Predicting The Future

Predicting The Future

You may not be able to predict the winning lottery numbers but with advanced predictive analytics options today you won’t need to. That’s because it’s possible to increase your company revenue by predicting trends to be successful in a more traditional sense than winning the lottery. By analyzing your data you can predict customer churn, or employee churn, you can visualize the trend of customers most likely to purchase and focus your sales efforts in those areas. You can determine the best place for your next business location and so much more. The possibilities are virtually limitless. In addition to increasing revenue, there are also practical ways to reduce costs with highlighting areas to reduce waste, reduce downtime, or optimize maintenance practices.

Predictive Analytics can be used to improve Operations, Sales, Fraud detection, Marketing, Crime Prevention… and more!

Not Magic and Not Just for Technical Wizards

We have been helping our customers evaluate predictive analytics solutions for many years and recently there is a new option from IBM that provides many benefits and is available with virtually no learning curve. Watson Analytics allows any user with a data set to quickly visualize unbiased predictions. Cognos SPSS is another great tool with a wide variety of predictive options that get much more in depth than Watson Analytics. So which one do you need? Watson Analytics allows a free trial for the complete version for the first 30 days and a limited version after the 30 day trial. As well you can try a 30 day free trial of SPSS. Using either of these tools you can easily use historical data to predict what will happen next and visualize trends.

Here’s how to get started with each and where you might want to look first.

Watson Analytics

Watson Analytics is known for its ability to provide a user friendly interface for analyzing data for any user – without needing a technical background. With natural language processing it is possible to easily upload data and start analyzing without any of the work to manipulate data, or write cryptic code. Suggested reports and analysis are provided automatically with the capability to drill into further detail. The power of this data analysis on its own is impressive particularly when it is so easily accessible. However, an important additional feature is the ability to look into trends and predictions based on the same data, again, without the need for a technical background. You don’t need to have a computer science degree or a statistician background in order to get real benefits from this tool. With Watson Analytics you will be able to visualize trends and patterns or correlations and details for questions that you didn’t even know to ask.

When creating a prediction in Watson Analytics you can choose up to 5 targets for the prediction for example customer churn would be one target. Once the targets are selected Watson Analytics automatically runs through thousands of algorithms to find the best model and likely predictors. You won’t need to know what type of model to select for the best statistical fit and you won’t end up with a biased prediction based on your own hypothesis.

Click here to get access to your free trial and get started with uploading your data and see what you learn.

Then follow this post in the Watson Analytics community to help you get you started with your first prediction. You’ll be on your way to visualizing trends almost immediately.

The trial version also includes the Watson Analytics Social Media analytics for ten days – giving you the ability to analyze marketing campaigns and more by pulling in data from twitter, review pages, blogs, and more. This gives you the ability to be The Fly on The Wall and to understand what your customers or community are saying about your company and products. This is a powerful tool providing insights and answers into sentiment, demographic information and more.

Watson Analytics is a cloud based offering allowing you to upload your data immediately after signing up for your trial version. Try it today and let us know what you think!

IBM SPSS Modeler

IBM SPSS Modeler is a user friendly tool that you can learn to use to create accurate predictive models for valuable insights. You can use the tool to drag and drop and create the work flow you need without programming, this simplifies the process of building models and visualizing results.

SPSS Modeler is the perfect tool for when you’ve outgrown the capabilities of your Excel spreadsheet and want to do more with predictive analytics but without signing up for a course in programming or coding. This is a user friendly environment that will allow you to draw out, analyze, then communicate and validate results to change processes, policies and systems through predictive intelligence. You can automate data preparation and modeling, access a full range of modeling algorithms and choose which one best suits your needs and get the predictive intelligence results you need. In the chance that you are a technical wizard and want a highly customizable or scientific model you can easily embed a model available in open source (R/Python).

SPSS is a true leader in predictive analytics showing up in the top corner of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for completeness of vision and ability to execute. This is a tool that will help you improve decision making through accurate predictions and discovery of data patterns. SPSS includes text analytics, entity analytics, decision management and optimization for near real-time insights. SPSS modeler can be used as a stand alone desktop installation or a larger deployment integrated within the whole organization. This can be an on-premise, cloud, or hybrid solution.

