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 Amazon.com 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.
Interested in slicing, dicing, measuring, and analyzing data for customer and business insights?
According to a recent survey by Bloomberg, 97% of companies with revenues of more than $100 million are using some form of business analytics, up from 90% just two years ago.
While businesses have embraced the idea of fact-based decision-making, a steep learning curve remains. Only one in four organizations believes its use of business analytics has been “very effective” in helping to make decisions. Data is not just ignored but often discarded in many organizations as the business users can’t figure out how to extract signal from data noise.
Next best offer, next best action, interaction optimization, and experience optimization typically have similar architecture. Machine learning and multivariate statistical analysis are at the heart of these cutting edge Behavioral Analytics strategies. Typically firms use statistical tools for segmentation models, behavioral propensity modeling, and market basket analysis.
The bleeding edge in next best offer is increasingly around:
- Applying machine learning to find connections between product tastes and different affinity statements
- Developing low-latency algorithms that help show the right product at the right time to a customer
- Developing rich customer affinity profiles through a variety of feedback loops as well as third-party data source (e.g. Facebook user demos and taste graph)
Targeted Offer Solutions
Here are just a few examples of analytics at work
- Target predicts customer pregnancy from shopping behavior, thus identifying prospects to contact with offers related to the needs of a newborn’s parents.
- Tesco (UK) annually issues 100 million personalized coupons at grocery cash registers across 13 countries. Predictive analytics increased redemption rates by a factor of 3.6.
- Netflix predicts which movies you will like based on what you watched.
- Life insurance companies can predicts the likelihood an elderly insurance policy holder will die within 18 months in order to trigger end-of-life counseling.
- Con Edison predicts energy distribution cable failure, updating risk levels that are displayed on operators’ screens three times an hour in New York City.
Now you are interested. So what about your organization. Do you have the right toolset, dataset, skillset and mindset for analytics? Do you want to enable end users to get access to their data without having to go through intermediaries?
The challenge facing managers in every industry is not trivial… how do you effectively derive insights from the deluge of data? How do you structure and execute analytics programs (Infrastructure + Applications + Business Insights) with limited budgets?
Data is moving from something you use outside the workstream (support-mode) to becoming a part of the business app itself. The growing challenge in corporations is how to organize for “data as a platform.” What is the right organizational structure that will help monetize data?
John Wanamaker, considered a pioneer in modern advertising, said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the problem is I don’t know which half.” Today, we can say the same of enterprise investment in business intelligence (BI), analytics, and big data.
Even after doing their best for over 20 years to build centralized, scalable information architecture, I found that only a small percentage of organizations’ data is actually converted to useful information in time to leverage it for better insight and decisions.
At both strategic and tactical levels, much of this gap can be explained by the fundamental disconnect in goals, objectives, priorities, and methods between IT professionals and the business users they should ideally serve.
The other challenge facing leadership is the rapid evolution of the data platform (see below.) How do you create strategies that adapt to a changing landscape?
How do you become a world-class data-driven firm? What portfolio of projects do you execute to mature the capabilities?
If you’re an executive, manager, or team leader, one of your toughest responsibilities is managing and organizing your BI, Reporting or Analytics initiative. While the nuances – skillsets, toolsets and datasets — are different for each initiative, the fundamentals of managing, organizing and structuring are pretty much the same.
Almost every Fortune 1000 company’s management is increasingly focused on monetizing small data, big data or fast data, and how to gain a real-time competitive edge from their information. How can firms achieve positive returns on their analytic investments by taking advantage of the growing amounts of data?
So what’s the right organizational model that will help them achieve the “ten second advantage”? Competency Centers, Centers of excellence (CoE) or Shared Services models are execution models to enable the corporate or strategic vision to create an enterprise that uses data and analytics for business value.
The goal of every World-class CoE is the same – enable the right combination of toolsets, skillsets, mindsets and datasets for better, faster, cheaper and more repeatable analytics, reporting or platform development.
Evolution of BI/Reporting/Analytics
- Data is Growing Faster than Budgets
- Demand is Growing, Speed to Insight is Crucial
- Modifying large, existing applications is NOT the path forward.
- Skills are lagging.. New tooling
As a result, Enterprise BI and Analytics strategies need to evolve. The evolution tends to happen in 3 phases:
- Department Solutions – Many companies deploy Analytics (and BI) applications as departmental solutions, and in the process, accumulate a large collection of disparate BI technologies – SAP Business Objects, IBM Cognos, Microstrategy, Oracle OBIEE, Microsoft, Qlikview, Tableau, Spotfire etc. – as a result. Each distinct technology supported a specific user population and database, within a well-defined “island of analytics.” At first, these dept islands satisfied the initial needs of the business, but early success in departmental deployment sowed the seeds for new problems as the applications grew.
- Successful applications and platforms always expand. The second phase of Analytics (and BI) is where there is tremendous growth and platform solutions are longer isolated islands. Instead, they overlap in user populations, data access, and analytic coverage. As a result, organizations are now faced with an untenable situation. The enterprise is getting conflicting versions of the truth through the multiple disparate BI systems, and there is no way to harmonize them without an extraordinary ongoing manual effort of synchronization, validation and quality checks. Equally problematic is the fact that business users are forced to use many different BI tools depending on what data they want.
- The third phase of Analytics (and BI) is one where the executives had enough. They simply make a decision to rationalize to a single platform or a centralized model that is sold as a “magic nirvana” solution…delivers one version of the truth (golden source of data) to all people across the enterprise. It can access all of the data, administer all of the people, eliminate repetitive data access, reduce the administrative effort, and reduce the time to deploy new BI applications.
“Time to decisions, scope of decisions, disconnected toolsets and cost of decisions” is deemed unacceptable within & across functional areas. This typically drives a new phase… centralized BI, Reporting or Analytics CoE.
For example, at a Fortune 500 company, costly self-service environment, static reports, departmental solutions and other issues (shown below) forced them to re-think and re-engineer their enterprise BI solution. The firm set new target objectives…(1) Shorter time to insights; (2) Greater leverage for analytics team; (3) Accelerated product innovation and (4) 20% reduction in BI support costs.
While centralization of BI, Reporting and Analytics can enable organizations to reduce their IT delivery costs by up to 40%. However, a failure to align the level of BI, Reporting and Analytics centralization closely to long-term business and IT strategic goals and to manage the transition to centralized delivery carefully can not only erode expected savings from centralization, it can increase the cost of delivering IT services by up to 30-45% compared to a pre-centralization baseline. This where good management can make a big difference.
BI CoE Elements for Faster, Better, Cheaper Execution
BI CoE (could be Analytics CoE, Big Data CoE or Integration CoE) is an organizing mechanism to align People, Process, Technology and Culture. The target benefits include:
- Better collaboration between Business and IT
- Increased adoption and use of BI and Analytics in the lines of business.
- Better data management, quality and reporting
- Cost savings from eliminating redundant functions
CoE elements include: