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.
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.
In this edition of �Ask the Industry Analyst,� we sit down with Howard Dresner, Chief Research Officer of Dresner Advisory Services, and a well-known authority and author in the areas of Business Intelligence (BI) and Performance Management (PM).
Howard also recently was a guest on our monthly webcast, IBM Tech Talk, discussing best practices and trends in Mobile BI. The webcast is available on-demand here.
As we�ve seen, organizations today are looking for new user experiences that expand traditional BI solutions with planning, scenario modeling, real-time monitoring and predictive analytics. Using a limitless BI workspace supporting how people think and work � in the office, on the go and even offline � decision makers want to quickly search and assemble all perspectives of the business.
Below we chat with Howard about upcoming trends in BI and PM, the �operationalizing� of analytics, results from his 3rd Mobile BI Market study and what to expect in 2012, including cloud, collaboration and mobile.
You've been around the BI and PM industry for many years, what changes have been the most significant for customers?
At a macro level, BI has become very mainstream and the adoption of BI across large enterprises and SMBs is substantial. It has always been a high priority for users and management alike, however, now the technology is approachable for more average types of users. Vendors are now designing their products for end users in mind and not IT. This is especially true in the mobile world.
We are also starting to see customers using BI as part of their business applications (e.g. ERP or CRM) from the beginning. Customers are thinking of BI and analytics at the outset and the value this analysis provides, rather than processing the data and then waiting for someone to come up with an idea of how to analyze it.
Can you talk more about the mainstreaming of analytics?
Moving forward there are several things that are really important to customers. Topping the list is pushing BI and analytics further down into the operations of organizations to professional line management roles.
Traditionally BI has been a really valuable barometer providing a strategic perspective on the historical performance to date. As organizations continue to amass varying data sources � and more of it � they have to have an easy way to push this intelligence to tactical areas of the organization so quick decisions can be made as opportunities present themselves.
For example, it�s becoming increasingly important for retailers to correct something minor at a store level before it becomes a significant issue. I talked to one retailer who was alerted because a popular SKU was not selling well on a particular day as opposed to other days and compared with other stores. This information was passed to the store manager in real-time, and they learned that there was something physically in front of the display preventing customers to see the product.
Bottom-line: A minor course correction multiplied by thousands of stores can be extremely significant.
This is very similar to what we found in ourWisdom of Crowdsstudy in May 2011 along with advanced analytics (data mining), in-memory analytics, collaborative decision-making and mobile.
The world is changing, so fasten your seatbelt. Mobile (e.g. tablets) continues to have a huge impact on business and the way decisions are being made. For a number of individuals going forward this will be their primary device, especially younger employees who have never actually used a computer.
In a number of customer or patient-facing industries, mobile is just far more efficient and ideal. It also has a psychological aspect that makes the device far more approachable and creates a better conversation versus someone talking over a computer.
Tablets also holdcach�and a cool factor. And, executives are the number one consumers because of that factor, as well as the fact they provide tremendous value. Once the executives adopt them, then you will see a huge proliferation in the devices. This is very different from what we saw last year.
What were the major changes in the results of this survey over the last one you did?
From 2010 to 2011, executives jumped 12 percent as the primary targets, followed by middle management, who were the biggest jump for the primary focus of Mobile BI. It�s interesting to see executives get excited about Mobile BI as most of them own a tablet.
There was also a big increase in penetration and deployment plans. Globally last year, 73 percent said deployment would be under 10 percent, but now it�s 58 percent. Looking out even further, there are very ambitious and aggressive plans to deliver Mobile BI more broadly.
North America and smaller organizations appear to be leading the charge towards Mobile BI. North America because they tend to be early adopters and smaller organizations because they can most readily integrate and benefit from new technologies.
Finally, 65 percent said exclusive Mobile BI use wouldn�t be less than 10 percent over the course of the next two years. That sounds like a paradigm shift. It�s changing the way we work.
What is some advice that you can give to customers who currently have a Mobile BI solution or are thinking about deploying one?
If you are not doing mobile now, begin a proof of concept as soon as possible. This technology is not standing still. If you wait, you'll never do anything. There are huge direct benefits to the organization, which at the minimum are efficiency and effectiveness, especially for those in operational roles. Dragging your feet is not an option.
Secondly, you need to ask yourself, �What do I want to automate?� Anyone who is moving from their desk to somewhere � across campus, to a manufacturing shop floor, or the traditional road warrior � is mobile. So pick your targets. In fact, those people might already be out there and using their devices for business. Go find them and automate those people and their processes.
What are some of the key BI trends moving forward that will create opportunity for customers?
There are three key foundations of BI moving forward: Cloud, Collaboration and Mobile.
�Cloud� Today, smaller organizations seem to think that BI wasn�t made for them. That is untrue. They won�t have the technological staff or resources, but they will have an internet connection. BI can, and will, happen in the cloud for those who want ready-access to applications and data. And, more vendors continue to invest to make this technology a success.
�Collaboration� We have fewer expert resources and truth be told, email doesn�t really help us as much as we need it to. So, if I have a collaborative engine that is supporting my functional area, I can focus all the interactions in one place increasing the ability for structured and workflow collaboration. But, this will only be successful if the organization supports a collaborative culture.
�Mobile� Contrary to what IT and finance might want to believe, Mobile BI is going to shift the industry. The insights now follow you around and with more eyes on the data, organizations can better align their employees with the overall mission and increase the confidence in the decisions. It also creates a better culture of accountability and transparency. Eventually an organization will turn on its afterburners when the culture aligns with BI.
For more information:
�Listento the recent IBM Tech Talk with Howard Dresner
More than 4,000 IT professionals from 93 countries and 25 industries shared their opinions andprovided their views on future IT trends, including how they plan to use Business Analytics (see graphic on right).