You can create models to help you understand customer churn, retail market basket analysis, identify fraud, predictive maintenance, and more. With an SPSS model you can see specific actions to take per customer to avoid customer churn, or an approach for avoiding fraud before it happens. You will be able to take immediate action with record by record analysis of predictions and correlations with probability of a target displayed for each record. Empower yourself to make effective decisions and take immediate action with predictive intelligence and SPSS modeler insights.

For your 30 day Free SPSS trial version click here. You can get started right away with a drag-and-drop model that will allow you to apply predictive intelligence to your business data. Feel free to talk to us about how you’d like to use predictive intelligence and we can help point you in the right direction that will help to increase revenue, reduce costs, and/or save time.

 

Predictive Analytics without the Pain

Whether you’re using Watson Analytics or Cognos SPSS you can quickly increase your revenue and reduce costs by seeing the future trends in your data.

Feel free to ask us for guidance in getting started with either Watson Analytics or IBM Cognos SPSS. We have people that are happy to help with either product and provide suggestions for making the most out of the 30 day trial versions or ongoing tool evaluation.  Contact us at info@bowriversolutions.com or (587)-885-1090.

 

Cognos Analytics or Watson Analytics

Cognos Analytics Versus Watson Analytics

Two Products for Business Analytics

IBM now has two business analytics offerings that our customers in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have been using and evaluating. Cognos Analytics is the long standing product evolving from Cognos -> Cognos ReportNet -> Cognos Business Intelligence -> Cognos Analytics and now Watson Analytics – the new offering using cognitive analytics and natural language originating from Watson that competed on Jeopardy. With these two analytic products the question comes up – Which one do I need?

Cognos Analytics

Cognos Analytics has evolved significantly from its roots in Ottawa, Canada back in 1969. The main selling feature for years was their PowerPlay Cubes for quick top down analysis, and slicing and dicing data in so many ways. The offerings changed significantly over the years but became a more complete offering in 2008 when purchased by IBM and combined with the extensive research and development and other tools that IBM has had to offer. The core of Cognos Analytics is still that easy access to corporate information – but with so much more now. Cognos Analytics is moving more and more into business users self service access to information. With both Cognos Analytics and Watson Analytics IBM is reducing the technical skillset needed for more advanced analytics – empowering users as they progress in this direction. This has been discussed previously in our post on So You’re Not a Data Scientist… So What! Cognos Analytics is a truly complete business analytics offering for professional reports, dashboards, self service information access, emailed reports and more. This one tool provides the complete picture of where you are and where you need to go. This is the tool that allows users to make analytics part of their daily work routine with information at their fingertips and a reduced IT backlog. In addition, the sharable features of Cognos Analytics helps to build a community within the organization – with the all important single source of the truth.

Cognos Analytics

Watson Analytics

Watson Analytics is the new kid in town when it comes to Business Analytics. However, this does not mean it’s lacking in power. On the contrary, Watson Analytics is a very powerful tool that has many benefits to adding to your toolkit. The primary strength is in the simplicity – this is the epitome of empowering end users and reducing the necessary technical skillset. There is no need at all for an IT background or a degree in Statistics in order to find the gold in endless columns of data and even unstructured data such as social media analytics. Using natural language it becomes very easy to ask questions and immediately see reports that address those questions with options to drill in or filter to more specific data or alternative views to answer similar questions. Watson Analytics allows for immediate visual understanding of information with key exception reporting. No longer are you searching through data for a vital piece of information – this information stands out immediately.

Not only does a user not need to understand a SQL statement like

“Select name, location, age from table1 join table2 on table1.primarykey = table2.key where table2.lostTimeIncident > 2”

But that user doesn’t even have to drag and drop and create a report or design a report specification. A user can simply type in:

“Tell me about the lost time incidents”

Watson Analytics guides data exploration and by doing so a user can immediately see all of the lost time incidents and drill in to find any issues such as locations that are at higher risk, departments, etc.

Watson Analytics – More Capabilities

Watson Analytics can take things one step further with automated predictive analytics providing answers and new insights. Uncover patterns, correlations and key drivers in your data. Reveal unbiased insights – all without that highly technical data scientist skill set. Business users that truly understand their data will be empowered with new data discoveries. All of this with the ability to tell a powerful story through charts, dashboards and automated visual representations.

