Category Archives: Culture

Preview of our Twitter Analytics Solution (via @Scobleizer)

I had the honor of being interviewed by Robert Scoble on the work our team has done to let anyone get access to great analytics from twitter. Check it out below and let us know what you think!




What Does MC Hammer Have To Do With Analytics?

In this special episode of BITV, I share thoughts on the upcoming trends in information management and their adoption into mainstream thinking.

I talk about Cloud, Social Media and Data Mashups….and of course M.C. Hammer!

Gary Wolf from the Quantified Self…on Personal Analytics

You probably did not notice if your right eye twitched this morning. And you might not have attached any meaning to it, if you did notice. However, Gary Wolf, a contributing editor for Wired Magazine, sees such subtle observations as a pathway to self-illumination.

“It turns out involuntary movement of the muscles in your face is associated with moods and emotions,” he says. “Awareness of your facial muscles gives you an access point to your moods and emotions you wouldn’t otherwise have.”


Your #1 Resource is your Time -> Manage it through better Analytics!

Your Time is YOUR #1 Resource! So, manage it better….and use Analytics and Data to do so. In this relaxed, and *I hope* funny video, we talk about a great software product we just released and that you can take advantage of to manage your time better!

Finding Love & Losing Weight….with Analytics!

How could you predict the taste of a bottle of wine that’s never been opened? Or know how much money a Hollywood film will make before it’s even been shot? Or choose a perfect stranger to be your soulmate?

In this 3 part-series, Dr. Ian Ayres, author of Supercrunchers, shares amazing examples of predictive analytics being implemented in a wide variety of industries, as well as who is embracing these probabilities and who is resisting them.

Wine, Movies and Love:  Data Can Predict Winners

Using Incentives to Achieve Goals

Goals And Contracts:  Best Practices for Weight Loss

This series was also featured on the Freakonomics blog

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“Big Data”…the changing face of Business Intelligence

“Big Data” is changing the face of business intelligence, for both CIOs and IT professionals. Alistair Croll, Founder of BitCurrent and Program Co-Chair of the Strata Conference, emphasizes that thinking like Sir Isaac Newton could bring a huge competitive advantage to you and your business. He warns that tech professionals that don’t evolve their thinking may be out of a job.

Tim O’Reilly: “The Future of Business Intelligence is Now!”

Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc, predicted years ago that data collection would change the traditional model of business intelligence. Now, collective intelligence, automation and algorithms are the heart of competitive advantage. Mature data applications work in real time, from mobile devices telling you where to get good Chinese food to complicated retail buying applications making automated purchases for international chains. Also, considering a mashup of data to supplement your own might be a major benefit to your company…perhaps could even save you $30M!

CIOs lead the charge with Analytics and drive top-line growth.

George Colony, CEO at Forrester Research, a leading technology and business analysis firm, also advocates CIOs rethinking their role to focus on business technology. Thinking in terms of BT rather than IT allows CIOs to demonstrate that they no longer “spoke a different language or saw the world through a different lens” than CEOs, Colony noted in a blog on the Businessweek Web site in 2009.

“It’s a not-too-subtle way for the CIO to say, ‘Hey, I’m no longer the insular geek you’ve come to know and love through the years-my team and I are about making money, not just tech,'” Colony wrote.

This shift in attitude also will focus CIOs on the same issues that are uppermost in the minds of CEOs. As Colony put it, “CEOs think incessantly about only two things: 1) higher revenue, and 2) increasing profits. That’s it. All of the rhetoric about productivity or efficiency or corporate responsibility can be directly linked to these two goals. So the next time you have to present to the CEO, remember to connect your tech project or your new product idea or your reorganization plan to revenue and profit increases. That’s when the CEO’s brain will light up and you’ll be speaking his or her simple language.”

To accomplish this goal, Microsoft’s Turner says that CIOs need to lead the charge in implementing business intelligence (BI) projects that promote top-line growth.

Currently, most companies remain mired in too much data that is used for too limited purposes. In a 2009 survey by Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services, two in five C-level executives indicated that their organizations were not deriving enough value from the information they collect. The survey showed that 30 percent of organizations used dedicated data analysis only within business units, 27 percent applied analytics to only specific functions and initiatives, 9 percent used analytics to isolate specific issues, and 10 percent did not conduct data analysis at all.

90% of employees don’t understand their company’s strategy

“You have to communicate the plans to employees seven times in seven ways” for them to understand those plans, he says. “At the end, they need to understand the organization’s strategy and understand what they can do to contribute to the success of the strategy.”

Dr. Kaplan points to Volkswagen Brazil, a half-century-old subsidiary of the carmaker, as a successful example of effective employee engagement, motivation, and communication when implementing a turnaround strategy. Volkswagen Brazil had suffered eight straight years of losses, falling from number one to number three in market share in the country.

“Their only strategy was cutting and downsizing,” Dr. Kaplan says. “The unionized employees were alienated.” To turn that around, “they needed to capture the hearts and minds of the people. They wanted a strategy of growth and innovation, and that starts with culture.”

Most companies are paying more attention to identifying and managing risks, according to a November 2010 survey by Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services. Better tools to monitor and assess risks ranked as the second highest operational priority for the 300+ companies that responded to the survey. Note that the percentage citing these types of tools as a top priority increased by four percentage points in one year.

Although most companies develop key performance indicators (KPIs), Dr. Kaplan says they should be linked with an emerging metric called key risk indicators (KRIs). British Petroleum (BP), for example, “followed a risky strategy, drilling in deep water more than a mile below the surface. That’s OK,” he says, “because-as they say-no risk, no reward. Where I second-guess them is if you are going to take a risky strategy, you need to beef up the risk [management] function.”

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Winning Customer Loyalty via Personalization

The Mandarin Hotel Group, which operates 42 luxury hotels with more than 10,000 rooms in 27 countries, does not believe in customer loyalty programs, though. Instead, the Group has achieved success with a culture of personalized customer service built atop a mountain of clean, actionable data.

“Clean data is the core of what we do,” says Nick Price, the Group’s Chief Information Officer. “It lets us know who our guests are and know their likes and dislikes, which we use with effect to deliver personalized customer service.”

The Group has a long list of awards for outstanding service and quality management in its deluxe hotels around the world, from London and New York to San Francisco and Singapore.

Every time a guest interacts with any of the Group’s hotels-whether through a room reservation, the beverage service, the spa, or a retail experience-that information is “captured, cleaned, merged, and matched” in real time in the Group’s information system, dubbed Global Guests.  

Global Guests leverages a well-known marketing technique called RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) analysis, which determines how recently a customer has purchased, how often they purchase, and how much the customer spends. The system has collected information on 4.5 million unique guests.

This personalized attention can only be achieved with precise, current information that is applied across the organization. “If we don’t have clean and accurate data, nothing else works,” Price says.

In a 2009 Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services study, only one in five C-level executives reported that the use of business analytics is integrated across their entire organization. And more than three-quarters of the responding executives cited “variable data quality, integrity, and consistency” as a stumbling block to organization-wide implementation of business analytics.