Tag Archives: social enterprise

Teamwork and collaboration set to become BI hallmarks

The need for business intelligence solutions that go beyond the basics is pressing today, because simply using some form of this software is no longer a differentiator. Numerous companies have at least one type of analytics running, so mastering a vertical means building bigger and better business cases for BI. The plethora of advanced tech options available now can help break this impasse. Some organizations will gravitate toward advanced features that further their goals and achieve success this way, whether they're delving into their own data or collecting strong information from elsewhere and turning that into fuel for their latest analyses.

The value of collaboration
Organizations that collaborate with one another are well-positioned to succeed. This applies to the use of business intelligence, too, as different departments each have something to contribute. A recent Technology Spectator piece contributed by Alan Eldridge explained that collaborative thinking is on the march in the BI world. Tellingly, he cited research by Dresner which indicated that six in every 10 relevant professionals place collaboration and teamwork into the "critical" or "important" category when it comes to advanced BI features. Eldridge explained that the active information sharing that accompanies this type of program helps insights arrive more efficiently.

The nature of the BI solutions in question could determine whether a program succeeds or fails. Eldridge explained that products should be easy to grasp because there is a need for many different workers to take up collaborative BI. If these systems stay within the IT department, the difference from traditional systems may be negligible, neutralizing any advantage that might have been gained through their use. Eldridge related that once firms jump through these procedural hoops, they will be able to connect around the world, turning geographically dispersed units into effective teams through their new and improved versions of well-worn BI and analytics.

Making the jump
Selecting a new tech deployment could be a hugely important moment for IT leaders as they set up their BI plans for the future. Necto 14, for instance, contains features that help users connect to one another without leaving the program's interface. It may be possible in a broad sense to introduce collaboration to an organization through standard communication tools such as text chat or video conferencing. However, having the features integrated with the BI software itself is another level of decision-making power. The Necto interface helps users bring their teams into the moment when insights are delivered and collect the resulting opinions.

World of Analysis on the World Cup

Similar to a world champion Olympic sprinter, the Spanish national team seemingly stumbled out of the blocks so badly that their tournament was over almost as quickly as it had started.

The spectacular and quite unexpected surprise of this year’s World Cup was the level of parody between power-house and underdog teams with a special mention to Costa Rica. They were unarguably this year’s overwhelming underdog of the tournament, surprising everyone! (ie. A bet of $1 on Costa Rica reaching the quarter final would have won $180).

We can see that there was a technical superiority of the European teams, as Europe was the continent with the most goals scored. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean the South American teams were punished with more yellow cards than any other continent. However, an interesting trend was noticed when the lower tear teams were facing a superior team, they would raise their level of aggressiveness on defense in an attempt to offset the superior teams’ offensive prowess. Although the “Fair Play” award was given to Colombia, in general every team behaved accordingly during the tournament with only a few minor exceptions. Most notably, the infamous Suarez bite.

Overall America as a continent was the great winner of this World Cup in terms of teams from that region being able to qualify for the second round.

The highest possible percentage of teams (66.7%), followed by Europe (53.8%) and rounded out by Africa (40%).

There is no doubt that Germany deserved the glory! Throughout the World Cup they lead in attacking statistics. Known for being a sport that is turning into tactical and at times offers fans just plain boring games has a hope, the old way of playing is still very exciting and valuable.

Visualization can help translate analytics insights

What good is data if no one can understand it? Business intelligence suites were created to answer that very question, turning huge amounts of corporate data into useful material for decision-making. However, in some cases, processes may not go far enough. Answering business questions with a string of incomprehensible figures won’t solve anyone’s problems. Organizations need to find a way to not only process a huge range of information sources but also present the results in a coherent and sensible way. Data visualization techniques, employed by some of today’s leading BI suites, may be the answer to this quandary, representing an evolution of the analytics concept.

The case for visualization
ARC Advisory Group recently explained that difficulty of use is keeping some businesses away from using BI. This is a huge problem, as the technology can provide expert guidance and seems on pace to become an industry standard. The source went on to note that there is little time to get users up to speed on solutions that aren’t immediately resonant. If the technology fails to catch on at many levels, it may end up having a minimal impact on company culture. ARC explained that this is where interactive graphics come in, resonant to look at and updated often.

The perception of analytics without a visual element may be poor. According to ARC, managers may not prioritize learning to read a stream of raw insights from BI processes that are not user-friendly. This makes sense in a way, as there are many things for these leaders to take care of today. Still, if there’s one source of information that should be heeded, it’s the output from BI. Graphical interfaces and vibrant visuals can take several forms, and companies should choose the one that’s right for them. While ARC suggested a few that were limited in either functionality or industry, other solutions are more universal.

