See things clearly

Paul Wallis's Blog (55)

Data flow, crash and burn

For some years now, technologists have been developing ‘autonomous vehicles’ - cars which will be driven by computers, without direct human intervention.


Google, for example, is a pioneer in the industry.  In road trials, the company’s computer controlled cars have racked up 200,000 miles without any accidents.


Real-time flows of data will be critical to the operation of such vehicles in a…


Added by Paul Wallis on January 27, 2012 at 3:40 — No Comments

Some ways in which OBASHI helps with IT management

Over at Forbes.com, Dan Woods argues that,

“In every dimension, CIOs are facing an increased pace of change at the same time they are losing control over the computing environment. The number of assets they must manage is exploding. Consumerization, virtualization, cloud computing, software as a service, mobility are all increasing the complexity of the job of managing IT by orders of magnitude.”

In “The Coming Crisis of IT Management”, he…


Added by Paul Wallis on January 20, 2012 at 1:30 — No Comments

OBASHI – more than just software

Chateau Margaux 1983 is one of the many things I love about France.


My wife lived in France for a while so I’ve picked up her appreciation of the culture, food and language.


The French have a great way with language; they seem to find a way to say in a word that which takes a sentence in English. “Impasse” is one. I hate that word. I get a constant feeling of déjà vu (see what I mean) every time I hear it. It reminds me of a million meetings I was involved in…


Added by Paul Wallis on November 23, 2011 at 7:30 — No Comments

Finance: who's driving the bus?

During the last 15 months, here at OBASHI Think we have written a few blogs about IT in today’s data flow reliant finance industry.  For example,


Data flow disasters can sting

If a data flow is interrupted or compromised, it can cause chaos in the financial markets.



Added by Paul Wallis on November 18, 2011 at 11:30 — No Comments

Data flows in our daily lives

Last month, in ‘Under pressure: IT and the steam boiler’, I concluded that,

Just as it took the boiler industry many years to evolve to the point where it had clarity on flows, and could makes the best decisions about risk, IT and telecoms are set to go through the same pain.


More data flow disasters are inevitable – which means, because we as individuals are ever more reliant on flows of data…


Added by Paul Wallis on November 11, 2011 at 11:06 — No Comments

Security: Cloud vs. On-premises

Researchers at Ruhr University, Germany, recently informed Amazon Web Services (AWS) of security holes in the AWS cloud architecture, enabling AWS to fix them before any “customers have been impacted”.


The research team believes similar flaws exist in many other cloud services, potentially enabling, ‘attackers to gain administrative…


Added by Paul Wallis on October 28, 2011 at 10:24 — No Comments

HFT and data flow

Yesterday, the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), a global finance industry watchdog, published a report on High Frequency Trading (HFT), and other high-tech trading practices.


The report is a response to the financial ‘flash crash’ of 2010 (and numerous subsequent ‘mini flash-crashes’) in which HFT clearly played some…


Added by Paul Wallis on October 21, 2011 at 11:30 — No Comments

Under pressure: IT and the steam boiler

                ... a charred body, a bent watch, two rubber heels and a torn piece of clothing...

The remains of Chief Engineer David Rockwell were found on March 21st 1905, the day after an industrial explosion and intense fire occurred at the Grover Shoe Factory, Brockton, Massachusetts.


The disaster, in which 58 people were killed and 150…


Added by Paul Wallis on October 14, 2011 at 11:00 — No Comments

Understanding connections

When you are growing up, some television programmes bury themselves deep into your brain and just stay there.


For me, one such was the BBC series “Connections”, by the science historian, James Burke.


First broadcast in 1978, the documentary explored the ways our modern technological world came into existence.


As a kid, I would watch fascinated, as Burke would weave a thread through historical eras, making “connections” between seemingly…


Added by Paul Wallis on September 15, 2011 at 10:57 — No Comments

Be afraid – business as usual in Finance IT

In July, Information Age ran a roundtable debate with IT leaders to discuss various bank industry issues.  Here are comments made by some of the delegates:

“We still don’t understand what the exposure of the banks is to each other.”


“Some retail banks are running on 40-year-old…


Added by Paul Wallis on September 8, 2011 at 16:05 — No Comments

Zombies, dataflows and the CxO career apocalypse

Zombies and oil refineries really don’t mix well.


