Guest post from Anuj Marfatia, Senior Market Manager, IBM Predictive Analytics Solutions
Usually when traveling for work or vacation and right after takeoff, I undoubtedly begin to panic, much like the mother inHome Alone. I constantly worry that I left the garage door open, the iron on, my kids behind, food out for the dog, or most importantly, if I put my vintage1963 Issue #4 Avengers comic bookback in its protective cover (don�t judge).
Beyond this unnecessary distress, protecting my arm rest from the chatty passenger beside me, and browsing throughSkyMall, I sometimes read the passenger safety document. Have you ever looked through one of these? It�s unintentional comedy.
In the past few years, almost all airlines have included an �exercises� section in the pamphlet.
As an economy class passenger, I have to laugh at such pictorials � as most of these exercises (see image) are almost impossible given that my knees are already touching the seat in front of me. Now, if only I were a contortionist�
In all seriousness, do you know why these exercises are important?
Studies have shown that many emergencies and future health issues are correlated to inactivity while flying, and one in every 20,000 passengers has an in-flight emergency (source). One serious, yet preventable, issue is venous thromboembolism (VTE) that occurs when a blood clot in a leg vein (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) travels through the body to the lung.
Based on a BBC News report,some 75 percent of air-travel cases of VTE have been linked to lack of movement while in the air. I can sleep well knowing that economy passengers, like myself, are no more likely to develop clots than the more fortunate passengers in business or first class.
While I try to do some sit-ups, lunges, and pull-ups on the plane (kidding of course), it would be great if I knew how likely I was to get VTE or DVT or how much I would have to exercise to minimize my risk of attaining VTE or DVT.
Wouldn't it be cool while purchasing a ticket or at check-in, you would be informed of the health risks on a certain flight? That would be a red eye-opener.
While such a thought may seem like something from a science fiction movie or occur 100 years from now� think again. Predictive disease management actually exists today!
There is a lot of information about a patient that can be used (HIPPA-compliant, of course) to determine the likelihood of disease occurrence or treatment effectiveness.
Based on the study above and numerous other studies, drugs that doctors prescribe are still relatively ineffective.
Doctors do use their best knowledge and experiences, in most cases, but many times they are not utilizing ALL of the information that is available to them when making a decision about the patient. (This is also why some of theIBM Watsonapplications inhealthcareare so interesting to watch.)
This is wherepredictive analyticscomes into play. Predictive analytics software pulls in information from all the disparate data sources, such as from health information systems, Excel, and even from Facebook and Twitter (for those cases you told your friends that last night�s Ethiopian food left you �indeposed�).
The software enables healthcare organizations to transition to a new model and find more effective ways to treat patients and develop new treatment protocols. For example, a predictive outcome could be that Jane Doe has a 95 percent probability of positively reacting to a certain treatment, essentially increasing the quality of care and containing costs.
This is why I�m happy to hear researchers at Hospital Santa Barbara, a research and treatment center in Spain, analyzed patient records and other research data to establish a new, reliable diagnostic model for DVT enabling earlier diagnosis and treatment in high-risk patients. (Learnmorehow Santa Barbara Hospital used IBM SPSS predictive analytics.)
While Spain may have their own economic issues, I�d like to thank them for helping to begin the journey of a DVT-free flight � so I can fly the friendly skies without worrying about my health.
As the old adage goes, �Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.�
If you�ve never heard this expression before, it means that the first time a negative action occurs, the accountability is on the one that did it. When it happens a second, third, or fourth time, the accountability is on the individual (or group) that allows it to keep happening.
For instance, in Tennessee in 2009Amanda Sue Kelley, 19, was arrested seven times on charges that ranged from drug possession to domestic assault and theft. Her last offense, police say, she wrenched open the door of a parked car, pointed a gun at a woman changing her 13-month-old daughter�s diaper in the back seat, and demanded cash. (Source: The Tennessean)
This is such the case of the existing criminal rehabilitation system. Those being fooled are the taxpayers that are allowing their money to be spent on an inefficient and ineffective system. A bold statement, maybe, but let me explain�
Repeat criminal offenders cost the system more money than one time criminals, and it wasreportedthat more than 40 percent of offenders in the U.S. return to state prison within three years of their release. In the UK, onestudyof 14 prisons, most of which hold short-term inmates, found reconviction rates of more than 70 percent, and according to anothersource, these criminals are committing up to 2,000 murders, rapes and other serious offences every year just months after completing a punishment for a previous crime.
