Tag: big data struggle

What Employees Should Know about BI

While business intelligence and all of the critical information that it provides your organization is primarily best-served by your decision makers, its value should be felt company-wide. Some departments aren’ t even aware that big data is being collected on their efforts, and thus, when conversations regarding BI strategies are brought up, they fail to recognize its true impact.

Sure, your data analysts or independent BI team will be at the forefront of obtaining, displaying and breaking down what all those numbers mean, but the real question is — does your team even care?

They should. If implemented correctly, your BI tools should help make your company run smoother and more efficiently. Knowledge is power and arming your entire organization of its value will not only bring your team closer together, but may also bring about changes from new perspectives that were once previously left out.

In this post, we’ll detail some of the important aspects of business intelligence that every level of your organization should be aware of and why.

BI meeting with managersThe Strength of Big Data

Money makes the world go round, but what helps companies generate consistent business? Customer service, marketing and partnering with like-minded companies all serve this purpose. However, big data enables managers to precisely carve out an efficient budget that enables all of these factors to work collaboratively.

What some team members may overlook is the fact that it’s not just the access to data the matters. Too much data can sometimes be just as time-consuming and inefficient as not having enough information at your fingertips. The true value is the capability of analyzing the data that business intelligence tools provide. 

These tools provide the information that shapes several things including budgets, which projects to tackle, when to tackle them and even salaries. From the warehouse to the shipping department to the front office, BI works behind the scenes to put the entire organization in context and make it easier for team members on the front lines.

Doing Work On the Go

The future of business technology as a whole is leaning towards having the ubiquitous capability of conducting business while being mobile. As many decision makers are more often traveling outside the office, this capability suits them very well. And the same goes for some of the employees, too.

If your organization is on the rise and is expanding in size, the role of “decision maker” will likely also extend to more players. And that’s a good thing since BI tools are catering to this need. Being able to conduct the same amount of productivity while spending less time spent behind the desk and more time in the field is an extremely attractive feature that wouldn’t be possible without the innovations in BI and big data.

Business intelligence and teamworkReporting Made Easier with BI

Generating reports for higher-level executives can be a stressful task for employees as it likely entails crunching numbers, making sense of them and explaining their significance. BI tools allow these employees to simplify the process without having to request the assistance of an IT specialist — taking time away from both parties.

Depending on your current BI software, the convenient, user-friendly makeup of the BI interface should be formatted easy enough to provide the high-quality data that’s needed without it being too difficult to manage.

Building a Closer Organization

All in all, the progress in the business intelligence community is bridging the gap between entry-level employees, managers and executives.  The value of these connective tools offer a company openness that may have never been able to exist in past generations and its value cannot be underestimated.

The innovations aim to simplify the way work is done, offer more real-time information, grant employees more chances to work on-the-go and allow teamwork to be maximized.  While all employes may not use your BI tools, their knowledge of the technology can at least help them understand that the statistics that come to their desks are based in high-quality tools that have been in development for several years.


How Important is Big Data Really?

Much is discussed in business intelligence circles about the importance of being able to collect and analyze big data. However, less is spoken of how important it truly is in maintaining a successful business. With thousands being invested in big data tools from businesses of all sizes, it’s pertinent to understand how effective that investment is and where it can be improved.

In this post, we’ll dig into the nuts and bolts of how and why big data investments fall flat for some companies, but help others excel.

Big dataKnow Your Data before You invest

What many business fail to remember is that simply purchasing a high-powered, multi-layered platform doesn’t necessarily mean that your work is now done. These tools are simply to enhance your current strategies and to maximize your data collection and analysis efforts. If you find that you’ve purchased a new data warehouse or software, but have yet to show progress since implementation, then it’s likely that you’ve wasted your hard earned dollars.

Before you bring on new technology into your company, you should be able to make use of the data you currently have. Without the knowledge of managing, analyzing and enhancing your data, the addition of a more complicated BI tool will only complicate things. And this is where many businesses fail. These tools are great additions if you already know what you’re doing, but it won’t do all the work for you.