Watson Analytics also makes data preparation very easy – it can be as easy as uploading a spreadsheet of data or connecting to a cloud data source – with an automatically produced quality report. Refinement can be completed on top of this – creating new groups, calculations or hierarchies. All in an easy to accomplish fashion – easier than Excel. Then immediate guided exploration is possible.

One additional benefit of Watson Analytics is in Social Media Analytics. This provides a truly powerful and insightful view of your company or industry with insights about what people are saying including a sentiment analysis feature that quickly summarizes what people are saying to identify customer trends and consumer sentiment.

 

Curious about Watson Analytics? We can help you get set up with their free trial! To get your Watson Analytics Free Trial email us at info@bowriversolutions.com

 

showing you what you didn't know to ask

Watson Analytics Versus Cognos Analytics?

It’s great that IBM has these two products and they each have some very distinctive advantages. If you’re looking for business intelligence without a huge technical skillset you have options! So how do you decide which one you should use and why?

First of all with Cognos and Watson Analytics it isn’t necessarily an either/or decision. These two products serve two distinct needs and can effectively build on one another. It doesn’t have to be a choice of one or the other.

However, because there are distinct usages of each it helps to point out that Cognos Analytics excels at the operational reporting and providing easy access to accurate information, and Watson Analytics excels in the Data Discovery/Predictive Analytics/and Pattern Analysis area.

Cognos Analytics tends to be more focused on the professional report side with easy viewing and sharing of information. Watson Analytics leans towards data discovery – showing you what you didn’t know to ask.

When comparing Cognos Analytics and Watson Analytics what it really comes down to is if you’re looking for a traditional (but highly advanced!) business intelligence implementation with professional reports and a shared environment then Cognos Analytics is going to provide a next generation solution for your business. If you’re looking for new data discovery with a new way of analyzing your business including predictive analytics and social media analytics – then Watson Analytics is the answer.

 

We can help you discover what is best for your specific needs with a custom needs assessment. Call us for a needs assessment or for your free trial of Watson Analytics  (587)-885-1090 or email us at info@bowriversolutions.com. It really can be that easy to make better decisions, quickly, and more accurately… today.

 

 

Improve Your Corporate Sales Efforts

Sales Intelligence

What keeps most of us up at night is not knowing how to connect the dots and make our business run more cost-efficiently. Add the occasional missed sales opportunity and it’s time to reach out and consider a new form of business intelligence. Our Business Intelligence customers in Calgary, Edmonton, BC, and Saskatchewan have been able to improve their Sales Intelligence – on the road.

Sales people are often in the field meeting with customers and have to recall their sales history from memory. This results in lost opportunities from not knowing what products the customer has bought before and what they might be interested in next. Providing up to date mobile reporting solutions for your sales team will enable them to check the customer sales history and know what products to recommend or even to have the flexibility to discount the current order based on past volumes. Cognos Mobile Reporting can provide great insight for your sales team and result in increased revenues.

Cognos Mobile

Using a mobile device such as an iPad or even a smart phone it is possible to get an interactive report that will help that sales person to provide the best advice to your customers – based on the customer’s individual buying practices. Maybe they need some parts for maintenance that should be coming up in the next couple of months based on their recent purchases – or maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Having the information at their fingertips will help your sales people be successful.

Inventory and Sales History

We have been using IBM Cognos Analytics to pull together sales history and inventory into an easy to use dashboard that can be accessed through a smart device using Cognos Mobile. This has helped our customers gain insight and not have to rely on old information when helping their own customers. Find out in our next post how we can take this one step further using Cognos SPSS and predictive analytics, or Watson Analytics for an automated predictive analytics solution!

 

Ask us about how to improve your Sales Intelligence with Business Intelligence and Cognos Mobile Reports, we can help you get information at your fingertips. Give us a call  (587)-885-1090 or send us an email info@bowriversolutions.com and we can set up a meeting to discuss. We can meet locally in our Calgary office at 264 Midpark Way SE, in your office or via a conference call.

Dashboard

Data Scientist Data Analyst

So You’re Not a Data Scientist… So What!

