data != info
Do you have data, but no real information?

You have data,
but no real information

While organizations have become masters of collecting data, they seem to be forgetting that data is not the same as information.
Information is data that has been converted into a meaningful and useful context ready for onlookers to harvest insights.
The power of business intelligence is that it increases the ability to identify trends and issues, uncover new insights, and fine-tune operations to meet business goals—the value everyone’s been looking for by collecting the data in the first place.

Spread sheets
Is a pie chart is supposed to deliver KPIs?

Excel does not scale.

Businesses are quickly learning the difference between reports and KPIs. Although reports are crucial as a starting point for any analysis, KPIs give you the ability to display core metrics that will guide business decisions. If your data can’t tell you which of your business areas are doing well or struggling, or deliver clear, actionable data, then you’re missing a true advantage that Business Intelligence can provide, and your little pie chart just won’t cut it anymore. Excel is often used as the lifeblood of a company’s reporting needs, but Excel can become sluggish when reports contain more data than Excel was designed to handle.

Search
Search and Findablity
Search

Are you looking for something or do you want it to be found?
Do you want to track into Analytics the choices people made during the search process or to understand why they made those choices or if they abandon the 'Conversion Funnel' and went elsewhere.

Do you want to layer the search results over some other context, such as a map?

data != info

Back in the 80 when I majored in Computer Science, the first thing my tutor told me that Data was not Information. That information was data with intelligence and context applied to it. There are many companies now that think MS Excel is able to deliver you Business Intelligence and Operational KPI, possibly because Excel comes with Office and you make do with what you have. Excel will not scale, see how long it takes to update your chart, now tend the last 5 years worth of data, how many hours did that take you before Excel crashed?

  • Generation Zero - SQL query into a report - took a long time. This is still very common.
  • Generation One - Back in 1995 Data Warehousing and the OLAP Cube was developed, lots of hardware, lots of clustered servers and lots of costs and really quite complex.
  • Generation Two - Back in 2005 with the lowering of memory costs came 'In Memory Direct Query' this was fast but limited to your whole data and all its dimensions being in memory at once. Pretty fast queries but limited to just GBs.
  • Generation Three - From 2010 onwards Intel developed multi-core CPUs with a L2 and L3 cache of quite some size, which meant imagine if you have a BI query that fitted inside just 12mb of CPU cache not needing any IO for a while just using column-less data!

SSRS, SSAS & SSIS

  • SSRS - SQL Server Reporting Services, This has two main uses, allow the consolidation of general business reports in one place (at the end of a URL) or to allow then to be integrated into web pages.
  • SSAS - SQL Server Analytics Services, is used to analyze and make sense of information possibly spread out across multiple databases, or in disparate tables, note Tables, which implies databases which implies hardware costs and computation time.
  • SSIS - SQL Server Integration Services which replaced DTS, is that to import data from all sorts into your database. Typically an CSV file is sent from one company to another that allows them to decouple their system but maintain an Electronic Data Interchange, what is not dealt with is the poor quality of data that has to be imported by automation.
[...]

Search and Findablity

This relates to who is it that is searching and what their motive is, through to making something easy to find.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is aimed at making your website easy to comprehend by the google-bot search engine. Which in turn catalogues it so that if you put in a search term your site is the most relevant for that context.

Another context is finding the 'right' product or service on your web site, and guiding them to buy it - the Conversion Funnel.   [...]

How we can help

##marketing blurb##   [...]

[test]

Business Intelligence

data != info

Back in the 80 when I majored in Computer Science, the first thing my tutor told me that Data was not Information. That information was data with intelligence applied to it. Even recently there are many companies that think MS Excel is able to deliver you Business Intelligence and Operational KPI, possible because Excel comes with office and you make do. Excel will not scale, see how long it takes to update your chart, now tend the last 5 years worth of data, how many hours did that take you before Excel crashed?

  • Generation Zero - SQL query into a report - took a long time. This is still very common.
  • Generation One - Back in 1995 Data Warehousing and the OLAP Cube was developed, lots of hardware, lots of clustered servers and lots of costs and really quite complex.
  • Generation Two - Back in 2005 with the lowering of memory costs came 'In Memory Direct Query' this was fast but limited to your whole data and all its dimensions being in memory at once. Pretty fast queries but limited to just GBs.
  • Generation Three - From 2010 onwards Intel developed multi-core CPUs with a L2 and L3 cache of quite some size, which meant imagine if you have a BI query that fitted inside just 12mb of CPU cache not needing any IO for a while just using column-less data!
    That is with Intel working on 32x32x32 core chips, which are not getting any faster, with disk drives getting bigger and cheaper, but not any faster how are you going to process big data. Is there such a thing as 'Lean Analytics' and how can you used it to make decisions faster.

