This is our blog about designing and implementing Intelligent organizations. Within this area of expertise we write often about the following subjects BI, analytics, the tools, decision management, data visualization, BI success, Business Intelligence concepts, data management, continuous improvement, and the organization of BI & Analytics.
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Software developers and analysts are experts at coming up with new acronyms and exotic-sounding names for their platforms, features, plug-ins, and add-ons. NLG, VBD, MOLAP, BIaaS, federated analytics, augmented intelligence, the Prep Conductor, Vizzes, smart analytics, the list goes on. End-users have the unenviable task of looking past the jargon and trying to judge all new announcements on their own merits. A critical attitude, focusing on the promised functionality, will get you far.
The world around you is changing. Your organization is changing. The demands the organization places on management information is also changing. There comes a point where you realize that your current tools are inadequate in this new moment. You need newer, modern Business Intelligence tools. But what should this tool be able to do? Polling the organization reveals a diverse set of needs and wants from the various employees, depending on their role in the organization. You may begin to wonder if there are any tools that meet all your needs.
Not everyone gets excited about the prospect of discussing information entropy, shadow IT, and technical debt. But for Martijn Evers, it’s all in a day’s work. We had an animated discussion about holistic data management and the art of taming bulls.
Together with Ronald Damhof, Martijn Evers, co-founder of i-Refact, started an online movement dedicated to perhaps the ultimate job of the future: full-scale data architect. It’s a job that has to suit you. “Usually, you’re born a data architect”, the self-appointed data missionary says. In other words: abstract thinking has to be in your genes. That’s why organizations usually call on people with real passion to fill this key role.
In practice, Martijn Evers, co-founder of i-Refact, believes there’s a desire for data architects with a holistic vision (read part 1 of our interview here). Architects that can effortlessly switch between various modes. He jokingly refers to the contrast between a gorilla architect, who is assertive and supported by the direction, and a guerrilla architect, who doesn’t have a wide base of support in the organization due to all kinds of politically sensitive matters, and thus is forced to operate under the radar.
If the challenges associated with Big Data are handled well by making things relevant, digestible, and specific, you can go from Big Data to Right Data and then make the Right Decisions. Then, you’ll be able to make the four Vs of Big Data work to your advantage: you’ll see more and see better as an organization!
Volume: see more.
Velocity: spot things faster.
Variety: see more detail and more nuance.
AI may be currently dominating the discourse, but BI (Business Intelligence) is proving to be a term with staying power through 2019, both for BI tool vendors and end-users. Nevertheless, BI vendors dating back to the early days of the field are having a hard time staying out of the danger zone. Microsoft, on the other hand, is rising above the pack with Microsoft Power BI. This product has the potential to become the de facto BI standard. These are the results of the updated Business Intelligence Tools Survey 2019, which Passionned Group has been publishing as the Passionned Parabola™ since its early beginnings.
In a recent poll on our website about Business Intelligence, we asked visitors to give us their opinion about the following statement: “A business intelligence track can’t succeed if…”. Below, you’ll find the results of this poll.
Respondents indicated that the chance of a BI track failing are the biggest when there are too many KPIs and the top management isn’t actively involved with BI. These two options were far ahead of the other three, which were: lack of a data warehouse, wrong tool choice, or the project is in the hands of the ICT department.
As we recently pointed out, data literacy is a hot-button issue. Only 24% of the decision-makers in international business spheres indicate that they have complete confidence in their own ability to read data, work with it, analyze it, and discuss it. This alarming conclusion was drawn by the worldwide Data Literacy Project. Spoiler alert: 2019 and beyond could be the year of data literacy.
The concept of literacy is a lot broader than most people think, according to Wikipedia. It’s the ability to work with information, understand it, and use it with purpose. In the Netherlands, Princess Laurentien has been working tirelessly to promote literacy since 2001. At her behest, the Foundation for Reading & Writing was founded in 2004. Although the foundation achieved successes in its fight against illiteracy, the war is far from won.
Data is becoming a bigger presence in our lives every day, whether we know it (or like it) or not. Naturally, this doesn’t just affect individuals, but businesses too. Smart use of data separates the winners from the losers. The most prominent Business Intelligence trends for 2019 are all about (use of) data, and above all: using data responsibly.
