How to Gain Support for Business IntelligenceThe one thing we notice whenever we’re implementing business intelligence programs with our customers in Calgary, Edmonton, and western Canada is that high level support is crucial for long term success. If you want a business intelligence project to deliver value over the long run and truly achieve the necessary return on investment (ROI) then the first step is to have that executive support. But, if you don’t have it at the moment how do you get it? How do you get the buy-in necessary to allow for a BI program to get started, grow, and show success? Here are four steps to gain support for a BI project: 1) Show need (increase productivity, decrease sales cycles or production cycles) 2) Demonstrate (potential) value 3) Break out of status-quo (hard to do when everyone is extra busy – they’re covering two jobs… etc.) 4) Gain support. Show Need Show need – here’s where you likely don’t need any help. You can already see that it doesn’t make sense to spend a week of full time work each month building the same report that should be automated, or you see the time being wasted in searching for the best options for a customer. You know you could fix issues faster if you just had visibility into when problems were starting to build. You could reduce equipment downtime if you had real access to the sensor information before the equipment fails. You can improve revenue if you knew which customers to focus on. Etcetera, etcetera. There are many ways to gain value from data analysis and a BI program – you can see the problems every day. Start collecting these issues and documenting the details. This will be key to showing how much value you can gain by solving these problems. If that one person is spending 12 weeks in a year gathering the information for the one report that they put together manually each month you can show a dollar amount that will contribute to the return on the investment that we’ll discuss next. Demonstrate Value Demonstrate the potential value. Here is where you often need the results to prove that it’s worth investing in, but there are ways you can demonstrate the value of a BI project without putting all your budget up front. Watson Analytics is a great tool that is available with a free trial that allows you to upload your own data or a sample set and immediately see reports and gain insights without doing extensive preparation work. We’ve also done small proof of concepts for customers to show that it is possible to pull together the information needed to address the issues identified. This can be a simple demonstration of tools using a sample of your data or a small project taking 30-60 days to take real data and show real value with business intelligence tools. The type of data may predicate the method for demonstrating value but there are options that we’d be happy to discuss if this isn’t straightforward for you. Breaking out of Status Quo We see it every day – and completely understand it. You’re so busy doing your job that you don’t have time to take a step back and see if there is a better way. This isn’t just you – this is everyone in every organization. It’s an endless loop of trying to get everything done before the day is over and respond to the endless emails in your inbox. This is when it is critical to stop and spend five minutes asking if there is a better way. Schedule in this time either at the end of the day so you can start fresh the next day on a more productive foot or first thing in the morning before everyone is dropping in or sending emails that you have to respond to immediately. My favorite is the last five minutes of the day. Here’s where it’s important to take a moment and see what you can do the next day to be more productive but also to review those issues that you know can be dealt with in a better way. This is where you’ll gain clarity on the items from step # 1. Taking the time to see how you can build a more productive process, identify roadblocks, highlight areas of waste, and other processes for improvement. Recognizing the issue really is the first step in making real improvements. This is the first step for you to break out of the heads down, work hard, but running on the treadmill feeling. Change begins with you – is a new-age, feel good slogan, but is really true in that once you start making progress on these areas for improvement others will notice and jump on board. Gain Support Once you have made progress in the previous steps it becomes much easier to gain support with others within the organization. Take the time to show the documented need for improvements and to demonstrate the results of the trial programs or proof of concepts. Building support with other co-workers is one step in the right direction, showing the potential dollar value improvement is another step in the right direction. Executive level support is gained with both a dollar amount of projected return on investment but also a team of people with confidence in a new project. Building the right support from the start makes such a difference, not just in getting the initial budget approved but more importantly in getting the right system delivered to show a true Return on Investment throughout the life of the project. Developing the excitement and the vision for improvements is worth the effort once such a project kicks off. We’re always happy to set up a conversation and discuss these points: helping with examples to show the value, realizing the need and potential gains and talking through how we’ve seen support grow. We can also discuss the overall vision with examples of how value has been delivered with many business intelligence projects. Send us an email at email@example.com or call us at (587)-885-1090 for further information. We’re happy to meet with you at our downtown Calgary office or at your location in Calgary or western Canada. If you’ve successfully gained enterprise support for your Business Intelligence project let us know if we’ve missed anything in the above steps. We’re always happy to hear about your experiences.