In the same way children must learn how to divide regularly before they master long division, the same goes for your big data. In short, big data is truly helpful once you’re able to master how to manage all of your scattered information on a basic level first.

The Power of Evidence-Based Decision Making

Data analysisZooming into the concept of business intelligence, you’ll find that at the core of successful data management is the ability to identify the most important statistics and apply it to your company’s day-to-day decisions.

It’s these daily decisions that should be improved upon when you have a sound BI strategy. And evidence-based decision making isn’t a software you can buy that works on its own — it requires capturing the right data and knowing when and were to use it.

To help your company make the switch to this philosophy, this shift in mindset requires an overhaul in how your processes are defined, what data you’ll collect and a change to the way your business runs. Most importantly, those in your company who are the decision makers should have the critical performance data in their hands every day to allow them to maximize your business output.

Companies who exercise this method of utilizing their business intelligence typically employ these four strategies:

– Use one main source for performance information
– Allow decision makers to access real-time data
– Define & regularly optimize rules for data collection
– Tutor decision makers on how to use data tools

In summary, big data can be important if it’s used the right way. Don’t allow the chatter around the importance of big data influence your decision to invest in new tools if you’re not currently using healthy methods of data collection and analysis. Rather than trying to make use of big data right off the bat, start small. Make use out of the little data you have to help your key employees make healthier decisions on a daily basis.

Of course, enlisting the help of a data analyst may be a better first step before you make the choice of investing thousands in a technology that you may not know how to use to its full potential just yet.


4 BI Improvements You’ve Been Waiting For

As we have successfully made it past the midpoint of 2015, the year is shaping up to offer several new enhancements in big data and analytics. Much of the improvements that come in the BI community comes in the form of either simpler, faster or more — and this improvement trickles down to businesses of all sizes across the globe.

This is why it’s exciting to see what new trends will emerge, what traditional strategies will be flipped on its head and who will be the pioneers in implementing these new improvements. Here, we’ll break down four major changes that are soon coming our way in the BI community and how to implement these strategies within your system to benefit your growing business.


Datafication is what you get when you’re able to display, track and analyze individual processes with your technology. While this isn’t necessarily revolutionary in terms of business intelligence, datafication is picking up steam with more real-time capabilities being used and valued.

DataficationA perfect example of this technology is Fitbit, the wireless, wearable activity tracker that “measures data such as the number of steps walked, quality of sleep and other personal metrics.”

It’s datafication that makes this information visible all of a sudden via a device that’s made to specifically designed to display it. This data goes a long way in tracking movements and monitoring health concerns for those trying to lose weight, stay fit or simply desire to monitor their personal health.

And this is just the base level. Datafication opens the doors for businesses to optimize tracking. The use of sensors, real-time technology and a full-fledged analytical display can serve as a tool that businesses can use to monitor their own processes with ease.


Long gone are the days were one person would control all the analytics capabilities. Instead, we’ve evolved to the point where IT spending has become more of a collaborative effort where each analyst’s input should be valued and respected as there can be several paths to a solution.

Analytic organizations are coming to a point where community is in charge, not the individual. With scattered sources, educational backgrounds and data perspectives, this means data teams will need to implement internal social networks where collaboration is the more effective method of data analysis, as opposed to disparate ideas taking longer to come together.

Analytics Ecosystems

Analytics EcosystemsOne of the first steps in establishing a comprehensive big data infrastructure entails using the varying inter-dependencies of your company and synchronizing them. Viewing your company’s BI solutions as an ecosystem goes a long way in collaborative efforts to make use of the big data that you collect.

Take it from IBM Data Magazine:

“A successful big data analytics program requires many interacting elements … data, which has to be integrated from many sources, different types of analysis and skills to generate insights and active stakeholders who need to collaborate effectively to act on insights generated.”

As a “network of interconnected and interdependent entities,” having a well-defined ecosystem helps to alleviate the path of big data while making it useful for every element of the system. There are three interacting spheres that define the analytic ecosystem including the core, extended and external.

Data Privacy

The subject of data privacy, while evolving, is still trailing the evolution of our technology. With the necessary involvement of governments and politicians, it’s likely that the laws that need to be stringent will become so far after they’re initially needed.

