Big data but little insight!

It is hard to find an article about technology trends that  does not contain the new buzzword, ‘big data’. If you delve further you will discover there are 3Vs of big data, – volume (gigabytes, petabytes, zetabytes etc.), variety (numbers, audio, video, text, streams , weblogs, social media etc.), and velocity (the speed with which it is collected). The overarching trend is that data is growing, growing, growing. We are drowning in data but starving for information!

According to Deloitte, in 2012 organisations will find ways to turn the explosion in size, volume and complexity of data into insight and value. We believe that the emphasis on ‘big data’ tends to exaggerate the importance of systems, and speak only to those for whom data warehouses and business intelligence suites are an option. In reality, the ability to access insight and value has more to do with analysis skills than it does access to technology. There are solutions for all scales of business looking to get more valuable information from data in 2012. You just need to talk to the right people!

Contact Delphi Analytics for more information on how to access insight through your data.

Self-reliance is the new self-service

According to Tableau software, self-reliance is one of the key BI trends of 2012. “The idea of self-service BI where IT opens up a small menu of capabilities for employees is over. Giving employees an environment where they can get the data to answer questions on their schedules will become the norm.”

Most employees have access to more advanced information technology outside of work. They have better equipment, better Internet access and use more advanced applications at home than at work. This is changing their information behaviour and driving the consumerisation of entreprise software. Business users expect to access the data they want, when they want it. They are beginning to expect that they can modify and create reports as needed, without the intervention of IT. In the new order, it is the empowered end user who will decide what applications and systems they use, demanding self-reliance as the norm.

Contact Delphi Analytics for more information on self-reliance with data.

Analytics – skill shortage predicted

The amount of data in our world has been exploding, and analysing large data sets will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus, according to research by MGI and McKinsey’s Business Technology Office. “Leaders in every sector will have to face the challenge of data, not just a few data-oriented managers. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet will fuel exponential growth in data for the foreseeable future.

Most jobs will require analytical skills but there will be a talent shortage. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that the US alone will face “a shortage of up to 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions“. At some point in the future ‘Analytics’ will probably not be considered a separate discipline, but simply integrated into other roles. Until the employee talent pool reaches this level, it is likely that companies will rely on outsourced skills to bridge the gap.

Contact Delphi Analytics to discuss how the skills of good analysts can help your business.

Co-create to produce more value in information

In his book, ‘The New Normal’, Peter Hinssen identifies sharing/collaboration as one of the ‘offensive drivers’ of information strategy. “The company wants to allow an environment where it is not only easy to share, but also easy to work together. It wants people to be able to co-create to produce more value in information. It wants to break down the silos of information and enable more transparency of information.

Intelligence is about being able to re-use information. Companies will need to foster environments where information can be ‘built’ upon.”

This dynamic will drive new demands from the data support community. Solution providers will facilitate the user to bookmark and share analysis as it progresses. Customised software specific to individual data sets will be replaced by flexible multi–source solutions. Users will demand environments that allow them get the data they want, when they want it. Agencies that do not engage in a collaborative approach will simply become irrelevant.

Contact Delphi Analytics to understand how collaboration on data can drive your information strategy.

Now You See It! – How Data Visualisation Works

The human brain can process a picture much faster than a table of numbers. To understand why, we must recognise the close relationship between vision and cognition. Seeing and thinking work closely to allow us make sense of our world. It is no coincidence that many words we use to describe understanding are metaphors for sight e.g. ‘insight’, ‘illumination’ and of course, ‘I see’.

Vision is by far our most powerful and cognitively efficient sense. When we represent information in visual form, our ability to think about it is dramatically enhanced. Visualisation makes available in front of our eyes more information than we could possibly hold at once in our mind. In simple terms, information visualisation makes us think.

Read more about analysis and reporting through Data Visualisation.

Contact Delphi Analytics to discuss your analysis and reporting needs.

