You may think a short week leading up to a big holiday in the US wouldn't offer much big data news. You may think that, but you would be wrong. This week we've got an Oracle acquisition, an update from Couchbase, insight into how CFOs view analytics, and data-driven advice on when it's best to say "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings."
Let's start with Oracle's big news. Apparently the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based database and ERP giant quietly executed its deal to buy StackEngine in mid-December without much fanfare. There's no press release or blog post on Oracle's site about the deal. There's only this message: "On December 18, 2015 Oracle signed and closed an agreement to acquire StackEngine. All StackEngine employees will be joining Oracle as part of Oracle Public Cloud." So what is StackEngine all about?
The Austin, Texas-based company offers container management, taking the container technology from companies like Docker a step farther in its evolution. Management tools include a Docker GUI, and also Docker logging, monitoring, and load balancing. Separately, on Tuesday, Oracle announced plans to build a "next-generation technology campus" in Austin, where StackEngine is based. Oracle said it would expand its team in Austin by more than 50% over the next few years. The plan includes affordable housing for employees, designed to appeal to millennials, Oracle said in a statement.
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Back in Mountain View, Calif., Couchbase announced an update to its server. The new version adds full CRUD (create, read, update, and delete) support, as well as covering indexes and prepared statements to reduce latency of complex queries, according to a company statement. It also expands platform support to meet the needs of large enterprises and the developer community. Couchbase Server 4.1 is certified to run on both Windows 10 and the Apple OSX El Capitan platforms.
Cloud-based ERP software provider Intacct has released results of a survey conducted during the company's conference in November looking at how CFOs and VPs of finance view the promise of analytics. The vast majority (80%) of the survey's 114 respondents said they believe business reporting and analytics are the most important initiatives for supporting their businesses.
Finance professionals respondng to the survey said they want tools that provide them with a greater understanding of nuanced business performance metrics. Specifically, 61% of respondents said that data analytics would be among their top technology investments over the next 18 months, while 71% cited systems integration (multiple responses were allowed).
Respondents to the Intacct survey had wide-ranging responsibilities. More than half (57%) said they manage between three and five systems, and only 11% manage only their company's financial system. The results show that CFO responsibilities are evolving beyond functional aspects, according to Intacct.
Finally, if you are feeling flummoxed about whether to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings this month, you aren't alone. You'll remember Starbucks hit the headlines as the winter holidays approached because it chose a blank red cup for a minimalist holiday message which some patrons regarded as too religiously generic. It's enough to make you want to put your hands in your pocket, look at the ground, and not wish anyone a happy or merry anything. Yet, that withdrawal is really the opposite of what those greetings are all about, right?
So the data geeks and statisticians over at FiveThirtyEight.com have come to the rescue with data-driven guidance for us all. After reading it, I'm not sure I'm any more confident in wishing anyone greetings in December without getting into trouble for my good will. But it's a start. So, Season's Greetings/Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays, etc. to you and yours!
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