Taking Stock of 2011

Posted on 30th November 2011 by Chris Lewis

With the end of year rapidly approaching, I have decided to look back at a blog I did back in January where I was highlighting what things I’d be trying to do differently with a thought to what will be different again in 2012.

So here it is point by point…

I’m going to give up using Microsoft products. It’s time I gave some of the other software providers a go — I’m a bit tired of constant re-boots, security holes and crashes.

Clouded Judgment?

Posted on 21st November 2011 by Chris Lewis

At the start of this year I was really excited about what the Cloud can offer and how the current economic downturn was the ideal draw for companies to start taking it seriously.

How tempting is it to be able to off-load some of your back office systems and more mission critical systems and services onto the Cloud and save yourself a load of time, effort and money?

At the start of the year, I blogged enthusiastically about the Cloud.

It’s out there, it works and our own Business Intelligence software, CXAIR is a perfect fit for this kind of environment.

My Data Busting Waistline

Posted on 17th November 2011 by Chris Lewis

It’s a sad state of affairs when I order a new set of Jeans and I get delivered these low-slung skinny affairs, which I wear for a week before the top button pops off.

Why? Poor design (obviously) and the fact that my waist is not quite what it used to be. Like it or not, I’m gradually expanding…

I read an interesting article today that was titled “Getting Rid of Data — Why is it so hard” and for some reason found some parallel in what’s happened with my jeans…

Connexica and 848 Team Up to Put CXAIR in the Cloud

Posted on 20th October 2011 by Chris Lewis

Stafford, United Kingdom, 20th October 2011 — Leading cloud computing vendors, the 848 Group have signed an agreement to integrate Connexica’s Business Intelligence application, CXAIR, into its growing portfolio of cloud solutions.

Through the partnership, the 848 Group will provide implementation, support and consultancy for CXAIR within the cloud, alongside their existing communication, collaboration, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

Dashboard Bling

Posted on 29th September 2011 by Chris Lewis

As a developer and UI designer, I have always been fairly conservative when it comes to colour and how much information to put on a screen, however I am starting to wonder if a bit of bling on a new set of reports we are posting on the web would be “just the job!”.

Corporate branding and the economical use of fancy controls and charts has been the norm for me in the past, however ultimately, it’s down to your target market and not everyone wants Corporate.

Auto Update Strikes Again

Posted on 31st August 2011 by Chris Lewis

Some time ago I wrote a blog about auto updates having just fell victim to an inopportune re-boot when I briefly left my desk to make a coffee…

Well I am now a “Mac” owner and have recently fell victim of “Software Update”, a subtle alternative to Windows sneaky “he won’t notice that we’ve just fixed a problem he didn’t think he had whilst he’s nipping to the loo” approach.

So Internet Explorer users have lower IQs?

Posted on 3rd August 2011 by Chris Lewis

This one made me laugh when I read this on the BBC web site this morning…

Internet Explorer users have lower IQ says study

Internet Explorer users have a lower than average IQ, according to research by Consulting firm AptiQuant.

The study gave web surfers an IQ test, and then plotted their scores against the browser they used.

Turkeys won’t vote for Christmas

Posted on 29th July 2011 by Chris Lewis

Job Security is as important today as it’s ever been. There are lots of people out there in the job market vying for the same job.

The other day, a colleague said to me:

“Well what do you expect, you can’t expect a Turkey to vote for Christmas”

True words indeed!

Brand over Substance (Part 2)

Posted on 20th July 2011 by Chris Lewis

One of the first ever blogs I wrote was more a semi biographical review of my experiences in IT than the kind of blogs I write today…

Heart felt, writing something that could be shared with anyone who cared to read it, light hearted but also full of frustration.

Full of the frustration of how difficult it can be to get your voice heard when you have something really good but don’t have the reach or the brand recognition to get enough people to hear about you.

For a bit of nostalgia, try the following and see if anything here rings true…

Eating your own Dog Food

Posted on 13th July 2011 by Chris Lewis

I remember my time at AT&T some 10 to 15 years ago, when I first heard the expression “eat your own dog food”.

Our head honcho was singing the merits of using our own software for our own business needs not just pushing it out for other users to test drive and find fault with.

…If the software is not good enough for us, it’s not going to be good enough for anyone!

The less said about that particular brand or flavor of dog food the better, as the project was not a total success however as a concept it was bang on.

How “Free” is Free?

