How Fast Is Knowledge Doubling?

The total amount of information in the world is increasing. Simple enough concept to grasp, right?  Obviously, we would then conclude that human knowledge is increasing as well. (*Enter your own joke if you care to do so.) I don’t think you need a degree in rocket science to reason that one out either. However, have you truly considered what the rate of increase really is on each of these and how the future will look concerning analytics and technology?

I was watching a program not too long ago and the host said something that really caught my attention. He said that human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. That’s when I lifted my head out of the bowl of SpaghettiO’s and started really paying attention to what he was saying.

From an article on Industry Tap written by David Schilling, the host went on to say that not only is human knowledge, on average, doubling every 13 months, we are quickly on our way, with the help of the Internet, to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.  To put it into context, in 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every 100 years. By the end of 1945, the rate was every 25 years. The “Knowledge Doubling Curve”, as it’s commonly known, was created by Buckminster Fuller in 1982. If you want to take this even further down the preverbal road, you combine this with Ray Kurzweil’s (Head of Google Artificial Intelligence) “singularity” theory and Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s ideas which are discussed in their book, “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business” and you have some serious changes to technology, human intelligence and business coming down the pike whether you like it or not.

Here are some numbers which can put the below chart into context but just keep in mind that whole “doubling every 12 hours” statistic:

Human Brain = several billion petabytes to index
The Internet = 5 million terabytes
Amount of Internet indexed by Google = 200 terabytes or .004% of the total Internet

I’m not saying that the mapping of the human brain is planned for next Thursday, but it should open your eyes to what lies ahead of all of us. Will you be able to keep up with all the technology and information and human knowledge or will you get left in the rearview mirror using an abacus? It’s just some food (maybe SpaghettiO’s) for thought.

Knowledge Doubling

One Version of the Truth is Not Attainable

One Version of the Truth is Not Attainable

I recently met with a financial executive of a large distribution company and he expressed to me his frustration.  The company had invested in a Data Warehouse and deployed a leading BI solution and yet, they still had issues with “one version of the truth” (OVOT).  They spent significant hours trying to validate which numbers were correct.

With a slight smile I said, “One Version of the Truth is Not Attainable.”  He looked at me in shock, because many highly paid consultants had told him he just needed to invest in a data warehouse and master data management (MDM) and then put a BI tool on top.  I continued to explain that for most organizations; especially those growing through acquisitions, one version of the truth would not be a reality.  However, there are definite steps and considerations that can get you closer to “One Version of the Truth”.

1. Leadership needs to come from the Business Executives
. Guiding your organization to realize the benefits of OVOT requires strict discipline. The Executive Sponsor needs to plan out their strategy for implementing the solutions, while looking at both the short term and long term goals.
a. Putting the right resource in place. Including knowledgeable subject matter experts in the core team may require pulling them away from their regular jobs and having others backfill, but the benefits will be tremendous.
b. Providing appropriate funding. By setting short and long term goals, you can prove incremental ROI’s and justify future expenditures.
c. Setting priorities. The leadership team needs to set the priorities and communicate them to the entire organization.  This should include establishing incremental steps to measure the ROI along the way.  Often times, other organizational priorities will be in conflict with the OVOT initiative, so executives must set the priorities.
d. Identifying and communicating risks of bad data. The business is really the owner and creator of data.  IT protects it.  The executives need to communicate that.  To be successful, the business must take ownership and understand the risks of bad or incomplete data.  When this message comes from the top, people listen.

2. Master Data Management (MDM) is not an IT project.  The business must be involved in MDM or cleaning and managing the data.  We recommend that someone with in-depth knowledge of the business be assigned to the team, as they can understand and articulate the impact of poor data quality on the business.
3. Strict change management. Once the data warehouse and MDM foundation have been established, strict change management rules must be established and enforced.  Various subsystems and business units should not be operating in silos where their changes can impact other areas of the business.
4. Silos of data in an acquisition. The reality is that if you are in acquisition mode, you will always have data sources that are not fully migrated to the corporate structures and systems.  You must plan to have short term and long term solutions to deliver reporting and analysis that includes data that has not come on board. I refer to this as the MacGyver approach, as you have to make it work with what you have on hand.
5. Eliminate “duct tape and super glue” reporting. Many talented BI report writers have been instructed to just make the reports work, so despite challenges with the data, they write queries and code into the reports to make them work.  I call this the “duct tape and super glue” method.  The report writers need to work with and communicate the data challenges to the data team so they can correct issues at the source. This issue is magnified as the organization pushes out self-service to the end users.  Duct tape and super glue will not withstand the pounding of end users.