  • So do you need Business Intelligence?
  • You have data, but no real information
    While organizations have become masters of collecting data, they seem to be forgetting that data is not the same as information. Information is data that has been converted into a meaningful and useful context ready for onlookers to harvest insights. If you’re lacking information, you may need help aggregating and analyzing data into actionable information, and this is where the ‘intelligence’ of a BI tool enters the picture. The power of business intelligence is that it increases the ability to identify trends and issues, uncover new insights, and fine-tune operations to meet business goals—the value everyone’s been looking for by collecting the data in the first place.
  • IT has become a bottleneck when you need a report
    If your IT department controls all company data, getting reports may start to become cumbersome. Creating reports without a BI software, especially complex reports or dashboards, requires someone with a rich technical background and therefore forces all non-technical users to be reliant on IT.
    When you need to repeatedly return to IT to tweak and edit reports, eventually they’ll become a bottleneck to getting your work done, and that’s a clear sign it’s time to bring the data to the people in the organization who actually benefit from analyzing data to meet business goals—the business users. Any solid BI tool with a clean, intuitive UI will allow business users to build their own reports as well as have the flexibility to add or tweak any dashboard.
  • Your BI relies on spreadsheets, but your data is BIG
    One of the first growing pains companies experience is when they hit Excel’s scalability wall. Excel is often used as the lifeblood of a company’s reporting needs, but Excel can become sluggish when reports contain more data than Excel was designed to handle. In a growing business, it doesn’t take long to accumulate data far beyond Excels capacity, even if you dutifully clean and manage your data sets. All you’ll be left to work with are desktop spreadsheets that are siloed and don’t enable real-time data sharing and updating.
    Getting a unified, accurate view of the bigger picture with a BI tool that can easily mash up data from multiple sources will make a coherent analysis of any amount of data—and fast. Basic tasks like creating organizational plans, distributing and collecting information from different managers, consolidating multiple spreadsheets, and debugging broken macros and formulas, will suddenly become a breeze.
  • You dread joining data from different sources
    In today’s business environment big data refers not only to the depth of big databases, but also the breadth of mashing-up data coming from many different sources into a single coherent location. If you are still running reports in different systems and trying to make sense of all the connections between the data sets, you are working too hard and gaining just a fraction of the insight you could be gaining by using a BI tool to cross data sources. Once you start using a BI tool to successfully work with multiple sources of data, you will also uncover how easy it is to add additional data sources on the fly—and then the options of insightful mash ups will become endless.
  • A pie chart is supposed to deliver KPIs
    Businesses are quickly learning the difference between reports and KPIs. Although reports are crucial as a starting point for any analysis, KPIs give you the ability to display core metrics that will guide business decisions. If your data can’t tell you which of your business areas are doing well or struggling, or deliver clear, actionable data, then you’re missing a true advantage that Business Intelligence can provide, and your little pie chart just won’t cut it anymore.

  • Every modern, data-driven organization needs some type of BI tool to help shift from running business on intuition, to running it with intelligence. If you recognize any of the above pain points as your own, it’s time to investigate how BI can help transform your data into information. When you do decide to invest in a BI tool, make sure your organization prepares its BI strategy, executes a full #Proof-of-Concept, and chooses a tool that fits your organization’s need today and in the future.



KPI and Dashboards and Reporting

Typically a Dashboard is there to communicate a Key Performance Indicator. A KPI is there to act as a flag to indicate if your business is on target or has a lapse in performance in some area. Looking at the dashboard it tells you if you need to take action and how quickly. Where the KPI is a number (eg if you are a call centre you may need to resolve a call in 90 seconds to be profitable) but how is the best communicated? A Chart? A Gauge? A red flashing tile when the breach has occurred or would it have been better to have gone from Amber to Red so giving you notice?

