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Trends and Outliers

TIBCO Spotfire's Business Intelligence Blog

Monthly Archives: August 2012


7 Tips for Sharing Big Data Insights with the C-Suite

RTR2QUYB 460 7 Tips for Sharing Big Data Insights with the C SuitePop quiz. What’s appealing to an executive?

A) a 26-tab Excel spreadsheet
B) a 54-slide PowerPoint with 9-point font (to fit in all the words)
C) a dazzling data visualization that he can view from a dashboard

If you answered C, you’re at the top of the class. According to recent research (and common sense) from the Farland Group, a marketing consulting firm, executives simply don’t have time to dig into massive spreadsheets nor follow a highly technical roadmap to the facts that support buying decisions.

The research shows that execs care about insights, but those insights must meet some exacting criteria to get their attention, not to mention buy-in for your data-driven project. Take heed of these seven tips for sharing big data insights with the C-suite next time you’re faced with the big meeting.

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Big Data Can Name that Tune in 3 Notes

musical notes2 1 150x150 Big Data Can Name that Tune in 3 Notes  Like Sandy and Danny in the musical “Grease” big data and music “go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.”

First case in point: In a recent blog post I let you know that the music business is a big data business?

Second case in point: I’m here to once again sing (pun intended) the praises of big data because of its ability to help music rights holders lay claim to royalties they’re legally owed for the use of their music.

How, you ask?

Well, TuneSat, a New York-based company whose leaders have deep-seated ties to the music and entertainment industries, has figured out a way to put big data in the hands of the folks who own the rights to the music to ensure that they get the money that’s coming to them.

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After all the Hoopla: Three Real Big Data Apps

hype free zone 150x150 After all the Hoopla: Three Real Big Data AppsThe cacophony of hype surrounding big data is becoming deafening.

As with all technology that gets caught in top billing as the next big thing, mining big data to unearth its secrets won’t be the silver bullet for every company for every problem today or even tomorrow.

But when big data “grows up,” it definitely will have a major impact in many areas, specifically enterprise BI, government applications and customer relationship optimization, according to Alistair Croll, a founding partner at startup accelerator Year One Labs and an analyst at Bitcurrent.

For decades, analysts have been using business intelligence tools to crunch large amounts of data and answer straightforward questions like: “What are each sales representative’s sales for the month?” But these tools have struggled with predictive analytics that ask the “what if” questions that can help guide company strategy, Croll says.

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Cracking the Customer Intelligence Code

Cracking The Code1 300x230 Cracking the Customer Intelligence CodeSome companies are hesitant to tap the power that social media and other consumer-generated content present because they fear they’ll unearth negative comments about their businesses or their brands.

The truth is, consumers have always been talking amongst themselves about the pros and cons of specific products and services, but this information has always been shrouded from companies.

Now, the big data paradigm presents an opportunity for companies to mine myriad data sources including social media, the web, call center logs and mobile data for critical information that’s vital for acquiring and retaining customers.

According to a recent report from Forrester Research, 39% of customer analytics professionals say that customer analytics have improved customer acquisition; 34% say they’ve seen a boost in marketing effectiveness; while 32% note improvements in customer retention. More than 80% use analytics to understand customer behavior, according to the study.

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Using Big Data to Make Big Money

dollar sign finance 150x150 Using Big Data to Make Big MoneyOne of the greatest strengths of big data is how it can be used to provide fresh insights to decision makers.

Big data can reveal customer and market trends that, when spotted quickly enough, can lead executives to move rapidly on new business ventures ahead of competitors.

The beauty of the increasingly digital landscape is that every single digital interaction that occurs – from scheduling a doctor’s visit via email to entering a chat session with a customer agent regarding a product issue to commenting about a brand experience on Facebook – becomes an electronic record that companies can make use of, notes Inc. magazine reporter J.J. McCorvey in a recent blog.