The report provides IT and business professionals a roadmap of the four critical and interconnected technologies and skills that will be in greatest demand in the coming years: business analytics, mobile, cloud and social business.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 24 percent increase in demand for professionals with management analysis skills over the next 8 years. Helping to fuel this increase is the rising use of business analytics by companies in their efforts to learn more about their customers, including buying habits and preferences, as well as protect against fraud and mitigate risk.
Analytics skills are no longer just a requirement for the IT professional; they�ve become a necessity for organizations to remain competitive.
In a recent blog post, IBM�s Erick Brethenoux discusses how this analytics skills gap is getting proven by the significant widening of the overall performance between those that have analytics skills and those that don�t. Watch a video of Erick discussing this �epidemic.�
These IT professionals who gain the necessary analytics skills can also be change agents inside of the organization.
To make sure that organizations have the necessary talent, universities such as DePaul, Yale and Northwestern are also developing programs to prepare business and IT professionals with the analytics skills to bridge this gap, including the sophisticated analytics inside of IBM Watson to help understand the meaning and context of human language.
Other key findings in the Tech Trends report include:
� 42% of respondents named Business Analytics as an �in demand� area for software development
� Analytics has the highest adoption tendency (90%) when compared with other technology areas
� Half of those who are not currently using analytics plan to do so within the next 24 months, to increase automation, streamline processes and do more with less in faster time
� Survey respondents selected education and healthcare as the areas that could benefit the most, with financial services, life sciences and government also ranking near the top
� There is a growing importance of open source platforms such as Apache Hadoop and Linux for Business Analytics software developers
Food trucks are the latest trend in the United States.
They�ve become a culinary staple in most major cities across the country. In fact, there is a sweet temptress called Flirty Cupcakes that is often parked outside the IBM offices in Chicago.
They are an easy and affordable way to eat lunch or grab high-end sweets during the week�all from the back of a truck. Forget going to a restaurant; now the food comes to you. You just have to know where to find it.
And even more important for the food truck business�you have to know when and where to find your customers. And parking.
They�re always on the go managing inventory, identifying the best geographies, tracking weather patterns, following traffic reports, and analyzing their customers, especially on social networks. And, food truck owners need to be fast on their feet (or wheels) when making important business decisions.
And,it�s not just food truck owners, but everyone is constantly on the move these days. The days of downtime are pass�. Uninterrupted productivity is the new normal, on any device, especially tablets and iPads.
Mobility reigns supreme. (It was a hot topic at IOD11 this week too, especially with the announcement of IBM Cognos Mobile for the iPad.)
In the mobile world, business and pleasure really do mix. Today, users want everything on one device � from music, books, email, social networking, and now the ability to interact � securely � with the same materials (online and offline) they do while sitting in the office.
Consider these facts:
According to a recent report from wireless industry association CTIA, wirelessly-connected devices now outnumber the number of U.S. citizens.
Industry analyst Howard Dresner reported that 80 percent of organizations ranked Mobile BI as a top priority for executives.
In research from Gartner, Inc., 33 percent of all BI is being assimilated on mobile devices.
Simple, Secure & Reliable
In today�s digital world, the appetite for information never stops. Speaking of delicious consumption, let�s get back to the food truck.
Like any organization (especially retail food sales) having a Mobile BI strategy is paramount for its success.
It�s Tuesday morning and the food truck has just departed for its first stop in the city. Using IBM Cognos Mobile, the driver can easily:
Plan the route for the day and drill into the data to understand where the biggest demand will be for each location and at the appropriate time of day.
Equipped with �location-aware� intelligence, the truck can receive reports that are dynamically filtered with location-specific information on planned stops.
Manage inventory levels of supply based on the day�s route and past sales so they can be better prepared to remain longer or shorter at one location if sales are up or down.
After each stop, update the inventory and total sales on the spot to avoid any errors.
Constantly check for updates on weather and traffic for possible delays and the chance of no customers showing up if it�s raining.
Log other dimensions into the applications (such as weather and traffic) to help better identify trends and opportunities through forecasting, planning and analysis.
Update customers via social media of when and where they�ll be and for how long.
Capture customer feedback in real-time through surveys that customers can fill-out directly on the mobile device.
Just remember � the next time you get hungry and see a food truck parked in your city, think of the benefits that Mobile BI offers�and how it could enhance your organization�s ability to make better decisions.
For more information on IBM Cognos Mobile:
Readthe press release announcing IBM Cognos Mobile for the iPad.
Downloadthe new (and free) IBM Cognos Mobile App for the iPad in the iTunes store.
Watcha demo how users on anydevice can have the same rich and visual business intelligence experience they get at the office.
Guest post from Erick Brethenoux, Executive Program Director, Worldwide Predictive Analytics at IBM
In 1978, an emotional and dramatic award-winning documentary film was released titled �Scared Straight!� It profiled troubled teens who were taken into maximum security prisons to stand face-to-face with inmates who �explained� the harsh realities of life in prison.
The goal, according to the documentary, was �to keep at-risk teens from becoming tomorrow�s prisoners.�
Consider this an analytic scared straight moment.
We have a serious skills gap in the analytics field�and it�s getting worse.
A recent McKinsey Global Institutereportindicates that over the next seven years the need for highly skilled business analytics workers will exceed the available workforce by as much as 60 percent.
And by 2018, an additional 190,000 "deep analytical talent" workers plus 1.5 million more "data-savvy managers and analysts" will be needed to take full advantage of big data.
In conversations with customers and prospects, it has become apparent that there is a significant widening of their overall performance � both in terms of increased revenue and lower operational costs. It�s amazingly disproportional and not linear.
Organizations that are outperforming their peers, through the use of analytics, are making quicker progress, capitalizing on their growing experience while monopolizing an increasing amount of analytical talent.
This creates a wider gap, making talents even more difficult to secure for those companies jumping on the analytical bandwagon � therefore delaying their progress.
These are the harsh realities of analytical life. It�s time to make a change�and soon. Those organizations that don�t will be forced into a life of using Excel spreadsheets. Talk about doing hard time.
