Sunday, April 7, 2013

Synthetic Learning will Create your SharePoint Experience

imageHow many of you have seen the movie Minority Report?

Do you think computers (or people) should be allowed to to make predictions about the future and define behaviors and actions based on those predictions?

Whether you think this should be the case or not … it’s happening. It’s happening today and it will continue to happen in the future. Of course, better technologies continue to come onto the scene. I don’t think we’re quite at the stage of having a pool of Pre-Cogs doing some of this predictive work. However, we do know that companies are capturing and mining data a pace we’ve never seen before.

More Data – More Thinking – Less Guessing

imageThere is more data created every minute than ever before in history. Whether it’s line of business (LOB) data, Social Data (think Facebook, Twitter and especially YouTube) or Environmental Data (think Video Cameras in buildings and on streets; and Sensors that are cropping up everywhere).

This image from Intel is over a year old and even from a year ago is stunning in the facts about data creation. 30 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute … of every day … 365 days a year. That’s just YouTube.

What if the data and the decisions found YOU?

imageThere are probably a lot of people working on this business and technical challenge today. I have the privilege of knowing one of the people working on this and I think she and her company are onto something. The company is Synxi (aka ManyWorlds) and the person is Naomi Moneypenny. imageFrom her time working in the Oil & Gas space to the work she has done to earn her PhD in Astrophysics she has been thinking about how computers and people can work “Better Together.”

What are they looking for?

They are seeking

valuable enterprise intellectual capital

Which includes the huge chunks of information that come across our desks and devices everyday AND those seemingly inconsequential tidbits that can make or break a decision cycle.

There is some overlap to the content coming from the Social Data stream … especially when that Social Data comes through The Social Enterprise. If you haven’t noticed, Microsoft is positioning SharePoint and the rest of the tools that “affect and enhance” social behavior to be “The Social Enterprise.” Which today means Yammer, Lync, Skype, SkyDrive Pro and Office 365.

Right Place, Right Device, Right Time

There once was a really smart guy by the name of Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft --- in case you didn’t know) that said this about 20 years ago. Interestingly, his statement is coming true.

Synxi and the work Naomi and her team are doing is seeking the best way to help get the right information … and JUST the right information to the right place at the right time.

The goal is to deliver JUST the specific set of information to the person, to the device, to the process at just the right time.

Anything more is extraneous and anything less could lead to the wrong decision.

How do they do this?

Synxi is developing a “learning layer” that adapts, morphs and LEARNS from the behavior of the user and of the systems that they interact with to get their jobs done.

The goal is to create what becomes a new form of valuable enterprise intellectual capital.

Where does SharePoint fit in?

Today Synxi has developed solutions for Tibco’s Tibbr and Yammer (which is now owned by Microsoft). They have also released a product for Microsoft SharePoint.

imageSharePoint has some unique advantages in that SharePoint is Ubiquitous. See my post about The SharePoint Headroom Myth for details, but the gist is … SharePoint is everywhere. And the good news for Microsoft is … SharePoint has a LONG way to go. This is also great for the Microsoft SharePoint Partner Community. Headroom is good.

Synxi is smart creating an offering for SharePoint for several reasons. (some of these points come from my interview with Naomi)

  • SharePoint represents a key hub for these adaptive discovery capabilities because it is widely deployed, stores a lot of information, and captures the requisite behavioral information on which detailed inferences of individual user’s interests and expertise can be based
  • SharePoint can span platforms … meaning Line of Business systems that might include ERP, CRM, PLM, SCM, ECM and any other systems
  • Using Synthetic Learning means SharePoint can extend across these platforms and learn on the fly to cross-contextualize and personalize among the platforms.

Ultimately the interface for adaptive discovery (as well as search) will migrate toward Siri-type natural language interfaces—a personalized and adaptive assistant to keep busy employees apprised of what they need to know right when they need to know.

As SharePoint continues to grow I am confident we will see more and more solutions that embrace Synthetic Learning to insure the (just the) right information is delivered to the right device at just the right time. 

Ultimately, Synxi and solutions like it will extend beyond SharePoint. However, the idea that SharePoint can act as a hub to enable user interaction and system interaction can help SharePoint achieve what I consider to be SharePoint’s ultimate destiny … to be the place to Surface Data.

What do you think?

  • Will we see self-learning SharePoint system?
  • Will you let SharePoint be self-defining?
  • Will you have a choice?

Let me know here in the comments or at my Social Media contacts points below.

clip_image001Jeff Shuey is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet, K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.

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image credits: intel, synxi, 20th Century Fox

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