstration of a set of AI capabilities, rather than a coherent strategy for making AI usable.

IBM has been working hard recently to make up for lost time. Its latest adaptation of the technology, announced this week, is Watson Anywhere — a way to run its AI on the computing clouds of different companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, meaning customers can apply it to their data wherever they are stored. 
IBM’s campaign to make itself more relevant to its customers in the cloud-first world that is emerging. Rather than compete head-on with the new super-clouds, IBM is hoping to become the digital Switzerland. 

This is a message that should resonate deeply. Big users of IT have always been wary of being locked into buying from dominant suppliers. Also, for many companies, Amazon and Google have come to look like potential competitors as they push out from the worlds of online shopping and advertising.....IBM faces searching questions about its ability to execute — as the hit-and-miss implementation of Watson demonstrates. Operating seamlessly in the new world of multi-clouds presents a deep engineering challenge.
artificial_intelligence  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  automation  big_bets  cloud_computing  contra-Amazon  cultural_change  data  digital_strategies  early-stage  Google  hit-and-miss  IBM  IBM_Watson  internal_systems  randomness  SaaS  standardization  Richard_Waters 
8 weeks ago by jerryking
Computer vision: how Israel’s secret soldiers drive its tech success
November 20, 2018 | Financial Times | Mehul Srivastava in Tel Aviv.
.... those experiences that have helped such a tiny country become a leader in one of the most promising frontiers in the technology world: computer vision. Despite the unwieldy name it is an area that has come of age in the past few years, covering applications across dozens of industries that have one thing in common: the need for computers to figure out what their cameras are seeing, and for those computers to tell them what to do next.........Computer vision has become the connecting thread between some of Israel’s most valuable and promising tech companies. And unlike Israel’s traditional strengths— cyber security and mapping — computer vision slides into a broad range of different civilian industries, spawning companies in agriculture, medicine, sports, self-driving cars, the diamond industry and even shopping. 

In Israel, this lucrative field has benefited from a large pool of engineers and entrepreneurs trained for that very task in an elite, little-known group in the military — Unit 9900 — where they fine-tuned computer algorithms to digest millions of surveillance photos and sift out actionable intelligence. .........The full name for Unit 9900 — the Terrain Analysis, Accurate Mapping, Visual Collection and Interpretation Agency — hints at how it has created a critical mass of engineers indispensable for the future of this industry. The secretive unit has only recently allowed limited discussion of its work. But with an estimated 25,000 graduates, it has created a deep pool of talent that the tech sector has snapped up. 

Soldiers in Unit 9900 are assigned to strip out nuggets of intelligence from the images provided by Israel’s drones and satellites — from surveilling the crowded, chaotic streets of the Gaza Strip to the unending swaths of desert in Syria and the Sinai. 

With so much data to pour over, Unit 9900 came up with solutions, including recruiting Israelis on the autistic spectrum for their analytical and visual skills. In recent years, says Shir Agassi, who served in Unit 9900 for more than seven years, it learned to automate much of the process, teaching algorithms to spot nuances, slight variations in landscapes and how their targets moved and behaved.....“We had to take all these photos, all this film, all this geospatial evidence and break it down: how do you know what you’re seeing, what’s behind it, how will it impact your intelligence decisions?” .....“You’re asking yourself — if you were the enemy, where would you hide? Where are the tall buildings, where’s the element of surprise? Can you drive there, what will be the impact of weather on all this analysis?”

Computer vision was essential to this task....Teaching computers to look for variations allowed the unit to quickly scan thousands of kilometres of background to find actionable intelligence. “You have to find ways not just to make yourself more efficient, but also to find things that the regular eye can’t,” she says. “You need computer vision to answer these questions.”.....The development of massive databases — from close-ups of farm insects to medical scans to traffic data — has given Israeli companies a valuable headstart over rivals. And in an industry where every new image teaches the algorithm something useful, that has made catching up difficult.......“Computer vision is absolutely the thread that ties us to other Israeli companies,” he says. “I need people with the same unique DNA — smart PhDs in mathematics, neural network analysis — to tell a player in the NBA how to improve his jump shot.”
Israel  cyber_security  hackers  cyber_warfare  dual-use  Israeli  security_&_intelligence  IDF  computer_vision  machine_learning  Unit_9900  start_ups  gene_pool  imagery  algorithms  actionable_information  geospatial  mapping  internal_systems  PhDs  drones  satellites  surveillance  autism 
november 2018 by jerryking
Auction houses embracing digital technology to sell to the new global rich
SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 by: John Dizard.

