The IBM Information on Demand event kicked off this morning with inspiring stories in to what customers are achieving today and a taste of the technological innovations of tomorrow. We were encouraged to “Think BIG”, inspired by Conoco Philips’ use of satellite analytics to track and predict movement of icebergs, to Premier Inc. using healthcare analytics to better understand the cause of infections contracted in hospital in order to predict, prevent and save lives.
But there were three key notes that stood out from the keynote that I just had to share.
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.
The title “Solution Architect” is one I’ve carried proudly for some time. After listening to a TED presentation on the way to work this morning, I’m thinking of changing it to “Outcome Architect”. I don’t design solutions, I design outcomes. And here’s why.
Energy companies and governments around the world are investing in technologies to enable smarter use of electrical grids. Monitoring devices are being introduced in all stages of the energy life cycle—from turbines in the plants, throughout network infrastructure and to individual households and appliances.
While significant investment is required to build an intelligent grid, the capturing of information in itself will not deliver value — it’s how we use this new information to generate efficiencies and identify areas for innovation that will determine the success of the smart grid.
I was reading my daughters’ favourite book last night when I suddenly burst out laughing – much to their amusement. It dawned on me that the Very Cranky Bear was teaching them an invaluable lesson that many in the technology industry have failed to learn – that is, the importance of listening to what someone really needs and not jumping to conclusions based on your own experience.
Considered an “expert” in the realm of Business Analytics, I like to think my customers learn a thing or two from me. Equally so, I learn a lot from them.
“When I sit down with the business I don’t ask them what report they want me to write. I ask them what decision they want to make.”
Honest words spoken by an IT manager across the other side of the world – so profound the ripple effect has travelled across the Pacific Ocean to the land of Oz. Words that entirely make sense, and yet it got me thinking – how many of us are asking the right questions when it comes to analysing data?
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?