Posted on 30th June 2011 by Chris Lewis

In these days of austerity more and more people are looking for the next bargain and trying to find ways of slashing costs and trimming what fat they can to increase margin and profit.

When it comes to IT spend, we have noticed a change in peoples and companies mindsets over the past couple of years around their buying decisions and changing priorities as companies cope with a contracting economy.

Many people are giving more time to “Software as a Service” or “Pay as you go”.

P. Howard of Bloor Research Talks about CXAIR

Posted on 16th June 2011 by Chris Lewis

CXAIR from Connexica (which was previously Ardentia Search) is a BI tool specifically designed to support queries that span both structured and unstructured data, though it can equally well handle either one or the other on its own. It uses indexing (as in search-based indexing not database indexing) to extract structure from text, spreadsheets and so on and to support queries against that structure.

BI for Hybrid Big Data

Posted on 16th June 2011 by Chris Lewis

Most companies exploring the use of big data for business intelligence purposes do not simply want to analyse unstructured data, they also want to combine the results of that analysis with relevant structured data. They want their analytics to span all sorts of data, which we may refer to as hybrid data.

Read the full article to see how CXAIR helps

Martin Butler Research on CXAIR

Posted on 16th June 2011 by Chris Lewis

Business intelligence (BI) technology holds out much promise, but experience would tend to indicate that it can be difficult to use, requiring specialist skill and imposing considerable latency between need and information delivery. Connexica addresses these issues for many business needs and the ease-of-use has to be seen to be appreciated. Connexica offers something very different to the traditional and often arcane BI toolset.
Martin Butler Research

Outsourced Development is Not for Us

Posted on 13th June 2011 by Chris Lewis

My development team would nod their heads in agreement to this statement.

No one wants to find that they are being replaced with a cheaper and more flexible option that operates out of a different continent and time zone.

From a commercial perspective the benefits can be huge but for our business it’s a big no no.

I’ve been around in IT for the best part of 25 years and have worked for small and huge corporate beasts that go about their businesses in completely different ways.

Tweet me Happy

Posted on 3rd June 2011 by Chris Lewis

Although I have had a Twitter account for 9 months or more, I only really started to Tweet in April this year. The reason for this is that I saw it as the poor man’s Facebook and a quick fire gossip generator.

What value is there in a 140 character Tweet I asked myself?

If the numbers you get back off the Internet are even remotely close; 200 million Twitter accounts, 50 million Tweets a day, the answer is pretty clear.

There is a lot of value in a Tweet.

Panning for Gold with your Water Wings on

Posted on 19th May 2011 by Chris Lewis

Who would have imagined 20 years ago that the cyber airwaves would be jam packed with chaotic social chatter?

That people would be sharing everything about everything with everyone, in real time?

Through our constant Tweeting, Blogging, Face-booking, You-Tubing, Skyping, Linking-in, Instant Messaging and general need to communicate on a micro and global level our lives have changed forever.

On a social level it’s liberating and on a business level it’s empowering. The world has shrunk. Everyone can contact anyone at any time and more or less for free.

Next Generation Intelligence Goes Global

Posted on 18th May 2011 by Chris Lewis

Stafford, United Kingdom, 1st May 2011 — A next generation business intelligence systems provider, based in the Midlands, this week announced its new partnership agreement with a major international post-trade automation solutions specialist.

Through the deal, Information Mosaic will be able to offer Stafford-based Connexica’s business intelligence (BI) tool, CXAIR, to its clients in the securities and investment sectors around the globe.

Chris Finch, Sales & Marketing Director of Connexica, expressed a great enthusiasm for the deal.

Consolidation Versus Innovation

Posted on 4th May 2011 by Chris Lewis

So what happens when a new innovative product starts to get some traction in the market?

Does it get supported, backed and propelled into the market as the new big thing?

Does it get plagiarised and belittled by competitors as being lightweight and technically immature?

Do the competitors go head on and try to bury it under the corporate weight of their huge marketing machine?

“Usually all but the former, and when the innovation still has legs and can’t be buried it’s move to phase 2.”


Posted on 26th April 2011 by Chris Lewis

As more and more companies turn their attention to their Business Intelligence strategies, many are shifting their attention towards Social Media and trying to fold this into their corporate stack.

All the traditional BI players are scrabbling for position to align their offering with a growing clamor to make sense of the social noise that is out there through the likes of Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and LinkedIn etc.