Spreadsheets, while fine for certain tasks, aren�t the answer to keep up with the ever-growing amount of data being created and the more and more complex decisions that have to be made.
Nor are they capable of handling the pressures of customer demand. The ability to respond to customers at the right place and right time, and with the right offer based on a customer�s current mood and sentiment, is a job for those that know how to navigatedecision management solutions.
It�s becoming an arms and skills race segmented among �The Haves,� �The Have Nots,� and the �Never Will.�
��The Haves�� These commercial and government organizations have taken the time to understand the value of analytics, hired the right people, received the proper training, identified the business issues, and deployed business analytics technology to create opportunities to drive the business.
They have been doing it for a number of years and will only keep advancing.
��The Have Nots�� These organizations are just beginning to implement analytics, or will soon. Unfortunately, they will also have to spend more money to catch up, in terms of services, training and domain knowledge. But, at least they are getting into the game.
The pool of analytics talent, however, is rather shallow at this point�either already hired by the �Haves,� or on the verge of retirement, so analytics projects will be limited or outsourced to technology vendors.
��Never Will�� These organizations will soon be destitute and on the street struggling to find anyone with basic statistics knowledge.
By the time these organizations even think about an analytics solution, even IBM might not have the resources and services to help them. The market will be so desolate that what even looks like a mirage won�t have any water. And what few professionals are available won�t come cheap.
But, all is not lost. There is hope as many of you will learn at theIBM Information on Demand(IOD11 and BAForum) conference next week in Las Vegas (Oct. 23-27).
There are many programs already in place to help ensure that organizations will reach their full analytic potential:
�Over the past five years,IBM has initiated academic programswith leading universities around the world, includingYale,DePaul,Ottawaand others, to provide analytics technology and training resources so students can be prepared for 21st century jobs in analytics.
�IBM is continually innovating to make analytics technology easier to use, such as the aforementioned decision management. Business professionals can now build a predictive model in just three clicks.
�Even business intelligence solutions are made-to-order nowadays�for everyone (from the individual to the mid-market to the enterprise�and anywhere (with the newCognos Mobile for the iPad). It�s true analytic freedom.
�And, IBM�sGlobal Business Servicescontinues to expand its pool of talent as it will have almost 9,000 card-carrying analytics experts by the end of the year.
Become an Analytics Champion
Engage today. Don�t wait. IBM has been helping organizations deploy analytics and get the most from their data for almost half a century. We would love a chance to discuss, and then we can advise on the right training and education.
And if you need a quick start to find out how mature your organization is with analytics�take ourAQ quizthat will guide you through the steps needed to continue on the analytics journey.
If you�re not aware of Moneyball, it�s a behind-the-scenes story of the Oakland Athletics and how they changed the game and leveled the playing field through the innovative use of analytics that allowed the team with the lowest budget to consistently compete against the big market, deep pocket teams.
Moneyballtook the veil off a much-treasured secret and demonstrated that new ideas could produce positive results in the traditional world of Major League Baseball.
The book was also recently made into a major motion picture � in theaters now � starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane. It is receiving rave reviews.
The Information On Demand social media team had the opportunity to speak with Michael Lewis about his book, the movie and the parallels between baseball and business.
Who Is Going To Read A Book About Analytics?
In the late 1990s, Lewis was living in Berkeley, Calif., and started to pay attention to the local baseball team, the Oakland Athletics.
He had some awareness of the payroll discrepancies in baseball and thought it was strange how many games the Oakland A�s were winning given how little money they had in relation to the competition.
�The answer was so shocking to me that this team, in response to its financial disadvantage, was rethinking the game of baseball that I launched into Moneyball,� said Lewis. �This was a weird book for me. I had never written a word about sports and if you asked me what �Sabermetrics� was, I�d have guessed it would have had to do with fencing. I didn�t have any idea this world existed and didn�t realize how rich the environment was until I got into it as a writer.�
Beane, however, wasn�t worried about his secrets getting out. He was more concerned about what his mother might think of the way he spoke, mainly his profanity.
When Lewis asked him if he was going to be upset for giving away his secret formula, Beane laughed and said, �Do you really think people in baseball are going to read your book?�
Leveling the Playing Field
Today, every team in baseball has turned its sights to the once dark art of analytics and the playing field has been leveled. Now big budget teams like the Boston Red Sox are using this strategy to draft players and identify free agents.
�When the book came out, the markets were poised to become a lot more efficient,� said Lewis. �And, when the Red Sox decided they were going to apply this new way of thinking to players and baseball strategies�that was the beginning of the end for the A�s advantage. Now it�s normal. The war is over.
�If you�re a team that isn�t trying to be on the cutting edge of using data to better value players and strategies, you�re at risk of being exploited in the marketplace and everyone understands that.�
Don�t Let Statistics Become Fetishized
If baseball can take analytics to the field, why don�t more organizations use the technology in their game plans? The benefits are endless.
Lewis believes that any organization � from sports to business to government � �needs to be looking for new ways to mine their data, and new ways to think about their data.�
But he also warns that baseball provides a great best practice for any business thinking about deploying an analytic solution.
�The funny thing about this story,� said Lewis, �is that it�s true the Oakland A�s set about trying to create new data and generate new information that wasn�t on the baseball field.
�But, a lot of the inefficiency in the game came from the misuse of the data that existed. The data was there, but people were just not thinking about it properly. So you could easily calculate a player�s on base percentage, but baseball was not appreciating the value of the statistic.
�And, to me the story is not just the importance of the data, it�s a story of being careful how you use it once you have it. Because the minute you start to measure something and have a statistic, it has a tendency to become fetishized, like a player�s batting average.
�Unfortunately, it wasn�t a key offensive statistic and it led players to be misunderstood.�
It�s like a marketing department only doing simple segmentation to identify customers for a direct mail offer. This analysis provides a somewhat superficial view of the customer and leads to one-to-some direct marketing (and lot of junk mail).
