Is Excel the Next Killer BI App?

Love it or hate it, export to Excel is still the most specified requirement in contemporary analytic tool selections, despite all the advances in business intelligence (BI) technologies. Excel is comfortable, flexible and with the new Microsoft Office 365 Excel Power BI add-ins (Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power Map), it’s growing to become exponentially more powerful—pun intended. With the latest Microsoft strategy shift of embedding self-service BI applications right within Excel, could Microsoft’s Excel Power BI release become a BI “killer app?”

[ Full Story – sqlmag.com: Jen Underwood – June 17, 2014 ]

Scientists Question the Big Price Tags of Big Data

Big data is big business in the life sciences, attracting lots of money and prestige. It’s also relatively young; the move toward big data can be traced back to 1990, when researchers joined together to sequence all three billion letters in the human genome. That project was completed in 2003 and since then, the life sciences have become a data juggernaut, propelled forward by sequencing and imaging technologies that accumulate data at astonishing speeds.

The National Ecological Observatory Network, funded by Congress with $434m, will equip 106 sites in the United States with sensors to gather ecological data all day, every day, for 30 years when it starts operating in three years. The Human Brain Project, supported by $1.6 billion from the European Union, intends to create a supercomputer simulation of a working human brain, including all 86 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses. The International Cancer Genome Consortium, 74 research teams across 17 countries spending an estimated $1 billion, is compiling 25,000 tumour genome sequences from 50 types of cancers.

But not all scientists think bigger is better. More than 450 researchers have already signed a public letter criticising the Human Brain Project, citing a “significant risk” that the project will fail to meet its goal. One neuroscientist called the project “a waste of money”, while another bluntly said the idea of simulating the human brain is downright “crazy”. Other big data ­projects have also been criticised, especially for cost and lack of results.

[ Full Story – Newsweek – July 24, 2014 ]

You may not need Big Data after all | #MITIQ

The business buzzword over the past two years has been “Big Data”. Companies are trying to figure our how they can leverage their collected data and translate it into a competitive advantage. However, according to the Director of MIT’s Sloan School Center for Information Systems Research, Jeanne Ross, this approach is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all for today’s organizations.

Ross, co-author of the article ‘You May Not Need Big Data After All’, cautions businesses against buying into the hype around Big Data.

“I think you grow into Big Data,” Ross notes. She explains that there are companies who find the competitive advantage works within their specific industries. As an example, she notes that the oil and gas industry has long employed Big Data for helping them to decide when and where they should place a billion dollar well. The success in one industry, however, doesn’t necessarily translate into success in others. “Many times we know great things about our customers. We just haven’t figured out a way to address them.”

When asked if the fear is misplaced that some companies feel in that they can’t address the Big Data they have, Ross states, “No, not misplaced at all. If you don’t think you can do it, you probably can’t.” For organizations recognizing the potential value of Big Data for the first time, this news could be disheartening.

[ Full Story – siliconAngle – July 23, 2014 ]

Big Data May Not Be All It’s Cut Out to Be

The National Ecological Observatory Network, funded by Congress for $434 million, will equip 106 U.S. sites with sensors to gather ecological data all day, every day, for 30 years after it goes operational in 2017. The Human Brain Project, supported by $1.6 billion from the European Union, intends to create a supercomputer simulation of a working human brain, including all 86 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses. The International Cancer Genome Consortium, 74 research teams across 17 countries spending an estimated $1 billion, is compiling 25,000 tumor genome sequences from 50 types of cancers.

Big data is big business in the life sciences, attracting lots of money and prestige. It’s relatively young; the move toward big data can be traced back to 1990, when researchers joined together to sequence all 3 billion letters in the human genome. That project concluded in 2003, and since then, the life sciences have become a data juggernaut, propelled forward by new sequencing and imaging technologies that accumulate data at astonishing speeds.

But not all scientists think bigger is better. As of July 9, 2014, for example, more than 450 researchers had signed a public letter criticizing the Human Brain Project, citing a “significant risk” that the project will fail to meet its goal. One neuroscientist called the project “a waste of money,” while another bluntly said the idea of simulating the human brain is downright “crazy.” Other big data projects have also been criticized, especially for cost and lack of results.

[ Full Story – Newsweek – July 24, 2014 ]

Forget Big Data, Business Leaders Still Go With Their Gut, Study Says

Do you ever worry that robots will one day run our major corporations, making dispassionate decisions based strictly on big data and cold statistical analyses? Or maybe some of us think that time has already come?

Fear not, says a new study that looks at the roles of gut reaction, respect, trust and other emotions in high-level business decisions. They’re way more important, and perhaps underestimated, than previously believed.

The research, dubbed “Only Human: The Emotional Logic of Business Decisions,” comes from Time Inc.’s Fortune Knowledge Group and global advertising agency gyro. It found that there are human faces and sensitivities behind those c-suite mandates. Business is, in fact, personal.

[ Full Story – Mashable – July 16, 2014 ]

Beyond Big Data: IoE, Analytics Will Drive New Business Models

You’ve probably known for a while that your car has a “Black Box” that can track and record data about how you drive. It’s part of the car’s safety system.  Already installed in 90 percent of new cars in the United States, as of September 2014 they’ll be mandatory.

That black box is also part of the Internet of Everything. Think about it. That data — how you drive, your speed, your braking — will soon be combined with data from “wearables” that monitor your heart rate, breathing, your position to enable things like accident reconstruction, auto insurance rates and data for automotive engineers working on the next generation of safety features.

And if that sounds like Big Data – well, it is! Put that data together with the Internet of Everything and robust analytics and you’ve got yourself game-changing potential.

[ Full Story – cio.com – July 9, 2014 ]

Business Intelligence in the Mid-market

Why do the top companies invest so heavily in business intelligence? Profits.

They understand that by transforming the data they have into information, it will provide them with a competitive advantage and improved profits.

The mid-market is no different from the Fortune 500 in that respect. The businesses are no less complex. The need to improve profits is just as prevalent. Every company has data; few have information. It is the transformation of data into meaningful information that makes business intelligence so valuable. An informed decision as opposed to a bad decision will justify the cost of a robust BI solution.

What is business intelligence? In laymen’s terms we take one fact, associate multi attributes, create a string of data, shove it into a cube and “poof,” you have BI!

[ Full Story – Accounting Today – July 7, 2014 ]