7 items tagged "business,"

  • 2016 wordt het jaar van de kunstmatige intelligentie

    Artificial-intelligence.jpg-1024x678December is traditiegetrouw de periode van het jaar om terug te blikken en oudjaarsdag is daarbij in het bijzonder natuurlijk de beste dag voor. Bij Numrush kijken we echter liever vooruit. Dat deden we begin december al met ons RUSH Magazine. In deze Gift Guide gaven we cadeautips aan de hand van een aantal thema’s waar we komend jaar veel over gaan horen.Eén onderwerp bleef bewust een beetje onderbelicht in onze Gift Guide. Aan de ene kant omdat het niet iets is wat je cadeau geeft, maar ook omdat het eigenlijk de diverse thema’s overstijgt. Ik heb het over kunstmatige intelligentie. Dat is natuurlijk niets nieuws, er is al ontzettend veel gebeurt op dat vlak, maar komend jaar zal de toepassing hiervan nog verder in een stroomversnelling raken.

  • Big data's big problem? Most companies don't realize they're already using it

    bigdatahCompanies are already actively using big data. They just don't call it that. While the phrase has problems, the technology is becoming more intrinsic to business.

    It turns out that no one knows what the heck big data is, and about the same number of companies are actually doing anything meaningful with it, according to a new study from Dresner Advisory Services. Surprised? More about the study? Click here.

    You shouldn't be. After all, despite years of big data prognostication, most companies still struggle to even put little data to use.

    This isn't to suggest that big data isn't a big deal, or that companies aren't deriving massive value today from their data. It is and they are. But, to get value from big data, companies first need to get real.

    Who needs it?

    As Datamation's James Maguire captures, Dresner Advisory Services doesn't see much adoption of big data.

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    Just 17% of companies acknowledge using big data today, with another 47% putting it off into an indeterminate future. No wonder, then, that the report's authors conclude, "Despite an extended period of awareness building and hype, actual deployment of big data analytics is not broadly applicable to most organizations at the present time."

    Big data, big nothing?

    Well, no. After all, 59% of the report's respondents also claim big data is "critically important," despite not doing anything with it (apparently). Something is clearly going on here....

    That "something," I suspect, is just definitional.

    You keep using that word...

    Way back in the prehistoric world of 2012, NewVantage Partners upended the prevailing wisdom of what the "big" in big data actually meant. Despite tons of hype around petabyte-scale data problems, largely fueled by Hadoop and its ecosystem vendors, the reality was (and is) that most companies don't have petabyte-scale problems.

    The primary problems most companies struggle with involve variety and velocity of data, as the survey uncovered.

    The market is finally starting to grok this, investing increasing amounts of money in technologies that more easily manage diverse data types (e.g. NoSQL databases like MongoDB and DataStax-sponsored Cassandra), and handle streaming data (e.g. Apache Spark).

    At the same time, enterprises continue to turn to more traditional data infrastructure like Oracle. As DB-Engines found in its 2015 year-end review, Oracle was the biggest gainer in terms of overall popularity last year (measured in terms of job postings, tech forum mentions, Google searches, etc.).

    More than sexy-cool NoSQL. More than cloud-first Amazon. More than anything.

    Of course, some of this increased Oracle usage has nothing to do with big data, and everything to do with managing neat-and-tidy rows-and-column data. But, based on NewVantage Partners' survey data, this comparatively "small" data is still where most of the big data analytics action resides.

    Moving beyond this structured data, too, I suspect many companies still don't think of varied, high-velocity data as "big data." This may be one reason so few companies claim to be doing much of anything with big data. As MySQL database engineer Justin Swanhart put it, "Big data is meaningless. You might as well ask people what color database they want."

    In short, big data is alive and well, but companies don't necessarily think of it as "big."

    So what?

    For enterprises wondering if they're being left behind by big data, it's time to stop worrying. As Gartner analyst Nick Heudecker posits, "big data" has migrated into more familiar categories:

    • Advanced analytics and data science
    • Business intelligence and analytics
    • Enterprise information management
    • In-memory computing technology
    • Information infrastructure

    Most enterprises are already engaged in projects that put big data to use. They just don't call it that. Even so, there's still a lot of work to do. As Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School's Center for Digital Business, puts it:

    "[The] most enduring impact of predictive analytics...comes less from quantitatively improving the quality of prediction than from dramatically changing how organizations think about problems and opportunities."

    In other words, companies may already own the requisite technologies to put big data to work. What they lack is a desire to fundamentally change how they put that data to work. It's one thing to have a group of analysts decipher data, and quite another to use that data analysis to fuel real-time changes in one's business.

    That's not the sort of thing you can buy from a vendor. It's something that has to change within the DNA of an enterprise. Between a more accurate understanding of big data, and actually doing something with it, enterprises have their work cut out for them.

