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Posts from the ‘Data Visualization’ Category


Customer Journey Analytics and Data Science

DigitalJourneys-WhyFortune 500 companies are making large investments around Programmatic Marketing (“Marketing that learns”). One of most often implemented use case in Programmatic Marketing is customer journey mapping and analytics.

Why? Because, deciphering the nuts-and-bolts” of individual customer journeys online (and deducing intent) is core to improving customer experience and driving brand loyalty.

Specifically, the objectives are:

  • Visualize and map the end-to-end customer journey by personas
  • Optimizing on the right journey attributes to increase yields  by >30% lift… Uncover the right combination of web, mobile and physical channels, content and experiences that  best achieves the target goals
  • Enable marketers to identify journey bottlenecks for individuals and aggregates
  • Leverage actual behavior data to enhance and personalize the experience for each individual customer


Read more »


Consumerization of BI: Data Visualization Competency Center

heatmap-pgWhat do users want? Self-service, interactive analytics with all kinds of datasets with instant response times, no waiting.

Today there is a strong move towards “Consumerization of BI” as business users are demand the same speed, and ease of use from their workplace applications as their at-home software.

Consumerization of BI means:

  • Help employees see and understand data
  • Helping employees gain insight into their data using simple drag-and-drop operations to solve business problems
  • Ability to quickly change filters and query conditions and conduct top down analysis via drill down
  • Make data analytics fast, easy, interactive, and most importantly – useful

In every major corporation there is a renewed push to industrialize and improve data visualization and reporting capabilities.

The challenge is not in procuring the next greatest tool or platform but how to organize the people, process and assets effectively to create value, reduce training and support costs.  In other words, how to facilitate and create a flexible operating model for data mining and visualization delivery that provides discipline at the core while giving the business the agility that they need to make decisions or meet client needs?

Decision making is a core business activity that requires facts and insights. Slow, rigid systems are no longer useful enough for sales, marketing and other business users or even IT teams that support them. Competitive pressures and new sources of data are creating new requirements. Users are demanding the ability to answer their questions quickly and easily.

So the new target state is to empower business users along the Discover, Decide and Do lifecycle:

  • Discover new insights by rapidly accessing and interrogating data in ways that fit how people naturally think and ask questions.
  • Decide on best actions by publishing dashboards, collaborating with others, discussing insights and persuading others through data presented in an interactive application (“app”) rather than in a static view.
  • Do what is best at each decision point with confidence, based on the consensus that develops when new data is aggregated and explored with multiple associations and different points of view. Teams can take action more rapidly and move projects forward more effectively when everyone understands the data underlying decisions.

The challenge for business users is data discovery and ease-of-use. They want to focus on aggregating and visualization. They want the interactive ability to quickly change filters and query conditions.

The challenge for infrastructure and application teams in every corporation is to deliver new easy-to-use platforms to their business partners quickly and consistently while maintaining governance and control.

To meet both sets of requirements, best practice firms are creating Data Mining and Visualization Competency Center or Centers of Excellence (DV-CoE) to ensure that the people, process and technology investments are not duplicated and addressed in a way that maximizes ROI and enhances IT-Business partnership. I have seen many cases where not having a proper structure leads to sub-optimal results. Read more »


Data Visualization, Discovery and Visual Analytics – Use Cases, Tools, CoE, Vendors

DataVisualizationNumerical quantities focus on expected values, graphical summaries on unexpected values.” – John Tukey, Exploratory Data Analysis, 1977.


Decision support needs better visualization. Scorecards, Dashboards, Heatmaps, Alerts, Management Reporting, Operations and Transactions Reporting are all enterprise example of data visualization outputs.

Some data visualization examples include:

  • Data Scientist — uses “R”, a programming language used for statistical modeling, to understand traffic flows and congestion patterns and advise on options to improve travel times for Local delivery drivers.
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative — uses QlikView on an iPad to access current industry sales trends and doctor prescription history while on a sales call with a busy physician.
  • Healthcare Chief Medical Officer — uses Tableau Software to analyze all aspects of hospital performance including population management, emergency room effectiveness and Affordable Care Act compliance.
  • Crime Analyst— uses Microstrategy to maintain a consolidated view of crime levels and optimize staffing allocations to dispatch police into high crime areas.
  • Retail Store Manager — uses QlikView to analyze which products are selling best which impacts store assortments and which products get featured vs which ones get discontinued.
  • Telecom Customer Service Agent — uses Spotfire to monitor call center statistics and how it translates into customer satisfaction and retention.