And businesses can now take advantage of this “treasure trove” of data thanks, in part, to dramatic reductions in the costs of storage, the ability to integrate data streams from multiple sources, and the rich analytics tools that are available to mine and analyze this information,” says Todd Nash of Chicago Business Intelligence Group.

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Big Data Analytics: Becoming a Data-Driven Organization

Today’s business climate is moving at breakneck speed, with a volatility that demands companies use big data analytics to respond to fluctuating conditions quickly and decisively.

This capricious environment – combined with the massive growth of data streaming into corporate networks from myriad sources – requires that businesses aiming to stay competitive must abandon making decisions based on gut feelings or instincts and instead apply analytics to gain actionable insight.

data driven decision making graphic 300x232 Big Data Analytics: Becoming a Data Driven OrganizationTo successfully make this paradigm shift, company leaders need to be able to create and sustain a data analytics vision, notes Stacy Blanchard, a senior director of talent and organization at Accenture.

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Why Marketers Need to Play Nice with Analytics

blog big data 300x193 Why Marketers Need to Play Nice with AnalyticsMuch of the focus around the potential for mining big data has been geared toward marketers as well as the vast information about existing and new customers and markets that can be gleaned from using business analytics.

But many marketers are struggling to find useful ways to tap big data, notes Frank Reed, managing editor of Marketing Pilgrim.

Reed cites a recent study by web analytics consultancies eConsultancy and Lynchpin that finds that more than 50% of marketers say that only half of the data collected is useful to their businesses.

“One way that marketers can make their lives easier is to collect only the pertinent data rather than collecting everything under the sun and thus creating an opportunity to miss valuable in formation in the clutter,” Reed says.

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Big Data Is Driving Big Hiring Boom

rock star1 Big Data Is Driving Big Hiring BoomThe deluge of data flowing into many companies from the Web, social networks, mobile devices and other sources is driving an urgent need for companies to find and hire people who can collect and interpret that data.

For those with the technical chops to muzzle big data and the business acumen to mold it into actionable insight for businesses, there are five cities driving big data job growth, according to Modis, an IT staffing firm.

San Francisco tops the list, followed by McLean, Virginia, Boston, St. Louis and Toronto. Modis notes that the top jobs in these cities include data scientists, data analysts, business intelligence professional and data modelers.

Laura Kelley, a Modis vice president in Houston, notes that these roles have become more important to companies as data volumes have grown. However, she adds that the right candidates can be particularly difficult to find because “many roles require a complicated blend of business, analytic, statistical and computer skills – which is not something a candidate acquires overnight.”

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Data Scientists in Tune with Your Playlist

free soundwave notes vector 150x150 Data Scientists in Tune with Your Playlist Do you know that the music business is also a big data business?

Well it is, according to this article in Forbes magazine. It seems record companies are no different than any other company that relies on big data to gain insight into the business to make the right decisions.

Let me interrupt this post for a minute with a little aside. For the record, I am a terrible procrastinator. I live by the words of my late grandfather: Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow. Seriously.

I share this information for a reason. I begin writing this post Wednesday morning at about 9:45 a.m. I have probably two, maybe three sentences written when Mr. Procrastinator taps me on the shoulder and urges me to do something – anything – that would take me away from my writing.

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Part 2 – Big Data: Serving Man for the Global Good

global good 150x150 Part 2 – Big Data: Serving Man for the Global GoodIn our last post, we promised to tell you exactly how big data is being used to serve man by making life better.

The truth is big data really can open up all kinds of possibilities for doing public good.

However, much of the hoopla surrounding the potential of big data has been focused on marketing and other business applications like combining transactional data with information gleaned from social networks to better identify the types of products that consumers are most likely to buy.

But the gleam of big data has caught the eye of humanitarian agencies seeking to identify better ways to accomplish their various missions during crisis situations and for economic development in emerging markets.

For example, the Financial Times notes that because the penetration of cell phones in emerging markets is very high, data that’s mined from cell phone use can be used by humanitarian agencies to identify brewing disasters and better respond when tragedy occurs.

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