Businesses are quickly learning the difference between reports and KPIs. Although reports are crucial as a starting point for any analysis, KPIs give you the ability to display core metrics that will guide business decisions. If your data can’t tell you which of your business areas are doing well or struggling, or deliver clear, actionable data, then you’re missing a true advantage that Business Intelligence can provide, and your little pie chart just won’t cut it anymore. Excel is often used as the lifeblood of a company’s reporting needs, but Excel can become sluggish when reports contain more data than Excel was designed to handle.

  • Timely Information
    Not only does this cover there Where,Why, What, Whom of effective Communications.
  • Call to Action
    A Dashboard is a Call to Action, assuming you what 'Going into the Red' means, but that has context, either an Engine over revving or your your Bank balance going negative.
  • Reports vs Dashboard
    Whilst they are both feed with data, a report (eg cash flow forecast) is a moment in time, is likely to be added to another report, possible cut and paste from excel. It is not using masses of data.
    There are other report there to gain insight into some A/B testing of a website, others that mash up the data collected from Google Analytics, from your consolidated IIS web logs files, your Marketing spend, your Sales-force data to see if some campaigned you ran was cost effective.
  • Security, Access and Impact
    So by now you are thinking hey this is really good, but can I get it when and where I deed it.
    You may be thinking of using a 'BI' reporting tool to squirt some data onto a design surface and send it to print(or PDF) what this may mean if you are using SSRS is that you have a query that is run each time a report is run, and unless you have a top end MS SQL server its going to slow down other users of that server.
    What this means is that you have many customers hosted on your one (low end) web server, and someone puts in a date range from now to the beginning of all time, the goes to lunch whilst it completes, this has an unwitting impact on other users of that system.
    When what happens in you have a 'Talent Management' system, and of course anyone in HR can see who earns what, that's fine when it becomes personal and you can see what you Boss is earning or the there is a guy earning £75k but doing a £25k job, as his skills have become redundant but he is too expensive to make redundant.
    So you are right to expect a granular access control system, one where you can easily grant access to a report, and know they can see it if appropriate.
    The display technology also matters using Portable Document Format(PDF) is aimed at it being Print Ready, can printer agnostic. At the same time IBM created 'BookManager', the benefit of PDF was that it was as good as 'free' whilst 'BookManager' as not, it was more at Online Reading but it could also be printed. Neither of these products envisaged being read on a mobile phone, and modem speeds were still a 9600bps.
    These days we pretend the mobile internet is slow (as it is compared to domestic broadband) and the power in a mobile phone is still modest. So rendering Flash or PDF on a mobile has more problems (responsiveness being one) than rendering it in plain old HTML5.

    We are used to a 'Single Page App' on our mobile phone or tablet. Which means we expect it to load up fast and be navigated via a flick of the thumb.

Search and Findablity

Are you looking for something or do you want it to be found?  Do you want to track into Analytics the choices people made during the search process or to understand why they made those choices or if they abandon the 'Conversion Funnel' and went elsewhere.

This is different to being #1 in Google. Whilst Search Engine Optimization is a separate part of web design (does it look good is it accessible), being number one in Google is a continuous process (like gardening) you employ a person to be constantly promoting your site. Further more, if you type in a key word, is it the right key word for your products and services. For example you could be a Wig manufacturer in the UK, doing business in the UK, so a '.co.uk' might be better than a '.com' that is a UK context.

  • Search Agents

    This can be broken down into using agents to do your search for you, for example using Google/Bing to search some content silo (your site or the web) for a key work, to used something like MS Search to do some free form text search on a database as it looks for a key word in sat a title or document body, to search complex documents (scanned in pages that OCR processing has been applied to with some degree of success).
    Through Search engine optimization (a proven semantic document structure from the '80, see GML/SGML/BookMaster). Which makes the content easy to comprehend, esp if you are a robot.

  • Search & Context
    Typically this search is like where is my nearest bus stop, when is the next bus! The results rely on know which City you are in and where you are going and if you know how to spell the Destination. The results are them displayed in a context that has meaning for you, do you want the results now or are you planning ahead.
  • Structured Search

    There are of course other kinds of search, such as faceted search on product sites using products such as Endeca Commerce that helps customer find what they are looking for and have the web context around them adjust accordingly. For example if you are in a toy store, and focus in on a demographic, such as boys toys, then Girls toys are no longer relevant (in the also bought banners), once you have selected the under 10yo filter then toys for older boys are no longer relevant, the colour scheme is not blue not pink, and have a visual context appealing to 10yo boys where they feel at home.