Read more »


Consumerism, Health Exchanges, and Payor Big Data – A Primer

EmployerRequirementsHealthcare Benefits are the 2nd costliest line item for companies in the U.S. So, companies are taking aggressive steps to reduce this spend. Consider this:

  • IBM is moving to a private health exchange…Extend Health private exchange will be handling plan options for 110,000 IBM retirees
  • Walgreens is moving employees to a Corporate Health Exchange. Of the 180,000 Walgreen employees eligible for healthcare insurance, 120,000 opted for coverage for themselves and 40,000 family members. Another 60,000 employees, many of them working part-time, were not eligible for health insurance.
  • Trader Joe’s  — decided to send some employees to the new public exchanges. Trader Joe’s has left coverage for three-quarters of its work force untouched but is giving part-time workers a contribution of $500 to buy policies. Because of the employees’ low incomes, the company says it believes many will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them afford coverage.

For the past year I have done strategy and implementation work in the employee Healthcare benefits and Private Exchange area.  I wanted to share my insights into the massive structural changes taking place in health insurance. The move to patient-centered, consumer-driven, and value-based models is real.

This posting has been updated and posted on



2014 Year in PreReview for Big Data Analytics

In the movie “Minority Report,” set in 2054,Time Travel Tom Cruise plays the captain of the “PreCrime” police force, which uses “precognitive” abilities of mutants to stop crime before it happens. Silicon Valley futurists have sometimes used this reference in the context of the art of the possible with Big Data. We have another 40 years to go to see how analytics can accurately forecast future events based on human behavior. Meanwhile, imagining the future with some level of accuracy is within our reach today.

Value creation in the data economy made headlines in 2014. While Big Data continued to be the buzzword of the year in 2014, solutions that created economic impact were center stage.  Trending terms such as “predictive analytics” and “advanced analytics” approached the levels of “Big Data” on Google Trends during the year. “ROI,” which was vaguely referenced in the last two years, became the most commonly used term with Big Data in 2014. Here is a cross-section of 2014 events.

Apple announces TopsyTV

This is their next-generation TV appliance that integrates social media engagement with the TV watching experience. Earlier in 2013, Apple acquired Topsy Labs, a reseller for Twitter content for $200M. This was followed by a series of less publicized acquisitions of social media data companies. Apple is characteristically tight-lipped about its plans for monetizing this product with advertising, but speculation is rife that Apple is poised to get a piece of the $600 billion that is spent on advertising today.

Read more »


Power of 1% Improvement – ROI & Use Cases for Industrial Big Data

RiseOfTheIndustrialInternetJust like Business to Consumer (B2C)  e-commerce and Business to Business (B2B) e-commerce…we are seeing a similar distinction emerge in Big Data.

The “real meat and potatoes” use cases behind big data actual adoption might be around B2B machine data management and Industrial analytics enabled by wireless, battery-free sensor platforms.

While social, consumer, retail and mobile big data get a lot of PR, the big data business cases around industrial machine data analytics or “things that spin” actually make economic sense.  These projects tend to show tangible Return on Investment (ROI).

The concept of Internet-connected machines that collect telemetry data and communicate, often called the “Internet of Things or M2M” has been marketed for several years:

–       I.B.M. has its “Smarter Planet” initiative

–       Cisco has its “Internet of Everything” initiative

–       GE has its “Industrial Internet” initiative.

– has its “Internet of Customers” theme

To compete with GE….Hitachi, United Technologies, Siemens, Bosch, Schneider Electric, Phillips and other industrial giants are all getting on the band-wagon as the vision of M2M is now viable with advances in microelectronics, wireless communications, and microfabricated (MEMS) sensing enabling platforms of rapidly diminishing size.

The Bosch Group has embarked on a series of initiatives across business units that make use of data and analytics to provide so-called intelligent customer offerings. These include intelligent fleet management, intelligent vehicle-charging infrastructures, intelligent energy management, intelligent security video analysis, and many more. To identify and develop these innovative services, Bosch created a Software Innovations group that focuses heavily on big data, analytics, and the “Internet of Things.”

Similarly, the Schneider Electric focuses primarily on energy management, including energy optimization, smart-grid management, and building automation. Its Advanced Distribution Management System, for example, handles energy distribution in utility companies. ADMS monitors and controls network devices, manages service outages, and dispatches crews. It gives utilities the ability to integrate millions of data points on network performance and lets engineers use analytics to monitor the network.

Industrial Internet – making smart use of sensors, networked machines and data analytics – is the big vision, but the business driver is in no unplanned downtime for customers.

Read more »


Data Monetization: Turning Data into $$$

DataExplosionThe billion dollar question facing executives everywhere:

  • How do I monetize my data? How do we turn data into dollars?
  • What small data or big data monetization strategies should I adopt?
  • Which analytical investments and strategies really increase revenue?
  • What pilots should I run to test data monetization ideas out?

