An Integrated Health Database

It is interesting to note that the Apple Health application isn’t taking off very quickly. Several of the related apps that I use do not share data with the Health database, but they are willing to take data from the database. The program Lose It! connects but only draw nutrient data from the database and doesn’t share its own data. Fitbit has not expressed much interest and is not sharing. It is even surprising that Nike doesn’t share data yet, but I suspect they will soon.

This database will not be valuable unless various apps are willing to share their data which many likely won’t do. These sites would prefer that users have to visit their applications or web site (to see ads) and they don’t want it consolidated elsewhere.

Several possible scenarios might unfold:

  1. Applications vendors will choose not to take part (share) and the database will never reach a level where it has a complete picture of one’s health. At some point in the future it will quietly disappear.
  2. New vendors and applications will arise who want to play in this space and they will supplant the incumbents by providing this connectivity and this integration and users will shift away from the leading apps today to these new ones. In short, this is a time of disruption. Or
  3. Apple will be the main user of the database and a few other parties and it will never go very far beyond where Apple invests.

All of his ignores legal and privacy questions or challenges which might affect it too.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Google and Apple got together and used the same integrated database so applications built on either platform could share in the same format? Oh, sorry, I was just thinking…

Cloud Platforms and M&A Work

So I’ve been wondering if having a system in a cloud platform makes it easier to do M&A work, i.e. integrate an acquisition into your company’s environment. Is it easier to merge them into a cloud platform than to an on premise platform?

I know of what case where an acquired company and the acquiring company were both using the same cloud service. One might think it would be easy to merge them together, i.e. the provide could flip a switch or run a script or press a button and the domains would be merged. Not so fast, doesn’t work that way, actually very hard to do. In fact, a 3rd party is needed to merge the domains. Weird, strange and dumb.

In another case, three different companies that were merging used the same cloud service. In this case, it was easier, not because they could easily merge domains, but because all three companies had the same skills and knew how to use the systems and thus merge the systems. In this case, the new combined organization had lots of expertise that could be applied to consolidate the systems. However, one might argue that this would be true even if they were not a cloud platform, i.e. a on premise platform.

It seems to me that the advantage of having a cloud platform like Salesforce.com is that all the companies are on the exact same version. The cloud integration completely avoids the problem of being on the same software but different versions. That would seem to be the key advantage. Less variables to control.

What other advantages can you see? Is it an advantage at all? What do you think?

All About Project Management

I’m starting to think that IT is mostly about crisp, smart project management. IT teams are really teams that are trying to smartly implement technology solutions that have become so complex that they are hard to completely understand. Business processes and complicated software solutions are all about project management.

And wrapping around all of that is increasing need for information security. Protecting supply chain, technical and people information is becoming very hard.

Project management and security.

A few productivity ideas…

Thought I’d do a post, or several, on some personal productivity ideas. There are literally billions of lists or sites that will share with you the 11 things, or the 12 ways, or the 10 habits and I don’t want to add to that list. But resistance is futile and I must share some things that I use. So, here are some habits or methods or tools that I recommend. Feel free to ignore.

  1. Use Evernote. Get in the habit of saving receipts, pdf files, great articles, things you write, key things to remember, etc. to Evernote. Spring for the premium version and turn on 2-factor authentication and then use it as part of your memory. I can’t stress enough the benefit of using tools to remember and find things instead of depending on your memory. Change how you remember and find things and use Evernote.
  2. Use collaboration centric tools instead of stand-alone tools. Start using Google Apps(or similar) for work with others. Presentations, documents, lists, etc. No offense intended, but if you are doing things with the old office productivity tools and not using tools that are designed for teams, then you are locked into the past. There is a risk that you might be a dinosaur. Don’t be a dinosaur. Use the Google tools or similar.
  3. Manage your calendar and don’t let it manage you. Keep it correct and be looking ahead the next few days. If you can’t do something, even months in the future, then cancel it off your calendar. Respect those you deal with by honoring their time and yours. Be there on time and finish on time. If you are late to an appointment, then apologize. If you know of something years in the future, go ahead and put it on your calendar.
  4. Use a todo app on that smart phone in your pocket. Then everything you need to do, or must happen, or is related to an important deliverable, etc. is recorded on that todo application. You can use Reminders on the iPhone or you can use something far more powerful like OmniFocus which I use.
  5. Use https://www.instapaper.com(or an app like it) to save articles you want to read later. Install the app on your smartphone and you can read on the go.
  6. Use Feedly to aggregate all the web site you want to read. Then go there to catch up on the sites you want to follow instead of visiting all the different sites. You can use Feedly on your smart phone or Reeder to then read articles offline. Highly recommend. Then use Instapaper to save things you want to read later or send things you want to keep to Evernote. I use Evernote to save articles I want to save indefinitely. I use Instapaper as the holding place where I want to think about it further or I want to think about saving it longer. Evernote is only for the gems.
  7. If your todo app can accept email actions and put them in an inbox (like Omnifocus) then learn how to use this feature to forward emails that might require action later and turn them into todos.

There you go. Some thoughts on getting things done and staying organized.

Deep Integration

I watched the Apple WWDC today online. I think that today’s announcement was far more significant than it seemed. Releasing the iOS 8 developers kit with something like 4000 new APIs is stunning. Letting apps talk to one another and leverage services from one another is huge. The possibilities that are going to come from this can not be foreseen. Today didn’t seem like much, but I think it was. We’ll see later this year.

Seamless integration is a huge deal. Apple does that better than anyone.