The private sector also has a responsibility in maintaining transparency with their customers and partners as to where their information is being stored and if it’s being distributed to a third-party.

As more conversations are had surrounding the subject, the coming years should offer more solutions that protect consumers while holding companies and governments accountable for their actions.


3 Tactics to Boost Your BI Production

No business owner wants to be at the mercy of their business intelligence technology. While many BI applications can serve your business for a reasonable amount of time, this isn’t the case with most solutions. As you may already know, the requirements and updates that these providers offer are constantly changing and make it difficult for your team to keep your technology up to standard.

In order for you to stay ahead of the curve and reduce your dependency on the technological side for gathering, maintaining and displaying your big data, we’ve listed a few pointers to help you stay on track, regardless of your BI solution.

Prioritize Your Outcomes

Some of the original business intelligence solutions didn’t focus on giving its users valuable outputs. Instead, it employed a bottom-up mentality that emphasized the technology and its glamor. This is why we encourage BI users to NOT get caught up in your BI solution’s characteristics, especially if it’s not providing you with valuable data.

Your data (input) allows you to more easily foresee your outputsRather, focus on what you purchased the technology for — tangible information. By using a top-down approach to your business, you should be able to make use out of the critical stats that help you make smarter business decisions. With that said, make sure you have a method to capture key performance indicators (KPIs) and other valuable information to keep your business running effectively.

Don’t Forget About Your Data

Never underestimate the power of your data. In fact, data is everything when it comes to business intelligence. While some BI programs continue to ignore the significance of your data, you shouldn’t. A sure way to lose the effectiveness of your technology is to neglect your data by providing unfinished, doubtful or untrustworthy data and inputting it into your system.

With this said, we urge you to focus on your functional reporting capabilities so you can maximize the use of your data and your current BI solution. Like most tools that you use for your business, the outcome of your work heavily depends on the information that you put into it.

Ensure your company's data is top priorityAnd the more complete, detailed data that you place in your BI solution will make it easier for you to truly implement sound business decisions moving forward.

Technology Isn’t Everything

In the past decades, we were all unable to show crucial business information with the click of a button. At least, not easily. While the 21st century has brought several advancements to the BI community and beyond, it has also dragged in many distractions that hinder progress.

Due to the overwhelming amount of gadgets, tools and buttons that are available, sometimes fancy BI solutions can be more distracting than beneficial. Now, with easily-navigable user interfaces, we can perform in-depth functions in less amount of time. We say this, to say that much of your time spent on a BI application should be on analyzing your data and managing your business.

Don’t forget what the “B” in BI stands for — and make sure that it’s at the forefront of your actions.

In Summary…

We understand that in today’s world there are several trends, distractions, tools and specialists that may pull you in several directions. However, when it comes to your BI solution, the goal should be to make use of your data to make decisions that propel your organization forward.

With tools that should give you clear projections for the coming months, your business intelligence solution should be a benefit not a liability. In sum, by implementing these mindsets as a business owner or manager, you’ll be able to keep your focus on what really matters — improving your business.


What is Big Data Discovery?

In the business intelligence community, not much has been discussed yet about big data discovery. However, in a couple of years you should be ready to get real familiar with the term. In fact, the term is so new, as you read the first sentence over, you may even begin to think that a typo was made. We assure you it’s not.

Big data, data discovery and data science are all the tools that make up the newest trend in BI — big data discovery.

Big data discovery is a new trend that experts say should be its own market by 2017Limitations Transitioning into Strengths

In recent years, all three of these components have risen in popularity to give business owners, analysts and managers simpler ways to make use out of their data. At the same time, however, these tools also have their fair share of limitations.

Big data grants its users the ability to store a large volume of various data, but it lacks the affordability and ease of implementation. Data discovery is simple and flexible but fails to deliver a comprehensive capability to explore the information. Furthermore, its analysis, while appreciated, is not as in depth as it could be.

As far as data science is concerned, it provides the analysis complexity with a range of tools and intelligent algorithms, but it is too complex for everyday users to master.

What makes big data discovery truly unique is that within these three different areas, their limitations are the other’s strengths — which makes the value of big data discovery well worth it.

