Time for a Data Plan

Rear view of the business lady who is looking for the new business ideas. Blue growing arrow as a concept of successful business. Business icons are drawn on the concrete wall.

Data planning is quickly becoming a top priority in businesses across the globe. Ben Rossi dives into some key components that are making it vital for organizations to manage their data. According to Rossi’s post, there are two main components that factor into this. The first one is the increasing amount of data that is being pulled into organizations for analysis. As time progresses, so does the high volume of data and it is only speeding up as time ticks forward. Large quantities of data and information is a great thing but in order to retain any value from it, it must be managed the correct way.

Organizations are being faced with tougher compliance policies which is requiring more effort in maintaining data for a much longer amount of time. Not only are businesses overflowing with large quantities of data but now must solve the issue of, where can all of this data be stored. Rossi provides the example of large credit card companies. In the past, they were required to keep the data records of all credit card transactions for seven years. But now there has been recent talk of extending that to 10 or possibly more years.

Data planning can have a big positive impact on a company as a whole, but planning is essential to success.  The proper planning ensures that things such as cloud storage and prioritizing levels of data for storage within one’s network are all properly set up. Planning out the process and details for proper employee data access is crucial, too. It is important to figure out the limits and accessibility of data for all employees early on to ensure a positive work flow.

So, is it time to take a step back to re-evaluate just how effectively you are managing your data? What plan do you have in place and more importantly, has there been a positive impact on your business?

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6 Things to Help you Tackle IoT and Big Data

Rear view of business person in ready position on start line to compete


So, you have made the decision to dive into the world of IoT and Big Data? Where to start is the major question and can seem overwhelming. Preston Gralla has come up with some key steps in making the decision or updating your current solution program in his article, 6 Tips for Working with IoT and Big Data.

  1. The first clear way to dive in is to know the problem you are facing and what the end result looks like to you. Without a crystal clear picture of what you have to solve, a project can easily head in a different direction or take longer than expected to go into implementation.
  2. Then, you must deploy the “right people” on the project. Gralla states that Data scientists can be expensive to employ and hard to come by, because, today, they are so much in demand. Instead he suggests that you seek the resources within your company. Employees with the Big Data and IT experience may have the drive and motivation to learn new techniques in order to take on new projects.
  3. Next, Gralla talks about how important it is to know exactly which data you will collect and also how it will be stored. In order to get the most from your analytics, it is important to be working with precise data that will give you the most accurate results and ROI.
  4. Data can be made up of complex layers and other times, it can be a simple layer of information. To ensure that it will work compatibly with each other, Gralla suggests that businesses build an extra abstract layer to allow room for extra layers of data that you may encounter along the way.
  5. The fifth tip that Gralla suggests, has to do with the platform. A large data analytic platforms can be very expensive and take extra time to develop. It may be the most efficient to invest in an outside platform for analytics and even maybe a cloud-based system.
  6. And finally, the last bit of advice when tackling Iot and Big Data is to start with a manageable size and continue to grow from there. Many businesses will take on too much at one time and struggle to succeed at them. Instead, start small so that you can manage to smooth out any errors along the way before taking on more.

To read the whole article, click here.

Healthcare and Big Data are Not Slowing Down

Doctor sitting at office desk and working on his laptop with medical equipment all around top view

The days of paper charting medical records are long gone. Michael Morrison gives a good look into why Big Data is vital to the Healthcare industry in his post, “Big Data Remains Hot in Health Care.”

Medical firms did not have much choice in adapting to these changes after the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act in the US in 2009 took effect, this was one of the largest efforts ever in improving patient care, ensuring proficient operations, and closing the gap of medical error. The result has been phenomenal and continues to progress.

With the ability of the medical industry to continuously run analytics, they gain critical information from high volumes of medical records and data. Morrison mentions that with advancements in patient data analytics, it is becoming the most important aspect of implementing medical analysis, which allows for patient care to be personalized. Many common road blocks that are normal in the course of  patient care and health management can be corrected with the use of Big Data tools.

The National Cancer Institute has created a Big Data project that has, through Big Data research, improved cancer treatments. They are now able to learn a lot about the patient’s responses to different medications and choose the best treatment course for a specific patient. The implementation of data solutions across the entire medical industry benefits everyone involved from the provider to the patient. The next time you make a visit to your local doctor’s office or hospital, take a look around and notice how much we rely on the ongoing advances of technology. Where would be now without all of it; how much safer has it made our treatment as well as our loved ones?

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How Can Star Wars Help Your Business?

NEW YORK - NOV 7 2015: Studio portrait of an EFX brand Star Wars ANH Stormtrooper helmet. Star Wars The Force Awakens opens December 18th 2015 worldwide. The Star Wars franchise is owned by Disney

What does December 18th, 2015 mean to you? Ok yes, it is one week before Christmas but if you are a Star Wars fan, then you know it means much more than that. The awaited release of “The Force Awakens” has caught quite the buzz around this holiday season. Jim Hopkins does an awesome job at bringing Star Wars and Business Data/Analytics side by side in his article: How Star Wars Can Help with Your Data Problems.

If you are new to Business Intelligence terms such as CRM, Big Data, Analytics, this article does a good job of laying it out clearly.

