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Mar 25

Data assembly is now the biggest barrier to good analytics

Business Intelligence continues to become more and more strategic to companies in order to compete in today’s global economy. Every department is now using analytics to better understand financials, business processes, customers, competitors and market trends – critical understanding needed to optimize execution.

As we all know, analytics is no better than the data behind it, and thus discovery and assembly of data has become an ever more important part of successful business intelligence.

As your company ecosystem grows beyond your firewall into partner apps, competitor websites and social networks, data rapidly spreads and more and more data assembly is now tied up in manual harvesting methods or the purchase of dubious data from vertical information providers.

This means that the knowledge worker spends more time with Data Discovery and Data Assembly, leaving less time for analysis of and execution on the results.

I often see scenarios where knowledge workers spend more than 50% of their time on just data assembly, time which takes away from analysis, reporting and execution.

This is not good.

And it’s exactly why more companies rely on automating the data assembly process. Finding methods to easily and scalably instruct which data to get from where and how to transform it into the needed format – basically they look for a solution to do automated data delivery.

The good news is that this solution already exists. The Kapow Katalyst platform is proven by more than 500 companies all over the world.

Here’s a concrete example. Fiserv, a large financial services company, needed to understand the value of their assets in real-time for compliance reasons. To solve this problem the treasurer hired a group of people to manually log-in to Fiservs accounts spread over more than 300 banks in more than 20 countries. This was expensive, error-prone, and data was often outdated.

Consequently, Fiserv looked for an automated solution and found Kapow Katalyst. Within 3 months they had built Kapow ETL robots that could automatically log-in to the web front-end of Fiserv accounts at all 300 banks and pull out the required information. Not only did this relieve the knowledge workers from manual data assembly it also gave the treasurer real-time data for point-in-time regulatory compliance.

Needless to say this created a lot of value for Fiserv.

I recommend you read the whitepaper, Hyper Management of Working Capital, written by Thomas W. Warsop, Group President for Fiserv.

By: Stefan Andreasen Stefan Andreasen

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Feb 15

IT  Executives  –  Dictators or the Army?

These are spectacular and exciting, historical times. Real-time, social/mobile connectivity is proving to be the defining catalyst for unparalleled (democratic?) change for the world. The ‘discovery costs’ for like-minded groups to find each other has been eradicated because of social tools like Twitter and Facebook, energizing powerful, collective action in near real-time.

The end is drawing near for dictatorial regimes that control their populace by muting innovation and slowing change which results in lasting and painful legacies for their countries.

Stretching the analogy into the Corporate IT Enterprise, we can see the influence of these real-time connectivity tools beginning to impact work-flow in corporations. The continued focus on top-down IT initiatives which impose stifling policies and regimented system architectures has led to the perception of IT inflexibility, and in some cases resulted in failed deliverables for their companies. In defense of IT, this present day world of rapid change is unprecedented and the impatient (intolerant even) business climate, driven by the needs of the LsOB (Lines of Business) for ‘instant’ information and connectivity has caught IT off guard.

‘Hold On’

The erosion of IT support, driven by the LsOB, is inspired by the demands for varied interconnectivity and real-time information access points, all of which force transformational change on the corporation. The chronicled, ‘Accepted IT Standards’ dogma is being challenged by these new market dynamics.

The Enterprise revolution has begun and will only gain momentum. If your employees, customers and partners are embracing and demanding these new methodologies for information sharing, then why aren’t you?

‘Taking it to the Streets’

The LsOB are now crowd-sourcing their demands on Enterprise IT and for the first time the LsOB have options. Twitter and Facebook provided the rails for change in Egypt and other countries to follow. Similarly, the Cloud Enterprise provides a conduit of independence for the LsOB in an effort to maximize their throughput. Social/Mobile/Cloud platforms are fast becoming the new “IT Standards”.

These are bottom-up initiatives with groundswell support of the LsOB, Enterprise Partners, Enterprise Customers and Vendors. The continued issuance of IT-driven mandates will only have diminishing returns for the Corporation, as the collective action of LsOB and their customers find more efficient ways to engage.

‘Revolutions can devour their children’

IT holds a significant role in the potential success of the Company. Just like the Armies of these modern-day revolutions, the IT organization can become the great facilitator for change by converging and adopting the demands of the LsOB and providing for orderly transitions. The ability to build ‘Employee Capital’ for the Company is a key building block for a successful and sustainable Corporation.

However, SPEED is the accelerant. As in Egypt, in just 18-days a stable 30-year dictatorial regime was easily overthrown. These are NOT merely ‘evolutionary’ times for IT.

Timing is as important as action.

…for the Times they are a Changin.

By: John Yapaola John Yapaola

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Nov 30

I’m excited about the recent buzz around real-time data and its importance in driving today’s business decisions.

I recently attended both the Web 2.0 Summit and IBM’s Information On Demand (IOD) conference.  I found it interesting that two very different venues both put a lot of focus on the growing importance of real-time data

At IOD, Stephen Mills, SVP and Group Executive of IBM SWG, was asked about the single most exciting, innovative aspect of Information Management today.  He replied that applications today are more predictive because they leverage more real-time data than ever.  Technology enables us to deal with larger quantities of data and apply intelligence in real-time to predict the future (and prevent catastrophes such as power outages, epidemics, and terrorist attacks), which help us do a better job of planning our businesses.  The net-net is making a “smarter planet” for the future.

Which reminds me of this “IBM Smart Products:  Creating Insight for your business” video where I talk about the importance of reporting with relevant and timely data to make your business more competitive.

The Web 2.0 Summit also placed a strong emphasis on the power of real-time data.  The closing session featured Tim Berners-Lee and Tim O’Reilly discussing the future of the internet. Tim B-L mentioned how he originally invented the World Wide Web based on a fellowship at CERN where he worked on distributed real-time systems for scientific data acquisition.  Basically the internet was invented to be a “sandbox” to find and share data. The discussion then moved to how the Web one day will be powering dynamic applications or widgets that can connect to any data available on the web. I could not help equating this to mashups connecting real-time to real-time web data.

My prediction is that the business landscape is becoming ever more competitive and distributed and real-time web data will be a fundamental necessity for businesses to make real-time predictions.

By:  Stefan Andreasen Stefan Andreasen, CTO and Founder

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