You’re not a Data Scientist – You Don’t Need to Be!IBM Cognos Report

So you’re not a data scientist but you need more information to do your job. We can help. We have helped many customers just like you in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Saskatoon and Regina. Customers that have needed access to information and fast, needed to write a report without going to IT, or needed to make critical business decisions with up to date and accurate information. Even customers that had an idea to improve company performance but needed to show the numbers to prove it. This is what we live and breath…. bringing data together to show real answers, timely, and accurately.

IBM Cognos Analytics

We use IBM Cognos BI to set up systems for user self service. You no longer need to be a data scientist or an IT guru to get the answers you need. With IBM Cognos you can create your own report and have the answers at your fingertips.

DashboardYou can also start with a dashboard to see your department and then drill into more detail. This helps you answer the questions you didn’t know to ask. Why is this area outperforming the other areas? Why is this manager underperforming? Then you can get to how you can help all areas increase their performance.

If you know the data is available and you want access at your fingertips we can help. The original Business Intelligence offerings were great options that allowed for clicking and drilling down to discover more detailed information. These quickly hit limits with data volumes, performance, and availability. Years of waiting to provide easier access to business users and true self-service capabilities has paid off. There are options now that we can set up systems and have business users accessing self service reporting options within weeks of starting the project. This enables users to get answers without needing an IT background and without being a data scientist. You can now do so much more than VLookups in Excel. You can drag and drop and create your own report within minutes and re-run it in seconds or schedule it to be delivered to your inbox on a schedule that works for you. These options are so easy now we hardly think to celebrate them. But, if you’re still having to call over to the local expert to run a report for you, or you’re re-creating the same report each month, or worse you can’t get the answers you need… this can change and it doesn’t take a University degree to change it.

IBM Watson Analytics

Even better than this self service report writing capability is the cognitive analysis available now through IBM Watson Analytics. This takes natural language questions and automatically responds with data displayed suited to the question asked. This is not just a step ahead of easy self-service acces – this is a leap and bound ahead. Simply entering “tell me what my department looks like” results in several graphical displays with different ways of looking at departments. If you like what you see you can see more of the same or click to filter the display in more detail. All of this without extensive setup times or expensive software costs. This really is Advanced Analytics made Easy.

Watson Analytics

 

Watson Analytics

 

Visit: IBM Watson Analytics – Take a look and then call us today.

Find out how to use IBM Watson Analytics and see how easy it is to do your job and use Advanced Analytics without being a data scientist. Call us for a demo  (587)-885-1090 or email us at info@bowriversolutions.com. It really can be that easy to make better decisions, quickly, and more accurately… today.

 

 

Access Manager to Active Directory

Ask us how we’re helping our customers move to Active Directory security from Access Manager for their Cognos Business Analytics environment. It can be that easy.

 

 

Give us a call at  (587)-885-1090 or email at info@bowriversolutions.com

Calgary Cognos User Group – May 29th Event

Join us for another event hosted by the Calgary Cognos User Group (CCUG) which brings together industry professionals in the business intelligence and analytics space for a fun evening of drinks and networking with friends.

This is an open event for anyone in the local technology community in Calgary, not just Cognos enthusiasts. Everyone is welcome, so bring a friend and come mingle with some local techies.

May 29, 2014 | 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

@ Craft Beer Market

(345 10 Ave SW)

Sponsored By

Calgary Cognos User Group – April 3rd 2014 Event

Calgary’s Cognos User Group will be hosting an event this April that brings together industry professionals in the business intelligence space.

 

April 3rd, 2014 Write this down in you agenda & Invite your colleagues! (Door prizes, Food & Drinks)

The IBM Building 227 11 Ave SW

 

5:00 pm – Welcome to the CCUG

5:10 pm – The Power of Location Analytic by ESRI Canada

5:55 pm – Q & A

6:00 pm – Break | Food | Drinks

6:10 pm – 3D Facial Recognition – Marketing by nVisio

6:55 pm – Q & A

7:00 pm – Data for Good

7:30 pm – Q & A

7:35 pm – Networking

Everyone is welcome! Be sure to RSVP and check out our Invitation.
– Bow River Solutions Inc  @ www.BowRiverSolutions.com

