business intelligence - News, Features, and Slideshows


  • SAP creates LAVA 'design language' to heat up analytics

    SAP's Business Objects BI (business intelligence) product line may soon begin receiving a visual overhaul based on a new "design language" or methodology called LAVA (Lightweight Applied Visual Analytics).

    Written by Chris Kanaracus16 Aug. 13 20:05
  • IBM, universities partner on 'big data' skills training

    IBM is hoping to help create the next generation of "big data" specialists through a series of partnerships with universities around the world, as well as influence the curriculum.

    Written by Chris Kanaracus14 Aug. 13 18:47
  • Gartner: BI software market growth rate slowed in 2012

    The BI (business intelligence) software market cooled off a bit in 2012 after "a few historic banner years" of spending growth, due to difficult economic conditions and even confusion over industry buzzwords such as "big data," according to a report from analyst firm Gartner.

    Written by Chris Kanaracus06 June 13 14:31
  • IT Departments Battle for Data Analytics Talent

    Few areas of the IT job market have seen the growth and disparity in supply and demand that the data analytics field has experienced. As big data continues to get bigger and the analytics field continues to mature, it's becoming a core part of business and the decision-making process. Competition for top analytic talent is going to be fierce as more companies enter the hiring fray.

    Written by Rich Hein12 Dec. 12 15:14
  • Big data demystified

    Paul Kent, VP of big data at SAS, ranks big data as a"ground changing technology" that happens every seven or 10 years."

    Written by Divina Paredes22 Oct. 12 13:57
  • Big data has potential but requires care

    The proliferation of large-scale data sets is just beginning to change business and science around the world, but enterprises need to prepare in order to gain the most advantage from their information, panelists said at a Silicon Valley event this week.

    Written by Stephen Lawson10 Dec. 11 12:03
  • IBM buys e-commerce analytics vendor Demandtec for $440 million

    IBM is buying analytics vendor DemandTec for US$440 million in a bid to build out its line of e-commerce software, the companies announced Thursday. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

