Case Study—We report on a two-year project focused on the design and development of data analytics to support the cloud services division of a global IT company. While the business press proclaims the potential for enterprise analytics to transform organizations and make them ‘smarter’ and more efficient, little has been written about the actual practices involved in turning data into ‘actionable’ insights. We describe our experiences doing data analytics within a large global enterprise and reflect on the practices of acquiring and cleansing data, developing analytic tools and choosing appropriate algorithms, aligning analytics with the demands of the work and constraints on organizational actors, and embedding new analytic tools within the enterprise. The project we report on was initiated by three researchers; a mathematician, an operations researcher, and an anthropologist well-versed in practice-based technology design, in collaboration...
JEANETTE BLOMBERG, Distinguished Researcher, IBM Almaden Research Center
MARC BÖHLEN, Professor, Department of Art, Emerging Practices, State University of New York at Buffalo
TOM LEE, Director of Data Science, Fisher Center for Business Analytics, University of California Berkeley
What does a data expert see when they look at a design problem? This panel immerses us in the practices of two data experts, both of whom have collaborated with ethnographers, as they navigate through design challenges in different ways. Chair Jeanette Blomberg draws the panelists and audience into conversation about synergies and challenges for interdisciplinary design collaborations.
Jeanette Blomberg is Distinguished Researcher at the IBM Almaden Research Center and Adjunct Professor at Roskilde University in Denmark. She has done foundational work on ethnography in design processes over three decades, and her current research is focused on organizational analytics and the linkages between human action, digital data production, data...
Special Session: 10 Years of EPIC
Part 1: ken anderson, Intel
Part 2: Hiroshi Tamura, Re:public Inc.
Part 3: Jeanette Blomberg, IBM
Part 4: Simon Roberts, Stripe Partners
Part 5: Panel Discussion...
IBM Research CHUCK DARRAH
San Jose State University
Services and access to them are related to core societal concerns such as sustainability and the role of families and communities in people’s lives, themes of enduring concern to the discipline of anthropology. Our aim in this paper is to begin to outline arguments for why anthropology and the EPIC community more broadly should have a prominent seat at the table of understanding and engaging social change emanating from innovations in the service economy. The discourse on services advises that we are in the middle of a major transformation akin to the move from agriculture to manufacturing, where modern economies are becoming service economies and people’s relations to material possessions are being reconfigured through services. We suggest that if a major shift is underway in how people get on in the world then it is incumbent upon the EPIC community to consider the opportunities and limitations for shaping this transformation....
Moderator: TRACEY LOVEJOYPanelists: GENEVIEVE BELL, JEANETTE BLOMBERG, TIMOTHY MALEFYT, RICK E. ROBINSON
Between Hype and Promise: Two Decades of Becoming
The invitation to participate in this panel has been an occasion for a personal reflection on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re heading. The “we” here is not all encompassing, but instead references the people with whom I have shared all or part of a journey that began more than two decades ago. I want to begin by recounting a recent conversation I had with my friend and colleague, Lucy Suchman. Having been at IBM Research for about a year, I was telling Lucy about all the press coverage I was getting, you know the – surprise, surprise, anthropologists at Big Blue – sort of thing. Lucy smiled and reminded me of the file she’d been keeping for the last couple of decades, now quite hefty, with articles proclaiming the discovery of anthropologists or ethnographers in the corporate world. We had a good laugh, sighed, and then wondered...
It has been nearly 15 years since Donna Haraway wrote in Simians, Cyborgs and Women that, “In so far as we know ourselves in both formal discourse and in daily practice we find ourselves to be cyborgs, hybrids, mosaics, chimeras.” While Haraway’s referent was not the community of practitioners, scholars and change agents assembled for the EPIC conference, her attention to the particular arrangements of material goods, human labor and social relations in processes and histories that have consequences for people’s lives resonates with the themes addressed in the workshops and with concerns that bring many of us to this conference. In this talk I will explore how ethnographic praxis is constituted in and through our focus on the here and now of everyday practice by which logical divisions and dualism such as material – social, virtual – real, local –global, spiritual – secular are unmasked. Recognizing both our hybrid subjects and our hybrid identities, I will suggest we turn the analytic lens on ourselves...
This paper reports on the efforts of a global IT services company to transform the way it delivers IT outsourcing services. The change initiative was designed to bring about a radical transformation in the how work gets done across the enterprise with the expected benefit of delivering greater service quality and reliability at a lower cost. In addition, the standardization of processes and tools would allow work to move more freely from one location to another thus creating flexibility to meet changing demands. Based on a study of the impact of this initiative on four global delivery centers we explore how change occurs within organizations both as an ongoing achievement and as the result of explicit corporate initiatives. Taking account of the particular historic, geographic, demographic, socioeconomic, and cultural characteristics of individual delivery centers we trace trajectories of change with the aim of providing both a broad synoptic view given these differences in delivery centers characteristics and a detailed...