Getting the right visual features
One major benefit of visualization is the potential to expand BI use well beyond power users and place the software in everyone’s hands. Solutions such as Panorama Necto 14 leverage these techniques to this end. The software can deliver a number of different selections of data in a visual format, either tailoring the graphs to the specialized needs of business department staff members or the more trained eyes of the longtime analysts. There are also ways to ensure that many employees see a current infographic, allowing leaders to spread their findings to every department that can benefit from them.

Panorama Software and OCZ Storage Solutions Announce Extreme Performance Technology Collaboration

SAN JOSE, CA, US and TORONTO, ON, Canada – May 1, 2014 – OCZ Storage Solutions – a Toshiba Group Company and leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, and Panorama Software, a global leader in BI 3.0 solutions, have established a technology partnership to deliver real-time Big Data analytics of data stored in Microsoft SQL Server 2014 databases.

The companies have jointly developed a solutions demonstration for the upcoming PASS Business Analytics (BA) Conference showcasing Panorama’s leading Necto BI capabilities with OCZ’s ZD-XL SQL Accelerator’s ability to accelerate SQL Server applications. The collaborated demonstration showcases how the power of data transforms businesses through data-driven insights and business intelligence and will be presented during exhibit hours in OCZ’s booth E-11 at the PASS BA Conference, San Jose Convention Center, May 7th through May 9th.

“The combination of our Necto BI solution coupled with one of the industry’s fastest acceleration cards for SQL Server delivers an advanced business intelligence solution that unleashes the value of enterprise information whether that information is structured, semi-structured or unstructured,” said Eynav Azarya, CEO of Panorama Software. “We are pleased to partner with OCZ to help solve those critical challenges associated with Big Data analysis so that efficient and relevant insights can lead to informed decision-making and invariably better business decisions.”

“We are pleased to join forces with Panorama Software to deliver real-time, self-service analytics of large database data sets that reside in SQL Server,” said Dr. Allon Cohen, Vice-President of Software and Solutions for OCZ Storage Solutions. “The ability to analyze, visualize and collaborate data in an infographic format while accelerating I/O and the application itself provides an extreme performance analytical solution from two visionary leaders in enterprise BI and storage.”

Analyzing large data sets has become a key issue in today’s enterprises as organizations have gained the ability to get access to Big Data and to make it more useful and meaningful. Advanced tools, such as Panorama Necto, enable additional data exploration and advanced analysis to be performed in a matter of minutes providing a powerful combination of in-memory performance coupled with advanced data discovery tools. Powered by in-memory engines, self-service interactive analytics, infographics and dynamic dashboards, the Necto BI solution enables business users to easily access, analyze, visualize, track performance, collaborate with colleagues, and share data for quick, efficient and relevant insights that lead to informed decision-making with minimal IT involvement.

To provide accelerated Microsoft SQL Server performance of these large database data sets, OCZ’s ZD-XL SQL Accelerator leverages its proven PCIe SSD hardware and application-tuned software to deliver low latency flash that can be deployed as a local flash volume, a flash cache for HDD volumes, or as a combination of both. It provides a potent combination of fast flash performance, a unique cache mechanism that makes advanced and statistically-optimized decisions on what data to cache, a dynamic cache warm-up scheduler that enables workloads to be placed on flash cache in advance of demanding and critical jobs, and a wizard-based GUI that enables DBAs to setup caching policies that optimize performance based on SQL Server workloads.

About PASS and the PASS BA Conference
The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) is an independent, not-for-profit association dedicated to supporting, educating, and promoting the global Microsoft SQL Server community. Led by a member elected Board of Directors, PASS is run by and for the community, with a global membership of more than 100,000 and growing. PASS strives to fulfill its mission by:

• Facilitating member networking and the exchange of information through local and virtual chapters, free web events and local and regional events
• Delivering high-quality, up-to-date technical content, presentations, and other educational materials for in-depth learning and professional development
• Working with Microsoft to influence the evolution of SQL Server technologies

The PASS Business Analytics (BA) Conference is a professional community-oriented gathering for business analytic professionals and established to meet the needs of a growing BA community affiliated with Microsoft technologies such as Excel, SharePoint, SQL Server, Parallel Data Warehouse, Azure, Hadoop, and more.

