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Blueprint for Success

Architects build with a Blueprint. So should you.

If you’ve even gone through the painful process of building a house, you would know that most architects don’t start a floorplan from scratch.  More often than not, they’ll show you a series of blueprints similar to what you have in mind and make modifications in line with your vision.

They do this to save time and money, but also because it gives a good starting point and gets the conversation flowing.  How often have you been asked “What do you want?” when you simply don’t know.  But, given an example of what you could have, find it easily to pick out the flaws and suggest modifications.

Why should the design process for Business Analytics applications be any different?

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Congnos 10 minute challenge

Instant Insight: My 10 minute Cognos challenge

Today I set myself a challenge: How much insight could I get from a data set that is foreign to me in under 10 minutes?

Would it be enough time to evaluate the physical data file, understand structures, formats, columns, names etc? Would it be enough time to rank, sort, group, slice?  But most importantly, would I be able to not only understand the data, but draw conclusions about what it represents?

Armed with a phantom data set and IBM Cognos Insight, I started the clock!

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Social Network Analytics

The Anti-Social of Social Network Analytics

Today I am sitting at home having a little pity-party as my entire family has succumbed to this season’s cold.

It reminded me of a TED presentation I watched a few years ago – ironically while in a taxi returning from a Cognos forum in the sunny Gold Coast.  Nicholas Christakis was discussing how social networks can be used to predict epidemics.

Essentially he proposed that with the vast amount of information available to us about the friends, families and other members of society they we interact with – through Facebook, Twitter, community groups, schools, doctors etc. – we are able to apply analytics to identify individuals with high social influence and use that information to predict the likely spread of disease.

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Medway Youth Trust

That’s NEET! How Medway Youth Trust & SPSS are changing lives

Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future
~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy ~

Business Analytics is not just about increasing revenue and decreasing profit, it’s also about making the world a better place.  Today, I’m writing about the “business” of giving our most valuable resources a better start to life.

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IBM Vehicle for Success

IBM’s Vehicle for Success

Imagine sitting behind the wheel of a car, blind-folded, and being asked to “just drive“.  Which way do you turn?  Do you drive forwards or put the vehicle in reverse?  Whether you’re driving a racing car or tractor, the risk of driving straight into the path of oncoming traffic or down a ditch is equally daunting.

And yet that is how many companies still expect their decision makers to operate. Whether steering a vehicle or an organisation, the importance of having clear insight into everything around you is imperative to making the right decision.

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Tackling the Tender

Tackling the Tender: The 5 questions you need to ask


A tender known by any other name would sound just as painful.  Hours, days, weeks, months are invested into the tender process by both customers and vendors alike, but do they ever achieve what they are designed for?

Tenders range from short and sweet capability statements, to a comprehensive list of detailed technical requirements – all of which often fail to ask the questions that really need to be asked.  A tender will most often ask the right questions, but do they ever ask the real questions that will determine success?

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Puzzling Context: The importance of seeing the whole picture

The skies are blue, the sun is shining, and if that isn’t enough to make your smile, it also happens to be a public holiday today.  In celebration of The Queen’s birthday, I am….cleaning the house?!

In a flurry of washing, tidying, organising, cleaning, wiping, toilet training (my two year old, not me), I stumbled across something which filled me with fear – the dreaded lone jigsaw puzzle piece!  This is not just a single piece of a jigsaw puzzle, it’s the determining factor as to whether a quiet rainy afternoon spent indoors will end in giggles or tears, and therefore it must find a way back to its rightful location.

Herein lies the problem, what jigsaw puzzle does it belong to?

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Predicting Tall Poppies

Predicting Tall Poppies

A company is only as good as the employees it keeps.

For a long time, the world of analytics has focused on understanding the lifetime value of a customer to help organisations understand which ones are worth fighting for, and of those, which are at high risk of taking their money elsewhere.

Which begs the question, why aren’t we using the same techniques to understand the value an employee will bring to the organisation over the course of their career, and which of those tall poppies are at highest risk of leaving the organisation?

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