So it was with some alarm that I awoke abruptly last Sunday morning and heard nearby the chuckling voice of my teenage daughter, “Dad....dad....there’s a zombie massacre down at Ineos...can we go and watch?”


My first thought was that my old boss must have let Health & Safety slip a little, and that his job might be at stake.  Then I remembered Brad Pitt was in the district, filming “World War Z” close to…


Added by Paul Wallis on August 25, 2011 at 14:20 — No Comments


Somebody asked the other day what the difference was between OBASHI and UML. Here’s our answer.


While OBASHI wasn’t created to compete with UML there are areas where the two methods overlap, and in these areas it’s interesting to explore the different emphasis of the two methods, in capturing and portraying information.


First, a bit of background on ‘Unified Modeling Language’ (UML).


UML is usually adopted by technical IT professionals,…


Added by Paul Wallis on August 17, 2011 at 22:22 — No Comments

It’s time to shine a light on banks’ data problems

Here at OBASHI we believe that there is a pressing need for finance to “understand precisely how its product [money/data] flows and interacts with people, process and technology”.


This belief was further reinforced recently by the BBC’s ‘Business as Usual’, a radio documentary about continuing complexity in the financial sector.


The programme demonstrated that,…


Added by Paul Wallis on July 22, 2011 at 11:00 — No Comments

Data Quality and Formula 1

Formula 1 racing is one of my favourite sports.


From a technical standpoint, what is really interesting about F1 is how data intensive the industry has become during the last 10 or so years.


Today, the driver, engineers and car never stop communicating with one another.  Everything the driver does with the car on the track, in testing or during a race, is monitored and recorded using telemetry: a data transfer system that allows remote measurement and…


Added by Paul Wallis on July 15, 2011 at 9:30 — No Comments

The Four Servers of the Apocalypse

Generally speaking, most human beings aren’t very good at understanding risk.


The odds of being killed by a shark are roughly 1 in 3,750,000


The odds of being killed in a car crash are 1 in 84 (USA figures, source)


It’s hardly an original point, but which of those are most beach holidaymakers most concerned about?


In business, the…


Added by Paul Wallis on June 23, 2011 at 14:48 — No Comments

Data flow disasters can sting

Doyle Lonnegan, a ruthless New York gangster turned banker, is one of my favourite movie characters.


In ‘The Sting’, which is set in the 1930s, Lonnegan, (the brilliant Robert Shaw), is the victim of a sophisticated confidence trick which costs him the $500,000 he bet on a horse.


A con-artist convinces him he can delay the official results of races getting to…


Added by Paul Wallis on June 21, 2011 at 11:30 — No Comments

Is cloud computing ‘as safe as flying’?

Dennis Howlett blogged the other day about “Cloud computing advantages”, promoting the view that cloud is ‘as safe as flying.’


He uses a letter to The Economist written by Prof. Milo Martin to support the point.


Prof Martin compares cloud computing to commercial aviation, and compares car travel to internal IT systems.  He argues that,…


Added by Paul Wallis on May 30, 2011 at 13:00 — No Comments

Are there really black swans in the cloud?

Gallopin’ Gertie was the nickname given to the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge in 1940. 


It was so-called because shortly after being opened the bridge developed the unnerving habit of violently undulating during certain wind conditions.  After 4 months the bridge shook itself to destruction.


Today we know the collapse was caused by Aeroelastic…


Added by Paul Wallis on May 26, 2011 at 11:40 — No Comments

Good governance starts with data flow

Last week I read a great article by Cynthia Rettig, 'Can Market Regulation Keep Pace with Technology?'  In it she expresses her concerns about the speed of technological change in the finance industry.  She quotes the CEO of Interactive Brokers, Thomas Peterffly, who says,

What we have today is a complete mess.  Over the last 10 years, technology…


Added by Paul Wallis on February 10, 2011 at 16:30 — No Comments

Why does Information Technology exist?

By way of a simple example, here is the OBASHI take:


Every so often a company's CFO will phone an IT Manager because she wants to do some finance work relating to his department and she needs the manager to send her something so she can continue.


Often the work will entail dealing with some arcane accounting procedure that only a qualified professional can understand.  The same sort of thing often happens with company lawyers.  The workings of their world are…


Added by Paul Wallis on February 2, 2011 at 23:00 — 1 Comment

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