About Panorama Software
Panorama is a leader in Business Intelligence 3.0, facilitating the next generation of self-service business intelligence solutions. Panorama’s Necto product is a BI platform which is context-aware allowing any type of user to interact intuitively with data within an intelligent collaborative environment. Panorama recently released Necto 14, the market’s first Business Intelligence data discovery solution to offer infographics for dynamic data visualization. More information is available at www.panorama.com.

About OCZ Storage Solutions
OCZ Storage Solutions – a Toshiba Group Company is a leading provider of high performance client and enterprise solid-state storage products and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation. Offering a complete spectrum of solid-state drives (SSDs), OCZ Storage Solutions leverages proprietary technology to provide SSDs in a variety of form factors and interfaces to address a wide range of applications. Having internally developed firmware and controllers, virtualization, cache and acceleration software, and endurance extending and data reliability technologies, the Company delivers vertically integrated solutions enabling transformational approaches to how digital data is captured, stored, accessed, analyzed and leveraged by customers. More information is available at www.ocz.com.

All trademarks or brand names referred to herein are the property of their respective owners.

OCZ Press Contact:
Scott Harlin
Director of Marketing Communications, Enterprise Solutions
(408) 440-3484
sharlin@ocz.com

Social enterprise will be vital for business success

The business world has undergone many revolutions in the past: the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, the influx of female workers in the mid-1900s and now the rise of the Digital Age. 

The internet in particular has spurred substantial change in the way organizations do business, both internally and with customers. One of those evolutions includes the possibility of the social enterprise

In the past, the most innovative techniques and technologies were typically reserved for large companies and corporations, but that's no longer the case today. In fact, many smaller firms are using social enterprise strategies as a way to level the playing field. 

"Having now seen so many high-end ventures around the world with a social mission, we have learnt the importance of branding and how this can make or break a product," Nina Rennie, founder of Nueluxe, recently told The Guardian. 

Social enterprise doesn't refer to a specific technology – it's an organizational strategy that aims to produce improvements across the workplace. A successful one would impact a number of business goals.

In a recent blog post for Co.Exist, Ashoka UK director Mark Cheng highlighted several ways social entrepreneurship can help, including:

Boosting collaboration: The benefits of collaborative organizations are enormous – enhanced communications and innovation, just to name a couple – which will ultimately lead to cost savings and increased revenue. Cheng highlighted that in a social enterprise, "power is moving from the few to the many," thus leading to more flexible teams across the workplace.

– Integration of silos: In the past, most companies built up datasets entirely independent from one another. Sales information, HR databases, employee healthcare information and everything else hardly ever crossed paths. But the recent rise of business intelligence and data analysis tools have prompted the need for more integrated data systems, according to the blog post.

Marketing technology: Different technological innovations enable companies to monitor human behavior, and perhaps no one could benefit from these tools more than marketers.

"Look at diamonds," Paul Cheng, chairman of SharedImpact, told The Guardian. "The product isn't valuable at all, they're just colored rocks. But actually diamond companies over 150 years have been incredibly clever at marketing, and made diamonds aspirational, and incredibly valuable. So I'm interested in how we can use behavioral economics, to sell social enterprise to investors."

Many marketing teams are using technology like predictive analytics to get ahead on consumer trends and identify current problems, and the use of these tools will almost certainly increase.

Achieving data analytics success requires attitude change

Organizations have always had to manage massive amounts of information, but the rise of technological innovations has made that task significantly more challenging. 

"Enterprises are having to deal with a huge volume of data, much higher velocity and increasing complexity," Richard Gordon, managing vice president of the analyst company told Information Age.

As a result, many decision-makers have opted to invest heavily in big data analytics, as these tools will not only provide enhanced organization of information, but they could potentially lead to analytics as well. In the latter's case, however, many business leaders have been less than satisfied. 

In some instances, the problem has to do with the technology. For instance, IT departments are trying to use traditional business intelligence software to accomplish tasks it simply isn't capable of, or the company has adopted technology that is too complicated for the average employee to use. 

In other cases, however, the fault is with the organization's hierarchy.

"I think there's a magic bullet thesis, that somehow we can fire some technology or other at the problem and it will go away," Joe Peppard, professor of information systems at Cranfield University's School of Management, recently told Information Age. 

Traditional BI tools have always been, and continue to be, extremely useful. That won't change going forward.

For companies to take advantage of the heralded capabilities of big data – the predictive analytics, the fraud prevention, data visualization and so on – decision-makers need to view the matter in an entirely new light.