If you would like to learn more about how to navigate data and realize an increased ROI on your Business Intelligence investment, contact Lodestar Solutions about our new Executive Coaching for Business Analytics at 813-254-2040 or email us at

The Difference Between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise

The Difference Between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise

IBM Cognos has two offerings for organizations looking for a complete Performance Management solution. One is IBM Cognos Enterprise Solutions and the other is Cognos Express. If you are looking for the power IBM offers, you may have some questions about what is the difference between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise.

So, we thought we would take a moment to walk through some of the differences. Note with each new release this information will change. IBM is expected to release a new Cognos Express version in the very near future and we will write again on Express once it’s released. As for now, IBM Cognos Express is positioned as the mid-market solution from IBM however, large companies can purchase it.

Cognos Express offers integrated modules for query, reporting, analysis, visualization, dashboarding and planning. Once installed, the product essentially creates a local data mart (via TM1) behind the scenes.

The biggest difference between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise is the number of users.

Express product supports a maximum of 100 users running a single server. Originally IBM had four modules in Cognos Express: Reporter, Advisor, Xcelerator, and Planner. Over the years, they simplified the licensing. In Express you can invest in Performance Management (TM1) or Business Intelligence, or both. Below is an older comparison to help you translate the old license to the Enterprise licenses. For the latest information on the differences between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise check out our most recent Cognos Express comparison blog.

Cognos Express LicensesClosest Comparable Cognos Enterprise Studios
ReporterReport Studio & Query Studio
AdvisorAnalysis Studio
XceleratorTM1 Modeler
PlannerTM1 Contributor
CompleteReport Studio, Query Studio, Analysis Studio, TM1 Modeler, TM1 Contributor

The biggest difference between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise is clearly the price. As of this posting, Cognos 10 Enterprise has a lot of new functionality that is not available in Cognos Express. Functionality like mobility, Business Insight, Active Reports and Metric Studio is missing. My recommendation is that you evaluate your business requirements and explore how both options meet your needs. Consider your expected growth. Make sure you will not out grow IBM Cognos Express too quickly and you will have to upgrade to Enterprise. Both offerings provide powerful Performance Management solutions, but check it out for yourself. Lodestar Solutions would be happy to answer any questions you may have on the differences between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise.

Link to Latest Version of Cognos BI

For the latest information, contact Lodestar Solutions at

How to create an innovative culture – Part 1

I recently attended the CFO Rising conference in Orlando, FL put on by  At the conference it became clear that as the economy continues to challenge all of us, the companies and people that are thriving have something in common.  THEY ARE INNOVATING!  So what exactly is an innovative culture?  Everything!  From streamlining internal process that are time consuming and inefficient, saving man hours, to looking at new revenue opportunities for their products.   I know not exactly ground breaking, but it made me think,  “How do we get people in our organizations to INNOVATE and have an INNOVATIVE CULTURE?”


People are often inspired when there is a competition.  So I challenge your organization to create an internal challenge.  Have each department come up with one idea they submit with an innovative idea.  The idea could be a method for reducing DSO, increasing sales, revamping a product packaging to be more user friendly, anything.


I recommend you educate the team members on how to present the idea.  I recently attend a Dale Carnegie course and loved their format for submitting innovations.  So I summarize below:

1. Background and state the issue
2. State three  proposed solutions each with  a).  Pros    b). Cons
3. State your recommended solution and why
4. State the Return on the Investment

For those of you utilizing IBM Cognos Planning it would be pretty easy to build a little planning model that they could submit their ideas.  IBM Cognos BI could be used to measure the performance of the innovation.


In discussing this with a client, he came up with the idea that you could reward the department team members a percentage of the savings/increased revenue that the company experienced as a result of implementing the innovation.  I really liked that idea, but make sure you pay on actual experience benefit not forecasted.

So, let’s get out there and work on having an innovative culture for your organization.

See Part 2 HERE