Read More: Stephen Few, Now You See It – Simple Visualisation Techniques for Quantitative Analysis (Oakland, 2009)


Creating the Information Advantage

Data is power. The quantity and rapid growth of business data represents a real opportunity. More information about your customers, your market, and your suppliers is one of the few proprietary assets available to you.

From Wikileaks to Facebook, the new influencers are those who understand the power of data in all its forms. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the web. It is difficult to think of a successful web company whose asset is anything other than data; YouTube, Facebook or Google. However, creating business value from data is not just the realm of the web media giants. All businesses generate increasing quantities of data on a daily basis. The quantity and rapid growth of our business data represents a real opportunity.

Think of it this way. Many of the previous bases for competition are no longer available. Unique geographical advantage doesn’t matter in global competition, and protective regulation is largely gone. Proprietary technologies are rapidly copied, and break-through innovation in products or services seems increasingly difficult to achieve. What’s left as a basis for competition is to execute your business with maximum efficiency and effectiveness, and to make the smartest business decisions possible. Creating an Information Advantage is one of the few defensible advantages over time.

If you are concerned that you could be getting more value from your business data, contact Delphi Analytics. We will help you develop your Information Advantage.

Read More: Thomas H. Davenport, Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning (Boston, 2007)

Marketing – Part Art, Part Science

All marketers know that their jobs are part art, part science. If you are a marketer today you are probably being asked to do more with less, justify all investments, show results and better your competition. The secret to this balancing act is having – and correctly using – the numbers. Balancing a passion for the creative aspects of brand management and the precise analytics associated with fact-based marketing is truly the challenge for today’s marketers.

As a marketer you will know that the fragmentation of markets and the increasing ability of consumers to avoid advertisements means that you are more challenged than at any other time in the history of marketing. To add to the complexity of changing market dynamics, there is a bewildering number of metrics available to tell you how you are doing: market share, brand penetration, brand equity, consumer loyalty, impressions, share of voice, etc.

Measurement is critical to the health of any business but are the metrics slowing you down? If you are unsure of which metrics are most important for you, are keen to understand more about how they relate to one other or are simply swamped by the sheer volume of numbers and need one good summary – contact Delphi Analytics.

Turning Data Lead To Knowledge Gold!

Analytics is not new but it is changing. In the old days, data sets were designed. Companies had a preconceived notion of how they were going to analyse the data. They knew what results they were seeking to gain and the emphasis was on the systems to manage the data. To many the phrase ‘business analytics’ came to mean big software, little analysis!

At Delphi Analytics we take a different approach. Today’s data sets are not so neatly structured. Everything a business does generates data in continuous and massive quantities. Whether you want to analyse it or not, it generates data. At Delphi we focus on helping you to get the Information Advantage from tools and data that already exist in your business. Our approach is to use spreadsheet, database, statistical and data visualisation tools to generate insight from the information that you already have at your fingertips.

Contact Delphi Analytics to see how you can get more from your data.

Good Analysts – How Can They Help Me?

Progress in technologies that allow us to collect, store and access data have largely ignored the primary tool that makes information meaningful and useful: the human brain.  Computers can’t make sense of data; only people can.  More precisely, only people who have developed the necessary data analysis skills can. Analysts take something apart to understand it better. We do this to solve problems or generate insight . Our goal is to help businesses make better decisions and improve their sales and profit performance.

A common misconception about ‘Analysts’ is that all we do is ‘crunch numbers’. In truth, analytics is the ability to look at the data and then turn that into a story. Good Analysts are good storytellers. This is one of the reasons we like to work through problems visually. Because seeking and thinking work closely together, visualisation helps us understand the data better and allows the story unfold naturally.

Analysts are often not the subject specialist in the room. In fact their independence and their ability to take a holistic approach to a business challenge is the essence of what they bring to the team.

If you have a story to tell and you need the expertise of good Analysts to help tell it, contact Delphi Analytics.