The Excitement and Anxiety of What Big Data Could Mean to You

I was thinking of ways to describe the challenges of Big Data adoption, and I remembered an incredible video of a woman hearing her voice for the first time. Her reaction was an overwhelming mixture of joy and fear. When you fully embrace Big Data you will experience the joy of seeing all your data, and the fear of what it might mean. For years we have dreamed of being able to bust through the silos and bring together all of the databases and documents into one place. More recently we have even dared to imagine bringing in all of the external data including the treasure trove of social media. Now this is actually possible, so what's holding us back? The easy answer is cost, but as companies roll-out more and more applications at lower and lower prices we will need a new excuse to hide the real reasons. Here are a few: What if the data reflects badly on me or my...
Read More

A Big Social World in the Cloud

I am off to the first of seven conferences, and one bootcamp, where I will be speaking between now and early August. Lori will be joining me for three of the events which makes the whole experience a lot more fun. As I look at the topics a couple of things are clear: Big data is lumbering its way into philanthropy; and social media is moving into the mainstream of fundraising. Even subjects like private company research are now incomplete without acknowledging the value Big Data and social media bring to the table. The noise of social media and the thumps of Big Data coming to life can drown out a topic that seems so yesterday - Cloud Computing. This is where all data will converge. This is where data becomes Big. This is what connects the internal and external social worlds. Not surprising to see Salesforce out in front of this with their moves into social analytics. Yesterday Blackbaud announced its...
Read More

Part 2 – Best of Breed vs. Best of Vendor – The Blackbaud & Convio Saga Continues

Another day, another delay in the Blackbaud/Convio saga. My Google Alert set-up just for this unfolding drama took me to the page Blackbaud has set-up to cover the intended Convio acquisition: What is the latest update? Regarding the offer for Convio shareholders to tender their shares, on March 21, 2012, Blackbaud announced that it has extended the expiration of its cash tender offer for all outstanding shares of common stock of Convio to midnight, New York City Time, on Wednesday, April 4, 2012. The expiration date of the tender offer may only be extended in increments of no more than ten business days each, pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement between the companies. Regarding the ongoing DoJ process, Blackbaud will continue to respond to informal requests by the DoJ to provide additional information about its business, discuss the proposed transaction and answer any additional questions raised by the DoJ staff. Blackbaud remains committed to working cooperatively with the DoJ as it...
Read More

Best of Breed vs. Best of Vendor – Why Blackbaud Was (Sales)Forced to Buy Convio

The Blackbaud/Convio deal is not done (and in fact has been delayed for a third time), but it has sparked an increasingly heated debate about what the post Blackvio/ConBaud world will look like. The easy answer is less choice, less innovation, and higher costs. Based on previous Blackbaud acquisitions, those are good bets. What is harder to answer is the question of what is driving Blackbaud to make this very expensive acquisition which will saddle them with over $300 million in debt. Taking out a competitor; buying revenue (especially Convio's valuable subscription revenue); and obtaining clients they couldn't win with their existing products are all good possibilities and certainly have factored into past acquisition decisions. But I think there is something deeper going on. Blackbaud is a believer in the Best of Vendor business model which says that clients should buy all of their "solutions" from one company. The theory is that clients benefit from the vendor's ability to integrate multiple functions...
Read More

The 80/20 Rule Fundraisers Don’t Know About

When it comes to data most fundraisers would just like their queries to be faster and their reports on time.  Sadly they are often disappointed on both fronts so it's no wonder they are not asking the most important question: "Are my queries and reports accessing all of our data?" The answer is “No!” Before you send this to your intrepid database administrator let's take a quick trip in the tech time machine to when donor management systems started to proliferate. It is the 80's and entrepreneurs are beginning to use relational databases to create software to store information on donors. Contact information and gifts are the first to be digitized and fundraisers comment that this is not much better than the 3x5 cards that had served them so well before the Jobs/Gates era. Over the next 25 years data fields grew like kudzu and so did the size of our databases. It is understandable then that users assume when they ask a...
Read More