What will 2018 unveil for the data management market? I searched expert opinions on technology trends for 2018 and matched them against my own to uncover the five major trends that I think we’ll see in data management this year: 1. Data movement becomes more important. Cloud providers have proven [...]
It's that festive time of year again, so you may want to build yourself a fire and grab a cup of hot chocolate as you prepare for a rousing round of holiday/IT joy. Grab your co-workers and gather around the water cooler while singing along to this post and others […]
The rapid growth of the digital economy has put it on course to account for 25 percent of the world’s entire economy by 2020. Platform business models represent a large proportion of the overall total but what do we mean by platform? MIT Professor Michael Cusumano defines it as follows: […]
As we look at the last 40 years of innovation using analytics, it can be both humbling and inspiring. I mean, who would have anticipated 40 years ago that SAS® would be used to analyze genomic data and help develop specialized medications as a result? Who would have guessed that […]
How to embed advanced analytics in your biggest ideas? was published on SAS Voices.
I've seen a number of articles and webinars recently that discuss data integration as a cloud-based service. So I thought it was worth exploring what this really means in the context of big data – specifically when the objective is to exploit many sources of streaming data for analytics. My initial reaction […]
I feel like I'm singing a song called Data in the Sky – With Options! The cloud is forever in our minds these days as a lower cost option because it requires fewer resources to address our data needs. Cloud solutions are an increasing part of many organizations' budgets every year. Whether enterprise data is […]
Imagine that your business operates with over 50,000 employees in over 60 countries, you are the leading manufacturer in the world for your flagship product, and your customers can be found quite literally world-wide. Then imagine having a goal to become more agile and customer-centered across the board. That clearly describes a big data a scenario, which as usual, holds both challenges and opportunities.
This scenario describes Lenovo, and the leading technology company is running big data analytics on the public cloud infrastructure of Amazon Web Services to capture the voice of the customer. They combine insights from their own data with unstructured data, such as social media, product reviews, customer forums, call center logs and online chat sessions. This approach enables Lenovo to use visual analytics to pick up on issues earlier, giving them a chance to address them quicker. The result is that what once took them 60-90 days to identify and respond to quality issues now happens in a matter of weeks.
Not all organizations are quite as big as Lenovo, but big data is relative and with analytics, the size of your company or the complexity of your business do not have to stand in the way of your hearing the voice of the customer. Tune in to this video below to hear directly from Lenovo executives about how they capture the voice of the customer.
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Flexibility and nimbleness are terms synonymous with small and mid-sized businesses. They have the ability to react quickly to changing market conditions as they are made aware of them. Traditionally these businesses have lived in the world of spreadsheets - and why not? They are easy to use, very affordable and readily available to all staff across the business. However increasingly, they are realising there are a wealth of insights hidden within their data that once uncovered, can offer them a first-mover advantage and the opportunity to capitalise and stay ahead of the game.
IT departments of one
Most organisations of this size run a very lean IT team which requires finding those rare expertly-general skilled professionals to run everything from setting up computers to managing networks and dealing with internet security issues. Often these small teams do not have the bandwidth or desire to also become analytics experts. With our new generation of reporting and analytics tools your IT team does not need any analytics or programming skills as the creation of reports, dashboards and analytics are kept within the hands of the analyser.
Football NSW is a not-for-profit organisation that looks after 208,000 registered football players across the state. It employs 57 staff, one of which forms the entirety of its IT department – focusing primarily on desktop support. ‘Analytics’ was a meaningless term for them a year ago, before they introduced SAS® Visual Analytics to replace their spreadsheets. Their reason for turning to a full reporting and analytics tool was clear from the start, they had one question to answer:
“How do we use our data to better engage to our stakeholders – whether it’s councils, government, sponsors or member clubs.”
With that goal front and centre their small organisation is now using powerful visualisations to attract and retain participants focusing on the three F’s – football, facilities and finance. Answering new questions with their data such as:
- What do future numbers of football players look like and will councils have the facilities to cater for them?
- How do we provide our sponsors with information that provides value to them so they stay with us?
- What is the profile of our typical referee and how do we educate and retain them?
You might be thinking, yeah but how does a Football club relate to me and my organisation? The principle behind all of this remains the same; analytics is not just for the big guys, in fact small and mid-sized organisations can easily use analytics to discover insights without the need for specialist skills. In fact you don’t even need to purchase extra hardware as we enter the age of Cloud Analytics.
Start by dodging the Buzz-word bingo
Business is buzzing with terms such as ‘big data’ ‘industrial internet’ and ‘advanced analytics’. Companies are talking about needing to hire ‘data scientists’ and having ‘machine to machine’ conversations, but for most organisations the question of where to start does not involve any of these terms.
The best starting point for most businesses embarking on an analytics journey is to get back to basics by better understanding their internal data… For the average business, data is all over the place. It can be found in different applications (finance, HR etc) some of which may be sitting in the cloud, or in dusty places such as archives, storage devices or spreadsheets that have been buried deep within your filing systems. Identifying and bringing all of this data together in a ‘single version of the truth’ is the foundation for gaining deeper insights, more accurate reporting and improved confidence in your data. It’s critical when you’re faced with this environment to ensure you seek a solution that not only consolidates and standardises data to build an integrated data view but then allows you to tell a story that looks both to the past and helps hypothesise about the future.
You do need to start with a clear attainable goal in mind, and it doesn’t need to include ‘saving the world’ at step one. Ensure your objective will enable you to either show value quickly (payback value) or achieve something which will have widespread visibility within the business (an issue that no one has been able to solve, or a way of using data to look at a falling market in a different way for example).
The world is rapidly changing. The value of managing data as an asset is now becoming a topic for most boardroom conversations. SAS Visual Analytics for the Cloud gives small to mid-market businesses the ability not only to have those exact same conversations but to act on them immediately. Analytics is no longer just for the large banks or government departments, it’s an option everyone can now capitalise on, and those who are flexible and nimble have the most to gain.