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CTOvision Analytics Reporting for 2012: The year of the enterprise tool suite for analytics


SocialNetworkAnalysis_GraphThis special report provides insights from a our reporting over the last 12 months, including summaries of our Weekly Analytical Tools Newsletter. Be sure to sign up for this report by visiting

As a writing team we have close ties to the analytical missions of the national security space (our publisher, Bob Gourley, was an operational intelligence officer and analyst in the USN in his first career, and most of our other writers also have national security policy or technology experience).  So we were very happy to see more open reporting on the analytical mission needs of the national security sector in reports like the one provided by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance  on “Expectations of Intelligence from the Intelligence Community in the Information Age

This paper should be of high interest to anyone in the intelligence community or in policy-making positions in the national security community. It is a quick read that I highly recommend you dive into it yourself. Till you do, here is the bottom line of the paper: The nation still needs the intelligence community to learn what our enemies don’t want us to know. Although this requires lots of traditional intelligence capabilities, increasingly it also requires new methods of making sense of what is already known and knowable.

The paper is an important reminder that analytical tools, like all capabilities, must be mission focused and must be useable by human beings. The greatest systems are built so that they take advantage of what computers do best and what humans do best. This approach is why we have been so excited to watch the accomplishments of Thetus in 2012.  Reporting we did highlighting Thetus includes a quickstart tutorial at “Thetus Savanna: Powerful but easy to learn analytic tools

We also provided a fast and easy way for you to spend 40 minutes with one of America’s greatest data scientists by watching an embedded YoutTube clip of Jeff Hammerbacher providing his insights into real world analysis over data.  We participate in many Big Data events and listen to lots of speakers and found this YoutTube presentation was better than any of the in-person sessions we made it to in 2012.  Please make time and watch it, you will be glad you did.

We also reported on developments at Dow Jones regarding their analytical platform. They have moved their major services (including Factiva) to MarkLogic and NoSQL.  This got our attention. We are all on the lookout for use cases for how others are succeeding in solving their mission needs, and the Dow Jones approach is one worth more study, especially if you are in an information analysis/creation/dissemination business or a government agency with demanding information needs.

Analysts and modelers play critically important roles in helping organization make sense of their information and helping them make the right decisions. The people are the most important element in this system and this has pushed us as a tech blog to write more about human issues. One of our more popular pieces in 2012 was a reprint of a Dan Bouk piece first published at AmericanScience titled “Embracing and Communicating Uncertainty: Model Enabled Analysis and a Modeler’s Hippocratic Oath”.

In it, Dan provided context relevant to model based analysis in multiple domains. He also provides a review of the “Modeler’s Hippocratic Oath” that resonated with us. This oath:
~ I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations.
~ Though I will use models boldly to estimate value, I will not be overly impressed by mathematics.
~ I will never sacrifice reality for elegance without explaining why I have done so.
~ Nor will I give the people who use my model false comfort about its accuracy. Instead, I will make explicit its assumptions and oversights.
~ I understand that my work may have enormous effects on society and the economy, many of them beyond my comprehension.

We provided insights on a firm with a comprehensive and beautiful vision for enhanced analysis called RecordedFuture. Our reporting included a two part series on their user network conference (see here and here).

We also introduced our readers to a new startup called RapGenius. We believe this startup will cause dramatic positive change in the world of enterprise IT. For more see: Rap Genius: Coming to your enterprise

We reported on many other aspects of analysis and analytical tools through 2012, reviewing capabilities from firms like Datameer, Splunk, Kapow, MarkLogic, Cloudera, Thetus, SitScape, RecordedFuture, and RapGenius.

What does our reporting in 2012 signal for analytical tools in 2013?  We believe this will be the area of the most activity in the enterprise. We will keep and eye on and track developments in all other areas of it, of course, but all indications are that 2013 will be the year of analytical tools. We can also say these tools will increasingly be focused on users, enabling and empowering individuals in ways they never were empowered before. Enterprise CTOs will still need to configure and connect and maintain, but increasingly the users will be able to make more of their own decisions on the data they use and the queries they run and how results are displayed and shared.

Please join us as we track these topics in 2013. Sign up for our Weekly Analytical Tools Newsletter at

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

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