Hopkins first relates “the Force” to “the Data” in the business world. “The Force” is an abstract power that connects them and controls their world. Which is incredibly similar to “the Data”. What would we be without data? What would we analyze to gain crucial insight on the decisions that are made to strengthen our businesses? The same analogy holds true for businesses’ CRM systems. The CRM (Customer Relationship Management) connects everyone from Marketing, Sales, Finance, Support and Administration.

This leads into Hopkins’ next comparison: “The Dark Side”. Without the proper care and management of a CRM system, it can quickly turn “dark” as Hopkins puts it. Collecting large amounts of useful data is a great thing, having the ability to store and organize this information is also a great thing. However, without close attention to detail many businesses can allow their knowledge of information to turn sour. It is a crucial part to the success of a company, to pay attention to detail and making sure what is being stored is accurate. What is meant to strengthen and prosper a business, can quickly do the opposite if not properly maintained.

When Luke Skywalker is attracted to the Jedi lifestyle, he begins to gain greater knowledge of his father’s past, a Jedi master. Through this, he is able to strengthen the power he holds within himself. In the business world, we must truly understand what our goals are and how our decisions are impacting them. When we run analysis reports, what patterns do we see? What story is the data telling us?

As Darth Vader said about Luke Skywalker, “the force is strong with this one.” Hopkins relates this to having a strong set of policies and mechanisms in place when implementing any data analytic strategy or program. Everyone must be on the same page and follow the same guidelines to ensure the highest quality of data outcome within a business.

Click Here to read entire article.

BIG Data Road Blocks to Tackle

Businessman jumping over hurdle

As I think most of us would agree, Big Data has made big leaps in providing the business world with a large advantage. Luc Burgelman does a great job of identifying the three hurdles that he believes are holding businesses back from reaping the most benefit from their Big Data, in his article.

The first hurdle Burgelman refers to is the ability to evolve. He brings up a great point, companies are looking for different things than they were just two years ago. They need to take technology further than before to accomplish what they need as a final result. Also, companies need to be able to engage different/more departments in the analytical process. It is no longer just about the IT team. Other departments have valuable assets to add to the equation of data anaylsis, and we have to be open to sharing the data across the departments and company, taking a more well-rounded approach to tackling large analytical processes. Which leads smoothly into Burgelman’s second point…

Not only is it important to be involving more of the company’s departments, but we need to make sure that the C-level Executives are equally “on-board.” Let’s face it, without their their final “blessing,” no data technology plan will hit the ground running and be successful. Executives need to be equally passionate about the technology and understand the great benefit and ROI of the analytics behind the data.

The third hurdle that Burgelman talks about is changing the mindset of not only the C-level executives but of all who work directly with the data such as the data users and data scientists. Big Data and the technology behind it is a game changer and offers greater benefits to customers, which returns in greater customer loyalty and greater sale margins. Companies need to be able to change and progress with the latest technologies and analysis software to be able to change the way people and businesses make their decisions and interact with their data. So what do you think, are these hurdles something that we can get over and allow businesses to run faster.

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27 Opinions and the Future of Excel 

Excel business people image

 “Excel is one of those applications that the business world cannot live without.”

So says one of 27 Excel experts commenting on Microsoft’s Power BI Suite and its effect on the great wide world of spreadsheet users.

As Excel lovers, we couldn’t agree more!

There’s a wealth of wisdom in the observations made by these 27 pros. Along with the main topic of what’s new in Power BI Suite, there’s excellent insight on the use of Excel and BI generally. (For a good post about what one expert calls a “running joke in BI communities—‘What is the most used feature in any business intelligence solution?’”, see But, Does It Export to Excel?, from PARIS Technologies.)

About what’s new with Power BI Suite, the experts agree that it delivers significantly powerful new capabilities: from connecting to enterprise data (Power Query) to aggregating differently sourced data (Power Pivot) to creating exciting visualizations (Power View and Power Map—watch out, “Visual Analytics” products!), this suite of tools signifies a whole new era of “self-service BI” for Excel users.

Smart guys and gals that they are, the experts point up some caveats. How will these new capabilities affect a company’s “B.I. workflow[s]”? And, mightn’t Power BI, by empowering Excel user(s), propagate more—and more complex—silos of data among disconnected groups of users? Will IT lose total control, if users feel it’s their Excel-given birthright to reach back to underlying data sets for BI solutions?  And as to collaborative work—will SharePoint be the answer, finally?

All the caveats and concerns are certainly worth considering … That said, from our standpoint: we begin with the premise that user-empowering technologies—Excel or otherwise—are a good thing! As for the caveats, won’t someone please invent a technology that addresses concerns about security and collaboration? And one that provides for other application needs, like planning, budgeting and forecasting?  Because that’s what people do in Excel! And while they’re at it, a solution that is inclusive of other non-Excel users?  (Hmmm, maybe someone has – see here for a description of PARIS’s Olation).

“The future looks very bright for Excel and BI,” says another expert.  Here’s to a future that’s bright for all BI users—and no caveats required!

Read the original article, from InvestInTech.com here: 27 Microsoft Excel Experts Predict the Future of Excel in Business Intelligence