Hack, Analyze, Love

February 21, 2014

This is a story of Chris McKinlay, a Mathematics major PhD Student from UCLA and how he used unstructured data mining to find his true love.Chris, frustrated by the match-making algorithm provided by OkCupid, decides to take matters in his own hands. The story is as much about how he wrote Python robots to scrape data from online profiles as it is about the difficulties he faced in his approaches, and how he tweaked his approach. When OkCupid disallowed his robots to harvest data, he trained his robots to become more human- like. This allowed him to get 6 million questions/ answers from 20000 profiles. Then armed with all this data, Chris set out to find patterns. For McKinlay’s plan of dating like a mathematician to work, he needed to find patterns from this vast data—a way to roughly group the women according to their similarities. Being a hard core mathematician, Chris coded up a modified Bell Labs algorithm called K-Modes first used in 1998 to analyze diseased soybean crops and divided 20,000 women into 7 distinct clusters. These clusters were based on their answers, which were harvested using the robots! The story doesn’t end here cause Chris had to take all this theoretical analysis and had to put it real world tests by dating women from each of the clusters. It is truly a fascinating story that ends with a sweet ending.

Chris McKinlay used Python scripts to riffle through hundreds of OkCupid survey questions. He then sorted female daters into seven clusters, like “Diverse” and “Mindful,” each with distinct characteristics

Chris McKinlay used Python scripts to riffle through hundreds of OkCupid survey questions. He then sorted female daters into seven clusters, like “Diverse” and “Mindful,” each with distinct characteristics

You can read the entire article on wired.com.

We all have read many articles about the buzz word technologies such as big data, unstructured data analytics and Hadoop. However as this story goes to tell, these buzz words will soon start shaping our personal and social lives in ways that we never imagined! It is no surprise then that we now say, “Personal data is the new oil of our digital economy!”. This does raise concerns such as the thin line between big data and big brother, however that is a topic for an article some other time. Till then “hack, analyze, love!”


IoT Coming to a Door Near You!

July 31, 2013

We all have been hearing about the Internet of Things (commonly referred to as Io T) for many years now.  The name Io T is usually credited to Kevin Ashton for using it first all the way back in 1999. And we have all heard about how refrigerators will be able to monitor your food inventory and if you are running low on milk would automatically place an order! However after all these years as I gulp down the last cup of milk somehow I keep wishing for milk to automagically show up on my door steps!

However last week I came across a start up that made me think that I may be closer to “Got Milk” stage than ever before. The start up is called August, www.august.com. You must to watch their introductory video, they have indeed done a great job of it! 


I am sure you know of many such examples that are currently taking shape whether it is the central monitoring of all BMW cars or the ultimate Quantified Self via fitbit, nike+ and other plethora of apps!

Io T may have been slow to get off the starting blocks but I am sure that it is going to pick up rapid steam and we will finally start seeing the results all around us. I have reserved my lock, are you going to too? 


Another interesting thing about August is that they don’t even have a product yet. I am seeing this trend more and more where you come up with a great product idea and start selling. Once you have million customers signed up to purchase your product, they you go build the product! Another famous example of this has been pebble, which raised the $100000 funding in mere two hours! This model of doing business is extremely interesting but that’s a topic for another article some other time! Till then, I better go to my favorite grocery store and buy some milk!

Yin and Yang of Patents

May 18, 2013

This is one of my recent conference presentations on both sides of patents and innovation, I call them yin and yang of patents. (Click below image or use this link)


The Digital YOU!

May 15, 2013

Recently I was requested by a colleague to contribute an article to our Women’s Network magazine. The article had to be somewhat related to women in technology. Although I have written many articles before this task seemed a lot harder than I thought. I started panicking as the due date approached and past! Missing deadlines makes me very upset and then I realised that I never think of women differently from men and that was the reason why I was having hard time coming up with an article specifically for Women’s Network. So in essence I actually was practicing what Women’s Network preaches about gender diversity and equality. Once I got past this mental hurdle, following article just flowed naturally. Notice that I do give it a tinge of feminine tone, and now you know why? 

The Digital YOU


If I ask you when was the last time you checked how you look? It probably was today and just a few hours ago when you looked yourself in the mirror. We all put so much emphasis on how we look, how we dress, what accessories to wear to eventually ensure that we look and come across our very best. However if I ask you the same question with a slight twist, “when was the last time you checked how you look in the digital universe?” Very few of you will be able to give me a good answer!