Basically, it perpetuates accepted wisdom that all customers (and baseball players for that matter) are created equal.
Change is Good; Don�t Be Scared to be an Innovator
For baseball teams (and businesses and government agencies), now comes the hard part � continually innovating to find new statistics that have hidden meaning.
Lewis says the low-hanging fruit has been plucked because it was relatively easy to assign statistical credit and blame to what happens on the baseball field.
However, if athletes weren�t so expensive nowadays no one would care about the ramifications of clean data and in-depth analysis.
Nor would the business world � except in today�s environment, where acquiring a new customer is that much more expensive than proactively keeping one.
�The business decisions become extremely important,� said Lewis. �It�s worth investing in complicated ways of evaluating them [players and customers] because if you find a slight edge it means saving millions of dollars.�
That is why those in the C-suite (and in many instances IT organizations) need to become more accepting to analytical techniques and not be afraid of what the data often reveals, or how it might change business processes.
In Beane�s case, he had to change if his ballclub was going to be competitive and survive. He challenged baseball�s traditionalists and angered the gods of conventional wisdom.
Sometimes the world isn�t flat.
Sometimes it�s white, round and has 208 stitches.
For more information:
Listento an audio interview of Michael Lewis discussing the movie and his upcoming session at the conference.
Reada recent IBM interview with the head of statistical analysis for the Chicago Cubs.
Registernow for IOD11 and BAForum; and start building your schedule.
Interview with Ari Kaplan, Manager of Statistical Analysis with the Chicago Cubs
Baseball has always been ripe for analytics.
Former Los Angeles Times sportswriter, Jim Murray once said that �baseball�s appeal is decimal points; no other sport relies as totally on continuity, statistics, orderliness of these. Baseball fans pay more attention to numbers than CPAs."
The game is measured from generation to generation, year to year, and game to game on statistics.
It�s how fans discuss the game; and more importantly today, it�s how Major League Baseball teams measure the performance of its players and operations to gain a competitive advantage.
The notion of analytics and baseball will be thrust further into the spotlight when the movie Moneyball (starring Brad Pitt as Oakland A�s General Manager Billy Beane) is released later this month.
I was honored to speak with Ari Kaplan, the head of statistical analysis for the Chicago Cubs and the first official hire by Tom Ricketts, the current owner of the team, about his role, the importance of analytics in baseball and how the use of analytics continues to evolve.
How did you get into analytics and decide to make a career out of it?
During a research fellowship while an undergrad at the California Institute of Technology, I demonstrated that the statistics generally used (Earned Run Average, Wins/Losses, Batting Average, Saves) were not the best way to explain how players performed. While this is accepted today, at the time saying something like this received lots of attention in the media and in the industry itself.
The owner of a Major League Baseball (MLB) team approached me to offer me a position. Once in baseball, I have been able to contribute in many areas � from technology and analytics to scouting, advance scouting, player development, contracts and arbitration, and business development. I decided to make a career out of it because this is my passion in life and I have been fortunate to have the opportunities along the years.
This is my second full-time season with the Chicago Cubs, and I have consulted with them over the past 15 seasons.
Can you describe what you do on a day-to-day basis?
Being in the Baseball Operations, I have had the opportunity to get involved in many areas. There is the long-term development of our analytics and baseball-related technology to position us to be consistent champions on and off the field.
On a day-to-day basis I help prepare information for the coaches for games, do special projects for the General Manager and other baseball management, and try to stay one step ahead looking for ways for us to improve. There is a rhythm to the baseball season � Spring Training, the MLB season, the Minor Leagues, the draft, signings, trade deadlines, organizational meetings, Winter Meetings. These events set the pulse of what we focus on month to month.
What advice would you give to individuals thinking about going into a career in analytics?
If it is truly your passion, get into the game any way you can, put in the hours, and learn as much as you can. Then hopefully you'll "stick" and get lucky enough to parlay that into a full-time position. Also becoming a writer for a website such as Baseball Prospectus, searching www.pbeo.com, and going to the Winter Meetings are good ways to get into the industry.
How do you measure your effectiveness as an analytics professional?
Our goals are to consistently make the playoffs, progress through the playoffs, and win the World Series. If we do those objectives, great; if not, we need to self-evaluate why not and adjust accordingly.
What is the most common misconception that the public has with the use of analytics within major league ball clubs?
There is a public misperception of a rift between "old school" and "new school" that is a bit sensationalized. Everyone has the common goal of being a winning organization, of effective teamwork, and of doing what it takes to get from good to great.
How has the use of analytics evolved in the past few years?
New technology such as Sportvision's PitchFX and HitFX has changed the use of analytics dramatically. We now have significantly more data on pitch types, velocities, locations, spin, break, and more that can be used for really meaningful and actionable advice. And soon, FieldFX will help better understand and quantify defense like never before.
Any interesting �aha� moments that you have uncovered that you can share from your analysis?
These are humans, not computers playing. And humans often have subtle and repeatable habits that can be taken advantage of. A good advance scout can find these, and also reviewing millions of pitches and game events can help in that effort. Finding a strength, weakness, or habit to help win even one additional game a year is worth all the effort.
What do you think of the new stats of evaluating players, such as WAR (Wins Above Replacement), UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) or BABIP (Batting Average of Balls in Play)?
Using stats depends on what you are trying to do. Are you helping a coach relay actionable information to a player? Are you seeing how Minor Leaguers or amateur players might have an impact at the Majors? Are you forecasting and valuing a player�s contract relative to others? Each stat you list is a generalization that could be useful or not depending on the context of how it is used.
Is there a rivalry among analytics professionals in MLB?
There is a great sense of camaraderie in the analytics world � with tons of really useful free information in the public domain. New blogs and websites pop up that enable the overall analytics marketplace to vet out ideas and improve methodologies. Within ball clubs themselves there is often an advantage to keep methodologies closed and proprietary to maintain a competitive advantage. So there's a mix of both out there.