So much noise and chatter and yet how powerful is that information if you are able to harness it for the benefit of your business and your customers?

If you know how to use social media for process improvement, identifying current market trends, listening to what’s in and what’s out, what the competition are doing, what people are saying about you – your business is going to be in a better place.

OLAP’s Only Half The Story

Posted on 13th April 2011 by Chris Lewis

Before I start, I’d like to make it absolutely clear that I think OLAP was a great technology and innovation, and when I first got introduced to it, I was blown away.

Although OLAP had been around a while, the first time I really started to become familiar with it was around the turn of the Century.

This makes me sound old but also shows how long OLAP has been around.

Coming from a relational background and spoon-fed on Oracle, Informix, DB2, Sybase and SQL Server I was firmly in the world of “Structured Query Language”.

Reporting the Facts

Posted on 30th March 2011 by Chris Lewis

Feeling totally underwhelmed with this weeks budget, I picked up the paper the other day to read in the Times a quote from the Government that the 1 pence reduction in fuel duty would save the average car owner £3 when they fill up.

Hmmm, what sort of car does the average household own?

£3 of savings equates to 300 litres, which in UK terms is about 66 gallons.

Apparently a Formula one car is limited to 220 litreswhich is just shy of 50 gallons, so what is everyone driving?

The Rise of the Home Worker

Posted on 17th March 2011 by Chris Lewis

With all the issues in the Middle East and the UK Government’s continued efforts to Tax us into surrender, the cost of fuel is now prohibitive.

I was going to say, “ starting to become prohibitive” but I think things have gone way too far already.

With the exception of the cash rich or generous companies paying out decent mileage allowances, a lot of people are genuinely trying to cut down travel expenses. People are finding it increasingly difficult to leave their homes.

Ever thought, “ what should I buy my wife for her Birthday?”

DIO Drugstores Implements CXAIR

Posted on 15th March 2011 by Chris Lewis

Diemen / Gouda, March 24, 2011 — DIO Drugstores, part of the Faco group of companies, signs an agreement with Systemation (Connexica’s representative in the Netherlands) to implement Business Intelligence using CXAIR.

The implementation of CXAIR, a next generation BI product, will be used for the analysis of DIO retail sales, credit management and category management optimization. The data from different data sources are indexed by CXAIR after which the users themselves through their browser, access and analyze the information.

IT Specialists Connect Through New Initiative

Posted on 14th March 2011 by Chris Lewis

Stafford, United Kingdom 1st March 2011 — A new business partnership agreement between two leading IT organisations is set to offer a unique set of services to businesses across the UK.

Stafford-based Connexica and C24, the hosting and IT managed services provider based in Birmingham, are pleased to announce a new working relationship late last week.

It’s all in the UI

Posted on 18th February 2011 by Chris Lewis

I remember someone telling me years ago when I used to work for AT&T that “You can’t mix technical with the artistic…”

This was a statement from a Technical Author who saw themselves as creative (despite having Technical in their title), and thought they knew better when it came to how to present text and pictures on a screen than a geeky programmer.

This person ended up working at Microsoft as a Human Factors Engineer so I thought she had a point. I think she ended up working on Vista so perhaps she didn’t…

Transparency International decides to use CXAIR

Posted on 16th February 2011 by Chris Lewis

Stafford, United Kingdom 31st December 2010 — Antavent, the business system integration and modernisation experts based in Dresden, are pleased to announce that Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, has decided to use the modern reporting and business intelligence tool CXAIR (formerly known as NetSearch) from Connexica. Antavent, as the German partner of Connexica, has already delivered and implemented the innovative BI tool and trained the end users after signing the contract in December 2010.

Transform and Adapt?

Posted on 4th February 2011 by Chris Lewis

I was reading an article on the web today about the modern day business information needs and an argument that ‘The good news is that existing BI architecture and its infrastructure, which includes powerful BI and database servers, are able to transform and adapt to meet the new analytical requirements’ of today.

What a cop out!

New Years Resolutions

Posted on 10th January 2011 by Chris Lewis

So it’s that time of year again. Time to come up with some things to give up and some things to strive for in the New Year.

I’ve over indulged at Christmas and need to make sure I’m lean mean and raring to go for a busy and hopefully fruitful year ahead.

So what am I going to give up and what am I going to do more of?

I’m going to give up using Microsoft products. It’s time I gave some of the other software providers a go — I’m a bit tired of constant re-boots, security holes and crashes.