Investigative Analysis Part 1: Quantifying the Market Value of an Organization’s Intangible Asset Known as ‘Knowledge’

OK, so I’ve decided to conduct another multi-part study similar to what I did last year.

This time, I will be analyzing and attempting the quantify an organization’s intangible assets. Specifically, the following:

• knowledge, brands, reputations, and unique business processes

So, starting with knowledge:  Firstly, the chart is a little outdated but I will source the last two years and updated the graph later in the series.  Regardless, it is interesting none-the-less. And since I am the Queen advocate for measuring what matters and managing what you can measure, then consider the following my attempt to drink my own cool-aid – the following chart  depicts revenue growth over a 7 year period ending in 2008 – Those of you, my dear readers, who are also fellow Business Intelligence practitioners, should be able to attest at first glance to this statistical representation of Content Management Systems (CMS) and Portals YoY Revenue growth.

In fact, many of us have been asked to integrate BI dashboards and reports into existing corporate portals, like Microsoft SharePoint or into the native portals bundled with most Enterprise grade BI products like MicroStrategy or SAP/Business Objects, right? Many of us have been tasked with drafting data dictionaries, data governance documentation, source protected project and code repositories; ie – knowledge capture areas. But even in my vast knowledge (no pun intended), I was unaware that the growth spurt specific to CMS’ was as dramatic as this, depicted below and sourced from Prentice Hall

Laura Found This Interesting Folks!In fact, between 2001 and 2008, CMS’ revenue growth went from ~$2.5B to ~$22B, with the greatest spurt beginning in 2003 and skyrocketing up from there.


Conversely, the portal revenue growth was substantially less. This was a surprise. I must have heard the words SharePoint and Implementation more than any other between 2007 – 2009, whereas the sticker shock that came with an enterprise grade CMS sent many a C-level into the land of Nod, never to return until the proven VALUE cloud could ride them home against the nasty cop known as COST.

Aah – Ha moment, folks. Portal products were far less costly than the typical Documentum or IBM CMS.’

In fact, Jupiter’s recent report on CMS’ stated

“In some cases, an organization will deploy several seemingly redundant systems. In our sampling of about 800 companies that use content management packages, we discovered that almost 15 percent had implemented more than one CMS, often from competing vendors. That’s astounding, especially when you consider that an organization that deploys two content management systems can rack up more than $1 million in licensing fees and as much as $300,000 in yearly maintenance costs. Buying a second CMS should certainly raise a red flag for any CIO or CFO about to approve a purchase order.”

That’s 120 companies from the Jupiter study spending $1M in licensing, or $120M baseline. Extend that to all organizations leveraging CMS technology and therein lies the curious case of the revenue growth spurt.

To that, I say, Kiss My Intangible Assets! Knowledge is power, except when parked in someone’s head – Now, when will someone invent the physical drainage system for exactly said knowledge with or without permission of said holder? This gatekeepers need to go, and are often the dinosaurs fearing the newbie college grads and worst of all, CHANGE.

In part 2, we will discuss another fave of mine: Brand You!


Troubleshooting Apple Permissions Issue: MacBook Pro OS X 10.5.8 Grey Screen Spawned This Posting (again)

 Thought this support article from Apple’s KnowledgeBase website was really helpful and wanted to share…

Troubleshooting permissions issues in Mac OS X

Content from article:


Learn about the concept of permissions (or "privileges") in Mac OS X, issues that can arise due to incorrect permissions settings, and how to troubleshoot them.

Products Affected

Mac OS installation/setup (any version)

Using the Repair Privileges Utility

Most users of Mac OS X have not intentionally modified privileges and simply need a utility to reset system privileges to their correct default values. If you have Mac OS X 10.2 and later, this utility is included in the operating system. If you have Mac OS X 10.1 you can download it. For versions 10.0 to 10.1.4, you must update to version 10.1.5 first.

For Mac OS X 10.2 or later, open Disk Utility (/Applications/Utilities/). Select your Mac OS X startup volume in the column on the left of the Disk Utility window, then click the First Aid tab. Click the Repair Disk Permissions button. You may see an erroneous message.

If you have modified the contents of the folder /Library/Receipts, the Repair Permissions feature won’t work as expected. Repairing permissions requires receipts for Apple-installed software. Additionally, the utilities only repair Apple-installed software and folders (which does not include users’ home folders).

The remainder of this document contains more advanced information.

Note: In Mac OS X 10.5 and later, while started up ("booted") from the Mac OS X 10.5 installation disc, a user’s home directory permissions can be reset using the Reset Password utility.

Warning: This document describes how you may modify permission settings by entering commands in the Terminal application. Users unfamiliar with Terminal and UNIX-style environments should proceed with caution. The entry of incorrect commands may result in data loss and/or unusable system software. Improper alteration of permissions can result in reduced system security and/or exposure of private data.