What feedback do you receive from ballplayers in regards to using analytics?
For 23 seasons, I have worked with managers, coaches, and players, including Hall of Famers, All-Stars, regulars, replacement-level players, and those that have never made it. Everyone's approach is different � some want to learn everything they can and have the ability to adjust. Some want to learn everything they can but can't physically adjust to that information. And some don't really care or focus on different approaches. There is no right answer. It all depends on the individual.
Like players or managers, do you take the wins and losses home with you?
Certainly, all of my essence is devoted to helping the Chicago Cubs succeed and rewarding generations of fans. I am passionate about the game, and passionate about winning, and take with great pride being a representative of the Cubs organization.
Register for the upcoming IBM Business Analytics Forum (Oct. 23-27 in Las Vegas) and see keynote speakers, Michael Lewis, author of the best-selling book, Moneyball, and Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A�s.
As I mentioned in my post, IBM Cognos 10 at Lotusphere: 10 Ways to Prepare, when IBM set out to revolutionize BI with IBM Cognos 10, collaboration became a key capability. What I really didn�t realize until after I attended Lotusphere was that IBM Cognos 10 collaboration would also revolutionize Lotusphere.
�Where once it was very much about Notes and Domino and their overwhelmingly loyal developer and customer base, this year the focus not only included the broader Lotus portfolio, but also various other groups within IBM such as Rational and Cognos�what was particularly interesting was the positive response that these integrations received from the audience�especially the integration with Cognos.�
The first inkling that we were making waves came when about 200 attendees showed up for my session called �IBM Cognos 10 Business Intelligence: Smarter Decisions. Better Results.� This session highlighted the features and benefits of Cognos 10 and introduced the audience to the collaboration capabilities of Cognos 10.
It was very gratifying to hear that my presentation was �stunning,� but one of the most compelling responses to the session was �I didn�t realize these synergies existed.� I now know that at least one attendee came away from my session with a new understanding of the power of combining IBM Cognos and IBM Lotus software to improve decisions and results.
But the most compelling demonstration of the impact we were having on the conference was the attendance for and reactions to the session held by Gene Villeneuve and Tina Groves, which was called �Collaborative Decision Making.� The session covered the integration of Lotus Connections and Cognos Business Intelligence v10.1, the value of collaboration and showed how tapping into the collective intelligence of an entire organization can help companies drive collaborative decisions, learn from the decisions and create a better corporate memory.
First, the session was sold out and �standing room only.� The enthusiasm of the presenters was infectious and at one point, an independent consult got up and announced, �I am not an IBMer and I think this is awesome!�
So, what does all this mean? To me, it says that the world is ready to embrace the revolutionary integration of collaborative and business intelligence software. There�s been a lot of talk in the last two years about how merging social networks, messaging tools, metrics and analytics could help corporations, but with the collaboration capability of Cognos 10 and our integration with Lotus Connections, IBM is at the forefront of showing that business intelligence and collaboration are a winning combination. We have the right combination of tools to help organizations use social software to make smarter decisions and reap the business benefits.
I believe that people really get the inherent value of collaborative BI to help make better decisions when they see it in action. It is something that changes the face of decision making in our organizations, yet is a natural extension of the way we do things today. The looks on the faces of Lotusphere participants when seeing it for the first time said it all.
My time at Lotusphere empowered me. The enthusiasm of attendees and presenters was contagious. How can you not be fired up by people who tweet, �Social business becomes a true IBM Software value by combining Lotus, Cognos, ECM and Rational� or �IBM way ahead of competition in business analytics and business intelligence. Cognos brings in social for better decision making?�
Thoughtful, collective idea-making is clearly the way forward for innovative companies. Business intelligence (BI) cannot exist in a vacuum; shared insights result in better, smarter decisions.
So, when IBM set out to revolutionize BI with Cognos 10, collaboration became a key capability. After all, how effective is a sales review process if the projects and initiatives contributing to sales results are not visible and stakeholders and expectations are not clear? Or how can you address customer service issues if you don�t have a single point of reference for notes, actions, links to reports and dashboards and information?
Everyone involved in a decision or a solution needs to know who else is involved, what transpired before they were asked to contribute and what other ideas are out there for that decision or solution.
When you combine BI software with collaborative software, everyone wins. And that�s why Cognos Business Intelligence software capitalizes on the collaborative features of Lotus Connections.
It�s also the reason I�ll be attending Lotusphere and I�m hoping I�ll see you there. For those of you who are attending, here are 10 things you can do to prepare.
1.Follow me on Twitter. I will be tweeting updates throughout the conference, along with information about the collaborative BI vision, what I am learning and what others are learning from me. I'll be using the #cognos10 and #ls11 tags.
2. Make a note of the IBM Cognos software sessions at Lotusphere. Join us at one or more of these sessions to learn more about IBM Cognos BI and visit us on the solution showcase floor to chat one-on-one with experts and view live demos that show how IBM Cognos software can address the needs of diverse users who want to know more, do more and make smarter decisions:
Monday, January 31:
1:00pm-2:00pm, SW Pelican
ID310 � IBM Cognos 10 Business Intelligence: Smarter Decisions. Better Results
Speaker: Brendan Farnand
2:15pm-3:15pm, SW Pelican
ID311 � Managing the Social Media Maturity Cycle for IT Professionals
Speaker: Chris Wright
Tuesday, February 1:
10:00am -11:00am, SW 1-2
INV111 � Making Decisions Collaboratively with Cognos Business Intelligence and Lotus Connections
Speaker: Gene Villeneuve
Wednesday, February 2:
Day 3 Keynote Panel Session with Chris Dziekan
11:15am -12:15pm, DL S Hemisphere II
INV113 � Connecting People with Insight: Becoming an Analytics-driven Organization
Speaker: Eric Sall
ID906 � Lotus and Cognos Business Intelligence: A Powerful Combination
Speaker: Dan Galt
Thursday, February 3:
11:15am - 12:15pm, SW 1-2
INV206 � Collaborative Decision Making (featuring 4 demos illustrating the value of Cognos BI and Lotus products)
Speakers: Ted Stanton and George Brichacek
3. Learn how collaborative BI can enable better decision-making by viewing my archived Techtalk webinar. You can register at the Techtalk website and download the webinar to hear me talk about collaborative BI. I use live demos to show you how IBM Cognos 10 delivers built-in collaboration and social networking so working groups can engage in more meaningful ways; powerful decision networks for sharing insights and creating a "corporate memory" and the transparency and accountability to drive alignment and audit decision-making process.
