In an article I wrote a while back, Google to venture into Cloud, provide Open Source APIs, assist small businesses to be Cloud Solutions Integrators, I was talking in the abstract, but I saw on the Google site, buried way down their menus, under the ‘More’, and then select the ‘Even More’ option, and at the bottom left of the page you will see Innovation, Fusion Tables (Beta). Google is advanced, ready to compete with the database vendors, with a user friendly UI, better than I thought. They are currently providing a way to upload data to a Google Drive, then the user imports the data from the Google Drive, and using table views and Business Intelligence tools, allows the user to manipulate and share the data. The data allowed to be uploaded into tables seems limitless. Although, they state Google is still in Beta, and publicly are showing users can upload and link to Google data instead of allowing users to connect to external data sources, such as your sales transaction database, there may be an API in the works for 3rd parties to allow for integration using direct connections through drivers such as ODBC or a JDBC driver to integrate with transactional systems to stream data and not just uploaded Google data. However, this may be their strategy, to host all of the data, and have a migration utility. At this stage, they would like to house the data and have the cloud storage infrastructure, however, the strategic mid-term goal may be to allow you to house your RDBMS transaction data locally, and we could stream, and/or upload into their data warehouse to apply Business Intelligence to manipulate the data, and then publish it in multiple formats, e.g. they would display the data for public or private consumption, and I can also see you are able to then publish charts with commentary into your Google Plus stream with specific ‘Circles’. Brilliant. Hat’s off to you guys. If Google allows streaming of the data, or what we call data transformations from your e.g. sales transaction system to the Google data warehouse, then they would be competing with IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft.
Big Data Creates Opportunities for Small to Midsize Retail Vendors through Collective Affinity Marketing outside Financial Institutions.
In the Harvard Business Review, there is an article, Will Big Data Kill All but the Biggest Retailers? One idea to mitigate that risk is to create a collective of independent retailers under affinity programs, such as charities, and offer customers every N part of their purchase applies to the charity to reach specific goals as defined by the consumer. Merchants, as part of this program, decide their own caps, or monetary participation levels. Consumers belong to an affinity group, but it’s not limited to a particular credit card. The key is this transaction data is available to all participating merchants for the affinity. Transaction data spans all merchants within the affinity and not just the transactions executed with the merchant.
Using trusted, independent marketing data warehouses independent retail vendors share ‘big data’ to enable them to compete and utilize the same pool of consumer [habitual] spending data.
Affinity, marketing data companies can empower their retail clients/vendors with the tools for Business Intelligence and pull from the collection of consumer data. Trusted, independent marketing data warehouses sprout up to collect consumer data and enable it’s retail vendor clients to mine the data.
These trusted loyalty affinity data warehouses, not affiliated with a single financial institution, as previously implemented with credit cards, but more in line with, or analogous to, supermarket style loyalty programs, however, all independent retail vendors may participate OR may cap these affinity program memberships for retail vendor from small to mid-size companies.
Note: Data obfuscation could be applied so customer identification on fields like social security number will not be transparent, limiting any liabilities for fraud.
As I approach a gap in society, I take pause, and say, is that an opportunity, and why does that exist? If people seize that opportunity who will it benefit, and who will it detract? In this case, I see a number of Information Technology contract positions as right to hire, or just 3 to 6 month or more contract roles, sometimes hourly, sometimes, rarely daily. So I ask myself, as I look at my 1930 AFL-CIO cane, I collect canes as a hobby, why isn’t there a very good health care / organized labor system for the IT industry. You too may have also been excluded as an independent contractor in IT, or your own field. In IT, you either work for a company as a full time employee with benefits, or work for a small to mid sized consultancy firm with no or some mediocre medical benefits. If you work for a large consultancy firm, and are able to transition to a firm, fantastic. You also have the ability to collect good benefits in a large consultancy firm. However, if you are an independent contractor in the United States of America, you may financial barriers securing premium health care insurance, such as a PPO with a small co-pay and without a referral. I am on my 18th month of COBRA and my current small company plan, if I got sick, I would be in serious financial trouble. This ‘Pains’ me to say, but why don’t we have good collective bargaining for Information Technology Independent Consultants? That is a rhetorical question. It would directly compete with large consultancy companies, their ability to deliver good benefits, and transition someone to an organization. If I took a count of how many people were on COBRA, or without healthcare, may be contractors, and would be more than willing to use collective bargaining to strong arm health insurance companies for a great health care plan through organized labor, I suspect we could do more than the United States Government has not been able to do for the American public.
Sign up to express your interest in contractor labor benefits.
Update: Since I originally posted this message, with a small budget, I’ve been able to reach thousands of people to read this post. If you don’t sign up here, I urge you to try to do the same thing, and reach out to form local labor unions of your own. Other fields are, and have done this for a long time. Isn’t it time you’re field of labor collectively worked together in the hopes not just to network for jobs, but for [health] benefits?