The term for this is recidivism � which refers to measuring the rate that criminals violate their parole or are arrested for new crimes. In fact, theU.S. Justice Department estimatesthat a 10 percent decrease in recidivism can generate a collective savings of $635 million. And more importantly, one less repeat criminal on the street is, at minimum, one less crime committed in our neighborhoods.
What if there was a way to anticipate which individuals were likely to become repeat offenders after they commit their first crime? Or, what if high risk individuals can receive the appropriate attention or be placed in the rehabilitation program that is best suited to change their unlawful path?
Government agencies worldwide that are responsible for public safety are already usingBusiness Analyticssoftware to analyze data on criminals to provide insight into complex relationships and patterns, such as past offense history, home life environment, and gang affiliations among others, to better understand and predict which inmates have a higher likelihood to reoffend.
For example, theU.K. Ministry of Justiceneeded a way to analyze vast amounts of crime and offender data to understand which proactive measures would be likely to prevent recidivism. The ministry turned toIBM SPSS predictive analyticsto analyze millions of prisoner files. The analysis is helping them develop treatment targets for prisoners throughout their sentence to reduce the probability they will commit crimes upon their release.
The Ministry of Justice now has more accurate crime prediction rates with violent crime recidivism prediction improving from 68 to 74 percent, and general offenses recidivism prediction improving from 76 to 80 percent.
Yes, it is a complex situation. Yes, politics comes into play. And no, this is nothing like the �precogs� in the fictional Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report.
However, predictive analytics is proving to be highly effective by helping organizations like the Ministry of Justice take measures to ensure that inmates receive the best services tailored to meet their rehabilitative needs, while being proactive to stop future crime and better protect citizens.
Another old adage says, �One definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.� Let�s try a smarter solution to achieve better results.
We tend to look at government tax collection agencies as bad guys.Sure, they �take� our hard-earned money, but that money often goes to fund vital public service programs.
Here in the United States, those that plan to file and pay their personal income tax returns by Tuesday, April 17 are among the 86 percent of people that are typically compliant.
The real �bad guys� are actually those 14 percent who continually add to the growing �tax gap,� the difference between the annual amount of taxes owed and the amount voluntarily paid on time, which is now averaging more than $350 billion annually.
It�s the focus on these individuals where the work of tax collectors will kick into high gear with the use ofBusiness Analytics. This software makes it easier for tax collection agencies worldwide to pursue and maximize returns on habitually delinquent accounts, and minimize the financial burden on compliant taxpayers.
Tax agencies primarily use audits to ensure compliance with tax laws and maintain associated revenue streams. By using Business Analytics, tax agencies can nowquickly risk-assess accounts and accurately identify those with a high probability of delinquency. It also helps determine the most profitable collection strategies and saves funds by focusing limited audit resources on the most productive cases.
With a combination of business rules and analytics from IBM, New York has transformed its approach from �pay and chase� to �next best case� that results in the highest rate of return.
Government agencies are becoming more efficient by reducing the number of audits performed on compliant accounts, and more effective by supporting federal, state and city programs with recovered tax dollars.
Business Analytics allows tax organizations to analyze and identify patterns in multiple data sources, such as taxpayer profiles, previous filings, call center notes and audit history; and share these findings visually across geographic and jurisdictional boundaries.
Prioritizing delinquent accounts based on debt size and likelihood to pay allows agencies to anticipate taxpayer behaviors and events to identify next best action to take with each account as well asoptimize staff resources.
For instance, sometimes a phone call or a letter is the best strategy for certain accounts, while audits on accounts that yielded high returns can be focused on new returns with similar attributes.
As more and more tax revenue is lost due to fraud, tax evasion and various forms of tax cheating, it�s time for governments to turn a little investment in analytics technology into a tax return everyone can appreciate.
For more information:
�Registerand attend the IBM Business Analytics Government Forum (May 23, Washington DC)
There�s a hidden side to everything. That�s the premise of the New York Times best-seller, blog and recent movie, Freakonomics.
But it�s also the premise behind analytics. Organizations often find insights in their data, but they have to be willing � and able � to ask good questions.