Permissions Defined

Mac OS X incorporates a subsystem based on a UNIX-style operating system that uses permissions in the file system. Every file and folder on your hard disk has an associated set of permissions that determines who can read, write to, or execute it. Using the AppleWorks application and one of its documents as an example, this is what the permissions mean:

  • Read (r–)
    You can open an AppleWorks document if you have the read permission for it.
  • Write (-w-)
    You can save changes to an AppleWorks document if you have the write permission for it.
  • Execute (–x)
    You can open the AppleWorks application if you have the execute permission for it.

    Also note that you must have execute permission for any folder that you can open; thus File Sharing requires execute permission set for other, world, and everyone for the ~/Public folder, while Web Sharing requires the same setting for the ~/Sites folder.

When you can do all three, you have "rwx" permission. Permissions for a folder behave similarly. With read-only permission to a folder containing documents, you can open and read documents but not save changes or add new documents to the folder. Read-only (r–) permission is common for sharing files with guest access, for example.

Owner, Group, Others

Abbreviations like "rwx" and "r-x" describe the permission for one user or entity. The permissions set for each file or folder defines access for three entities: owner, group, and others.

  • Owner – The owner is most often the user who created the file. Almost all files and folders in your home directory will have your username listed as the owner.
  • Group – Admin users are members of the groups called "staff" and "admin". The super user "root" is a member of these and several other groups. Non-admin users are members of "staff" only. Typically, all files and folders are assigned to either "staff," "admin," or "wheel".
  • Others – Others refers to all other users that are not the owner or part of the group for a file or folder.

Since each entity has its own permission, an example of a complete permission set could look like "-rwxrw-r–". The leading hyphen designates that the item is a file and not a folder. Folder privileges appear with leading "d," such as "drwxrw-r–". The "d" stands for directory, which is what a folder represents. Figure 2, below, depicts how this looks in the Terminal application.

Abbreviating permissions as numerals

After a while, you might think that "-rwxrwxr-x" is a lot to type. And you’d be right. That’s why there’s a simple way to abbreviate permissions as numerals, ranging from 777 (-rwxrwxrwx) down to 000 (no access). An "rwx" becomes a 7, the sum of 1, 2, and 4, where 4=Read, 2=Write, and 1=Execute. A zero means no access. Each of the three numerals is the sum of permissions for Owner, Group, and Other, respectively. Thus our example of "-rwxrwxr-x" becomes 775.

Example: Creating a TextEdit document

Suppose you create a TextEdit document and save it in the Documents folder of your home directory. The document has privileges of "-rw-r–r–", so you can read and write to the file; but the assigned group and any other users can only read it. Because you saved the file in your Documents folder (drwx——), the group and other users cannot even see your file. The enclosing folder’s permissions effectively supersede the file’s own permissions. This is how the home directory structure of Mac OS X provides privacy. If you drag the file to your Public folder (drwxr-xr-x) and log out, another user could log in to the computer and read your public file.

Default settings for new files and folders

Ownership settings

  • User is the user that creates the new file or folder.
  • Group is default group of the user who created the file or folder.


  • Folders or directories: drwxr-xr-x
  • Files: -rw-r--r--

Root: The "Super User"

In Mac OS X, a super user named "root" is created at time of system installation. The root user has complete access to all files and folders on the computer, as well as additional administrative access that a normal user does not have. In normal day-to-day usage of your computer, you do not need to log in as the root user. In fact, the root user is disabled by default.

Issues Related to Permissions

Incorrect permission settings may cause unexpected behavior. Here are several examples with troubleshooting suggestions:

  • Application installers, Applications folder
    A third-party application installer incorrectly sets permissions on the files it installs, or even the entire Applications folder. Symptoms of the Application folder’s permissions being set incorrectly include applications appearing in the dock as question marks, and/or not being able to connect to the Internet. It is also possible that software installed while logged in as one user will be inaccessible when logged in as another. To avoid this, make sure you are logged in with your normal user account when installing software that you wish to use with that account.
  • Files created in Mac OS 9
    Files created in Mac OS 9 may appear in Mac OS X with root ownership. When you start up in Mac OS 9 on a computer that also has Mac OS X installed, you can see, move, and delete all files, giving you the equivalent of root access. For this reason it’s a good idea not to move or open unfamiliar files or folders when started up in Mac OS 9.
  • Power interruption
    The file system may be affected by a power interruption (improper shutdown) or when it stops responding (a "hang" or "freeze"). This could affect permissions. You may need to use fsck.
  • Software access=user access
    Most applications executed by a user only have access to the files that the user has access to. Backup software, for example, may not back up Mac OS X system files that have root ownership.
  • Emptying the Trash
    In some circumstances, folders for which you do not have write permission can end up in the Trash; and you will not be able to delete them or the files contained in them. Remember that in Mac OS X there is not a single Trash folder. Instead, each user has a Trash folder in their home directory (named ".Trash"). There is also a Trash folder for the startup volume, and Trash folders for other volumes or disks. When a user throws away a file on a local non-startup volume, the name of the folder on that volume is "/.Trashes/UID", where UID is the user ID number of the user (which may be seen in NetInfo Manager). In either case, all Trash folders are hidden from the user in the Finder. In these situations you can either start up into Mac OS 9 to locate the files and delete them, or you can use the Terminal application. Issues with emptying the Trash are much less likely to occur in Mac OS X 10.2 or later, since the Finder empties the Trash as the root user. However, issues may still occur with files on remote volumes for which your local root user has no special privileges.