According to Gartner, 2017 will mark the year where big data discovery will become its own market category.

Who Benefits?

The combination of these three useful, but near-perfect tools is going to change a lot of businesses who make use of business intelligence solutions. Its simplicity will make it simpler for users to make sense out of the tricky statistics, graphs and analysis functions. What used to be reserved for specialists to maneuver (data science products), will now be available and more intuitive for a much wider audience.

Now, the users of big data discovery will not eliminate the need for those data scientists. Instead, it will simply expand your team’s knowledge on the subject so more employees can aid your data specialists in analyzing your information.

What to Expect Moving Forward

While all of these innovations are aimed to simplify the way your company gathers, displays and analyzes your company statistics, there is still much room for improvement. And this is why the advent of big data discovery is crucial. While there are some who are aware of the concept, it’s prevalence in the real world is still minimal. So for some, the idea is not even on their radar, but for others, 2017 can’t come soon enough.

Big data discovery should simplify the jobs of data analysts and BI users of every levelThe future is look bright for big data discovery nonetheless.

Take this piece of optimism from Gartner as an example:

Big data discovery may require investigation by BI and analytics leaders to seek a portfolio of technologies and tools to be deployed; since no single vendor offers all the components required, from data access to advanced analytics.

Big data discovery will help expand the use of big data analytics because exploration of big data sources will occur more often, much faster and at a lower cost per analysis, delivered by a broader range of users with more rudimentary technical skills.


3 Common Struggles for Big Data Users

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of all the potential options for your company’s business intelligence solution. And once you finally select the software that suits your needs, it may take some time to get acclimated to its interface and detailed components. Often times, even if you believe you’ve found the right BI solution, you may struggle to finalize the absolute perfect way to manage big data.

Struggles are common for those new to big data, but its full potential makes it worth the trouble.

It’s one thing to embrace its importance but it’s another thing entirely to fully optimize your solution to make use of all of your statistics in a clear, intuitive way. Below, we’ll address the most common factors that managers struggle to master and understand when it comes to business intelligence.

Dispersed Data

According to a report from Capgemini Consulting, less than 15% of companies have fully optimized their big data initiatives. The same report also noted that 4 out of 5 businesses have yet to integrate their data sources to every department within their organization. This proves to be a problem due to these companies’ inability to amass all of their data from each individual team.

A comprehensive BI solution allows executives to extract the information they need quickly because all of the organization’s information is conveniently amassed into one central location, encompassing every department.

With most businesses not taking advantage of this ability, it leads to more time being spent gathering and less time analyzing. Synchronizing your BI solution to include every department allows you to make important decisions quicker and with more confidence.

Trouble Joining Forces Among Departments

Depending on the size of your organization, analytics will likely involve the participation of each department. From sales to inventory to beyond, each number serves as an important detail that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Business team working togetherIt’s issues like these that require strong leadership to stress the importance of your data collection efforts. Once you’ve selected a BI solution that can achieve all of your goals, it’s then your turn to explain to each department how, why and when to input their respective data.

With this cooperation, it makes it easier to make goals from the executive level.  Perhaps appointing a leader within each department can aid you in solving the issue of having disorganized team involvement when it comes to your most important data needs.

Adjusting from Your Old Methods

Let’s face it, change is scary. And in the world of business, it’s just as frightening to make the leap to new technology, even though its intention is to simplify your world. If you’re just now getting on board with a BI solution, there remains a lot to learn with new tactics, strategies and capabilities that blow traditional programs like Excel out the water.

Having a pessimistic view of this change is natural, but it’s more productive when you embrace the positive changes that will come when it’s time to break down your big data. It’s times like these where having an independent BI team can significantly work to your advantage.

Making use of your relationship with a third party allows you to take a backseat on analytics while still giving you the necessary information you need to make sound decisions. These teams aim to simply make data work for you and not against.

In addition to this team, you could also organize a group within your organization, made up of leaders from each department, to discuss weekly trends so everyone in your company is kept in the loop.

For more information on how to maximize your data collection efforts or to help optimize your current BI solution, contact one of our specialists today!