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 – – 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 ]


More on the benefits of business databases

In last week’s column, Heather Godfrey of CM Databases told me why all business owners should have a database. After her convincing response, I dug a little further.

 I asked her the following:

What’s the benefit of having a database over having a spreadsheet?

“Any means of recording your data in an ordered way is having a database, and spreadsheets can be used in a database kind of way.

“But a spreadsheet is not the right tool for the job of contact-management. It’s like using a wheelbarrow to do the shopping; it does the job eventually, but requires far greater effort, and creates havoc on the way.

“Spreadsheets often feature a list of ‘names’ consisting of a mix of individuals, organisations, or couples, so that anything done with that list omits to record who you are dealing with.

“Moreover, the temptation to copy/paste a list of names is too great! As soon as you have a name listed twice, the trouble begins: someone moves home or changes job, you change one instance and forget the others, then eventually you won’t remember which is correct.

“Spreadsheets are bad news for business management, because inconsistency equals mess, and mess equals inefficiency.

 [ Full Story – Worthing Herald – June 12, 2014 ]

Is Big Data Today’s Sock Puppet?

Recently I overheard someone say, “If I get one more email or see another self-serving article or conference extolling all the unbelievable ways digital surveillance (AKA big data) can be used to solve just about every problem known to modern man, I think I’ll lose my mind.” Count me in on this feeling.


The Sock Puppet

Coincidentally, many of the articles and webinars are either supported or funded by the large digital consultancies, venture-backed big data firms that want to go public or software or hardware firms looking to sell you their services and training. This reminds me of the Internet frenzy of the late 1990’s, where everything Internet was gold and companies were elbowing each other out of the way to own the next ‘sock puppet’ that walked into their office. The mad dash to invest big dollars in everything big data is the reason cheerleaders point to as why it is a can’t-miss. Isn’t that the same thing they said about the sock puppet? It’s time to take a deep breath. That’s it…inhale slowly—now exhale. Slow down and let’s think a minute about what is happening here.

Most of what is being put out about big data is hype, just like sock puppets were. Gartner calls it the hype cycle, and big data is at the top of the cycle, where the peak of inflated expectations live. Next up is the disillusionment phase, hitting many companies hard because it will coincide with the sluggish economy and unfulfilled big data dreams. Indeed through 2015, 85% of Fortune 500’s will be unable to exploit big data for competitive advantage, according to Gartner. Other issues include data scientist shortages, lack of analytical skills among staff, hard to use software, digital click fraud running rampant, difficulties in sourcing data, difficulties in determining useful data, and valuing data clicks such as likes. (Talk may be cheap, likes and tweets are cheaper.) Not to mention the looming uber issue of privacy and ethics of surveilling people without their knowledge or the internal turf battles within organizations or language barriers between the owners of information vs. potential users. [ Full Story – Forbes by Gary Drenik – March 26, 2014 ]

Microsoft Excel is the World’s Most Popular Database

ms-excelMicrosoft Excel® is probably the world’s most popular and versatile  database.  Even though companies can spend upwards of a few million dollars to implement the latest Business Intelligence, OLAP, or Enterprise Reporting solutions, data always seems to make it’s way into an Excel spreadsheet for final processing.  Why?  It’s simple. It works, it’s familiar, ubiquitous, and flexible enough for the end-user to create a reporting solution that works for them.

The expensive data solutions seem to cover around 80 to 90% of the requirements of an organization, but will almost never satisfy the requirement 100% unless the solutions is customized or complimented with additional software.

C*Nect is system that delivers the performance and capabilities of enterprise data systems while remaining flexible enough to give end-users the ability to be creative in creating solutions they would normally use Microsoft Excel® for.

Big data must become ‘people data’

Search the big data hashtag (#bigdata) on Twitter and you’ll find, on average, around 30 to 50 posts per minute. There are also organisations such as Big Data Week and BigData Blogs, both dedicated to the wider big data debate. The new millennial consumer is already in charge and there is no doubt that making use of an explosion in the volume, velocity and variety of data is critical in this new world.

However, there’s simply not enough sense being made of all that data. Sometimes the complexity is so confusing I worry that it’s taking us away from the real issues. Being pragmatic about data and going back to basics is what we need to help us move forward. Using data to help us ask and answer the simple, but larger strategic questions: what do we need, why do we need it and how do we get it? This requires organisational change, a change in mentality and approach, not just a change of skills and tools.  [ Full Story – the Guardian – March 19, 2014 ]

How to Get Over Your Inaction on Big Data – Harvard Business Review

It’s common to see surveys, polls, and reports showing that “most” organizations are embracing big data. For instance, a 2013 Gartner survey found that 64% of enterprises were deploying or planning big data projects, up from 58% the year before.

But I find these numbers hard to believe, for three reasons. First, they contradict what I’m seeing in the field. Second, they’re inconsistent with the history of technology.  Yes, we live in what Ray Kurzweil calls an era of accelerating technological change, but no transformative application or device has ever achieved critical mass within three years. Finally, as Bill Schmarzo of EMC points out, most organizations are still feeling their way into big data. They’re at the low end of what Schmarzo calls the big-data “maturity” spectrum.

[Full Story – Harvard Business Review – February 24, 2014]

Knocking Big Data Down to Size

Building loyalty and engagement with big data and gamification doesn’t mean you have to lasso the moon.

Strategic marketers like Coca-Cola‘s Taylor Miffleton talk a lot about brand love. After all, it’s the purest form of loyalty. Brand love emerges only after consumers make a primal connection with a product or service – a bond that’s stronger than the lure of lower prices or snazzy new features.

Not long ago, cultivating brand love required equal helpings of hard work, patience and luck. But few companies today, no matter how hard they work, can afford to patiently wait for consumers to come around, and counting on a surfeit of good luck isn’t much of a strategy.  [ Full Story – Huffing Post – February 7, 2014 ]