Datacratic working brings passion and joy back to the workplace. Connect data with continuous improvement and PDCA, and your organization will flourish. Becoming a true datacracy is the end goal that every organization should strive for. In this scenario, every decision will be supported by relevant data which is collected, stored, and then analyzed. This frees people from the drudgery of indecision and tyrannical managers who loudly proclaim their opinions while managing on gut feelings.
Change is a fact of life. New software, processes, and system updates cause minor upheavals on a daily basis. And that’s to say nothing of the digital transformation. Without learning about the psychology behind change processes, without clear communication, and without investing in human, “warm”, contacts, such projects are doomed to fail. Those are the steadfast beliefs of Ericka Petrignani, associate partner with Passionned Group. With her refined stakeholder approach, she’s helped many organizations out of a tight spot. What’s the “secret sauce” she uses in change projects?
Do you want to stay ahead of the competition and give your customers the best possible experience? Become a data-driven organization. Instead of making decisions based on opinions, gut feeling, who yells the loudest, or because “that’s just the way we’ve always done it,” your organization will take action based on data and facts.
A study by the MIT Center for Digital Business shows that organizations that make data-driven decisions have 4% higher productivity while earning 6% more profit. That may not seem like a lot to some, but over $1 million in profits, we’re already talking about $60,000. That amount of money can get you a pretty decent BI system. Other studies have shown that successfully using BI can lead to 33% more satisfied customers. And with IoT applications, we can save $63 billion worldwide in healthcare. You can find many advantages of data-driven working in all kinds of areas. That’s why you should make data an integral part of your company’s DNA now, in just five steps.
Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic. Algorithms can determine the notes of a new perfume. The high-art world has been scooped by a portrait painted by an algorithm and signed with the code: minG maxD Ex[log(D(x))]+Ez[log(1-D(G(z)))]. These are two random examples of relatively innocent, yet surprising, applications of AI. However, algorithms can also inspire fear. Crashing self-driving cars, smart speakers that take over the entire house, algorithms that thoughtlessly dismiss job applicants based on gender or sentence suspects without mercy. Can algorithms be used for the good of mankind?
Algorithms are essentially no more than a recipe, a simple set of instructions. Computers are algorithm machines, modeled to save data, apply mathematical formulas to it, and deliver new information as output. A simple example of a so-called If This, Then That algorithm is: “If the temperature in a house falls below a certain threshold, then the heating will turn on.” But what about more advanced forms of AI? Because there’s a general lack of understanding surrounding algorithms, we’re debunking six common misconceptions.
As project leader, you’re cradling an ambitious BI project, and you’re looking for theoretical and (especially) practical frameworks. You know that you can achieve better results using the right management information. Googling “Business Intelligence” returns 527 million results. “BI Tools” narrows it down a bit, but still returns 855,000 hits. Discussions are spreading out in all directions and it’s hard not to get dizzy. If you want to get serious about working with BI, it’s easy to end up in a roller coaster. You’ll want to get both feet on the ground again as soon as possible. But BI is dreaming, daring, and especially doing. But you don’t have to start from scratch; you can learn from the growing pains that others have already experienced. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. after all. Learn to recognize these symptoms and avoid them, or deal with them. This stories are based on the goals and ambitions of the hundreds who have taken our Business Intelligence training course.
Strategy maps are an excellent way to visualize and communicate the company strategy and its management. In the public sector we usually talk about policy instead of strategy. Passionned Group believes that a strategy map isn’t only useful in the context of performance management, but also as an instrument for scenario planning, organizational development, and making investment decisions.
A strategy map can consist of several different parts. Firstly there is the organization’s mission, which communicates (as concretely as possible) what the organization wants to be, where and for whom. It’s essentially a short text describing the essence of the organization. Secondly, there are the blocks, which display the most critical processes of the organization. Thirdly, there are the arrows. These arrows display the dependencies between the blocks. This is displayed in the image below.
Advice, research, and project management are serious matters that require a high degree of responsibility, involvement, and objectivity. These are our specialties. By working closely with you and your employees, and with crystal-clear communication, we deliver keen, executable advice. This is why dozens of clients have already used our services. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider contacting us.
The worldwide business intelligence and analytics software market revenue will reach 22.8 billion US Dollars by 2020, according to Statista. In 2008, the revenue for this market was only around 7 billion USD.