IBM Watson Analytics for Social MediaMarket analysis is not new and at this point social media is really not new either. (You’ve seen the messages that you’ve been friends for over 8 years, memories from 5 years ago!) It’s time to start making the most out of Social Media and what we can gather about how customers feel, brand reputation, problems or concerns, what customers want, and so much more from Social Media Analytics. We have had customers in Calgary, Edmonton and Western Canada analyzing their marketing campaigns for years – since we started helping them with Business Intelligence in 2005. Now we can do so much more and so quickly with advanced software like Watson Analytics for Social Media. This tool can help you save time, reduce brand risk, increase revenue, and reduce costs – all through real time insights provided through Social Media Analytics. Analyzing audiences by demographics and geography is standard for marketing campaigns but this is just scratching the surface of the potential. With IBM’s Watson Analytics for Social Media it is possible to get real time responses to basics like demographics and geography of people talking about products or businesses – but then with sentiment analysis, influencer identification, natural language processing, and image analysis; the bigger picture becomes very apparent and very quickly. Sentiment Analysis One of the strengths of Watson Analytics for Social Media is the ability to process the sentiment behind reviews, blogs, tweets, re-tweets, and other online information. There are accessible metrics available to show the number of tweets on a topic. Not as many that can give you a good picture of the positive versus negative sentiment behind these tweets – and include other sources as well including reviews, blog posts, video descriptions and comments, news etc. Watson Analytics can include all of these sources and summarize the sentiment across topics and present in a visually appealing fashion. Influencer Identification Maybe you need to access that one person that has a wide audience, or maybe you want to only see what true influencers – ones with over 1000 followers – have to say about your product. Watson Analytics makes this happen. Natural language processing Ask questions using natural language to easily uncover insights into data – all without an advanced technical skillset. Once again we are talking about Not Needing to be a Data Scientist to work with data and understand exactly what’s going on. You’ve worked with your business for years – you’re the business expert. Now you can ask questions like a business expert and not a statistician or computer scientist. Image analysis With a rich understanding of visual images Watson Analytics can include more than just text analytics to help you understand what people are saying about your business or brand. Putting all of these options together it is possible to come to conclusions and make fully educated decisions based on the results of your analysis. Watson Analytics for Social Media doesn’t leave the demographics or geography behind either – you can also view responses by gender, or region as well, in addition to other demographics and geographic information.
Industry UsageThere are many benefits to industry in being able to get the direct message from their customers. Watson Analytics for Social Media provides this fly on the wall perspective merged with a big picture view. Here’s a few examples of how businesses can make the most out of this advanced software: Security and Risks – brand risks and community perspective are an important aspect of businesses even without a direct tie to consumers – such as those in oil and gas. Social Media advisors are expected to use social media to protect the company and overcome perception challenges. Watson Analytics for Social Media’s prebuilt visualizations and filters can highlight relevant content quickly providing immediate insights. Hospitality industries can immediately benefit from social media analytics with understanding trends, being proactive about responding to customer opinions. More than this it is possible to respond to analysis results with supply management and staff scheduling. Tracking the market share is also highly relevant and helpful. Retail industry can gather real-time feedback on styles, desires and service feedback. No longer will it take months of planning only to order the wrong colours or wrong products, the time frame is now immediate. Product Owners need feedback on existing product features or feedback on proposed features. Competitive intelligence can also put a company at advantage. WASM can be used to prepare the sentiment analysis and user feedback that would take months to gather through surveys or other market analysis. With additional topics suggested by Watson Analytics for Social Media it’s possible to find what you weren’t even looking for as well. Sales representatives – can easily understand the needs of their market and prospects and at the same time understand perceptions of their products versus their competition. All with almost no training. Event planning of all sorts can be enhanced through social media analytics. Understanding potential response and demand will help you with supply chain decisions, staff requirements and other capacity requirements. Universities and Higher Education facilities can better respond to student needs, feedback and actively market based on key influencers when the information is in your hands Technology companies can understand outages and provide real-time insights that are simply invaluable. Be that fly on the wall and understanding just what is thought of your brand – and understand how you can improve with new insights can be invaluable. Ask us how you can get a free trial of Watson Analytics for Social Media and how we can help you understand the topics and themes necessary to analyze your business and provide immediate insights to reduce costs, increase revenue, save time, and reduce risks. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (587)-885-1090.
Two Products for Business AnalyticsIBM 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 AnalyticsCognos 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.
Watson AnalyticsWatson 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 email@example.com