The old-school mentality of designing IT projects, according to Peppard, is a "design to build" paradigm. To achieve success with big data analytics, he proposed companies adopt a "design for use" mentality instead. This requires first outlining what the technology is supposed to accomplish, and then designing the system in a way that will enable the organization to achieve those goals. 

"The idea is that these tools give you the option, not the obligation, to do something, like discover new knowledge, so you can work out a value for those options," Peppard told the news source.

But there is another essential component to big data success: the technology itself. In a recent blog post for CRM Buyer, Dennis Pombriant, managing principal of the Beagle Research Group, stressed that not every software company has developed its tools with the end-user experience in mind.

Fortunately, some vendors, such as Panorama, have emphasized ease-of-use when designing data analytics programs. It will be important for IT professionals to seek out the right tools to help them meet their big data-related goals.

Mobile BI: Making social enterprise a possibility

Very few enterprise revolutions have empowered employees more than the bring-your-own-device movement has. Rather than being forced to use the software and devices assigned to them by decision-makers, workers have a far bigger say on what technology they can use to do their jobs. 

As a result, employees now expect remote access to everything – work email, mission-critical applications and, as of recently, business intelligence (BI) solutions. 

While interest in BI is widespread – executives, salespeople and marketers all want real-time BI – a survey by Domo revealed that most companies' business intelligence strategies are coming up short

"In today's uncertain economic times, the need for trustworthy data is more critical than ever," said Domo founder and CEO Josh James. "Businesspeople need to make fast, well-informed decisions to stay ahead of the pack. But without access to reliable, up-to-date information, even the best-run organizations could be in serious jeopardy."

Challenges must be overcome
A recent study by Report Buyer found that the worldwide mobile BI market is expected to achieve a 27.5 percent compound annual growth rate from 2012 to 2016, driven primarily by the increasing usage of tablets and smartphones in the workplace. However, because some mobile BI applications are incompatible with different operating systems, deployment has been hampered. 

In a recent blog post for Information Management, Ventana Research CEO Mark Smith suggested that mobile BI technology can improve an organization's communication and collaboration substantially. The keys to effective BI deployment, he said, center on making the technology as accessible, usable and adaptable as possible. 

Some business intelligence vendors, such as Panorama Software, have BI solutions that are compatible with mobile operating systems. Even with those programs, implementing an effective strategy will be vital for the social enterprise to be possible. 

"Network performance becomes critical as you develop applications," Michele Pelino, an analyst at Forrester Research, recently told TechTarget. "You want to know that you have a seamless network to put your applications on."

According to the news source, simplicity is one way to achieve success with mobile BI implementation. The article stressed the need for a streamlined process that will make information available to more people at faster rates.

While comprehensive solutions can be valuable, they should not come at the expense of usability, which a recent Ventana Research survey found to be the most important component BI applications. Employees will be more likely to ignore technology they can't figure out, so simple BI strategies are likely the best way to get everyone on board. 

Study: Social collaboration leads to more business success

Many companies have operated for years with very little interaction between their executives, sales, marketing and IT departments. However, if a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study is any indication, such a separation of powers actually reduces business success

“Because enterprise responsibility lives across the C-suite for these issues, collaborative digital conversations are critical to bring it all together and evaluate and adopt these technologies,” said Chris Curran, PwC’s principal and chief technologist for the U.S. firm’s advisory practice.

According to the report, strong collaboration across the workplace can lead to benefits such as 100 percent delivery rates for IT initiatives and overall revenue bumps of more than 25 percent. But many companies are limited in the ways they can promote social enterprise. A separate Ventana Research study, for example, revealed that less than 20 percent of decision-makers are confident in their ability to use existing social collaboration tools

BI can help
In a recent blog post for SmartData Collective, Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer of Ventana Research, wrote that business and social collaboration tools are ranked the second-highest business intelligence (BI) priority for 2013.

Currently, many organizations are using social enterprise tools like shared folders/documents (cited by 86 percent of respondents), wall posting (45 percent) and social recognition (41 percent). However, the problem is that many companies have isolated these programs from one another, as opposed to using them collaboratively, cited by 49 percent of respondents.

According to a recent TechTarget article, integrating these tools will be the key to achieving a social enterprise. The news source suggested that the best results of social deployment would result in every enterprise application and piece of data woven into the same system.

In addition to improved accessibility, this would allow companies to incorporate information into their analytics programs. As the Ventana Research study revealed, business analytics is the top priority for organizations in 2013.