Organizations use Business Intelligence software to perform thorough analyses to steer the course of their business operations. The demand for this software hasn’t suffered from any economic crises, according to market research company Forrester. Organizations need the analyses provided by these programs, especially during economic downturns. Medium-to-small companies will purchase more BI Software. Currently, 30% of the revenue comes from these companies. Forrester expects that number to grow to 36% in the next five years.
The Gemiva-SVG Group aids people with a mental, physical, or multiple disability, and people with non-inborn brain damage.
Gemiva asked Passionned Group for advice on the architecture and organization of its data warehouse, plus advice on which ETL tool to use. The advice project was completed to great satisfaction, and was rated a 9 out of 10 by Gemiva.
There were four main questions plaguing Gemiva that they wanted Passionned Group to answer.
In this technology-driven world, we like to believe in progress. It can be easy to forget that “new” isn’t always better. A prime example of this is the “data lake” phenomenon: a figurative lake of data, which became a hype in Business Intelligence (BI) and Big Data circles. Many companies rushed to jump on the bandwagon and built their own data lake. But was this such a good idea, or would it have been better to think about what can be accomplished using a data lake first?
As a leading consultant in Business Intelligence, we offer a small but high-quality range of Business Intelligence services. Our Business Intelligence guide focuses on what you want to achieve in the near future, what the business benefits are, and how to get there, in 5 steps.
Where are you now?
The current Business Intelligence situation will be addressed, discussed, analyzed, and compared with the best practices and newest available technologies. We will help you to quickly find out where improvements can be made.
Big Data has many potential advantages. It can provide new insights into consumer behavior, show you in which areas the organization can work more efficiently, predict future changes, and much more. However, many companies forge ahead into Big Data without being adequately prepared, and charge straight into a pitfall. Research shows that about 60% of Big Data projects stumble out of the starting blocks. How can you make sure that your organization doesn’t become a statistic?
From time to time, the debate about the usefulness of KPIs rears its head. Recently, two Insead Professors, S. David Young and Kevin Kaiser, wrote that KPIs are not good barometers for value creation. Indeed, they say that KPIs often destroy value. KPIs send the wrong stimuli to employees, because they are rewarded based on hitting arbitrary targets.
It’s often said that KPIs are controllers, and that they slow down the pace of change and innovation. That would explain the interest in new organizing principles and behavioral influence. Does this kind of criticism of KPIs lead to the “classical” quantification of performance, including the search for KPIs, shifting to the background? I don’t think so.
The demand for data scientists is rapidly growing. This function is becoming increasingly important within organizations and its salary is growing to match its importance. Research by the McKinsey Global Institute shows that the lack of analytical and management talent in successfully implementing Big Data is one of the biggest challenges the USA is facing.
The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that there are four to five million openings for data scientists in 2018 alone. The hunt for data scientists has been opened. This jack of all trades in your organization should possess many talents in order to help shape and direct the explosive amount of new possibilities provided by big data. But is this realistic?
Over the past 20 years, responsibility for Business Analytics has shifted within organizations. First BI was placed with the IT manager, later it was given to a CIO or CFO. And sometimes it was given to the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). Now the idea is that BI & analytics will end up with the Chief Data Officer (CDO). One of the research agencies predicted two years ago that 90% of larger organizations will have a CDO in 2019. An enquiry amongst our larger customers makes it clear that this percentage is not even close to being reached.
Karl E. Weick, in 1969, already talked about “organizing” instead of “organization” in his revolutionary book The Social Psychology of Organizing. With that, he turned the earlier philosophy of organizations on its head. “To organize” is a verb, which is precisely the difference between it and the static noun “organization”. It implies action. It’s about what people agree to do, and what image is created by the process of interaction.
During our interviews with the different ETL vendors at the beginning of 2018 we have seen a number of general trends and topics emerge. Especially those vendors that operate on the cutting edge are very eloquent on where they see ETL and Data Integration going.
Apart from the “hard”, technical developments, we can see that a small number of vendors have a keen eye for the “soft” side of ETL and Data Integration, being data governance and the role of human intervention in maintaining data quality. This was perhaps the most surprising aspect of our survey. We believe that this is also where vendors can truly distinguish themselves.
Ethics is a discipline in philosophy primarily concerned with discerning what forms of human behaviour are acceptable and those that are not. More generally, ethics (or moral philosophy) is a sub-section of philosophy that deals with recording, defending and supporting the concept of good and bad conduct.
Generally speaking, this implies that ethics deal with questions such as:
How people can best live together in society?