5. Check out theexcellent blog post by Tina Groves, Senior Product Manager for Collaborative Decision Making, Business Analytics, IBM. Tina uses real-world examples to demonstrate how the integration of Cognos Business Intelligence and Lotus collaboration software can benefit your company. You can also follow Tina on Twitter.
6. Discover what David Menninger, VP and Research Director for Ventana Research, thinks of Cognos 10, Lotus Connections and collaboration in �Cognos 10 Breaks Down Barriers To Business Intelligence and Analytics.� Here�s a teaser: �Cognos 10 recognizes that BI is part of a decision-making process and includes collaborative capabilities to support that process.�
7. Get a glimpse of how collaboration can help create the ideas that drive better business outcomes in an earlier article on this blog, called �Collaboration, inspiration and the connected mind.� Because we now have the means to apply the principles of collaboration and creativity in our work and lives, it is now easier than ever to nurture the next great idea.
8.Visit the Collaborative BI page on ibm.com. This page is full of good information about the Cognos Business Intelligence collaboration capability and includes a demonstration of the built-in collaboration features of Cognos Business Intelligence. Just click on the banner at the top.
10.Visit the Lotusphere web pageto learn more. This page provides previews of the conference, updates you on special events, provides you with registration information and gives you the lowdown on all the sessions. You can also join the Lotusphere social media page and join in the Lotusphere conversation.
It's funny, the way we perceive time in the technology industry. In this, the most forward-thinking, fastest-moving industry our perception of what constitutes a "long time" is being continually cut short. Before being aquired by IBM, Cognos took pride in its 30-plus years of existence - long enough to found, shape and re-make an entire section of enterprise software. Our own group saw IBM Cognos 10 as part of that 30-year journey toward better business outcomes through better and more innovative uses of corporate data.
In our new, social age, we see ideas become concepts become prototypes become products in the space of a few months. On Twitter, a rumor can start, spread, correct itself and delve into self-parody all in a few hours. We think back to the 486 computers and applications we used to write our undergrad assignments through a haze of nostalgia at "how things used to be."
All of this makes today so remarkable.
Today, IBM kicked off the celebration of its centennial year with a rich new Web focus on 100 Icons of Progress - a retrospective of the tremendous innovations and business visionaries who in shaping the course of IBM technology have driven many of our society's greatest achievements. In the new video below, 100 people take us through those innovations and in doing so, create a remarkable through line connecting the promise and and potential of our emerging Smarter Planet with the motto created by the company's founder, Thomas J. Watson: THINK.
This is but the first of many posts that my colleagues and I will be devoting to IBM at 100. I hope you enjoy them. For as much as this year is about looking back at what's changed and what IBM has changed, our Age of Analytics is just getting started.
Our first in what will no doubt be an extensive exploration of the innovative features of IBM Cognos 10 looks at the increasing importance of collaboration in creating the ideas that drive better business outcomes.
Behind every great innovation, invention or paradigm shift is a great idea. But the jury is still out on how and where this stroke of genius comes from, and better yet, how you nurture it.
In some cases, an idea can be a single thought, an illuminating moment � a flash, a blink or an epiphany. After years of working on the general theory of relativity, Einstein saw the solution in a dream where �a huge map of the universe outlined itself in one clear vision.�1
Newton framed an idea after observing an apple fall to the ground. While Roy Plunkett invented teflon by accident when he was attempting to make a new CFC refrigerant.2
Ideas can also germinate over time. Steven Johnson (seen in his TED talk) spoke recently about the notion of the �slow hunch.�
As he puts it, lots of good ideas have long incubation periods.
It took years for Dr. John Snow to find the source of London�s cholera epidemic, articulate the cause and then convince others how to implement the solution.
Consider also the Sputnik launch in 1957. At the time, scientists figured out how to track the satellite in space by following its time signatures. Later, they were asked to use the reverse idea to track something on earth from space, which led to the first GPS.
It is this thoughtful, collective idea-making that we should be fostering, Johnson says. We ought to build spaces and �liquid networks� where people can come together, be creative, and share skills and interests to feed new ideas. In his view, �chance favors the connected mind.�
Social and �liquid� networks
Fortunately, technology now is well suited to this paradigm. We have the Internet, social networks and collaborative platforms for sharing information and content at any time and in any place.
In short, we have the means to apply these principles of collaboration and creativity in our work and lives.
Smart organizations pull creative elements out of compartments or silos and integrate them into the mainstream. In this kind of collaborative environment, people proactively exchange knowledge and cooperate with one another.
Collective intelligence improves an organization�s ability to be ready for what comes. Most notably, it can serve as a hotbed for adaptation, new ideas and innovation.
Creativity in a complex world
This year�s IBM Global CEO Study suggests that the way forward in our challenging times is through creativity and innovative thinking.
Successful organizations need the ability to collaborate across boundaries, to share tactics and ideas. Add to that a platform that invites the free-flow of data and information, and you have a network of informed, connected individuals who together can find innovative ways to do business.
Collaborating with IBM Cognos 10
IBM Cognos 10 provides collaboration and social networking capabilities to connect people to information to ideas � to make the creative decisions that drive better results.