Digital persona or digital identity is today’s reality. Even if you have not been actively managing your digital persona, you will be surprised as to how much information about YOU exists out there. Just do a simple google search on your name (with variations of your name) and see what comes up. Does anything come up at all? Is it you that shows up in the first ten results? Do you even show up at all? When was the last time you Googled yourself?

Today increasingly more number of people are relying on looking up your digital persona or identity even before you meet them. Perceptions get created based on your digital presence. And this trend is only going to increase with businesses around the world waking up to this gold mine of information. Businesses have already started mining and using this data to do targeted advertising, Recruiters are looking at this data to spot potential candidates and communities have started looking for next set of leaders. Prime example of this is the 2012 US Presidential elections. Obama had 21.7 million twitter followers versus Romney who had meager 1.7 million followers! Here is a good article that talks about how Obama methodically used Social Media to help him win the elections, http://www.europeanbusinessreview.com/?p=1627

So how do you go about building your digital persona? First and foremost, it is important to realize where you currently stand. Doing a simple Google search yourself is a good first step. 


Cleaning up your LinkedIn profile and keeping it up to date is a good second step. While doing so also make sure that your profile is complete and that there is a good photo associated with it. Remember in the world of Google search results, visuals matter. So when someone searches on your name, if they get your photo right away, then they are more likely to reach your digital persona correctly. LinkedIn also offers interesting ways to create cross links with your other digital content such as your slideshare presentations, blogs and publications. Doing so increases the likelihood that you will move up in the natural Search Engine Optimization!

Next you should carefully examine your privacy settings on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. These sites also offer fabulous ways to manage your own profile and avatar. Making sure you are paying attention to the security settings ensures that unwanted content will not show up in your search results.

You can further improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) score by doing some tactical things such as writing reviews on amazon and other such web sites. Every time you do so make sure you select your correct digital profile so that it will start to get crawled by the likes of Google.



Last but not least you should deliberately create a digital presence by writing blogs or micro-blogs. It also helps to write articles for on line publications. Speaking at conferences and then blogging about it helps too!

Just like character, it takes time and effort to build digital persona but the returns on the investment are long lasting!

So isn’t it time that you take digital persona seriously? After all you look yourself in the mirror at least three times a day! So why not make a pledge to Google yourself and check your digital self at least once in a while? 

Kickstart Conference Australia, a unique concept

March 4, 2013

Recently I attended Kickstart conference in Australia. Kickstart is an annual gathering of technology journalists from Australia and NZ regions. This is quite a unique conference format and I have not seen a similar gathering anywhere else in the world. The tech journalist community in ANZ region is relatively small and very closely knit. The format of the conference is also very interesting. Presenters get only 5-7 minutes to make their pitch and there are strict guidelines around what you are allowed to present. Pitching your company or pushing your products is a strict no-no. And the audience is one of the tougest audience to present to since they already know all the facts, figures and hot trends. Using buzz words is an instant turn off for this audience and they make it abundantly obvious in real time on the twitter-universe! Even then, this is one of my most favorite conferences to attend since it always challenges me to be at my best! Here I am sharing with you all a trascript of my presentation at this conference.

Kickstart 2013 Speech

Sunshine Coast, Australia. February 17th, 2013

Mandatory time limit for the Speech: 5 minutes

Audience: Tech Journalist from Australia/NZ Region

This is my second time at Kickstart conference and am very happy to be here. I have a dual role at BMC Software. I am the CTO for the region and I also run the Incubation team globally for BMC Software. Because of these roles, I get the opportunity to meet with hundreds of CIOs around the world and it is my job to track the evolution of Enterprise IT. So what I am going to share with you in next five minutes is what I feel is the Past, present and future of Enterprise Service Management.


If you look at where we have come from in last 10-15 years, we have made great progress. IT organizations in the past had no processes, no standardization, no virtualization, no automation. From there we have made significant progress towards using ITIL process frameworks and ITSM products. Most organizations around the world now enjoy the benefits of Virtualization and many of them have implemented Automation. This has resulted in great efficiencies in the way IT is run! It has been a great journey!


I characterize the past as teething and growing up issues. If you consider that we are in 2013 and entering teen years, we have new sets of issues to deal with.