Warning: Typographical error or misuse of the "rm -rf" command can result in data loss. Insertion of a space in the wrong place could result in the complete deletion of data on your hard disk, for example. You may wish to copy and paste the commands below into a text editor to verify spacing. Follow these steps to delete Trash for the logged-in user:

  1. Open the Terminal application.
  2. Type: sudo rm -rf
    Note: Type a space after "-rf". The command does not work without the space. Do not press Return until Step 6.
  3. Open your Trash.
  4. Choose Select All from the Edit menu.
  5. Drag all of your Trash into the Terminal window. This causes the Terminal window to automatically fill in the name and location of each item in your Trash.
  6. Press Return.

All of the items in your Trash are deleted. As an alternative method, you may execute these commands. The second and third commands will delete Trash belonging to other users. The commands are:

Warning: Typographical error or misuse of the "rm -rf" command can result in data loss. Insertion of a space in the wrong place could result in the complete deletion of data on your hard disk, for example. You may wish to copy and paste the commands below into a text editor to verify spacing.

Important: There is no space between "/" and ".Trash" or ".Trashes" below.

sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash/
sudo rm -rf /.Trashes/
sudo rm -rf /Volumes/<volumename>/.Trashes/

Note: To end the sudo session, you should either execute the exit command, or log out of Mac OS X and then log back in.

Respectively, this permanently deletes all files in the current user’s Trash, the startup volume Trash, and the Trash for other volumes (if any). These commands cannot delete locked files. You have to unlock them first.

Note: The sudo command can be used to temporarily obtain super user status and change permissions on files that otherwise could not be changed. However, it is only available if you are logged in with an administrator account, and it requires an administrator account user password for authentication.

How to View and Change Permissions in the Finder’s Info Window

The Mac OS X Finder can be used to inspect and modify permissions settings for some files and folders. You can only change permissions for files and folders of which you are the owner. This can aid in troubleshooting permissions-related issues. To view and change permissions in the Info window, follow these steps:

  1. Select a file or folder in the Finder.
  2. From the File menu, choose Show.
  3. Choose Privileges from the pop-up menu in the Info window.
  4. Using the pop-up menus, change permissions settings as necessary (Figure 1).
  5. Optional: If you are changing permissions for a folder and you want the changes to apply to enclosed folders as well, click Apply. Apply only appears when you show info for folders.

Note: Changes made using the Info window take effect as soon as they are made, even before closing the window.

Figure 1 Privileges in the Info window

Viewing and Changing Permissions With Terminal

The Terminal application is located in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder. You can use Terminal to inspect or change permissions. Unlike the Finder’s Info window, the sudo command gives you the convenience of root access without having to log out and back in as root.

Warning: Basic knowledge of the command line is required to utilize this tool. Data loss and/or unusable system software may result if the Terminal application is used improperly.

To determine the permissions settings for files or folders, open Terminal and navigate to the directory where the file or folder is located. Then execute the command "ls -l". The output resembles that in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Viewing permissions with Terminal

In the Figure 2 example, any user can read "File Name1.ext", because the read bit (r) is set for others. But the file is only changeable by root because the write bit (w) is only enabled for the owner, which is root. If the file is not a system file and you would like to be able to modify it from your normal account, you could change the owner with the following command:

sudo chown yourusername "File Name1.ext"

The file is owned by root, not by the user logged in, so the "sudo" command gives you temporary root access. Replace yourusername with your account’s short name.

Space syntax: Be careful when typing spaces in file paths within the Terminal. In the example, the filename is enclosed in quotation marks because it contains a space. Alternatively, you can replace spaces with a backslash followed by a space. Without the quotation marks, the same command would be typed as:

sudo chown yourusername File\ Name1.ext

For more information on changing ownership, groups, and permissions, see the man (manual) pages for chown, chgrp, and chmod. You access man pages by executing "man <command_name>". For example:

man chmod

By default, man pages are displayed one at a time. To read the next page, press the Space bar. To exit the man page, press Q.