If you have any questions, please contact Oscar Cruz at Oscar@BowRiverSolutions.com

Call at  (587)-885-1090

Report Studio versus Analysis Studio

Which Studio is the Right Studio? Report Studio vs. Query Studio vs. Analysis Studio

Here a studio, there a studio, everywhere a studio!
IBM Cognos Business Intelligence has a Studio for every job and using the right tool or Studio is the best way to have a smooth experience with Cognos Business Intelligence suite. Some reporting and information gathering can be done in any of the Studios so the choice typically is the Studio that one knows the best – when you have a hammer all the data looks like nails. But for all of the nuts and bolts of the information out there it is helpful to know which tool is the right tool.

Report Studio

Report Studio is the top level tool with all of the bells and whistles. Reports can be made against dimensional data sources or relational data sources and all sorts of complex functions and multiple lists, charts and crosstabs can be used within one report. This Studio is typically used by the developers creating standard reports where formatting requirements are specific or complex reports with multiple pages and complex formatting. This is the tool of choice for the developer creating one standard report for multiple users.
Once you get past the complex reports or the very specific formatting that’s needed in Report Studio the determining factor for tool choice is based on the process of either ‘Query then Analyze’ or ‘Analyze then Query’. Do you know what information you need so you can Query the data and then Analyze it to find what you need? Or will it be a process of you need to find out what’s going on and then you’ll know the right question to ask in an Analyze then Query fashion?

Query Studio

If you know what you are looking for and the importance is in getting the data quickly then turn to Query Studio. This is where you know what you want to report on and you just need the information without worrying about exactly how it will fit to a printed page or how many lines exactly will show up on each page. Query Studio is great at answering these quick questions, but only one question at a time. The complexities can be left to Report Studio while the quickness is in Query Studio. This is typically the studio that business users will be using to the point where they’ll be so comfortable here that they’ll know more about it than most of the developers. Query Studio is the tool for Query then Analyze functionality. The greatness and the downfall of Query Studio lies in it’s simplicity. It’s easy to pick up with a quick tutorial you can be off and running for all of the queries you have, but when it comes to moving beyond simplicity into areas such as creating an ‘IF’ statement within the report this has to be done in Report Studio, or if it’s a standard IF statement then it can be put into the Framework Manager model and used as any other data item.

Analysis Studio

Analysis Studio doesn’t solve the issue with IF statements but it is the tool of choice for the alternative: Analyze then Query type of process. This is, to put it simply, for Analysis. When users are analyzing their business and looking for more information, they don’t have the query already formed in their mind but they want to be on top of whatever is happening then Analysis Studio is the place to go. Here is where you start off by seeing the big picture, with all of the numbers summarized so you can see sales for all regions or inventory for all regions or maybe the total headcount of all employees across the organization, but you start with that big picture. Then in a fashion of ‘Analyze then Query’ you have the ability to drill down into more information. If the numbers look particularly high or low for a given time period or a given region you can click and drill down on that area and find out all the details about this number and what’s necessary to take the next step of action. Beyond the method of working with the information the data sources are also important when choosing a tool. The Analyze then Query functionality is only available with dimensionally modeled data sources where the data is easily summed up along hierarchies and then can be drilled down to see more detail. When the data is not organized in nice hierarchies but is relational then Analysis Studio cannot be used. This is easy to determine as Analysis Studio will only give you the option of opening dimensionally modeled data sources.
So which studio is the right one: to put it generally Report Studio for complex reports, Query Studio for quick answers to queries already in mind and Analysis Studio for quick analysis and further digging. Having said that, my tool of choice is still Analysis Studio, this is the one that really puts the Performance in Performance Management and the Intelligence in Business Intelligence (BI). The other Studios have a lot of value in their areas, but this is the real power of BI; finding the information that business users were not expecting and being able to further query that data to find out more about it.
 We’re always happy to set up a conversation and discuss Cognos and Business Intelligence: helping with examples to show the tools and all their features. We can also discuss the overall vision of BI with examples of how value has been delivered with many business intelligence projects. Send us an email at info@bowriversolutions.com or call us at  (587)-885-1090  for further information. We’re happy to meet with you at our Calgary office at 264 Midpark Way SE. or at your location in Calgary or western Canada.