Stephen Dubner was in Chicago recently speaking at the IBM Performance and IBM Finance Forum events. My colleague at IBM, Crysta Anderson, spoke with him about the truths hidden in data and how companies are applying analytics to their advantage � or not. See some highlights below.
Dubner finds it �encouraging� that companies are starting to really use their data, but he cautions against data for the sake of data. The rise in data has led to meaningless statistics, like the hemline index or Groundhog Day index. Such indices often reflect correlation rather than causation. As Dubner explained, if someone landed here from Mars and noticed that people used umbrellas whenever it rained, they may conclude that putting away umbrellas would stop the rain.
More data has also prompted more attempts at visualizing data, as seen by the plethora of infographics. While some people � including Dubner � prefer their data in tables, others want to see graphs or images to represent the information. But infographics have also made it easy to visualize those meaningless statistics, sometimes leading to bad decisions.
So how do we decide what data matters? And how can we best use the data at our disposal?
Just over 15 years ago, authors of a book entitled, �The Discipline of Market Leaders,� asserted there were three (and only three) ways for a company to lead their market(s).
Their thesis is not complicated: invest in unmatched value (best product, best total solution, or best total cost) in the core marketplace, while meeting minimum standards across other measures of value. Focusing the entire enterprise on improvement in the chosen value to customers will result in growth in shareholder value over time.
We're seeing that increasingly "best total solution" is the value proposition of choice because of global changes over the past 15 years. Competing on "best product" is very difficult today as the horizon on an innovation-led technology advantage is shortening all the time. The market penetration for televisions 60 years ago to reach 50M users took 12 years. The internet took four. Tablet computers took just two years.
Competing on "best total cost" is a global undertaking where massive scale is frequently the core economic requirement. By its very nature, this strategy limits the field of competitors to a select few who drive globally integrated supply chains as a core competency.
So, in today's environment "best total solution" is where so many enterprises are focused.
But, it requires an intimate understanding of the customer, the customer's customer (sometimes) and the context in which they make their purchase decisions.
With the advent of social networks, we can define the "best total solution" by thinking of the social web as a massive focus group. Enterprises who lead in "best total solution" today are Social Businesses who mine insights and analyze them to precisely understand how customers feel.
Today's leading enterprises apply scientific methods to their social business activities � continuously harvesting the data associated with the process of establishing & maintaining relationships across the customer-set.
This data is priceless to compete effectively today because customers are expressing their needs in the context of their ongoing social network activities. All enterprises need to do is listen � scientifically � to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff and uncover the core insights that lead to happier customers.
IBM has been working on applying scientific analysis to the petabytes of social network data. We are focused on enabling businesses to become more socially skilled as they engage the "massive focus group" that is the social web.
The "data exhaust" from social business engagement is the input to sophisticated Social Analytics which interpret customer sentiment, evolving topics of discussion and unmet needs.
We are working closely to help our customers improve their capabilities in Social Analytics. Many feel less well-prepared for these challenges than they would like.
Consider recent results from the IBM Global Study Chief Marketing Officer study of what CMOs feel unprepared for. Notice that the top four areas involve social analytics because it's about huge data-sets, social web content, new social channel options and a diversity of ages & geographies to consider.
I will be doing a webinar tomorrow, March 22, 2012, entitled, �Social Analytics is Key to being a Social Business,� and will be discussing how enterprises can get started on the topics above and it touches on all four areas of unpreparedness. You can register here.
One theme you'll see me strike is how our clients are focused on adding their social analytics insights to the larger corpus of datasets that they use to run their business today.
Consider this view of the typical "360 Degree Customer View." We have tried-and-true behavioral and descriptive data, and a lot of interaction data. But, the attitudes our customers have are more elusive.
We have to conduct costly, time-consuming surveys to capture their sentiment � the "Why" behind the "How, Who and What."
So, as our clients serve the needs of their clients better, it's largely through the predictive lens which comes from blending two key things:
�Scientific interpretation of social business interactions (The "Why")
�Modeling of traditional datasets, including the attitudinal data from social media and surveys
For more information:
�Listento the webinar I recently did with BrainYard and InformationWeek, "Social Analytics - Putting the Science into Social Business." A replay is available here and the presentation is available on SlideShare here.
