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Fergus Cloughley's Blog (64)

Business lessons from a 19th century railroad manager

Marketer Seth Godin:

“Without a doubt, the ability to connect the dots is rare, prized and valuable. Connecting dots, solving the problem that hasn't been solved before, seeing the pattern before it is made obvious, is more essential than ever before.”

Back in 1854, Daniel McCallum must have had a similar perspective.

During that year McCallum had been promoted to become General Superintendant of the New York & Erie Railroad.  In his…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on April 25, 2014 at 2:23 — No Comments

Business, data flow and the U.S. cybersecurity standard

Here at OBASHI a point made regularly is that,

Today as governments, businesses, and individuals we are increasingly reliant on flows of data, in nearly all aspects of our daily lives. Which means it is becoming ever more essential that standards for these flows of data are agreed and regulated.

Why would standards for data flows be a good…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on February 27, 2014 at 15:57 — No Comments

Data flow disasters and public confidence

When large businesses suffer major problems related to information technology, the bad news often hits the headlines, usually because a lot of money has been spent.

 

One example in the past few weeks is the cancellation of the BBC’s £100 million Digital Media Initiative, which was intended to transform the way staff developed, used and shared…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on June 27, 2013 at 4:29 — No Comments

The Legal Entity Identifier, Data Provenance and OBASHI

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the finance industry is working on a number of regulatory initiatives, including Solvency II, Basel III and Dodd-Frank.

Fundamentally, the aim of these various initiatives is to reduce risk, be it insolvency risk in the EU insurance companies, liquidity risk in banking, or systemic risk across the U.S / global financial sector.

One of the…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on March 27, 2013 at 6:35 — No Comments

Die Hard, data flow and the CyberCity

The other day, a little behind the times, I watched the fourth of the series of ‘Die Hard’ movies.

 

Detective Lieutenant John McClane had his hands full yet again, battling devious cyber criminals in Washington D.C.

 

The bad guys set out to ultimately do a bit of electronic money pilfering, and as part of their cunning plan they disrupt some of the computer-reliant critical networks that typically support a modern city.  By hacking into systems and interrupting…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on January 15, 2013 at 7:30 — No Comments

Data flow disasters around the world

As 2012 draws to a close, businesses of all kinds, in all parts of the world, continue to suffer ‘data flow disasters’.

Here at OBASHI, “data flow disaster” is the term we use for an event where a flow of data is interrupted or compromised, so that there is a negative impact on those who use or interact with that flow of data.

Here are a few examples of such ‘disasters'.  In no particular order:

UK - Prior to the 2012 Olympics, the…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on December 21, 2012 at 8:02 — No Comments

Business and the best laid schemes

One of the most famous works of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, is “To a Mouse”.

 

During 1785, on a bleak winter’s day, Burns addressed a field mouse whose home he accidentally turned up with his plough.

 

In the poem, the bard praises the ‘foresight’ of the mouse in building the ‘cozie’ nest in advance of the freezing weather, while there was still good grass to do so.

 

But, ultimately, one of Burns’ conclusions is that, although we can…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on November 1, 2012 at 6:30 — No Comments

Business and flow

A point we make regularly here at OBASHI is that in today’s digital world, it is important to understand how data flows through and between businesses.

 

We occasionally blog about “data flow disasters” - events that occur when a flow of data is interrupted or compromised, so that there is a negative business impact on those who use or interact with that flow of…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on October 22, 2012 at 5:10 — No Comments

Blood flow, data flow, and OBASHI

One of the analogies I sometimes use to describe how understanding data flow is becoming ever more important in business, is that of the doctor understanding blood flow through the human body.

Medical professionals have a clear understanding of the vascular system, which carries blood, and how it interacts with other physiological systems, and the various parts of the body.

When a vascular disease occurs, most often, blood flow in the sufferer’s body is…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on August 30, 2012 at 5:00 — No Comments

NASA, finance, and the engineering approach

There is an interesting juxtaposition between the brilliant success of NASA landing the Curiosity Rover on Mars last week, and the recent ‘software glitch’ at Knight Capital, which nearly wrecked the company.