....The auction houses have been under pressure to adapt to this changing universe. While the most visible aspect of the houses’ digital revolution may be their online auctions, the most essential is in the systematising and networking of their customer, market and lot information. Without that, the auctioneers would lose control of their ability to charge gross margins in the mid-teens as intermediaries of the $30bn global art auction market....Within the quasi-duopoly of Christie’s and Sotheby’s at the top of the auction world, Christie’s has now moved to implement what it calls its “digital strategy”....Christie’s now has James Map (as in founder James Christie), a sort of private internal social network that allows specialists, client service staff, support staff and executives to see what is known about a client and his tastes. Past auction records, relatives’ purchases and sales, statistical inferences on how likely clients are to move from buying an expensive watch online to participating in a high-end evening sale – it all can be in the mix.

The idea, Murphy explains, was “to create an internal app that spiders into our database of information and brings up on our internal [screen] environment lots of connectivity. This is faster and better than the email chains [that it replaced].”....This summer, Sotheby’s announced a partnership with eBay, the online auction giant. While the details of the partnership are still being developed, it is understood eBay will distribute live Sotheby’s auctions to its global audience of 150m buyers.

Ken Citron, Christie’s head of IT

The digital strategy is also making it easier to take part in auctions. Even with all the unseen know-your-customer checks now required by financial supervisory agencies, it has become much faster and easier to register as an auction house client. About half now do so online.

But while the online revolution may have left some auction houses behind, for others it is generating new business. Auction houses used to regard the sale of smaller, cheaper objects from, for example, estate liquidations as an annoying loss-leader business that just wasted their specialists’ time. Now, however, many are making money selling objects for $2,000-$3,000; it’s just a matter of cutting transaction costs. “We have a new app with which you can take a picture, push a button, and it goes to a specialist, with a description. Then the specialist can decide if it might fit into an auction,” says Citron.
auctions  Sotheby's  Christie's  data  art  collectors  high_net_worth  partnerships  eBay  duopolies  digital_strategies  CRM  IT  margins  intermediaries  internal_systems  loss-leaders  transaction_costs  cost-cutting  know_your_customer  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  estate_planning  liquidity_events 
november 2016 by jerryking
The Choices That Led Small Business Owners to Wealth - The New York Times
FEB. 12, 2016 | NYT | By PAUL SULLIVAN

have to make decisions to professionalize the business, put systems in place and have a plan that allows them to do longer-term planning. Those decisions can make the difference between being a small-business owner and a business executive with significant wealth....“There is no bright-line test when a company gets to a certain size or age to do these things,” said Kevin M. Harris, head of the family business group at Northern Trust. “It is based on where the company wants to go.”

Determining which decisions were the ones that made the difference is sometimes not an easy task, and the stories that are retold are often the ones that turned out well. Yet it is worth considering what can go wrong.

Entrepreneurs who failed to find success were often resistant to change
small_business  wealth_creation  decision_making  entrepreneur  risk-taking  mindsets  JCK  thinking_tragically  Northern_Trust  owners  private_banking  choices  internal_systems  professionalization  high_net_worth 
february 2016 by jerryking
Captaincy
There are reasons for traditions and arrangements. Sometimes they are good and sometimes not, but they are reasons, explanations grounded in some sort of experience. I had a conversation about this a ...
Peggy_Noonan  management_consulting  bias_for_improvement  advice  bias_toward_change  biases  Jason_Isaacs  internal_systems  from notes
november 2014 by jerryking
Venture Firms Build Own Software to Gain an Edge - WSJ.com
May 22, 2013 | WSJ | By EVELYN M. RUSLI.

Sequoia is one of a growing number of Silicon Valley venture-capital firms now creating proprietary software to gain an edge in the increasingly competitive industry.

