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Trends and Outliers

TIBCO Spotfire's Business Intelligence Blog

Monthly Archives: July 2012


Big Data Holds Big Promise for Government

optic 150x150 Big Data Holds Big Promise for GovernmentMuch of the focus around using business analytics to interpret big data has revolved around the private sector, as companies scramble to add new customers, identify the most profitable existing customers and bolster revenue by culling through the reams of unstructured data from social networks, mobile devices and other sources flowing into their networks.

But government also stands to benefit from combining traditional transactional data with new data sources to advance urban planning and city management, stop fraud and strengthen services.

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5 Tips for Managing Multiple Business Intelligence Installs

bi tools 150x150 5 Tips for Managing Multiple Business Intelligence InstallsIn the world of data warehousing the concept of “one version of the truth” has been around for a long time. And it continues to be central to the architectural philosophy of any enterprise data warehousing system.

In fact, in a recent InformationWeek commentary, the editor, Chris Murphy, says, “Employees need one data source they can trust.” Murphy acknowledges that the concept of one data source is difficult to establish.

And he quotes a number of executives who suggest that an enterprise should create one version of the truth by simply declaring it as such. The declaration will be a motivating factor to get the data right and “more accurate,” according to the executives quoted.

But what if the declaration doesn’t work? And what if the organization’s decision makers require a slow, managed transition process from multiple versions of the truth to a single version?

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Taming the Social Media Beast

taming social media beast 150x150 Taming the Social Media BeastMany companies have struggled for years to analyze and generate actionable insight from structured data – data from rewards cards, transactional systems and personal information shoppers provide online.

Now, add the big data behemoth – mostly unstructured data streaming in from “likes” on Facebook, Tweets, data from smartphone apps – and the task of culling through customer data can seem downright daunting.

Companies need to build robust systems to analyze the huge amounts of data flowing in from social media and then determine how they link to all the other ways consumers interact with their brands, argues Marita Scarfi, CEO of Organic, a digital ad agency with clients like Kimberly-Clark, American Express and Chrysler. And the key to effectively corralling social media and other big data is hiring and training people who can make sense of the social media data, Scarfi notes.trans Taming the Social Media Beast

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How to Use Big Data to Sell into Micromarkets

keys to success entrepreneur 150x150 How to Use Big Data to Sell into MicromarketsWhile retailers and other B2C companies have long perfected mining the petabytes of online transactional data to serve up product suggestions to customers, B2B companies have lagged behind in exploiting big data to identify new opportunities.

But that’s changing, according to a new Harvard Business Review survey of 120 sales executives at a variety of companies around the world.

For example, a leading chemicals and services company uses analytics to take a more granular look at its business than it has in the past.

Historically, the company’s sales reps have successfully worked their territories, but sales volume has become stagnant because of new competitors and shifting demand.trans How to Use Big Data to Sell into Micromarkets

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Is Your Organization Ossified? Here’s How to Find Out

change ahead nimble 150x150 Is Your Organization Ossified? Heres How to Find OutIs your company ossified or nimble?

You need to figure out which camp your company falls into before you can even consider using business analytics to try to gain new actionable insight, argues Brian Sommer, CEO of strategy consultancy TechVentive and a research analyst with Vital Analysis.

The companies that are ossified are unwavering champions for the status quo, “so rigid in their world view, their processes and business practices that they choose to ignore the very suggestions that could save their firms. They’ve not only ossified, they’ve turned deaf, too,” he says.

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How BI & Data Analytics Pros Used Twitter in June

Analytics and BI on Twitter3 How BI & Data Analytics Pros Used Twitter in JuneIt’s time for the wrap up you’ve all been waiting for – what happened on Twitter with BI and data analytics pros in the last month.

Let’s kick off this party with a few awards and then dive into this month’s featured content and theme – data analytics for good. (Note: This is not our theme, but a theme we found in the stories shared on Twitter this month.)

Twitter Awards

Each month, we issue a few awards on Twitter names, Retweets and Spotfire mentions. Here are the awards for June.

Best Twitter Handle

@LifeAnalytics or Themos Kalafatis, a predictive analytics consultant, wins our award for best Twitter handle. Kalafatis also gets a nod for his Life Analytics blog and this cool post – Food Data – The Next Target of Massive Analytics.

Most ReTweeted

We have two awards in this category – most retweeted Spotfire blog post and most retweeted data analytics piece in June. The former award goes to two posts – our recap of the Forrester Wave report that gave Spotfire the “highest current offering score” in self-service BI and this one about how gold lies in the piles of big data.

The most retweeted analytics piece goes to this piece from Alex Howard on how predictive analytics is helping save lives and tax dollars in the city that never sleeps. See our next section on this article.

New York City – Utilizing “Money Ball” Talent for Social Good

Howard (mentioned above) interviews Mike Flowers, the director of analytics for the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning in the Office of the Mayor in NYC. Flowers, who is considered a “pioneer in the field of urban predictive analytics” gives us a peek inside his workshop to learn about the team behind Big Apple crackdowns powered by predictive analytics.