�Watchthe video below for a strategic viewpoint from Deepak Advani, vice president of products and solutions at IBM, on social analytics and why it�s so important today
And, we asked you to dream the impossible dream of a world where a single vendor might deliver a family of products, including reporting, analysis, modeling, planning and collaboration, which would also balance analytic freedom with governance and control.
This dreamland is no fairytale, and we are happy to report it does have a very happy ending.
�Individuals, who need the freedom and flexibility of personal analytics, yet want to access corporate information and easily share insights across a wider community with IBM Cognos Insight
�Workgroups and mid-sized organizations, that need to be up and running with a solution that is easy to install and manage with IBM Cognos Express
�Enterprises,that require broad analytic capabilities deployed to hundreds or thousands of userswithIBM Cognos Enterprise� an offering that brings together the integrated capabilities of IBM Cognos business intelligence and IBM Cognos TM1 performance management.
With the IBM Cognos family of Business Analytics solutions, IBM addresses the breadth of analytics with any single product in the family spanning reporting, analysis, modeling, planning and collaboration.
And, the solutions ensure that any organization can begin its journey today depending on the specific requirements, as well as providing the confidence to expand the solution � without retraining, retooling or re-implementing.
Please watch the short video below that describes how we might �prescribe� the family of solutions directly to a business.
For example, if an individual user wantsto work independently and quickly without waiting for corporate systems, and thenshare those insights or create additional reports from larger data sets, an organization can easily add server capabilities to combine insights with real-time and corporate information. Those same insights can then be shared on scorecards and dashboards and sent directly tomobile devices.
As Sister Sledge once sang, �We are family! I got all my [analytics]and me!�
We invite you to join and interact with our growing family.
We�d also love to hear how you are usingIBM�s business analytics solutions toaddress your specific business needs � fromquickly gaining insight into the business to taking action and driving results. Please tell us your story in the comments section.
Guest post from Becky Smith, Product Marketing, IBM Business Analytics
In a way, doesn't everyone in business analytics have a little bit of Don Quixote in them?
We're all on a bit of quest to find answers hidden in our never-ending, growing piles of data. And often, we find ourselves tilting at windmills and fighting futile battles with IT, with spreadsheets or with silo'd applications that only do one specific task.
Close your eyes for a minute and let yourself dream about a world where there is a single vendor that delivers a family of products including reporting, analysis, modeling, planning and collaboration.
What if that family of products not only has a common set of capabilities but is also integrated and talks to other members of the family so they all live happily together? And, what if a mid-sized business could get the same self-service experience, what-if scenario modeling and the ability to discover and assemble their data across both business intelligence and performance management as a large enterprise?
This is a notion we call "right sized analytics." An enterprise solution might be too big and expensive for your organization, while an individual point solution might be too small and limiting and unable to provide the needed integration with a mid-sized or larger enterprise solution.
Right sized analytics means having an entire family of products built on a common foundation that enables individuals, workgroups and enterprises to access and analyze corporate information and easily share insights across the organization. Basically, it doesn't matter where you begin your analytic journey, as long as you have the comfort knowing that the solution will grow with you.
For example, an organization might have an issue with customer retention. Through the analysis of support calls, an individual user might uncover that there is a 15 percent increase in dissatisfied customers due a product defect. This information can then be shared back into the analytics solution so the manufacturing and support organizations can improve product quality, and plan to offer customers special promotions and increase customer service for the entire customer base, respectively.
Does this scenario only exist in your subconscious?
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach ... the unreachable star ...
In feedback from our customers, they've talked about the battles scars they've received in their quest for a common set of systems working seamlessly together. Stay tuned for part 2 of this post and hear why that business analytics star is no longer unreachable and how a complete family of products can:
� Address the needs for your organization � regardless of size
� Empower individual users, workgroups and enterprises
� Allow the organization to start anywhere and go everywhere
One of the first things I ask people on the subject of data is �What do you want it to look like?�
I don't mean for the question to be complex, but I generally get an odd look and response in return. �What do you mean how do I want it to look? It�s data, it has to be accurate and structured.�
So why is it when we talk about data we picture streams of numbers, columns and rows of calculations filtering through servers or built out over multiple spreadsheets? Not all business users have the time or skills to interpret large enterprise or spreadsheet data sets.
Why is it we can't be asked the question, �What do you want it to look like?� and answer with a personal perspective? I tend to believe it's because we don't think of data as having a personality. In fact, data has quite a bit of personality.