    Source: techRepublic

     

     

  • Business and IT increasingly seen working together to drive digital transformation

    BusinessITAlignment NashvilleTN BusinessWaysBusiness units and IT teams are finding more opportunities to collaborate and share responsibilities as digital transformation takes on greater relevance within organizations, according to a new report by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), the world's leading technology association.

    The study finds that IT departments are taking on a greater strategic role, and working alongside business units to use technology as the linchpin to drive corporate evolution. 

    “This represents a dramatic shift from the traditional viewpoint, where business objectives were driven by business units and the technology team played a supporting role,” said Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, at CompTIA.

    While IT’s enabling and supporting role still predominates in many organizations, the report shows that its strategic role is growing, with 43% of the 350 U.S. companies surveyed online in October 2016 saying technology enables business processes.

    Nearly 40% of the respondents said their organizations use technology to drive business outcomes, 36% say the technology function plays a critical role in strategy, and 34% are redefining their business thanks to technology.

    The process of becoming a digital organization provides learning opportunities for business as well as and IT staffs. “Adventures in ‘rogue IT’ have shown business units that there is more to a technology solution than they initially assumed,” Robinson said. “IT professionals are changing their behaviors, too, learning more about business objectives and goals so they can help drive strategies and serve as an educational resource on technical matters.”

    Source: Information Management, Bob Violino

  • Do you know what a data driven company is?

    Most companies today claim to be fluent in data, but as with most trends, these claims tend to be exaggerated. Com

    Data driven company 1396308504-data-driven-means-never-having-say-sorry

    panies are high on data, but what does it mean to be a data-driven company? I went ahead and asked a number of business leaders.

    According to Amir Orad, CEO of Sisense, a business intelligence software provider, true data-driven companies understand that data should be omnipresent and accessible.

    "A data-driven company is an organization where every person who can use data to make better decisions, has access to the data they need when they need it. being data-driven is not about seeing a few canned reports at the beginning of every day or week; it's about giving the business decision makers the power to explore data independently, even if they're working with big or disparate data sources."

    Asaf Yigal, the co-Founder of Logz.io, ELK as a service cloud platform, agrees, but emphasized the importance of measurability.

    "Data-driven complains are companies that relentlessly measure and monitor the pulse of the business and are doing so in a continuous and often automated manner."

    Companies often proudly talk about data-driven marketing, but forget that the company itself should be driven by data, internally and externally. It's also important to remember that internal data might help produce information that can be used for marketing and sales purposes.

    "There's a lot of talk about data-driven marketing and sales, etc., but not a lot about a company as a whole becoming data-driven," said Manish Sood, the founder and CEO of Reltio.

    Bryan Harwood from Outsell sets says a company needs to meet the following three objectives to qualify.

     

    1. It should be able to not only draw data from a variety of internal and external sources, but also be able to blend that data in an analytics engine and distill it down to actionable insights.

    2. These insights should drive real-time decision making that infuses every level of the organization.

    3. The data should yield quantifiable results downstream that in turn, inform the organization about which data sources are yielding results.

    Considering the increasing complexity of data growing larger in size, changing rapidly and spread between many disparate sources, accessibility alone is not enough.

    "Being data-driven is not about seeing a few canned reports at the beginning of every day or week; it's about giving the business decision makers the power to explore data independently, even if they're working with big or disparate data sources. They need to be able to ask questions and receive answers that are based on data before the decision is actually made -- today in many places the executive makes a 'gut-instinct' decision and then looks for the data to justify it. But if data is readily available and easy to analyze and to present in visual form, it becomes an inherent part of the decision-making process -- and that's what makes an organization truly data-driven," said Orad.

    The surge of a data-driven culture has also had a significant impact on how companies are structured. The complexity of data forces companies to merge different department to harness their individual strengths to make the most of data. Being data-driven means making use of massive quantities of unstructured data – text, video, voice.  In the past this belonged to the IT department which had a tough time

    extracting insights from it.

     

    From darkness to light: how to become data-driven

    According to most experts, the road to data fluency is not easy or glamorous.

    "To become a data-driven company the belief in the importance of the integrity and quality of information needs to perme

    ate the culture of the company at all levels. It is not enough to start a formal data governance program, becoming data-driven requires a disciplined shift in the mindset of all employees towards maintaining the integrity and quality of their data," said Chris Jennings, vice president of technology services at Collaborative Consulting.

    Yigal from Logz.io asks companies to treat data as religion.

    "Companies need to be religious with demanding to see the data before and after changes are being made. Especially in fast moving start-up companies where changes are easily made it's prudent to track the impact of every change."

    To make sure data is not only in the hands of IT and other data enthusiasts, organizations need to embrace a switch in culture. 

    Most experts agree that business intelligence needs to be in the hands of every decision maker in the company to make sure the entire staff is aligned and fighting the same battles.