Flowers credits his team of data scientists for their econ degrees and creative sides. His chief analyst is a fantasy baseball geek. Read more about the pros who play “moneyball” for social good.

Howard also shares information about a new data analytics partnership among four major cities called G-Analytics to share “ideas and tools for leveraging data and to encourage other municipalities to use analytics more effectively.” Really, really cool.

Multi-Platform Analytics = Gold for Media Company

This month’s journey starts across the pond. Emily Gibbs, corporate communications manager at the Financial Times in London, alerted us to this gem – how the media company uses “DNA” or the way digital customers read their content. The article discusses how, by tracking what readers are reading, when they are reading it, and on what devices, the company is able to connect over “20% of its subscription growth to marketing activity that was directly linked to consumer behavior.”

Feeding the Data Poor Lending Companies

ZestCash, a startup that originally had a mission to “use big data to save the under-banked (Americans with poor credit scores) billions of dollars in high fees” is now ZestFinance. The guys behind this company have changed their strategy to sell their analysis to the established lenders who are “data poor.” This NY Times feature is well worth a read and brought to your attention by Bernard Marr, founder and CEO of the Advanced Performance Institute. Marr tweets commentary on big data often and he’s just launched a newsletter on business performance and big data.

Data Analytics & Kids = Shaky Ground

The New Jersey attorney general has filed a lawsuit against a kid’s iPhone app maker for collecting data on kids without parental permission and sending it to a data analytics company, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. It looks like the matter has been handled by the app maker, but the mishandling of data can make consumers wary. So much so that the WSJ has a tech section on “What They Know” that explores digital privacy. You can keep up with this increasingly important subject at the Twitter account – @WhatTheyKnow.

As always, here’s your convenient follow list:






Next steps:

  • To learn more about how analytics can improve your business and increase your bottom line check out these complimentary guides:
    • 5-Minute Guide to Business Analytics,” to find out how user-driven “analytic” or “data discovery” technologies help business and technology users more quickly uncover insights and speed action.
    • 5-Minute Guide to HR Analytics,” to discover the three critical capabilities a modern analytic environment must provide to the entire spectrum of HR staff so they can adequately support the enterprise.
    • 5-Minute Guide to CRM Analytics,” to learn how agile analytics technology can help you deliver critical value to executives and front-line marketers.

Amanda Brandon
Spotfire Blogging Team

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How To Create Business Value with Enterprise Analytics

In the coming years big data along with enterprise analytics are expected to grow exponentially.

Today big data is measured in gigabytes and sometimes petabytes. Soon big data is expected to exceed zetabytes and by the end of the century, yottabytes, according to a recent article in the MIT Sloan Management Review that’s based on a survey conducted by MIT .

win small 150x150 How To Create Business Value with Enterprise AnalyticsThe study indicates that 58% of the 4,500 respondents (business executives, managers and analysts) say that their companies gain competitive value as a result of data analytics. The more competitive organizations are experienced in analytics and go far beyond its traditional baseline use. Their leaders use analytics to guide strategic and tactical decision making.trans How To Create Business Value with Enterprise Analytics

They are adept at deploying analytics tools (software for data visualization, modeling, mining, and analysis) that promote the use of data. The article suggests that organizations supporting and practicing analytics of all this data are more competitive than companies that don’t use data analytics in their day-to-day operations.

This advantage is realized by the application of business and data analytics. The study also provides this working definition: “[t]he term analytics refers to the use of data and related business insights developed through applied analytical disciplines (e.g. statistical, contextual, quantitative, predictive, cognitive and other models) to drive fact-based planning, decisions, execution, management, measurement and leaning.”

The article refers to the group that uses analytics as “transformed companies” because of the level of sophistication that their user communities display.

Transformed companies are likely to be data-oriented organizations. Each of these organizations encourages a culture of data enthusiasts that embraces data as a strategic asset. Company leaders support data initiatives and they share the insights derived from the data across the organization.

Leaders serve as analytic champions who embolden the organization to use the analysis of the data to make operations decisions daily, nurture analytical expertise and focus on using data to achieve a competitive advantage.

And the collaboration continues as well. Data silos are identified and then integrated with other specialized business data to form a single data analytical system. Executives have access to the data when they need to make top-level decisions, analysts can develop meaningful insights, and all the employees who require information to get their jobs done now have access to it.

The growth of big data and the new tools associated with it has led to the recognition that data is a strategic asset. Companies realizing the importance of data and enterprise analytics are hiring chief data officers and data scientists and they’re establishing Offices of Data Management.

As the level of data expertise and sophistication increases, organizations are more likely to be in positions to advance the use of data analytics and gain competitive advantages.

Next Steps:

  • Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on the latest insights and trends in data analytics.
  • Check out our complimentary “5-Minute Guide to Business Analytics” to find out how user-driven “analytic” or “data discovery” technologies help business and technology users more quickly uncover insights and speed action.
Dennis Earl Hardy
Spotfire Blogging Team

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