The platform features access to reports, analysis, blogs, wikis and message boards that let you share and assess information and gather input from different perspectives. So you can build a central hub of collective intelligence that everyone can use.
It�s all about putting people and content together to make that spark or slow germination happen. Chance may favor a connected mind. Collective and business intelligence can nurture the next great idea.
Data is everywhere. Ideas are everything. Make the former serve the latter and you can change the world.
I came across the above in the reams and reams of notes I took during Business Analytics Forum. I had jotted it down during Wednesday's keynotes featuring Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, but I think it applies equally well to the theme of the conference more broadly.
I guess that's why they were the keynote speakers.
In addition to that little nugget, I did finally find some time to compile my "Top 10 takeaways" from Business Analytics Forum. Enjoy!
1. People were really excited about IBM Cognos 10. The news broke on Twitter like wildfire with more than 300 tweets and retweets in two weeks. By conference end there were more than 1,100. More than 900 people signed up to watch the launch simulcast in the first week alone. By the time Rob Ashe took the stage that number had exceeded more than 5,000 from more than 90 countries. In Las Vegas, more than 4,500 people filled the Mandalay Bay Ballroom to watch the big box blow up. Further, the Cognos 10 YouTube preview video has garnered 10,000 views. The product has spawned its own dedicated LinkedIn group. It's made our partner Cedric DeVroey in particular a very happy man. I thought people would be excited about the launch. I had no idea they'd be this excited. Perhaps it's an argument for some predictive analytics of my own.
2. The Manadalay Bay Events staff is a force to be reckoned with. This year's conference was the largest Information On Demand ever and, rumor has it, the largest the Mandalay Bay has ever hosted. Serving hot breakfasts to more than 10,000 hungry conference-goers was no mean feat. I have no insights into the logistics of scrambled eggs and sausage, but I do have admiration for the Mandalay Bay events staff who served them up so smoothly.
3. Small actions can have an enormous impact. The IRS employs thousands of statisticians and analysts. Yet as Levitt and Dubner observed, only one had the idea to ask parents to identify their childrens' social security number along with their names. Overnight, seven million phony children � at least one of whom was named �Fluffy� � disappeared from the U.S. tax rolls. In today's dollars that's a savings of more than $25 billion. Don't discount the small ideas � they may be the ones that make the biggest difference in the long run.
4. AQ will be the next KPI. IQ is something you're born with. AQ � your �Analytics Quotient� - is something you build. How? Through a clear strategy, well-defined goals, an engaged workforce and a business analytics infrastructure that offers up insights into the performance of every aspect of your business. It's early days yet, but something tells me we'll be hearing �AQ� a lot more in the weeks and months to come.
5. Better outcomes are possible, even on a battlefield. Luckily, few of us will know the chaos and confusion of war. Fewer still will need to deal with the carnage it creates. Yet in this toughest of all situations, U.S. Army surgeons are now able to save the highest percentage of injured soldiers in recorded history. How? As Dr. Atul Gawande explained, they followed the data and redesigned their approach. If surgeons can do this with only basic tools amid the bullets and bombs, suddenly our own analytics challenges should seem that much easier to solve.
6. Getting the right outcomes means asking the right questions. Too many organizations lose momentum or fail outright because of a reliance on accepted truths and �conventional wisdom.� Yet Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner wrote a best-selling book (and starred in a recently released movie) because they were willing to ask questions no one else would. You can move your own organization forward by following the same approach, whether it's about marketing pipeline, sales performance or supplier quality. Uncomfortable? Yes. Embarrassing? Sure. Essential to survival? Most definitely.
7. Customers are your new IP. IBM VP of Predictive Analytics Deepak Advani explained it and my colleague Tim Powers blogged about it. Your customers interact with your organization in a variety of ways � from research to purchase to advocacy and support � each of these interactions generates data, which means each can be modeled and optimized with predictive analytics. Combine your optimized process in a cycle and you've built a customer intimacy model that keeps people with you for life.
8. IBM Studies are immensely useful. IBM brings the same analytical prowess and rigor to its C-suite Studies that it does to its research and product development. And based on IBM Fellow Brenda Dietrich's presentation on smart grids, cloud and the future of analytics, that's a lot of prowess, indeed. The findings in this year's CEO Study, CFO Study and CIO Study served as the touchstone to each keynote presentation. Whether the issue was coping with complexity, boosting profits or increasing competitive advantage, each pointed to the undisputed value of information and analytics. They're equally great for convincing skeptical executives. Did I mention they're all free?
9. Social media is important; meeting actual people is more important. It's called �social� media for a reason. As useful (and fun) as it is to communicate in 140 characters or less, there's no substitute for meeting people face-to-face. So it was great to finally meet some of the people who helped carry the message of Cognos 10 and IOD/BA Forum to market. To Holly Rice, Candace Taylor, Jenny Sussin, Ranjun Chauhan, Turbo Todd and Scott Laningham, thanks for your help and support!
10. I work with some phenomenal people. One of the reasons I enjoy attending our conferences is to see the result of so many hours, days and weeks of hard work. It's no small task to host the largest IOD conference in IBM history, let alone hold a �conference within a conference� with Business Analytics Forum. Add to that our largest, most significant product launch in five years and you have a truly mammoth undertaking that spanned teams, countries and continents. That all three happened � and that all three delivered such positive results for our attendees � is a testament to their professionalism, dedication and in no small measure, their sense of humor.
There were many, many more than what I've documented here, but the "10" theme was pretty popular. And now that Cognos 10 is literally out of the box, it's your turn to discover it. I'm excited to hear your responses, so share them if you can.
One more wrap-up post to write, but before I dive into my notes on that one, I thought I'd get this one up, pronto. Here, without further delay, are 10 ways to discover all that is IBM Cognos 10. Feel free to indulge in any or all of them to unleash intelligence in your own organization.