It’s said that wisdom comes with age. Does this also apply to organizations? Do they become wiser and smarter as they get older? There are examples of old-fashioned companies. They constantly reinvent the wheel, such as IBM. But think of beverage producers like the Brand (since 1340), Bols and Grolsch. They have existed, and managed to survive, for a very long period of time. These types of organizations are an exception.
The return on investments in CRM, Business Intelligence, Analytics, performance management or data integration hinges on your data quality. How do you increase the data quality of regular data, but also that of Big Data, and what tools, methods and measures work?
It is a known fact: garbage in, garbage out. Despite the broad recognition of this idea, it is difficult for most organisations to continuously improve the quality of the data. This not only has to do with inadequate IT. The attitude and behavior of your employees and managers also play an important role in this. The specialists from Passionned Group would love to assist you with the improvement of your data quality.
An old term from 1960 revived. It develops really fast, powered by all applications of such major data masters as Google, Uber, Amazon, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. The algorithms were there, but the large amounts of data were missing. Artificial Intelligence never managed to get rid of this. And forecasts were not always as reliable. Now, since more and more pictures, videos, blogs, posts, and sensor data gets available, AI acquires its actual added value.
Photography becomes the new universal language (Heiferman, 2013). This sounds intriguing. Every day, 1.2 billion images are taken worldwide. They are shared and distributed. This new language also raises some questions. Isn’t the first impression of a photo too dominant? Numerous studies, including the one conducted by the Yale University, show that people are bad in making good decisions, especially at first impressions or under pressure. Such effects as priming, group polarization, the opinion of the majority or the confirmation bias throw spanner in the works.
Traditionally, Business Intelligence (BI) has an image of a “report builders club” as a client of mine has recently expressed. This traditional image creates the profile of a typical BI consultant. It is true that a handy and competent report builder is especially great on knowledge of tools, methods and techniques, and is sometimes involved in gathering the business requirements of his customers.
Good communication may help to allay many concerns and reduce resistance. It promotes faster acceptance of new internal rules. The main message that managers can communicate is “you can trust us.” And that trust must be justified, of course.
For management to win the trust of their employees and colleagues, they need to deal with resistance gracefully. As professionals, managers need to understand that resistance is completely normal. The introduction of performance management will inadvertently produce some kind of threat, which blocks a positive attitude.
The search method based on the strategic information plan is inherently top-down oriented. This approach features a systematic and consistent downward translation of the organization’s policies at each level. The indicators are ‘designed’ by a small group, such as the board of directors or the management team that is responsible for that. The strong point of this approach is that management can contribute to this policy consistency. This ‘integral’ route is a logical choice, especially, when the top management wants to sail a new course and would like to adjust all departments to this course. In order to be able to monitor the performance and consistency of the new policy, a business intelligence system can also be set up.
Business analytics improves the process of value creation in organizations in two ways:
There are managers who use business analytics to achieve strategic goals or solve vital problems of their organization.
Other managers involve business analytics specifically to create new opportunities for their organizations, by encouraging necessary innovations through Big Data and necessary changes made in time.
The most frequently asked question during management training sessions is “how do I get my employees motivated?” If anything of this worked, managers would do but the following: figure out something for them, use some tools, send them to a training, convince them of the importance of different behavior, get on the soapbox, give a pep talk.
However, those measures are rather arbitrary, while success is not guaranteed. During the implementation process, more guidance is provided by an internal communication plan, which should be considered before all other various messages that are communicated, such as the sense of urgency, the importance of ambitions and objectives, working out objectives and impacts in the workplace, progress made, the first results. This type of internal communication is important because it is expected to fill up the gap between the ‘captains’, those who think and decide which way to go, and the ‘stokers’, those who spin the pedals to make the changes successful.
A successful strategy will result in increased turnovers with the target groups and sometimes beyond. Of course, the Business Intelligence company hopes to achieve an increase in earnings, as well. This depends on the costs incurred by the company. The ideal strategy always shows an increase in sales and profits. Unfortunately, that dream is shattered; all good things come to an end.
The premise of the strategy life cycle is that the turnover stops growing for various reasons (saturation, competition). At a certain point – no one knows when in advance – the turnover first stalls and then starts decreasing. A successful Busines Intelligence company would not keep profits at the same old level. The time for new product offerings, a new strategy and a new cycle comes.