Phorum 16 on the 14th: Moneyball, "Systems of Insight"; The two are interrelated

Tom Paine

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Phorum 16, to be held on April 14, features a new venue this year, the recently opened Fillmore Philadelphia. This is the fifth year that PACT has hosted the Phorum event, and it has helped to establish a greater identity for,  and a stronger sense of community among enterprise software users and producers in the Philadelphia and mid-Atlantic regions.

It also features a theme, "Systems of Insight", which appears to have been coined by Forrester analysts led by Brian Hopkins and popularized in an article published last year, "Digital Insights Are The New Currency Of Business."

In fact, Hopkins, Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester, is scheduled to speak at Phorum.

"Systems of Insight," according the Phorum website , "allow the enterprise to collect data about the market, customer, and business, convert that data into usable information and apply institutional experience to turn information into knowledge. These systems enable companies to take standardized approaches in the collection, management, analysis and presentation of data. This standardization allows the repurposing of data to provide broad insight into the enterprise."

While "Systems of Insight" certainly incorporates "big data" in many instances, I think it goes somewhat against the trend towards the overwhelming data gluts often associated with big data efforts. Rather, it emphasizes having the tools to sort through masses of data to produce the right information at precisely the right moment a decision has to be made or a transaction completed.

The main keynoter at Phorum will be Paul DePodesta, who was featured in the book and movie version of Moneyball (he's referred to as Peter Brand in the movie). A Yale grad who isn't quite the nerd portrayed by his character in the movie, he helped Oakland A's GM Billy Beane introduce Sabermetrics (a method of using certain derived stats to relate value to money) to Major League Baseball.

After a difficult tenure as GM of the Dodgers (from which he was fired), followed by stints with San Diego and the Mets,  DePodesta left Major League Baseball for the NFL this year, becoming chief strategy officer for the Cleveland Browns, very high on the org chart. DePodesta had played some college football, and worked in the CFL a little,  so he knows the game. The use of metrics in football are much different than baseball and require different approaches, as the individual player stats relied on in baseball simply aren't as important at most positions in football, I would argue. Deeper, more granular analysis is required.

Allen Born, Director at Fairmount Partners and the Advisory Board Chairman of Phorum 2016, told me in a phone interview that DePodesta was booked before new position was announced, and it would be interesting to see how he addressed it. I wonder if he will comment on the Eagles.

At least DePodesta won't have worry about Johnny Manziel anymore.

As for the Moneyball approach in baseball, you can read recent articles saying that its either gaining ground or losing ground at the same time.

The Demo Pit, always one of Phorum's best features, has nine participating startups this year.  PeopleLinx (winner of "best in show" at Phorum '13) will be the first return participant. Although more mature than the other startups, its coming back to demonstrate the pivot it made after LinkedIn pulled key APIs and PeopleLinx reconfigured its service around the Salesforce platform.

In a new twist, Demo Pit participants will present in front of a panel of judges and the audience. One will be named as best in show.

Cloudamize, which this year added one of Philly's top tech executives, Bob Moul as CEO to supplement founder Khushboo Shah, will be showing off its cloud migration and cost management tools, now expanded to include to include the Google Cloud Platform in addition to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

The others, all from the mid-Atlantic region and several with Philly ties, include blockchain technology firm AlphaPoint and SaaS sales and marketing tools Boxter, DryDock and MLeads.

Phorum 16 is presented by Fairmount Partners and LiquidHub, and hosted by PACT, the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies.

Tickets are available at Phorum's TicketLeap site.

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