Talking about Apple – Grey Screen of Perpetual Death – Macbook Pro won’t start up

Very interesting fact I wanted to share – While my blog has been centered on Windows based applications, usually in the BI space, I converted to Mac several years ago personally, and now, there is no going back. However, the recent security and firmware updates to Mac OS X (10.5.8 for me), has caused much to do about nothing (headaches to say the least). For those non-Unix folks out there, I thought I would post the work around to fixing that pesky grey bootup screen with the Apple logo we usually love and the spinning wheel signifying the system’s attempt to boot through the processes. This neverending cycle is infuriating to say the least. You will need to log into Terminal to run Unix-based commands natively in order to fix.

The root cause fixed by this work around has to do with changing permissions on the MacIntosh HD. I thought changing the <Everyone> group was a smart thing…Little did I know then!

Well, looks like your fixing to get some more command line experience.

If you unknowingly/knowingly changed permissions to "everyone no access"
here is the process to address:
restart the computer

When you hear the chime, hold down the Command and S keys BEFORE the Apple logo appears

Enter the following commands:

/sbin/mount -uw /
(press return)
/bin/chmod -R o=r,+X /
(press return)
/usr/sbin/chown root:admin /
(press return)
/bin/chmod 1775 /
(press return)
/bin/chmod -N /
(press return)
(press return)

The strange thing with each line of command, it has interupted me by a flood of line after line and telling me it "operation not permitted" after each line, then at the very end "bad file discriptor".
I tried the /sbin/fsck -fy and one more command that was on the screen, then exit (it was not something you had in your notes), It scrolled through several things then rebooted and FINALLY  my login screen! Be patient.

 Email me at for more assistance.

Scorecard Deployment @ Nameless Online Travel Company

While automation seems the natural next step for most companies getting into the performance management space, word to the wise: the pain felt putting together and iterating upon a manual scorecard is second to the pain you will feel if you try to deploy an online scorecard solution without a scorecard framework to work off of.


Whether you need to iterate once or many times, in the end, it will be worth it. We took nearly a year to work out the klnks in our manual scorecard program. While that may seem like a long development lead time, for us, it was the perfect time to meet with business owners and executives to generate ‘buy-in’; my personal #1 recommendation. Without upper-level management buy-in, a bottom-up, "grass-roots" effort will often fail no matter how diligently or effectively a team may work together. And will definitely cause frustration, if nothing else.


My #2 recommendation is to clearly define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in a collaborative fashion; stack ranking choices using a prioritization matrix, such as a QFD. To be more statistically rigorous in our methodology, we defined our KPIs using relative importance factors that were generated as part of a Partial Least Squares (PLS) model. What our PLS model facilitated for us was the ability to see into the Voice of the Customer and understand which satisfaction metrics influence overall customer satisfaction the most. If you think of a quadrant chart, in which you have Upper-Left, Upper-Right, Lower-Left and Lower-Right quadrants, where the x-axis is your satisfaction index (1 – 5) & the y-axis is the Importance factor as correlated to overall satisfaction, we overlayed our QFD stack rank against those factors from our PLS model that fell above the median range for Satisfaction & for Importance of the Factor relative to Satisfaction.






               Satisfaction (1 – 5), where 5 is ‘Very Satisfied’


MDX query for calculating trend

Member [Measures].X AS
‘Rank(Time.Calendar, [Calendar Month].Members)’
Member Measures.Trend AS
‘LinRegPoint(X,[Calendar Month].Members, [Sales Dollars], x)’
{[Sales Dollars],X,Trend} on Columns,
[Calendar Month].Members on Rows
From Sales
<end query>
I bolded the expressions that can be used in the BM Builder for calculating trend.

MDX training

My greatest advice to anyone who plans on using Business Scorecard Manager (MS) is to send 1 person to OLAP and MDX training – OLAP will give that person the ability to build your cubes, while MDX will give them the ability to modify and maintain those cubes. Why is this important?
As a user myself, I have run into walls with some of the aggregations of data that I want to show. For example, cumulative, YTD, moving averages, etc, all require custom MDX expressions in order to calculate them in the Scorecard tool. If you are smart, you plan for this by building these as calculated members. Well, let’s say your customers ask to see Standard Deviation, after your cube is built – How would you handle this request?
That is where MDX comes in – By using a simple expression, you can easily wrap the StDev function into a MDX expression & add it to the cube by building a new calculated member. It is that easy!
For the cost of the consultancy we use (who are great, but still costly) to maintain, modify and build our cubes, we found that the training cost was a fraction of just 1 weeks bill from them, so the payback period is short (if you use your training right away). It’s like riding a bike…If you don’t use it, you will lose it.