Oh, THAT’S the BI tool we’re supposed to use!

3 Minute Read

Surprise, surprise!

Just as Business Intelligence (BI) tools become the hot topic, there are more solutions available than ever…except that there aren’t, because only two of them are actually worth your consideration.

At Mind Over Machines, we’re always looking for ways to help you win. For our BI practice, this means constantly evaluating the marketplace for the best tools.

Here are the top trends we are seeing:

Only BI leaders are BI leaders – No wannabes allowed

The old guard of industry-leading reporting tools all bolted BI solutions onto the side of their existing wares. You would think that having a single solution for both reporting and BI would be the smart match. You would be wrong.

None of these “hybrids” remotely compare to BI solutions written from the ground up specifically for BI.

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Solving the BI Puzzle

7 minute read

“Our best prospects are right under our noses, but they’re scattered across the country, and we don’t know who they are until we trip over them! We need an engine that will identify our cherry prospects and serve them up in bulk.”

Our corporate services client was priming to take over a big chunk of the market dominated by a handful of conglomerates.

The sales executives knew the profile of their best targets: related companies — sharing some common ownership or management — operating in multiple states. They also knew the big guys weren’t pursuing these under-the-radar targets.

We needed to create a prospecting engine that would, on the back end, collect, warehouse and transform disparate data sets about the nation’s businesses into a common format; in the middle layer, let us suss out the company groups; and…

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Join the “BI” Gathering

6 minute read

Managing data and analysis in the increasingly complex financial services landscape is more critical than ever. New legislation, increased compliance requirements and continued risk due to uncertain economic times have necessitated significant additional IT investment. Leaders in the financial services industry are under intense pressure to not only meet compliance and mitigate risk, but also to fully leverage IT investments and drive growth and profitability.

BI is Boss

At the center of managing critical data and its analysis is Business Intelligence (BI).  Often referred to as any tool that can provide query-able access to business data by business users, technically BI is the actual query engine, and its value should not be underestimated.

Consider the many variables used to determine whether to buy or sell an investment: information about each company, financial data impacting the business, current or…

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Data By The Book

9 minute read

Big data, with all of its vastness and mystery – and confusion – is actually a remarkably straightforward concept: store everything for later analysis. Because once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. The end.

Ok…so there’s more to the big data story. And while the term big data is both overexposed and under-defined, defining it doesn’t really help solve business problems. (And we won’t even get into Big Data vs. big data, because who really cares except for data practitioners.)

But recounting a business success story that substantiates the notion that you should store every last iota of data – because you don’t know every pattern that might be found or explored – should shed some bright light on the awesomeness that is big data.

The Big Challenge

An online bookseller didn’t know its profit margin…

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Mashing, Mixing and Maximizing Data

5 minute read

Data is a game changer. 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day – and the data comes in all shapes and sizes.  Long gone is the notion that data is just for reporting, or collecting. Mix some innovative understanding of data with some good old-fashioned diligence, and voila – you’ve got a game changer.

Data Access

In 1989, physicist Tim Berners-Lee had an idea to create a single information network that would enable his co-workers to share all the computer-stored data at his laboratory. He was frustrated that access to existing data was so difficult, as it was stored only on particular machines that required additional programming knowledge just to login. Berners-Lee envisioned a collaborative environment where people working together could design something in a common, shared space.

The very first website – ever…

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Mining for Gold in Your Data

5 minute read

Infotech research giant Gartner defines data mining as the process of discovering meaningful correlations, patterns and trends by sifting through large amounts of data stored in repositories. In short: “There’s gold in them hills!”

We are in the middle of a data gold rush these days, because processing and storage enable us to crunch gigabytes of data in minutes, and the cost of doing it all keeps coming down. Thankfully, this isn’t the Old West, and you shouldn’t come across anyone trying to stake the same data claim you’re after.

That’s because your data holds unique value for you.

When you mine data, you use your technical and intellectual skills to get insights out of information you already have. Start with information in whatever form you find it, use software to scrape it, reshape it, and…

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What’s the Big Deal About Big Data?

2 minute read

Big data is big business. Trillions of bytes of information are generated everyday by businesses large and small. And right in the middle of the big data picture are consumers as they browse, shop, share and communicate both online and offline.

Business leaders are now faced with a new challenge of harnessing, analyzing, and gaining insight from this massive amount of data. Huge opportunities await those that rise to this challenge and take action.

At a recent technology talk hosted by Mind Over Machines, we heard success stories from a diverse group of organizations who made their data a priority. Here are the results they achieved:

  • A legal services firm that was so good at mining courtroom data for clients, it spun out its own prospecting business, which was profitable from week 1
  • A healthcare  provider that…

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Growing Pains

6 minute read

The good news: The online education company was revolutionizing the industry and growing like gangbusters, providing a virtual education experience to thousands of students across the country.

The bad news: The company’s 10 year-old systems were sputtering and stalling, unable to keep pace with the company’s explosive growth, and the online school found itself offline one too many times.

The problem: Everyone and everything was calling on a single, enormous database. It was used by every user for every action, hosting millions of live testing sessions, calculating zillions of test scores, performing institutional reporting, and everything else.

Imagine all of Target’s check out registers in all its stores attached to a single database that also served the corporation’s inventory management, time card, security, and corporate reporting functions. Scanning one too many items would overload the system.

The same was…

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Let Them Eat KPI

10 minute read

The spotlight on IT in the healthcare industry has never been more blinding. Healthcare reform (e.g., Meaningful Use, ICD-10 conversion) has mandated IT investment in the name of improved clinical/quality outcomes, reduced medical errors and standardized care. Even without these reforms, however, the increasing role of IT in positively impacting the cost and quality of patient care has become a top priority for healthcare provider organizations.

KPI is King

At the center of demonstrating – and measuring – success is the Key Performance Indicator (KPI).  The healthcare industry has a very large number of complex KPI.  From research to patient care to operations and finance, KPIs and their management (metadata management, master data management) are critical to overall organizational success.

But with increased reliance on these comes increased complexity and costs, both in creation and management of all…

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How Skynet Could Terminate an Enterprise Zombie Apocalypse

“I’ll be back.”
~ The Terminator

Part 1 of this series on enterprise security explored 6 IT tools and tactics that safeguard enterprise assets, defined their primary roles on the security team, cautioned about limitations, and noted – most importantly – the various types of data each system collects and uses.

“With so many security threats, both known and unknown, and so much data available to collect, how can an enterprise better use its data to protect itself? What information should be collected – that is not part of a traditional security profile – that could provide a sharper edge against future attacks?”

Traditional security strategies are just not enough…

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