Turkeys won’t vote for Christmas

August 16, 2011

Job Security is as important today as it’s ever been. There are lots of people out there in the job market vying for the same job.

The other day, a colleague said to me:

“Well what do you expect, you can’t expect a Turkey to vote for Christmas”

True words indeed!

Selling software that is going to make things easier, reduce the impact on IT and empower the business user is a hard sell if you’re talking to the head of IT… less so if you are talking to the CEO or FD where the bottom line and share holder value are more important than propping up the job market.

People’s perception of software is changing.

For the current generation of School and College leavers using software is an every day way of life.

Whether playing Angry Birds on your phone, posting a YouTube link on someone’s wall, writing a Thesis or keeping track of your finances, we are all using software to make life easier and entertain ourselves most of our waking and working day.

People expect things to be simple, people don’t expect to go on a training course when they download the latest phone app or try out the latest Social Media gizmo over the Web.

If things don’t work or are too complicated to use, people won’t use it. They’ll look elsewhere. People are more and more independent and want to choose their preferred laptop, OS, mobile phone and applications and won’t much care for people pushing their own preferences, as there is so much choice.

So when it comes to business, who decides on what applications and gizmos you use on a day-to-day basis? Who decides what’s best for you?

Traditionally there has always been a gatekeeper when it comes to buying software.

… the IT department.

The IT department has to support the system therefore the IT department must be involved in the buying process.

This all sounds very reasonable however the motives of IT and the business can be at conflict with one another. Is efficiency top of the requirements for IT?

Is empowering the business user to be able to service their own information requirements top of the bill? If there is an option to buy in a product or service that will benefit the business by taking money away from the IT budget and potentially reducing the demand on IT seen as a priority?

There is a lot more choice out there today but for the traditionalists, the IT department still has a hold over which external products and services are purchased because IT in general is still regarded as “technical” and “too specialist”.

The new generation is a lot more IT savvy and is going to want a much bigger say in decisions over what to buy and what not to buy.

These new business users are measured on productivity, increasing sales and generating profit. These users won’t want to be held up by having to use antiquated, one style fits all products that need the nod and assistance from IT whenever the business user wants to find out something that isn’t serviced by a standard screen or report.

Our Business Intelligence product Bi24 is written for business users. Business users just get it… It uses search technology. It’s self-service BI. It’s easy and looks like and behaves like all of the other modern applications that are being used today.

So where am I going with this?

When we demonstrate our software, we demonstrate it to the business user not IT. Trying to get IT to propose a solution that reduces the need for their services is a bit like getting a Turkey to vote for Christmas.

Unlikely to happen at best and pretty fool hardy from a Turkey’s point of view.

Fri, 29/07/2011 – 16:28 — Richard Lewis


The true value of business data

August 15, 2011

Some say that data is the new Oil, and I guess if we look at the value of data rather than the sustainability and availability of data then there may be some truth in this. But not everyone does see the value of data, some will see it as nothing more than a costly problem rather than as a valuable resource.

It’s estimated that enterprise data is going to grow at 10% per month or 650% over 5 years and that over 10 billion devices will be connected to the internet creating data by 2015. Amazingly globally every 2 Days we create as much Information as we did between the dawn of civilisation and 2003, and every minute of every day 24hours worth of video is uploaded to YouTube.

Perhaps what’s even more amazing is that 43% of businesses do nothing with this growing resource other than run reports on how their business performed last week/month/year. The problem is only going to get worse with over 15 petabytes of new information being created every day. For those who use social media the “share” and “RT” buttons encourage us to share posts, links, videos, images and documents creating copies of copies of copies – just like the Gemino spell in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.

So if 43% of companies do nothing with data what about the 57% that do? Reports suggest that these companies are 4.5 times more likely to outperform their lower performing counterparts and the evidence is clear to those that look into it. The biggest employer in Europe, The NHS, used BI to track the spread of Flu during the National Flu Pandemic creating over 1.5 billion records in a 16 week period. Tesco’s, Coca Cola, oil companies and McDonalds all use Business Intelligence tools to gain a clearer insight into the data within their business and use that data to make informed and timely business decisions that distinguish them from the competition. Whilst the argument for using the ever increasing amounts of data for our competitive advantage doesn’t come across to much resistance the subject of data quality is beginning to generate more airtime and momentum.

Many companies just don’t have the time, resource or knowledge to look at the quality of their data and who can blame them, it’s a highly competitive space we are in, budgets are stripped of fat, head counts are slimmed down to the core and it’s all hands on deck for the primary function of the business. Interestingly the smallest amount of bad data can have sizable ramifications to the business, its customers, reputation and bottom line. Thomas C. Redman explains in his book “Data Driven” that if your data is 100% accurate and one customer order requires a dozen pieces of data then the cost is £1.00. 100 orders the cost is £100.

One Hundred orders each requiring 12 pieces of data means 1,200 pieces of data are needed. An error rate of 1 percent means there are 12 errors. Chances are high that 11 or 12 of the 100 orders will be affected. If 88 good orders costs £1 (totalling £88) then 12 bad orders will cost £10 (totalling £120) and doubling the cost of sale.

Business Intelligence solutions easily identify these areas of weakness providing companies with the opportunity to reduce their bad data and exposure, all that’s left then is to address the access rights of this data.

Perhaps instead of data being the new oil we should refer to it as being the new gold, increasingly valuable and readily available to the masses.

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