Summer means something different to each of us – for me it’s scorching temperatures, sprinklers, icy poles, and of course, the excitement of the Australian Open. It’s our first big sporting event of the year, and one that brings an influx of the world’s best as they battle it out in sweltering heat over long, drawn-out sets.
There’s only one thing better than being a Melbournian during the Australian Open, and that’s being a Melbourne-based IBMer. With a 20-year partnership between Tennis Australia and IBM, I have every excuse to drop tools and hit the courts, all in the name of research
Pop quiz: You have an important decision to make – whether to increase the price of one of your best selling products on the market. You can ask your Executive team just ONE question:
A. Finance: What impact will this price change have on our revenues for the year?
B. HR: Is our sales team experienced enough to sell the value of the product at a higher price?
C. Operations: Do we have excess stock that is causing us significant holding costs?
D. Sales: Are there current contracts on the table that would be adversely impacted by the increase?
E. Marketing: What sentiment do our customers have about current prices?
F. Customer: Will a price increase cause some of our highly profitable customers to churn?
G. Product Management: How will the price change position us against our competitors?
Naturally, the answer is H. All of the Above! And yet, many organizations today continue to base their analytical strategy around a single business application and a biased view of overall performance.
There is one question I get asked more than any other: Should I invest in best-of-breed products or an integrated portfolio?
Technology essentially provides the building blocks on which we can build solutions to deliver value to the business. Each of the individual building blocks needs to meet the design brief. However, key to project success is the ability for those building blocks to work together. So how do you choose?
Watching the finale of MasterChef last night I was amazed at how in the space of 12 weeks Andy had completely changed the course of his career. From sparky to chef he’s done what many are too afraid to attempt – throwing out years of training and experience and starting from scratch. Of course, he’s had the good fortune of MasterChef to help him get a kick start on his new career.
For others wanting to change careers, it’s not that simple. Gaining qualifications in another area of expertise takes time – and with bills to pay and families to feed, leaving your job to return to University is simply not an option. Fortunately, providers such as Open Universities Australia (OUA) are helping students achieve their education and career goals through online programs where they can study anytime, anywhere, and at a pace that suits them.
In order to deliver flexible, quality courses, OUA needs a comprehensive understanding of its students – what they’re interested in learning and identifying students who require additional academic support or services to complete their education. Enter the role of Business Analytics.
The ability to analyse data and derive insight within the confines of your own desktop is one thing. It’s an entirely different experience when you include the ability to manage budgets, forecasts and planning models within the same interactive workspace.
Married to a Chartered Accountant, I’m all too familiar with the intricate copying, pasting, calculations and hidden functions required to create an interactive forecast using Microsoft Excel. Which begs the question: should I tell him how much easier his life could be using software for which interactivity is an inherent part of its DNA?
If IBM Cognos BI is the Queen, and IBM Cognos TM1 is the King, then IBM Cognos Insight is the Prince of Performance Management. Which is why, this week’s Cognos Insight challenge was to analyse the past three years worth of income and expenses for the Prince of Wales, and create a forward-looking forecast to help him manage his Jubilee year budget.
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?
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.
EOI. RFP. RFQ. RFI. NIT. ITT. PQQ.
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?