    "This way, there are no 'different versions of the truth' floating around in disparate spreadsheets, and every user has a consistent experience across platforms," said Ulrik Pederson, CTO of TARGIT.

     

    Once the organization is prepared for the switch, there are three key components of becoming a data-driven organization.

    • Build a data warehouse
    • Connect the most critical data sources
    • Share data through dashboards, analyses, mobile business intelligence, storyboards, and report

    As data volume, variety, and velocity increase, so does the organization's ability to make use of it, especially if the cultural and technical elements are in place. Analytics, resources, and skills should not be limited to a few departments, and everyone, from sales to marketing and IT to finance, should leverage the benefits of data.

    Source: InfoWorld. This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network.

  • How to Do Big Data on a Budget?

    2016-02-11-1455188997-848612-shutterstock 274038974-thumbTo really make the most of big data, most businesses need to invest in some tools or services - software, hardware, maybe even new staff - and there's no doubt that the costs can add up. The good news is that big data doesn't have to cost the Earth and a small budget needn't prevent companies from stepping into the world of big data. Here are some tips and ideas to help keep costs down:

    Think about your business objectives
    Too many businesses focus on collecting as much data as possible which, in my view, misses the whole point of big data. The objective should be to focus on the data that helps you achieve your strategic objectives. The whole point of big data should be to learn something from your data, take action based on what you've learned and grow your business as a result. Limiting the scope of your data projects so they tightly match your business goals should help keep costs down, as you can focus only on the data you really need.

    Make use of the resources you already have
    Before you splash out on any new technology, it's worth looking at what you're already using in your business. Some of your existing infrastructure could have a role to play. Go through each of the four key infrastructure elements (data sources, data storage, data analysis and data output) and note what related technology or skills you already have in-house that could prove useful. For example, you may already be collecting useful customer data through your website or customer service department. Or you very likely have a wealth of financial and sales data that could provide insights. Just be aware that you may already have some very useful data that could help you achieve your business objectives, saving you time and money.

    Look for savings on software
    Open source (free) software, like Hadoop, exists for most of the essential big data tasks. And distributed storage systems are designed to run on cheap, off-the-shelf hardware. The popularity of Hadoop has really opened big data up to the masses - it allows anyone to use cheap off-the-shelf hardware and open source software to analyse data, providing they invest time in learning how. That's the trade-off: it will take some time and technical skill to get free software set up and working the way you want. So unless you have the expertise (or are willing to spend time developing it) it might be worth paying for professional technical help, or 'enterprise' versions of the software. These are generally customised versions of the free packages, designed to be easier to use, or specifically targeted at various industries.

    Take advantage of big data as a service (BDaaS)
    In the last few years many businesses have sprung up offering cloud-based big data services to help other companies and organisations solve their data dilemmas. This makes big data a possibility for even the smallest company, allowing them to harness external resources and skills very easily. At the moment, BDaaS is a somewhat vague term often used to describe a wide variety of outsourcing of various big data functions to the cloud. This can range from the supply of data, to the supply of analytical tools which interrogate the data (often through a web dashboard or control panel) to carrying out the actual analysis and providing reports. Some BDaaS providers also include consulting and advisory services within their BDaaS packages.

    BDaaS removes many of the hurdles associated with implementing a big data strategy and vastly lowers the barrier of entry. When you use BDaaS, all of the techy 'nuts and bolts' are, in theory, out of sight and out of mind, leaving you free to concentrate on business issues. BDaaS providers generally take this on for the customer - they have everything set up and ready to go - and you simply rent the use of their cloud-based storage and analytics engines and pay either for the time you use them or the amount of data crunched. Another great advantage is that BDaaS providers often take on the cost of compliance and data protection - something which can be a real burden for small businesses. When the data is stored on the BDaaS provider's servers, they are (generally) responsible for it.

    It's not just new BDaaS companies which are getting in on the act; some of the big corporations like IBM and HP are also offering their own versions of BDaaS. HP have made their big data analytics platform, Haven, available entirely through the cloud. This means that everything from storage to analytics and reporting is handled on HP systems which are leased to the customer via a monthly subscription - entirely eliminating infrastructure costs. And IBM's Analytics for Twitter service provides businesses with access to data and analytics on Twitter's 500 million tweets per day and 280 million monthly active users. The service provides analytical tools and applications for making sense of that messy, unstructured data and has trained 4,000 consultants to help businesses put plans into action to profit from them.

    As more and more companies realise the value of big data, more services will emerge to support them. And competition between suppliers should help keep subscription prices low, which is another advantage for those on a tight budget. I've already seen that BDaaS is making big data projects viable for many businesses that previously would have considered them out of reach - and I think it's something we'll see and hear a lot more about in the near future.