If you look at the present, Mobile devices in an enterprise are exploding. Some organizations now have more mobile devices that they have to support than the laptops and desktops that they have. Think of it, we all went from desktop to laptop. That shift was unique because we REPLACED desktops with laptops. However what we are seeing today is that we are ADDING more devices without retiring the old one. So now I have a laptop, an iPad and a smart phone! So I just went from one device to three devices. This becomes a massive challenge when you have thousands of employees to support.


Cost structures continue to be the challenge for IT. Despite all the efforts, keeping the lights on still constitutes about 2/3rd of the overall IT spend. So how do you support these new services with the 1/3rd of the budget?


Agility is another trend that the IT has to cope up with. This is a great example of something that has become very critical in last 4 years. Four years ago most of the focus was on efficiency and automation. And what it enables is Agility. Ability to take an idea, building an idea, deploying an idea and getting value out of that idea in a very short duration is what the market demands and IT needs to respond to it.


We all know that the amount of data is exploding. I believe it was only last year that the number of connected devices exceeded human population. All these connected devices are producing vast amounts of data. And this is causing explosion of data in an enterprise. And lastly cloud has raised the expectations of service delivery like never before.


However even today, running an IT organization requires expert level knowledge. Think of it as a cockpit of an airplane, there are 100s of levers, buttons and controls to manage.

While we acknowledge that it is complex to run an IT organization, think of the experience of the end user of IT. In all through the past and present journey of IT, the end user, the actual consumer of IT services has been largely ignored!

 And this is more important NOW than ever before. WHY? Because while IT was ignoring the end user experience, the end user expectations have changed dramatically. We at the Office of the CTO have been observing this change very closely and it is amazing how much shift that has happened in last 3-5 years in terms of user expectations. Today the user has a much better IT experience at home than at work. This is a FUNDAMENTAL shift and is going to drive lot of expectations from Enterprise IT in the coming year.

Just like my kids, anyone who is born on/after 2007 is known as the smart phone generation. 2007 is when the first iPhone was released and it revolutionized the smart phone adoption and since then the world has not looked back. Smart phone generation is growing up with completely different expectations than what we have today!

Also the collaboration platforms that we have gotten all used to in our personal lives, whether it is facebook, twitter or whatsapp is raising expectations. Employees are coming into enterprise environment and asking why can’t they connect with their peers, partners and even customers the same way they can in their personal lives.


I am sure many of you will associate with this picture where at some point of time we all felt that we can be more productive by smuggling in our own device to work! J BYOD, bring your own device is well known now. But it does not stop there, it is bring your own applications and bring your own identity in the corporate or enterprise IT world. Today, I have a facebook identitiy, a twitter identity, a linked in persona and a corporate identity. I need all these identities to co-exist and accessible from work! While all of us would like to have the freedom of choosing the device we want, do you know what the CIOs think of BYOD? They call it Bring Your Own Disaster or Bring Your Organization Down! They have their own concerns of BYOD.


You must have heard the term Shadow IT, which is when users circumvent IT policies and process in order to get their work done. We have seen this with our customers where people started procuring servers using their credit cards on public clouds because their internal IT was too slow to respond. That is shadow IT. But IT Friction is also on the rise. IT Friction is when users feel that they are not getting the services they need from their IT department and hampering down their productivity. According to the analysts, IT Friction is causing as much as 20% loss of productivity!


So how should IT of tomorrow work?

  • IT needs to provide their users with the self service experience they desire from anywhere, anytime.
  • Expectations from IT is such that it will be able to deliver new applications faster than ever before.
  • And IT cannot get constrained by physical limitations of size, location. They should be able to flex their resources beyond their four walls.


This is what we call the transformation of front end and back end of IT.

So here is my prediction for the coming years. In order to survive and thrive, IT organizations need to become easy to operate, easy to use for the IT operators. For the end users, they need to become almost invisible and sort of magical!


This is what we call MyIT, which we are bringing to the market in coming months. In the coming year, we at BMC Software are going to lead this transformation of the back end and front end of IT. And I look forward to your support! Thank you very much!