While often quite shy and reclusive, data will talk your ear off with just a little nudge. It can also be kind of a gossip revealing interesting insight into customer behavior or an organization�s financial information. And it�s those individual users running the data analysis who can easily unleash that personality� for the good of the organization.
That�s why organizations are realizing the value and achievements that come about as a result of having a complete analytic solution built not only for the enterprise, but also for the individual user in mind.
The notion of personal analytics is about bringing agile analysis capabilities to people in an easy-to-use manner without having to rely on IT. Business users can now take advantage of solutions that bring exceptional capabilities to their desktop in terms of personalizing how they display local or enterprise data and how they solve individual or workgroup challenges � all on their terms.
Analytics is definitely becoming a more personal experience. Being able to explore data and format it in a presentation layer of the user�s choice, add built-in calculations, apply scenario modeling and do write-back on the fly, or creating traffic lights that represent key metrics that are important to the individual are all a means to answering my question, "How do you want it to look?"
Take the distribution industry, for example. What if you had the freedom to model out different scenarios based on the price of diesel fuel? An individual user can now identify the key drivers of the business, like fuel cost, then test different assumptions and identify best case, worst case and probable outcomes.
One can only imagine how this could affect you personally, with regard to your line of business in a distribution center. But what if it also affected the manufacturing floor in terms of energy prices for production costs? Would the same scenario be important to other areas of the enterprise?
In a way, building the right analytics competency is like building a business from the ground up. You need to create a growth path that combines personal analytics with enterprise scope and IT values. By providing the necessary foundation of analytics along with limited barriers of usage, you can turn your business users out to the world to explore, discover and grow as analytics professionals with a personalized capability that brings meaning and life to the data.
Knowing that these business users can turn data exploration into action by aligning their discoveries with the enterprise challenges the silos of information that personal analytics has typically produced.
Business users have traditionally created and held onto spreadsheets or data files that only they maintain and which are not reflected across workgroups for greater use. Today's organizations demand a bridge between what line of business users want and what IT requires to run a smooth enterprise environment.
Personal analytics creates that bridge.
So the next time someone asks you, "What do you want your data to look like?" tell them you want it to look interesting and attractive, prescriptive and distinctive, honest and meaningful, and actionable.
But above all else, tell them you want it to have personality!
IBM has beenpreachingthat customer intimacy is the new intellectual property. The more insight an organization has on its customers, the better opportunities it will have to sell them more stuff, retain the best ones, mitigate risk or even identify possible cases of fraudulent activity.
Essentially, it�s a better way to create an ongoing and meaningful dialogue with customers. This is especially important as the power has shifted from the organization to the customer.
And, those organizations that are serious about delivering a better overall customer experience should seriously consider hiring someone who speaks the customer�s language, is concerned about their well-being, can drive profitable interactions through all channels, and can accomplish that elusive task of bringing all customer focused functional departments together with a common goal. This new strategic asset is otherwise known as the Chief Customer Officer (CCO).
To help in your quest to deliver a better customer experience, we have created a job description for a CCO to streamline your efforts.
If you see anything that you might change or add to the description, please let us know. We would love your feedback.
The ACME Corporationis seekinga highly experienced customer experience professional to fill a newly created Chief Customer Officer (CCO) position. This executive will provide a comprehensive and authoritative view of the customer and create corporate and customer strategy at the highest levels of the company to maximize customer acquisition, retention, and profitability.
Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
� Provide managerial oversight while implementing strategic focus and tactical direction to the sales, marketing, strategic alliances, market development, and customer support business units
� Drive profitable customer behavior through the creation of initiatives such as profitability segmentation, customer retention, loyalty, satisfaction, and improving the overall customer experience
� Design, orchestrate and improve customer experiences by ensuring consistency across all channels of customer interaction
� Identify customer pain points, define and monitor service standards, enable easy customer navigation across the organization and create new ways to enrich the buying experience
� Foster direct and meaningful relationships with customers, acting as a mediator between the customer and the corporation, especially when service shortfalls or special needs have surfaced
� Develop an overarching customer-centric corporate strategy with the ability to iteratively execute on smaller, manageable goals
� Serve as a liaison between the IT organization and the business units to ensure that systems and business processes are aligned on the customer experience
� Institute a formal process for capturing, analyzing and acting on customer feedback, including leveraging social media channels to better respond to customer needs/requests
� Create cross-functional customer service processes, resulting in a seamless hand-off from marketing to sales to service and support
� Educate, instill, and motivate a broader cultural desire across the corporation to focus on the customer, with the objective of consistently improving customer experience metrics
� Balances the C-suite and Board of Directors with their traditional focus on cost cutting and revenue-growth
� Cultivate meaningful mutually beneficial relationships with corporate partners / associations to deliver enhanced benefits to ACME customers, thus extending ACME�s own value proposition
� Ensure the company's PR and marketing message reflects the company's service delivery capabilities
Ideal criteria for selection includes, but is not limited to:
� Possess strong operational, marketing and financial background as well as political savvy to bear on critical customer-related issues
� Prior executive or VP level experience leading highly successful marketing, sales and customer service business units
� Proven ability to break down corporate and departmental barriers in order to pave new paths, which may often be in direct conflict with existing corporate culture
� Previous boardroom / shareholder experience with the ability to demonstrate tangible value to all stakeholders
� Highly skilled in building cohesive cross-functional teams
� Highly skilled in a variety of enterprise software tools including CRM, ERP, and POS systems, as well asBusiness Analyticssoftware (business intelligence and predictive analytics)
Have you ever had that awkward conversation with a significant other where they tell you they just want to be friends?
Sometimes the news is hard to swallow. It forces you to ask yourself, �What could I have done better?�
This same tough conversation needs to happen with certain software applications too. People just stay in relationships with software for too long. That said, it�s time to have the �friend talk� and break up with spreadsheets.
You�ve never really loved them. It�s been a relationship of convenience � they just showed up one day on your laptop and the rest was history. Yes, they�re nice and have a good personality (as much as software can), but it�s time to cut the cord and just be friends.
Disclaimer:I am not attempting to disparage or declare war on spreadsheets. They serve a useful purpose and will always be a staple inside organizations, but they are not the analytic application you want to bring home and introduce to your parents.
Spreadsheets have been widely used for financial and cost accounting, data collection and analysis, and mathematics. But, when they are called upon to perform a task for which they are not designed or beyond the limit of their capabilities, spreadsheets can actually be a fatal attraction.
Mark Smith, CEO and Chief Research Officer at Ventana Research says that spreadsheets �can be one of the most expensive pieces of technology because of the risk and wrong decisions that are made due to their numerous errors.�
In fact, a number of studies have indicated that 90 percent or more of spreadsheets contained errors.
And Bruce McCullough, the software editor for the International Journal of Forecastingwrote that �Professional statisticians continue to write books with titles like �Statistics with Excel,� but they now warn students not to bet their jobs on Excel�s accuracy. They advise students to use a real statistical package when they need to do statistics.�
So, I guess you have to ask yourself, do you want a meaningful relationship with your data, such as being able to perform detailed analysis, find hidden patterns or make reliable forecasts, instead of a dangerous liaison that gives you little in return, besides frustration?
Speaking of meaningful relationships:
�Elie Tahari, a global fashion brand, found that its retail controllers were struggling with monthly budget reports because its 22 locations submitted spreadsheets separately. By turning this task over to a more robust business analytics solution, they were able to create a seamless reporting framework that provides granular, real-time information from the sales floor to its suppliers� inventory and production schedules. They reduced their reporting cycle from as many as two days to a few minutes, and saw a 30 percent reduction in supply chain and logistics costs. (Read the case study.)
�Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc., the largest chain of double drive-thru restaurants in the United States, relied on spreadsheets for financial planning processes that were taking up to three months each year. By breaking away from this burden, they are now able to get the same jobs completed in three weeks, do better forecasting and more quickly respond to changing economic conditions. (Read the case study.)
It�s been said that once you break up with someone, remaining friends is almost impossible. Things just get weird.
Not true with spreadsheets. They�ll still be hanging out on the laptop, going to the same meetings and most importantly, will play a prominent role in sharing the results of the analysis across the organization (if you so choose).
But they will be frustrated by their shortcomings and say, �I wish I could�ve done better.�
For more information:
� Registerfor the upcoming webinar: �The Risks of Using Spreadsheets for Statistical Analysis.� (February 15 at 12:00 pm ET)
� Readthe whitepaper: �The Risks of Using Spreadsheets�
� Attendour upcoming IBM Innovations in Business Analytics Virtual Launch (March 7, 2012) to see new solutions that will give you a more personal relationship with your data.