Data Monetization is the process of converting data (raw data or aggregate data) into something useful and valuable – help make decisions (such as predictive maintenance) based on multiple sources of insight.  Data monetization creates opportunities for organizations with significant data volume to leverage untapped or under-tapped information and create new sources of revenue (e.g., cross-sell and upsell lift;   or prevention of equipment breakdowns).

But, data monetization requires a new IT clock-speed that most firms are struggling with. Aberdeen Research found that the average time it takes for IT to complete BI support requests, with traditional BI software, is 8 days to add a column to a report and 30 days to build a new dashboard.  For an individual information worker trying to find an answer, make a decision, or solve a problem, this is simply untenable. For an organization that is trying to differentiate itself on information innovation or data-driven decision making, it is a major barrier to strategy execution.

To speed up insight generation and decision making (all elements of data monetization) business users are bypassing IT and investing in data visualization (Tableau) or data discovery platforms (Qlikview). These platforms help users ask and answer their own stream of questions and follow their own path to insight. Unlike traditional BI that provides dashboards, heatmaps and canned reports, these tools provide a discovery platform rather than a pre-determined path.

Also companies like Marketo which create marketing automation software are getting into the customer engagement and data monetization game. Their focus is to enable marketing professionals  find more future customers; to build, sustain, and grow relationships with those buyers over time; and to cope with the sheer pace and complexity of engaging with customers in real time across the web, email, social media, online and offline events, video, e-commerce storefronts, mobile devices and a variety of other channels. And in many companies, marketing knits these digital interactions together across multiple disconnected systems. The ability to interact seamlessly with customers across multiple fast-moving digital channels requires an engagement strategy enabled by data and analytic insights. 

Read more »


20 must read Infograhics on Big Data

Big Data emphasizes the exponential growth of data volumes worldwide (collectively, >2.5 Exabytes/ day).

Big Data incorporate the following key tenets: diversification, low latency, and ubiquity. In parallel, the emerging field of data science introduces new terms including, predictive modeling, machine learning, parallelized and in-database algorithms, Map Reduce, and data monetization.

A variety of infographics have been published around Big Data, Data Scientists.  Here is a compendium of some very interesting ones.

The Real World of Big Data  (Click image to see a larger version and article)

Real World of Big Data

Big Data Big OpportunityBig Data Big Opportunity

A Data Scientist StudyA Data Scientist Study


Enabling SoLoMoMe + Omni-channel Analytics

At the Analytics Executive Forum, I facilitated a session on Omni-channel analytics. It struck me how every leading consumer facing firm seems convinced that mobile is becoming the dominant B2C interaction channel.  Mobile is the gateway to insight based marketing and the “always addressable customer”….

Insight-based interactions –  The company knows who you are, what you prefer, and communicates with relevant, timely messages, using the power of analytical intelligence to detect patterns, decode strands of information and create meaningful offers and value.

The “always addressable customer.” This is a consumer who fits the bill on three fronts simultaneously: (1)

  • Owns and personally uses at least three connected devices; (2)

Goes online multiple times throughout the day;  (3) 

  • Goes online from at least three different physical locations

The opposite of insight-based is “spray-and-pray” marketing – The company has very limited knowledge about who you are, forgets what you prefer, and tries to reach you with off-target communications that alienate you – based on fragmented data, poor data quality and  inadequate integration, resulting in confusing, chaotic interactions.  A good example: “I have 2 million frequent flyer miles with your airline and still do not get any recognition, respect or value from this loyalty.”

As companies architect new insight based mobile use cases I suggest that they look at what is coming next. With IOS 7, Apple is delivering several new features – Passbook, Beacon.

Retailers, banks and other customer facing firms/brands better pay attention. 100+ million iPhones are automatically getting this feature with the new OS upgrade making this a mega-disruptor in the coveted target segment everyone is chasing. Read more »


Omni-channel Conversion Optimization with Social Marketing/Media Analytics

Brooks Brothers is investing in tools & testing to improve the online experience – and ↑sales. In a test involving one product category page: men’s shirts. The retailer using Bazaarvoice Ratings & Reviews software, used customer reviews to sort items on the product page. Items with five ♥♥♥♥♥- the highest rating – appeared on the top of the page. The result:  a 9% lift in conversions   [Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium]

Are you ready to anticipate and influence your audience in a whole new way? Value migration from traditional marketing to 24×7 digital marketing is happening in leading firms.  Real-time marketing and conversion is now becoming possible.

Read more »


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