If implementing and integrating these new technologies is the first step, training workers on how to use them should immediately come next.

“If you want to change the way people work, you have to educate employees and get them to understand that change. You can’t just give them a fancy new tool and say, ‘Here, go use it,'” Steve Weissman founder of the Holly Group, told TechTarget. Instead, social enterprise tools would benefit significantly if they are implemented in conjunction with an “intelligence layer,” according to the source.

Social BI tools can help companies improve customer experience

Customer service has always been a top priority for companies, and that hasn’t changed with the invention of many new technologies. However, if a recent Oracle study is any indication, many businesses are struggling to leverage innovations like social media to their advantage. 

“This report demonstrates that organizations around the globe and across many industries are beginning to understand the real business impact of not offering great customer experiences, but are facing execution challenges,” said David Vap, group vice president at Oracle.

According to the survey of more than 1,300 worldwide executives, providing quality customer experience is a top-three priority for 93 percent of companies, particularly since respondents believe that poor service could lead to 20 percent annual losses. In addition, 81 percent of executives said they feel social networking sites will be vital customer experience tools in the future. 

“By empowering customers and employees, breaking down organizational silos, and implementing flexible processes and technology tools, organizations can deliver personalized, seamless customer service through the entire experience lifecycle,” Vap said.

However, the survey indicated that many companies are struggling to implement effective social media strategies. In fact, only 35 percent of respondents said their organizations use these websites as sales channels or customer service mediums. 

Social BI can help
Social customer relationship management (CRM) systems are rapidly gaining popularity, as businesses try to take advantage of the vast amounts of free information available on social networking sites – particularly because many of them are now integrated with business intelligence (BI) applications. As a result, social data analysis tools are becoming extremely common in the corporate world.

In a recent blog for Enterprise Apps Today, Benjamin Lederer, senior product manager at Sage ACT!, discussed the ways social CRM can improve sales, marketing and customer service processes. Through data analysis of different subsets of information – including purchases, inquiries and complaints – companies can get an accurate reading into which products are popular and trending upward, and what might be causing problems. These accurate forecasts can go a long way toward improving the overall customer experience. 

At the same time, social BI tools can do far more than analyzing trends within the company. In a recent blog for Business 2 Community, Angela Hausman, marketing professor at Howard University, wrote that organizations can also use these applications to track interactions on external social media sites. This can be especially beneficial if a company wants to analyze the potential success of a new product. 

Mobile, social BI adoption could explode in 2013

Mobile and social enterprise strategies are infiltrating organizations across every industry. According to multiple studies, companies are leveraging business intelligence (BI) tools to take advantage of the benefits of bring-your-own-device initiatives and the growing popularity of social networking sites.

In a recent blog for SmartData Collective, Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer at Ventana Research, outlined the results of his company’s recent study, which found business analytics to be the top technology innovation goal for 2013.

The report revealed that more than half of organizations consider business analytics to be extremely important when it comes to making smarter decisions and forecasting future trends. Currently, only 9 percent are satisfied with the solutions they have in place. Many companies are having trouble integrating data into their infrastructures (55 percent), accessing the information when necessary (35 percent) and producing accurate results (22 percent), according to the study. 

At the same time, the research indicated that companies will adopt a wide range of BI solutions to accomplish their goals, including:

– Mobile BI solutions: As with most enterprise mobility movements, mobile BI could be the most disruptive business intelligence sector in 2013. By adopting these solutions, decision-makers are hoping to increase employee productivity while enhancing sales numbers and customer service. An earlier survey by BI Scorecard found that BI specialists believe mobile business intelligence applications will improve the most in 2013, according to Information-Management. 

“Only a minority of companies has deployed mobile BI, but for the ones who are successful, the adoption rate is at 39 percent,” Cindi Howson, founder of BI Scorecard, told the source. “That’s about 15 percent higher than the industry average. I think it will be the technology that helps BI become more mainstream and impactful.”

Company leaders are also hoping that mobile BI will improve collaboration, which is another top priority for 2013.

– Social media: Social BI solutions could also be on the rise, according to the Ventana Research report. Less than 10 percent of organizations are satisfied with their social enterprise strategies at the moment. But many are aware of the advantages these applications can provide, including a competitive business advantages (cited by three-quarters of respondents) and improved hiring capabilities.

– Big data: Ventana Research became the latest firm to project substantial growth for the big data sector. According to the study, organizations that have deployed successful big data strategies have reported a 28 percent increase in business.