We've all turned into spooked ostriches with our heads stuck in the ground.
As Matthew Broderick eloquently re-stated in a Super Bowl commercial reprising his famous Ferris Bueller role, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile you could miss it."
In the world of social media, it seems everyone is buried in their mobile devices these days reporting on the minutiaof their lives. In fact, it was reported that tweeting records were set during Super Bowl XLVI with 13.7 million total tweets sent during the game and 12,233 tweets per second by the end of the game.
I wonder if anyone really watched the game?
Unknowingly, Twitter has turned us into play-by-play announcers, bad stand-up comedians, "Negative Nancy's,� and critics. We share everything. Is it really necessary to tell everyone what you had for breakfast, what you liked most (or for Boston fans, least) about Tom Brady's performance, the coffee shop you just checked into on Foursquare, your opinion of that Matthew Broderick commercial, or what movies and actors you predict will be Academy Award winners?
If Twitter is a never-ending barrage of babble and nonsense, does it really matter?
You�re damn right it does.
Consumers have become a force de nature in the Twitterverse. Their opinions are unfiltered and unadulterated, yet unfortunately, still quite underrated when it comes to using the data to enhance customer experience. As MTV�s �Real World� once promoted, �It�s time to stop being polite, and start getting real.�
Twitter is raw, real and in your face. Businesses have it easy these days. No longer do they have to go through the formal process of focus groups and lengthy analysis. Want to know what someone is thinking, log onto Twitter.
No dodging the mighty consumer these days.They have become increasingly influential, especially as their opinions travel faster and to a wider group of consumers.
Accountability and honesty reign supreme. If consumers don�t like an organization�s strategic business decision (e.g. Susan G. Komen), new product (Netflix/Qwikster), or advertisement (Groupon/Tibet), there�s no dodging the verbal arrows.
The organizations, however, that decide to take action and analyze the millions and millions and millions of data points created in the socialsphere will own the competitive edge and be able to respond that much quicker. It�s just a matter of separating the noise from what really matters, the consumer�s thoughts, opinions, sentiment and behaviors.
Enter social analytics, the latest in noise-cancelling devices that deliver insights into what people are thinking, why they are thinking it, and most importantly, what organizations can do about it. By eliminating the minutia, social analytics helps businesses understand positive and negative sentiment,pinpoint top influencers, measure the volume of commentary and identify the geographic origin of comments across multiple channels.
Getting back to the Super Bowl�think about the value buried inside of those 13 million tweets � for advertisers, for psychologists, for the city of Indianapolis, for the NFL, etc.
And as the Twitter feed flies off the charts with major sporting events, one can only predict the same activity for the upcoming Academy Awards, especially with the commercials, the fashion faux pas, the glitz and glamour, the acceptance speeches and most importantly, the winners and losers.
Speaking of which, IBM, The Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California Annenberg Innovation Lab have created the Oscars Senti-Meterto establish a model for measuring the volume and tone of worldwide Twitter sentiment to better understand moviegoers' opinions and customer trends.
So yeah, I guess Twitter matters. It might be noisy, but it�s chocked full of yummy goodness.
If businesses don�t check into Twitter and look around once in awhile, there�s a lot they could miss (and a lot of customers they could lose).
It has almost become a daily occurrence when I arrive home from work and go through the mail to find yet another credit card offer from my bank, even though I already have a credit card with that very same bank.
Shouldn't they already know I have one of their credit cards? Do they even know me? Or, care to?
That�s the problem.
And according to Mark Smith, CEO and Chief Research Officer, atVentana Research, it�s imperative that banks and insurance providers anticipate and align their business around the customer.
�This is whybusiness analyticshas become a required must-have,� said Smith. �Business analytics is a significant set of technologies that is going through a huge transformation. It now plays a key role in everyday business processes, drives improvement and helps meet customer expectations and satisfaction.�
This is especially true for today�s customers who are savvier and price sensitive, and far less loyal. Customer experience now goes a long way.
Whether its banks or insurance providers (or any industry), business analytics is forcing disparate parts of those businesses to speak to each other, share data and create a personal experience for the customer.