    Source: HuffPost

  • Kerstman in het land

    Kerstcadeau bijna 100 euro

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    Consumenten die kerst vieren met cadeaus geven daar gemiddeld bijna 100 euro aan uit. Een ruime m
    eerderheid van de werkenden (70%) ontvangt ook van hun werkgever een cadeau.
    Dit concludeert het  ING Economisch Bureau uit een peiling onder ruim 60.000 mensen. Hieruit blijkt ook dat de helft van de werkenden vrij is tussen Kerst en Nieuwjaar. Nederland draait die dagen dus 'op halve kracht'.

    Bijna 100 euro

    Veel consumenten gaan voor kerst in de winkel of online op zoek naar boeken, sieraden, parfums en andere verrassingen voor hun naasten. Gemiddeld geven zij hier 97 euro aan uit. De kerstuitgaven lopen wel sterk uiteen. Zo zegt bijna een kwart (23%) meer dan 200 euro uit te geven aan cadeaus voor familie en vrienden. Bij één op de zes blijven de uitgaven beperkt tot maximaal 20 euro.

    Kerstpakket

    Ook veel werkgevers tonen zich van hun goede kant. Zeven op de tien (70%) van de werknemers ontvangen een kerstpakket. Voor de meesten van hen (63%) was dat vorig jaar ook het geval. Een kleine groep (7%) krijgt dit jaar een pakket, terwijl ze vorig jaar nog met lege handen stonden. Zij zijn bijvoorbeeld van baan veranderd, of hun werkgever heeft besloten dit jaar wel een kerstpakket uit te delen. 30% moet het dit jaar zonder kerstpakket doen.

    Halve kracht

    De helft van de werkenden (50%) gaat na het uitpakken van alle kerstcadeaus weer maandag aan het werk. De andere helft neemt vrij tussen Kerst en Nieuwjaar. 

    Bron: BI, 24 december 2014
  • What To Do When A CIO Pushes Back On Your Agile BI Platform?

    CIO pushback is part of a typical growing pain of all business intelligence (BI) startups. It means your land and expand strategy is working. Once you start expanding beyond a single department CIOs will notice. As a general rule, the earlier the CIO is brought on board, the

    CEObetter. CIOs who feel left out are likely to raise more objections than those who are involved in the early stages.
     
    CIO pushback is part of a typical growing pain of all business intelligence (BI) startups. It means your land and expand strategy is working. Once you start expanding beyond a single department CIOs will notice. As a general rule, the earlier the CIO is brought on board, the better. 
    CIOs who feel left out are likely to raise more objections than those who are involved in the early stages.

    A number of BI vendors that started out with a strategy of purposely avoiding the CIO found over time that they had to change their strategies - ultimately, there’s no way round the CIO. Forrester has also noticed that the more a vendor gets the reputation of “going round” the CIO, the greater the resistance is from CIOs once they do get involved.

    There is of course also the situation where the business side doesn’t want the CIO involved, sometimes for very good reason. That notwithstanding, if there’s a dependency on the CIO when it comes to sign-off, Forrester would strongly recommend encouraging the business to bring him/her to the table.

    The two key aspects to bear in mind in this context are:

    ◾CIOs look for transparency. Have architecture diagrams to hand out, be prepared to explain your solution in as much technical detail as required, and have answers ready regarding the enterprise IT capabilities listed below.

    ◾Find out what’s keeping the CIO awake at night, and outline how your solution can help the CIO achieve his/her goals. A lot of CIOs struggle with delivering capabilities “at the speed of business”. Your solution can help them do that, but you’ll need to be proactive in delivering this message.

    Next, your platform needs to have capabilities that prove to the CIO that you can become part of the integrated enterprise BI ecosystem. If the following capabilities are not already part of your platform, Forrester strongly recommends putting them on your short term roadmap (in order of priority):

    1.Integrate with enterprise SSO (single sign on) platforms

    2.Offer robust BI on BI capabilities capabilities for enterprise IT can monitor how/who/when is using your application and take corrective action. For example

    ◾ If there are multiple end user generated redundant overlapping apps, consolidate them

    ◾If there are end user generated apps that are using non enterprise standard data sources, offer to point these apps to the enterprise standard data sources

    ◾If similar apps already exist in other enterprise BI platforms, offer user a choice to switch

    3.Integrate (via partnerships and certified integration) with enterprise grade ETL, Data Quality and MDM platforms

    4.Open up your semantic/metadata layer for bidirectional updates (import/export at the very minimum)

    5.Open up APIs for application integration and customization

    6.Open your application generated data model (metrics, KPIs, attributes, etc) so that other enterprise BI platforms can access it

    7.Address enterprise data security concerns by offering a hybrid cloud/on premise (BI platform in the cloud, some data in the cloud, but also some data on premise) architecture

     

    Author: Boris Evelson & Martha Bennett

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