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Former Member

When I was sitting in front of my trusted laptop earlier this month with Clayton Christensen and Hasso Plattner (Wiki in case you forgot) bantering away in a SAPPHIRENOW keynote, streaming live into my immediate vicinity, I started thinking. They were talking about aggregates. Aggregates, aggregates and more aggregates. What are aggregates you might ask and rather than assuming you know, let’s get the good old dictionary out,



To form or group elements or data into a class or cluster.

So, now that everyone is clear on that, back to the spiel. Clay and Hasso were talking about aggregates, not just the data aggregates underlying business processes but aggregates as a general concept. I realised during this session that I'm an aggregate myself, a very refined and comprehensive aggregate, but an aggregate none-the-less. Looking at it from this angle, I found another definition I rather prefer,



a material or structure formed from a mass of fragments orparticles loosely compacted together.

I think that’s me, probably add “…loosely compacted together and sprinkled with childhood, parenting, teenage-ism (it should be an ism), adulthood, career, beer, wife, expectations…” and hundreds of other “fragments” life has presented me with. The list really goes on. But at the end of the day, I'm an aggregate.

What I'm getting at here is we, Homo sapiens, are heading into an era where we can be read as data by our surroundings, creating a new day-to-day experience, and in many ways a new evolutionary step. We will get to a point where elements of our persona will be fully digitalised and our external environment will “intelligently” engage with us, in the immediate term, through wearable technology and handheld devices. This will very like include implants down the line.

“So, if I’m an aggregate”, I asked myself, what does that mean in the world to come of high-performance powered platforms, interlinked every-things and the life of a 21st century human being?

  • Professional life and career: Well, in theory in some future setting you’d probably have enough processing power, the “Hans” data aggregate and a way to visualise it in some beautiful dashboard and benchmark me perfectly up against any job function, potential career paths and estimate when I might leave a company.
  • Healthcare and the good old GP’s office: Old news, already happening SAP HANA fighting cancer. This is just the start though, likelihood is they’ll use the “Hans” data aggregate from the onset of birth or embryo state and create a private medical plan from day one to cater to any potential heart problems, assorted rashes or hiccups. 
  • Personal life and interests: I finally see the coming of a proper, life-companion data aggregation platform that can basically read my mind and ONLY send me things that I’d find interesting. No more candy crush invites, no more wasting hours finding that perfect restaurant and I’ll be informed well in advance about the next Prince concert so I can actually get tickets for once.

The aggregate concept is manifold and I’m looking to do another post, maybe more as it’s intriguing, on how I see this theme resonate with certain elements of project delivery methodologies and how we go about IT projects. However, for now, I'm keen to have a chat about it as it's a fascinating topic and philosophically loaded with questions and concerns!

I personally find it fascinating being an aggregate, the fact we will have the opportunity to align our day-to-day existence with a personalised data-set of interests, in which relevant information will come to you rather than spending hours researching, Googling and waiting, cannot come soon enough. I want to be told if a coffee shop 5 minutes down the road got the perfect coffee for me based on my taste in chemical compositions, particular roasts and interest in Fairtrade.