As speculation about Apple’s iWatch grows – will it be a snap bracelet? will it replace the iPhone? – it got me thinking about a watch (of all things) supporting the vision of real-time analytics. What sounds stupid at first (the notion of an old-fashioned personal device, around for 5 centuries with little to no innovation over such a long period, inspiring a 21st century topic such as real-time analytics) has some merits if you think about it twice.
First off, wearable computing devices are real business. According to tech analyst Juniper Research, the next-gen wearable devices market, including smart glasses, will be worth more than $1.5 billion by 2014, up from just $800 million this year.
While the majority of those devices are sold in the context of fitness and healthcare scenarios, there is applicability in modern enterprises. In fact any business process that can benefit from real-time analytics can leverage computing devices that are “at hand” and travel with us easily.
So what business processes can benefit from real-time analytics?
Advice for using business intelligence to keep winning
I like to channel surf, and one day I got sucked into the game show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” I never watched it when it originally aired, but now I’m addicted! The show is set up like a school quiz, with contestants earning money when they answer questions correctly. The kicker is that the questions are based on things we learn in elementary school…things that are quickly forgotten since they’re not tested in everyday life. Once I really got into the show, I realized there are business intelligence lessons to be learned from it.
On stage with the contestant are a few 5th grade students who can help if the person chooses to “cheat” as they pursue the $1,000,000 prize. Let’s examine how each of the available cheats tells us something about BI dashboards.
Peeking is encouraged. If a contestant is unable to answer a question on their own, a “peek” allows them to glance at a 5th grader’s answer and decide whether or not they would like to use it. How does that relate to BI you wonder? Think about the predictive nature of BI – it allows you to peek into what may happen in the future so you can take corrective action today. Especially valuable for businesses whose markets are volatile and sales growth may change from one quarter to the next, or for businesses whose production costs fluctuate depending on circumstances – predictive analytics, what-if scenarios, and break-even analysis eliminate some of the randomness from your decision-making. Luckily with solutions like arcplan, it’s easy to add predictive elements like regression analysis and Monte Carlo simulation to your dashboards. So really, peeking on “5th Grader” isn’t that different from modern BI.
Copying is expected.
Truth time: business intelligence doesn’t have a stellar reputation when it comes to its failure rate. Gartner says it’s as much as 70%, which is unacceptable in 2013. BI offers so many advantages to companies when implemented correctly, from process improvements to cost savings, and has an ROI of $10.66 for every dollar spent – when done right. This week arcplan put out a press release on the 5 project management reasons why many BI projects are doomed to fail. Check it out and let me know if you agree!
1. Not enough focus on business benefits
Before even evaluating software providers, companies should define the business benefits they want to achieve by implementing a BI solution. Is it to aggregate data in a central location, thereby saving the time and cost associated with manual data gathering and consolidation? Is it to achieve better insight into customer data so programs can be designed to increase profits through upselling? This question is, why are we implementing the solution in the first place? Whatever the reason, it should be defined before kick-off, refined during implementation, and measured afterwards. Any project can be considered a failure if its success criteria are not stated up-front. Management – with input from users – must agree on the criteria and the vendor and project sponsors must ensure that success is measured post-implementation or they risk a lack of user acceptance. arcplan, the #1 Large Enterprise Project vendor for Business Benefits Achieved according to The BI Survey 12 – the world’s largest independent survey of BI users – solicits feedback from a constituency of end users throughout implementation because if their expectations are not met, the BI solution will always underachieve.
2. Vague scope
Anyone with project management experience will say that defining the scope is the most crucial step; without clearly defined and agreed-upon project boundaries and deliverables, there is no chance for success…
Budgeting & Planning in 2013
Speaker: Dwight deVera, SVP of Professional Services at arcplan
This webinar reviews how budgeting and planning are evolving and how you can keep up. It’s essential viewing for those interested in improving their process and evaluating new technology to do so this year.
- How the planning process is evolving from simple annual capital, expense and headcount planning to planning for strategic and opportunistic contract, capital, and indirect projects
- The essential components of a modern planning system, including online and offline capabilities, allocation and spreading, workflow, and commentary/ supporting details functionality
- How integrating business intelligence within the planning process helps you gain insight into the effectiveness of the planners and identify the root cause of potential problems with the plan
- And much more
Everyone is throwing around the term “analytics” – about as much as they’re throwing around the term “big data.” While I might put big data on my list of the Most Overused Phrases, analytics gets a pass. As companies realize the amount of insight and value they can glean from their ever growing volumes of data, there has been a surge in analytics initiatives. The goal of these projects is to use data to analyze trends, the effects of decisions, and the impact of scenarios to make improvements that will positively impact the company’s bottom line, improve processes, and help the business plan for the future.
In order for analytics to remain relevant and always provide value, organizations must continually up their game. One way to do this is with predictive analytics, which is becoming more mainstream every day. If you stick around to the end of the article, I’ll tell you a simple way to bypass its complexity and still get the predictions you need.
Gettin’ Predictive With It
Predictive analytics involves making predictions about the future or setting potential courses of action by analyzing past data. A 2012 benchmark study by Ventana Research revealed that predictive analytics is currently used to address a variety of business needs, including forecasting, marketing, customer service, product offers and even fraud detection. While predictive analytics used to be in play in only a small number of companies, two-thirds of companies participating in Ventana’s survey are using it, and among those, two-thirds are satisfied or very satisfied. These results indicate the maturity that predictive analytics has undergone over the last few years, as technology has advanced to make it less expensive and more approachable, and therefore easier for more areas of the business to make use of. At this point, it’s safe to say that most Fortune 500 companies are churning out predictive insights on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean smaller companies without “big data” can’t do the same thing. They can supplement their internal data with external data from social media, government agencies, and other sources of public data to get the insights they need.
Let’s take a look at finance institutions, which have predictive analytics down to a science….