However, according to research from Ventana, the problem is that only 1 in 5 banks and insurance companies are using business analytics at an innovative level of performance.
Smith said that these firms either have great people with skills, but struggle with technology, or have the technology but aren�t using it to drive improvements.
�Firms need a balanced approached across these elements in order to improve their analytics maturity,� said Smith.
What is holding these organizations back from taking the next step?
According to Ventana�s banking and insurance benchmarks, only 42 percent of banks and 37 percent of insurance providers are satisfied with their current analytic process.
Smith points to three main barriers that halt analytic success:
� Wasted time due to data related activities (preparation, fixing errors)
� Lack of intersection between the business and IT (read a recent blog post on this rivalry)
� Continued use of spreadsheets that increase risk factors and contribute to poor decisions
What can banks and insurance providers do to generate better value from their analytics?
According to Smith, 68 percent of companies surveyed said the most popular use of business analytics today is in customer service. What is most interesting, however, are the least popular uses which include customer profitability, voice of the customer, marketing campaigns, communications channel usage and social media (at a lowly 4 percent).
These are the areas where the use of customer analytics can have exponential effects, and according to Smith, become a true measure of innovative maturity.
This is when the analytic process gets deeply integrated into every business process and customer touch point to make every interaction personalized.
IBM recently conducted tests in its labs that revealedIBM Cognos BI v 10.1.1 to be at least on par and better by 14 to 46 percent when compared to Microsoft Windows 2008 Server.
IBM Cognos BI application performance between similarly configured IBM POWER6 and IBM POWER7 systems showed significant performance advantages for IBM POWER7 servers.
IBM conducted a variety of tests to match the different ways of using IBM Cognos Business Intelligence services and system resources. The test systems used similar server configurations and current processor generation. Download the free report here.
Other findings included:
�Performance improvements of as much as 41 percent for workloads such as running HTML and PDF-based reports and portal navigation
�Performance improvements of as much as 26 percent for workloads such as running large and highly formatted PDF reports, locally processed calculations, interactive analysis activities and complex queries mixed with lighter workloads
For example, an IBM customer had developed a Cognos Business Intelligence application to distribute PDF based reports by email; as implemented and before optimization this application was performing at a rate of 11 multi-page reports per minute.
After the customer applied recommended AIX tuning parameters, the application performance improved to 150 multi-page PDF reports per minute.
On average, most applications might see performance improve two or three fold by applying AIX level tuning.
To provide a comprehensive view of the potential performance impact of optimizations made in Cognos Business Intelligence v 10.1.1, IBM used a broad range of tests. See the graphic that lists the performance improvements for the 20 different tests used.
For more information:
�Downloadthe whitepaper, �Best Practices and Advantages of IBM Power Systems for Running IBM Cognos Business Intelligence,� to see the full performance results.
NOTE:Performance is based on measurements and projections using standard IBM benchmarks in a controlled environment. The actual throughput or performance that any user will experience will vary depending upon many factors.
� "My business is changing on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, and in order to stay competitive I need quick access to the data without IT getting in my way."
Are these comments common inside of your organization?
It�s an interesting battle of wits: Business users needing that fast agility to get at information, and IT needing to ensure governance and control.
IT is often painted as the bad guys because they create roadblocks and are unable to deliver what the business wants � quickly and consistently.
Business is viewed like spoiled brats who have no patience or vision and ultimately rebel.
It�s a dysfunctional relationship that thrives only because these �factions� are more similar than they realize. And, they need each other. It should be very symbiotic�if only they realized.
They are both working towards the same goal: driving the business forward.
But, in order to feel like they are accomplishing their goals, they need freedom from each other. Some might say they need an �open relationship.�
IT doesn�t want to be strapped to a barrage of mundane requests. Business doesn�t want to be constrained to the complicated systems and processes IT has set up for them.
Ultimately, business wants to live in a world where they can easily access the information they need (from any source), manipulate the data without having to be a spreadsheet programmer, and share it with others.
IT wants to be able to leverage the analysis the business user has been working on and still maintain the governance and control to ensure consistent information and use of that information across the organization.
Depending on which side of the aisle you sit, there is an answer and an easy way both can be successful. In fact, both sides can have their cake and eat it too.
We invite you to view the first chapter of our Business vs. IT story in the video below.