When I was a little girl, I never considered Technology as a career.
When I was studying, it didn’t rank highly on my list of things to focus on- self development and Disease Models did! Indeed, I wanted to have a snail farm- but that’s another story.
With time the tools of ‘Technology’ have become more and more attractive. After a few years in the financial industry I ended up working for a tech company… A Girl’s Gotta Do What a Girl’s Gotta Do! This blog is an initial summary of my journey into ‘Technology’ and through ‘Technology’ – a sort of ‘what the girl can do with the right tools’.
- Computing everywhere/Digital products
I recently visited Iceland. I usually do a lot of research: create a personalised map, make a list of places and contacts (store everything online so I can access it while travelling), but if you have ever been to Iceland you would know that making any plans, especially in winter is almost pointless. The weather changes so quickly that you have to be prepared to be flexible (I know!). One sunny day, we left to explore the Snæfellsjökull region in the car; within the space of an hour we were stuck in the middle of the snowstorm. To my amusement, when we were sitting in the middle of nowhere (and I mean nowhere), in the middle of the snow storm, I still got better (free) internet access than in London and could easily change the route and check the weather. As a result we ended up visiting some utterly stunning places. I had access to all my research (routes, maps, lists) through apps, emails available instantly – I didn’t feel lost.
I don’t like ‘feeling lost’ in my work. I know there are companies that still have old-fashioned system architectures, e.g. if you created a presentation on your workstation – it is almost impossible to access it from the boardroom. Nobody likes to be limited, new ‘easy to use’ technology helps us to embrace the change: allowing us to have all important information at our finger tips whilst still preserving the security. We all do it in our private lives (apps, emails), I am learning how to do it in business.
- Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics
I don’t like too much choice – going to the restaurant and reading a sixteen page menu is my biggest nightmare. There is just no chance that all the dishes are as unique as you are lead to believe because people could not keep all the ingredients fresh. Most menu items will be a subtle variation of a just a few basic ingredients (most popular are: mushroom, chicken, tomato).
This is exactly the same with data (although it’s not quite as tasty) or the representation of it. If you were given a one hundred page report or access to a dynamic dashboard with charts and some key numbers – what would you go for? The value is asking appropriate questions and then analysing information (quantitative and qualitative) to understand the problem.
- Context-rich systems / Smart Machines / Cloud Computing / Web-Scale IT / Software-Defined Applications and Infrastructure
These terms are Greek to most people.
How do humans know that a cat is a cat? If you asked a random group of people, almost everybody would probably reply “they just are…” Now imagine programming a computer to recognise and identify a cat (and there are many different species) – challenging huh?
How incredible is the technology behind Siri/Cortana? How do they interpret your voice, understand the context and provide you with an answer within a few seconds? “Find me a restaurant” requires recording the command; processing locally (on the phone) and on the cloud (in a big farm of computing power); comparing speech against a statistical model to estimate the meaning of the command (letter by letter); creating a list of interpretations; select one; access GPS, map, restaurant records; review records and so on …. And all that in two seconds. “Cloud is the new style of elastically scalable, self-service computing, and both internal and external applications will be built in this new manner.” YES – every time you purchase something on Amazon you are contributing to ‘machine learning’. Guilty as charged… and if you are thinking, that that’s only for the ‘big guys’ and not for a small/medium size business – you are wrong. It is best to research what competitive advantage a change can bring, either in improving the operational aspect of the business or extending the customer base.
- Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection
Last but not least… ”All roads to the digital future lead through security” (Gartner). Simple firewalls are no longer enough, that’s true. IBM has reported a staggering 1.5 million monitored cyber-attacks in United States alone (of that almost 30% resulted in reputation or brand damage) and this figure is expected to rise a further 12%. You only have to look at the recent attack on Sony Pictures. Prevention is the key; business prioritisation, setting risk tolerances, implementing a proactive security plan, preparing yourself for the worst scenario and promoting a culture of security awareness is one step towards success. I was recently contacted by my bank, and the conversation began with “Good Evening, my name is xxx, I am calling from xxx, please can I ask you several security questions…” – my instant reaction was one of outrage! When I went to the bank the next day just to check my account, as I believed I was a subject of attempted fraud – I was quite surprised to hear that it was actually a legitimate phone call from the bank. The same bank is trying to raise people’s awareness and promotes campaigns ‘Do not answer a ‘fishing’ phone call and do not share your bank details over the phone, especially from people calling from unidentified numbers’.
A Vietnamese friend of mine would describe this strategy as “same same but different”. I have to say that the main reason for my initial outrage was the fact that I have recently attended a Security seminar that provoked more conversations about online security and how we can help other businesses to protect their assets. Challenging ourselves and our own organisations is important.
I now feel very privileged to work in IT. I get advice and guidance on the latest nuances of high tech, cutting edge business solutions and security, which only further increases my love of all things technology. If you would like to learn more about successful digital business contact give us a call or drop in to our town centre office for a chat.
Paulina Hruszowiec is a Business Analyst who operates at the very top end of statistical analysis, and specialises in the construction of analytic tools to facilitate data-lead decision making. She also has significant expertise in working with the industry standard reporting and analytic platforms.+44 (0) 1534 877247 or firstname.lastname@example.org.