January 17, 2012

Historical notes on analytics — terminology

This post is part of a short series on the history of analytics, covering:

Discussions of the history of analytic technology are complicated by the broad variety of product category names that have been used over the decades. So let me collect here in one place some notes on how (and when) various terms have been used, specifically:

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January 17, 2012

Historical notes on analytics — pre-computer era

This post is part of a short series on the history of analytics, covering:

Sometimes, what people describe as being “New, new, new!!!” in analytics has actually been happening since before they were born, or even before their parents were. Occasionally, I point this out. 🙂 I think it’s time to collect some of those observations into a short series of posts.

Before getting to the history of actual analytic software, I can’t resist racing through some really old stuff. In a 2004 white paper, I wrote:

Transactional business processes have been around literally since the beginning of recorded history. Some of the oldest known writings are clay tablets that record merchants’ tallies in Sumerian cuneiform, complete with seals to enforce transaction integrity. Analytic business processes date back nearly as long, especially in military applications; the first chapter of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is called “Calculations,” or in some translations “Laying Plans.”*

As enterprise complexity increased, so did the sophistication of analytic business processes. Almost two centuries ago, Nathan Rothschild made an investment fortune from early news about the Battle of Waterloo, and several decades later Florence Nightingale** introduced statistics to the study of public health. With the invention of machines to tabulate information in the late 19th Century, analysis began to blossom.

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July 10, 2011

When professional services and software mix

I blogged a little last year about the rewards and challenges of combining professional services and software in a mature company’s business model. My main example was Oracle. But other examples from Oracle’s history might have been equally instructive. For example:

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March 25, 2011

Software AG and the commie spies

Something (I’ll drop in a link when allowed) made me recall the story of Software AG and the USSR. Apparently, the USSR attempted to acquire a lot of Western technology, including ADABAS. Software AG of North America cooperated with the Feds to try to catch the Soviet agent in indictable technological espionage — but then, with its usual flamboyance, ran ads bragging about the event. The writeup of all this I found when searching was some subsequent Congressional testimony.

This was all slightly before my time — I only entered the industry and met Software AG in 1981. So does anybody else out there recall more of the story than I do? 🙂

February 12, 2011

A software marketing pitch from 1972

In the process of researching my recent post on Management Horizons Data Systems, I came across an excerpt from a 1972 marketing brochure (quoted in the “History of Management Horizons” piece cited there). General notes include:

The exact verbiage is:  Read more

February 12, 2011

Sterling Commerce predecessor company Management Horizons Data Systems (MHDS)

I started drafting this post along with others around the time of my parents’ deaths, then put it aside. However, I have been informed that my father’s old colleague Alton Doody has cancer himself, and if we are ever to get his input, it would be best to solicit it REALLY SOON. 🙁 So I’m finishing this up now as best I can.

Here’s the part I know from my own memories as

My father moved to the Columbus area in 1973 to join Management Horizons, a consulting firm serving retailers. Management Horizons had its own spin-out already, a time-sharing company called Management Horizons Data Services (MHDS), with which it still shared a building on what is now Old Henderson Road in Upper Arlington. And, this being a world full of coincidences, MHDS is very on-topic for the primary focus of this blog (software industry history).

MHDS’ main business was a full suite of what we might now call ERP for distributors and/or retailers. That never amounted to much. But its secondary business was an electronic interchange for direct placement of orders, called Ordernet. Ordernet turned into Sterling Commerce, a > $1/2 billion company that has been acquired for >$1 billion more than once.

The chain of events, roughly, is:  Read more

November 9, 2010

For those who cared about the late Peter and Anita Monash

I have been writing a series of posts about my recently-deceased parents Peter and Anita Monash. A listing of them may be found below.

We now have details for their joint Celebration of Life, a better term than “Memorial Service,” or at least one less fraught with religious overtones. It will be Sunday, November 14, 4 pm, at Friendship Village of Dublin (address and directions below).

To quote a previous post:

Please make in-lieu-of-flowers donations to the Clinton Foundation, which is doing terrific work in Haiti relief, microfinance, tropical disease, HIV/AIDS, and much, much more.

Unfortunately the Clinton Foundation has no obvious “In Memory Of ____ ” option, so please feel free to make mention of a gift in the comments below, should you choose.

At this time I do not plan to blog at any length about my parents’ retirement years or final declines. More precisely, I do not plan to cover those subjects at length unless I am prepared to weave them into “lessons learned” kinds of posts. But to cover those in very abbreviated form:

Location details for Peter and Anita Monash’s Celebration of Life are:

And finally, I’m the executor of the wills of both Peter and Anita Monash — dated 2004 — and we have a glitch. There’s a bequest of some nice craft items to Robert Zwink, perhaps now or previously a resident of the Columbus, OH area, and I have no idea who Robert Zwink is. Mr. Zwink — if you discover this post, please contact me via the Contact link above. If you’re the wrong Robert Zwink, but have an idea of a namesake who might be the correct one, please help me out by putting us in touch.

The series so far

November 5, 2010

Anita Monash, marriage through retirement

My mother frequently said that the most important thing in life was health — if you had that, you could deal with the rest. Unfortunately, she often didn’t have it.  Read more

November 3, 2010

Anita Monash, the unmarried years

Anita Kaete Jonas was born June 23, 1928 in Dresden, Germany, to Kurt and Ilse “Ille” Jonas. She seems to have been quite the cute and spoiled little kid. She called her father “Kurtchen,” the diminutive of his given name; hence everybody else, including his patients, called him that as well. (They knew what she called him because she always insisted on answering the telephone.*) Her aunt (childless) and uncle evidently doted on her. Her father was a charmer, and my grandmother wasn’t so bad herself. It was one of those families.  Read more

November 3, 2010

Peter Monash, the third quarter-century

I’ve just written a long post about the general creative consulting endeavors my late father was involved in. Highlights specific to him included:

Along the way, he did serious work for major retailers around the world — Wal-Mart in the US, Migros in Switzerland, Tesco in the UK, Horten, Karstadt, and Kaufhof in Germany, Ito Yokado in Japan, COIN in Italy, and many others spanning the world, Brazil and South Africa not excepted. Read more

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