Some are creating apps to scout potential deals by aggregating data across the Web and their community of companies. Others are building software—like Grove, named after clusters of sequoia trees—to help grow companies they have already invested in.
venture_capital  vc  Sequoia  slight_edge  Silicon_Valley  mobile_applications  data_driven  trends  proprietary  software  internal_systems  investors 
may 2013 by jerryking
Five savvy questions for strategic success
Feb. 05 2013 | The Globe and Mail |HARVEY SCHACHTER
Playing to Win
By A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin

(Harvard Business School Press, 260 pages, $30)
The strategy worked, by satisfying the five questions:

* Winning aspirations. Most companies have lofty mission statements but the authors say that isn’t the same thing as having a strategy. It’s a starting point, statements of an ideal future.
* Where to play. In which markets and with which customers is it best to compete? This is a vital question, because you can’t be all things to all people if you want to be successful.

* How to win.After selecting the playing field, you must choose the best approach, which the authors stress might be very different from your competitors.
* Core capabilities. What capabilities must be in place for your organization to win?
* Management systems. What needs to be in place in your management approach to support the strategy, and measure how successful you are with it
Harvey_Schachter  Roger_Martin  questions  book_reviews  P&G  A.G._Lafley  strategy  mission_statements  ambitions  internal_systems  core_competencies  Instrumentation_monitoring  measurements  books  capabilities 
february 2013 by jerryking
Introducing Creating Value - NYTimes.com
September 13, 2012, 7:00 am3 Comments
Introducing Creating Value
By JOSH PATRICK

Most owners know more about running their businesses than anyone else in the organization. When it comes time to sell or transfer the business, prospective buyers aren’t interested in the skills of the buyer; they’re interested in cash flow. Buyers want to see regular growth and profit margins and a business that has systems that work without the owner.

I’ve been trying to understand how businesses build value for more than 35 years. One of the things I’ve learned – from the businesses I’ve owned, from reading a book a week for 35 years, from developing seminars for others and attending several educational sessions a year – is that value is in the eye of the beholder.
running_a_business  value_creation  blogs  entrepreneur  owners  cash_flows  internal_systems  professionalization 
september 2012 by jerryking
Shielding Intellectual Property - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 30, 2004 | Wall Street Journal | by BHARAT ANAND and
ALEXANDER GALETOVIC. Below we set out a selection of strategies that
have allowed companies highly dependent on their intellectual property
to live to fight another day.
(1) Nip it in the Bud. Some companies combat infringement by acting
before competitors can catch their breath. Intel famously pre-empts
misappropriation of its core assets by dominating the market long enough
to realize huge profits before reverse engineering, imitation, or
piracy can eat into them.(2) Overwhelm competitors by fashioning
internal operations into an engine of innovation.(3) Make a Bundle. If
one danger of piracy is to drive down a company's prices, why are smart
companies charging nothing for some of their products? (4)Move the
Goalposts. When the threat to their core assets is overwhelming,
companies must take more extreme action -- sometimes expanding into
related businesses.
intellectual_property  counterfeits  competitive_strategy  pre-emption  internal_systems  threats  core_businesses  reverse_engineering  copycats  piracy  property_rights 
december 2009 by jerryking
Corner Office - John Chambers of Cisco - Treasure Your Setbacks - Question - NYTimes.com
Aug. 1, 2009 | New York Times | Interview w. John Chambers,
chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems, conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.
(1) We’re products of the challenges faced in life; (2) Becoming a
great company involves encountering major setbacks--near-death
experiences--and overcoming them; (3) During stressful events, it’s
valuable to be your calmest, most analytical self; (4) Today’s world
requires a different leadership style — more collaboration and teamwork
including using Web 2.0 tech; (5) Build relationships with people who
have dramatically different views from yours by identifying and focusing
on areas shared in common; (6) Moving too slow or moving too fast
without process behind it are both dangerous; (7) Interview questions -
tell me about your results;your mistakes and failures-what would you do
differently this time? who are the best people you recruited and
developed-where are they today? Customer-oriented? Good listeners?
Domain expertise? Sports played?
Cisco  CEOs  leadership  lessons_learned  interviews  hiring  interview_preparation  John_Chambers  setbacks  teams  stressful  resilience  bouncing_back  collaboration  dual-consciousness  dangers  internal_systems  process-orientation  relationships  calm  industry_expertise  dissent  dissension 
august 2009 by jerryking

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