 

NASA projects like Curiosity are highly complex and highly dangerous, yet, when we consider what they entail, failures are rare – why?

 

A key explanation is that good engineering practice is at the heart of space exploration projects.

 

For…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on August 17, 2012 at 2:57 — No Comments

A few more data flow disasters

“Data flow disaster” is the term we use here at OBASHI for an event where a flow of data is interrupted or compromised, so that there is a negative business impact on those who use, or interact with, that flow of data.

 

During what has been an extraordinary few weeks for major IT problems, there have been numerous such events, around the world and across many business sectors.

 

Here are a few examples, in no particular order:

  • Payments…
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Added by Fergus Cloughley on August 2, 2012 at 7:30 — No Comments

Technology risk and governance

“Technology Risk Management Guidelines”, is a research paper published by The Monetary Authority of Singapore.

 

The objective of the guidelines is, “to promote the adoption of sound processes in managing technology risks and the implementation of security practices”, in regulated financial institutions.

 

Although the…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on June 29, 2012 at 3:53 — No Comments

The simple big picture helps communication

“So how does that bridge work?”

 

A few years ago, one summer evening I was with my son and daughter, wandering the shore of the River Forth, the majestic road and rail bridges towering over us.

 

“Which one?”

 

“The curvy one” “The road bridge, that's a suspension…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on May 30, 2012 at 5:17 — No Comments

Data is lifeblood

In Chapter 3 of the OBASHI Methodology, we describe how understanding various flows has been critical throughout economic history:

1770s - mechanisation, factories, and canals – water 

1830s - steam engines, coal, and iron railways – steam 

1870s - steel and heavy engineering,…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on May 18, 2012 at 4:39 — No Comments

Why do IT projects fail?

In his blog “Who’s accountable for IT failure?”, Mike Krigsman argues that there are three reasons that IT projects fail.

 

  • Unrealistic and mismatched expectations – too many execs have misconceived ideas about what technology can actually do to solve business problems.

 

  • Conflicts of interest among customers,…
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Added by Fergus Cloughley on April 19, 2012 at 2:30 — No Comments

Another bunch of data flow disasters

On my way to meet friends the other day, I took a train to Waverley Station, the main railway terminal in Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh.

 

Although I was looking forward to the get-together, the tail-end of a heavy cold meant that I wasn’t feeling 100% fit.

 

As I made my way out of the station, I was delighted to discover that, as an alternative to the fearsomely steep steps on the main exit route from the building, escalators had been…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on March 9, 2012 at 3:09 — No Comments

The tyranny of technology?

A few years ago, some of the OBASHI team were on the road, driving to an important meeting.

 

The driver, who shall remain anonymous, was behind schedule, so when he hit the motorway he, ‘put the foot down’.

 

Unbeknown to him, a speed camera system was in place on some of the gantries above the road.

 

So, a week later, he was rather shocked to receive a speeding penalty notice through the post.  The document contained a crystal clear snapshot of…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on February 24, 2012 at 2:57 — 1 Comment

Davos, data flow and "meaningful discussions"

In advance of the recent Davos conference of business executives, think tanks and leading politicians, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published its “Global Risks 2012” report.

 

The report is a ‘call to action’ to global leaders.  It seeks better coordination and collaboration of

“...public and private sector efforts to map, monitor, manage and mitigate global risks...” …

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on February 10, 2012 at 3:05 — No Comments

OBASHI likes

This is the fourth in an occasional series of “OBASHI likes” posts, where we highlight the ideas of others who have recently made us think about aspects of business and IT from an interesting perspective.

 

We may agree with all, some, or occasionally none of what each writer says, but whichever is the case, their ideas are thought provoking.

 …

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on January 13, 2012 at 11:19 — No Comments

Cybersecurity and flow

Looking back at the past year, few issues have as quickly gained the attention of both business and political leaders as that of cybersecurity.

 

When we consider some of the cyber events that have occurred during the past 12 months, perhaps it’s not surprising.  For example,

 

Epsilon – in March, a successful cyber attack on the American marketing email…

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Added by Fergus Cloughley on December 20, 2011 at 3:57 — No Comments

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