It’s time for resolutions and predictions…

January 15, 2013

HappyNewYearNot keeping up with it has not stopped anyone from making new year’s resolutions! Similarly fear of failing is not going to stop me from making new year predictions! 🙂 So here are my predictions for the new year, 

Suhas’ IT Predictions for 2013 (and beyond)

More Focus on Driving Business through Innovation

Until now enterprise IT has been busy making itself more relevant to business. This is why we would always see “better align IT with the business” listed as one of the top five goals in CIO surveys. 2013 will be the year where IT will have to step up from worrying about better alignment with the business and move on to driving more business through innovation. The role of Chief Information Officer needs to evolve into Chief Innovation Officer, a role that will prove very strategic for taking organizations to the next level. Successful CIOs will make this transition and use analytics to map future needs of the business.

IT Becomes Invisible and Magical

Running an IT organization today is in many ways like flying an aircraft. There are hundreds of controls and levers and it requires specialized knowledge and expertise. However, passengers that are flying in that plane want a very  simple, on demand, rich user interface to the services they desire. Most planes today have mastered the on-demand experience for the passengers but the pilots still deal with a complex cockpit. Wouldn’t IT be nice if the cockpit also evolves into a dashboard of a modern car? That way IT administrators are not having to look at hundreds of controls and are able to run IT with minimal effort. At the same time, we want to make the overall experience for the end users so seamless that they don’t even realize that there is an IT organization behind everything that they are consuming. This is what I call invisible IT, where for the end user, IT is almost not there because things just seem to work like magic. And for the IT professional, IT is simplified and easier to runSo my prediction, if you look beyond 2013, is that in next 10 years most IT departments as we know of them will not exist. They will become so good that they will become invisible and almost magical! 

A CTO’s global test drive

January 15, 2013


This article was published in CIO New Zealand. The link to this article is here, http://cio.co.nz/cio.nsf/news/a-ctos-global-test-drive


Some times these articles are no longer accessible on the main publisher web site. Hence I am reproducing it here for my readers,

A CTO’s global test drive By Divina Paredes

A challenge keeps cropping up each time Suhas Kelkar has to work in an offshore office of BMC.

“Where are the meeting rooms, where are the printers? What is the wi-fi setting?” says Kelkar, Asia Pacific chief technology officer for the software company and head of its global incubation team.

“These are common IT challenges employees face because they are now becoming more and more mobile,” says Kelkar.

Mining his experience and those of his IT colleagues, BMC’s global incubation team took on this issue. Kelkar says the team also factored in what he calls a “collision path” between enterprise IT users and the evolution of IT services they use.

People are bringing their expectations of consumer technology into enterprise IT, he says. “Enterprise IT is struggling to keep up with those expectations.”

This is confirmed by Joe Pucciarelli, vice president and IT executive advisor at IDC, who says the best consumer IT companies have taught people to expect a lot from their IT experience. But much of that is lost as companies strive to balance access with risk, and often without adequate resources.

“What employees receive instead is often compromised in comparison to what they have in their personal lives,” says Pucciarelli. This results in an “IT friction” which he says can add up to 20 percent of employee workload.

The incubation group at BMC worked on what it calls MyIT app which Kelkar says is now on a ‘test drive’ with his team, and then to the company’s 6000 IT staff across the globe before the year end. Commercial customers will be able to obtain it in April 2013.

Related article: The eternal startup

He says the app is highly personalised, location aware and “smart enough to know” what solutions are needed by the individual user. “They don’t feel they are not leaving the consumer world.”

He says merging the two processes is like “giving a facelift to enterprise IT”.

Kelkar says for the past 10 to 15 years, the company has been working on “industrialising the back end” of IT, standardising and automating IT practices.

“What we recognise in recent years is that we also now have to focus on the front end, the end users, because that is where the consumerisation of IT is happening.”

“Employees want IT organisations that provide a modern ‘store front’ for IT services and information delivery and a ‘genius bar’ ability to manage and control the IT services and information they need to do their jobs. IT organisations must respond to this change,” he says.

Kelkar says the uptake of mobile devices has highlighted this trend. “Everyone is adding more devices to their lives, and they all want to bring these into their work life. It is putting a lot of pressure on CIOs around the world” to meet these user expectations.

“It is consumerising the front end for enterprise IT, he says. “Most organisations are struggling and trying to do something in this space,” says Kelkar.

As an early user of MyIT, he says that whenever he walks into any BMC office across the globe, the wi-fi configuration and local office map get pushed out to him. The configuration of the local printer is also done automatically.

In the past, he says, he has to request for a service as simple as setting the wi-fi or printer.