1. Give us a call. If you've already seen the simulcast, watched the demo and read the white paper, this is the next logical step. It's also the next logical step if you don't want to do any of those things and just get down to business. Our proverbial representatives are standing by to assess your analytics needs and suggest the best starting point. Our North American toll-free number is 1-866-601-1934 and you can find a full list of contact numbers here.
2. Watch the new features demo. You'll see the new unified BI workspace, collaborative capabilities and mobile BI. You'll also see how other new features drive better business outcomes for a range of user types across your organization. See it now.
3. Download our new Cognos 10 White Paper. You'll discover why insights and agility are two essential attributes of successful organizations and how IBM Cognos 10 enables both of these for individual contributors and for organizations as a whole. Get it now.
4. Download our new Business Analytics White Paper, too. You'll read how IBM Business Analytics is building �analytics-driven� organizations that overcome data silos, rigid structures, fragemented perspectives and other barriers to better business outcomes. Download.
5. Download our new book,Business Intelligence Strategy: A Practical Guide for Achieving BI Excellence. Representatives from The Nielsen Company, Johnson & Johnson, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and The Boeing Company discuss proven, real-world techniques to build your business case, demonstrate value and drive user adoption. Get the book.
6. Sign up for one of 100 live worldwide events. Now that Cognos 10 is quite literally out of the box, we're taking it on the road and around the world. If you couldn't make it to Business Analtyics Forum in person, these events are your best chance to get up-close and personal with Intelligence Unleashed. Find your event.
7. Sign up for one of our virtual events in North America or EMEA. IBM Cognos 10 can also come to you. These interactive sessions feature a keynote presentation by our own Harriet Fryman and breakout sessions that let you interact with our product experts. North American audiences can click here. Audiences in EMEA can click here.
8. Bookmark our Cognos 10 Microsite. You'll find detailed information on how IBM Cognos 10 provides you the freedom to think, connect with others and simply do. Plus, learn about the innovative new features in the IBM Cognos platform and go deep into any capability you choose. Go there now.
9. Watch the replay of the launch event, complete with countdown, explosions and business analytics on the iPad. Watch now.
Attendees to today's opening session of Information On Demand and Business Analytics Forum saw a through line drawn by a succession of presenters, from battlefield surgeons back to the increasing � and increasingly unavoidable - issue of big data.
In an eloquent opening address that from the first unvarnished image held the audience in rapt attention, guest speaker Dr. Atul Gawande explored how data-driven insights have rewritten the rules of the battlefield surgeon and dramatically reduced casualties in the continuing military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But first, the data.
Big data is a big story
Steve Mills, IBM Software Group Senior VP and Group Executive, welcomed attendees with an exploration of data. Big data. Complex data. Fast-moving data that comes at organizations from every direction. Example? The thousands of tweets flying around this very conference made up the 7 terabytes of data that Twitter processes every day. To help organizations address the challenge Mills explained the �method to the madness� in the ongoing string of IBM acquisitions by grouping them into three connected categories: core data management capabilities, data integration, and finally, business analytics. Turbo also blogged about Mills' session in much more detail than I've done here.
Turning big data into business outcomes
Mills was followed by Frank Kern, Senior VP and Managing Partner of IBM Global Business Services, outlined the various ways that IBM solutions are helping clients improve performance outcomes across various industries. Kern drew extensively from this year's IBM Global CEO Survey and stressed the importance of innovation and creativity as the way forward in our challenging times. CEOs around the world are struggling to understand the accelerating complexity of our economy, Kern said. To respond, they must rely not on increasing operational rigor, but on increasing their creativity at all levels. �We must innovate our way through this,� he said. Kern also outlined that those organizations doing well in our current climate view technology as an essential element in their approach. Driven by �the pressure to be right,� top-performing organizations are five times more likely to use analytics over intuition to drive their decision-making and three times more likely to outperform their peers, Kern said.
Improving business outcomesdemands new skills
In the customer panel discussion that followed, representatives from Best Buy, Countrywide Insurance, Nestle and Gwinnett County Public Schools discussed the softer side of the equation by focusing on the new skills that successful organizations rely on, particularly the ability to connect and collaborate across organizational boundaries, and individual empowerment driven by pervasive insights. In addition, each stressed the importance of curiosity and patience in what is often a long journey
Putting it all together on the battlefield
The combination of data, outcomes and new skills came together in Dr. Gawande's vivid address. Dr. Gawande explored the relationship between data and progress from an unexpected source � a chart of war fatalities dating from the American Revolution to the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. (When you're done reading this post, check out Turbo's post as well.)
His question was simple: How do you save people in war? Since the 1950s, Dr. Gawande explained, advances in military technology and battlefield surgery had reached a sort of stalemate � with casualty mortality rates staying stable at about 24 percent up until the Persian Gulf War. In the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, casualty rates have dropped to 10 percent, despite no substantial advances in surgical techniques.
Why the drop?
Surgeons, said Dr. Gawande, began paying attention to the data. They had discovered that mortality rates improved dramatically the closer they were to the hospital. But with modern soliders moving further into the field, the solution wasn't to transport them back to the hospital more quickly, but to transport the hospital with the soldiers. Now, rolling hospitals travel with battlefield units. Within three hours surgeons can create a fully functional hospital. Further, surgeons turned to performing only the most necessary parts of a procedure to enable the wounded solider to be transported to one of several hospitals farther away. This, said Dr. Gawande, ran counter to a surgeon's training. Yet in a hostile environment lacking xrays and other amenities it resulted in a dramatic reduction in fatalities.
People make only two kinds of mistakes, Dr. Gawande said. Mistakes of ignorance happen when people lack the information they need to make good decisions. Mistakes of ineptitude happen when people don't know how to use the information in the right way.
If data driven insights can result in such dramatic transformations as to save actual lives, imagine what they can do for your business. Our challenge, said Dr. Gawande, is to cope with complexity and execute properly on the knowledge that does exist. It's going to require new teams, new kinds of people and, in his words, �could not be more fascinating.