    Written by Chris Kanaracus09 Dec. 11 02:56
  • Get smart

    <strong>FMG: Quick response mechanisms</strong>Last year, insurance company Farmers Mutual Group (FMG) decided to complete the upgrade of its SAS business intelligence solution installed more than five years ago. The solution was put to the test in extreme circumstances when, as the first earthquake struck Canterbury at 4:35am on September 4, FMG made a concerted drive to pro-actively contact policy holders who might have been affected. Within two hours, FMG assessors were headed towards the area and, making use of its BI tool, the company was able to quickly identify who were the most at-risk policy holders. The national sales and service centre in Palmerston North was also supplied with contact details of every client who might have been impacted. In this extreme situation, as in routine sales reporting, SAS proved to be an invaluable tool for the company.FMG is currently using SAS in a two-fold way: For operational support, with weekly sales KPIs available to sales staff, and for the analysis of performance drivers. "We make OLAP cubes available to people for almost self-service exploration," says Craig Skett, FMG business information and analysis services manager. Skett says the solution is easily integrated with Microsoft Office and the only training necessary is "more about learning the data than the actual tool"."We made a conscious decision to make it a company-wide capability. We have one BI solution across the whole company," he says, adding that the company has realised "people don't access the system until it has information that they need".FMG is now using SAS to generate daily reports for Canterbury earthquake claims. "It makes it easier to monitor the progress of these claims." Business intelligence is "a vital part of any financial organisation," says Skett. "The more you can get out of the information you capture, the more advantage you'll have over your competitors."Despite believing the current solution is serving business needs, he says that "every BI manager has a list of 20 things they want to develop" at any time. His current list includes more sophisticated analytics and the integration of geo-spatial information. <strong>CallPlus: Additional advantage</strong>The number eight wire mentality played a key role when CallPlus embarked on a business intelligence project.Adrian Dick, chief technology officer at the telecommunications company, traces the beginnings of the project to a year ago, when the company was discussing its objectives for the coming months. "A lot of them were about improving efficiency and improving the way the business operates," he says. "So the question was asked: how efficient are we at the moment?"Getting the answer requires a business intelligence system that can be used across the group. But getting the information to get these answers was not as straightforward because CallPlus, which includes the Slingshot internet provider, generates a huge amount of operational data that is stored in silos. "We produce millions of records every day here, from internet use to each individual phone call. They [transactions] might produce three records depending on what platform they are from," says Dick.At that time, Call Plus produced reports that were demand or request driven. "If you need to know about a problem, you have to request information on it rather than being able to browse through and see what is happening," he says. There was always a backlog of reports that were required and once reports were produced, they were obviously outdated. "It was really about users being able to browse key metrics of the business in real-time or in near real-time."Those were the business drivers behind the development of Nostro, which Dick and his team developed using existing database software, and integrated and supported by internal resources. "It is business intelligence on a budget. We didn't go out and throw tens of millions at a solution. We just invested in the resources to design it. It is the number eight fencing wire [thinking]," says Dick.Nostro has been recognised in the recent US-based <a href="">CIO 100 Awards</a>, making CallPlus the only local organisation to win this year. The awards recognise organisations across the globe for operational excellence and strategic excellence in IT.Dick says each of the general managers has their own interface of Nostro. "What it has done is take a complicated environment and present it in a summarised view to decision makers in near real time."A key benefit is the highlighting of trends that they were not aware of. For instance, he says, they have calling packs wherein a number of destinations are bundled together for certain dollars a month. "We weren't aware some of the destinations in a calling pack were losing us a lot of money, because it was bundled with a lot of destinations," he says. The system has also alerted them early on about fraudsters that may be using their customers' systems. Nostro sees a spike in the calls to a customer account and CallPlus can alert them this is happening, even before the customers are aware of it. Dick and his team are extending Nostro to another platform. They are working on making the system available on the iPad. Around seven executives, including the CEO and CFO, use the iPads for email and remote desktop. "At a slice, we are able to show them the key metrics of the business wherever they are," says Dick."It is all about the data, it is not all the formatting presentation, the colours of the graphs," says Dick. "When you start aggregating millions of records down, it is the exception which pops up [and] that is where you can get a lot of value."You see the data, warts and all. Without it, you don't have the visibility of what you are doing wrong and how you can improve. The benefits will come from areas you don't expect."<strong>Ceres Organics: Connecting the dots</strong>Formed in 1982, Ceres Organics specialises in sourcing and supply of organic fresh and packaged food and beauty products. The business includes a retail outlet, online shops, plus a range of wholesale customers including Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs, and Farmers. The company installed its fully-integrated BI solution in September 2010.The general manager David Josephson says the great thing about having a BI suite is "the immediacy of information". "Before, you would have to pass it to an accountant to write a report and then send it back to you. Now everybody can access the information at any given time," he says. The BI tool helps the company analyse and track data each day and, in doing so in an immediate way, is directly related with an increase in productivity. "It also tracks how things are being done so we can change behaviours if necessary, rather than having to go back to fix things later."Ceres' previously had a legacy DOS solution that was limiting the growth, efficiency and profitability of the company, as it lacked a warehouse management system and included a high amount of manual processes. Koorb implemented Microsoft Dynamics AX and a range of plug in solutions that included wireless warehousing to address these issues. The result was what the company considers to be a fully integrated BI solution. Josephson says the system works "in a standard business intelligence set up and can be accessed on an ad hoc basis using Excel spreadsheets". "It gives us various snapshots of the business," he adds, as it is integrated for warehousing, inventory and reporting. "For example, the warehouse manager can at any time see how many sales orders are outstanding. At the same time, a person in an administrative role in the office can look at sales. It covers the whole range of business."

    Written by Vera Alves and Divina Paredes05 Oct. 11 09:45
  • Oracle rolls out 'Big Data' appliance

    Oracle unveiled the Big Data Appliance, the newest addition to its line of products that combine software and hardware, during the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco on Monday.

    Written by Chris Kanaracus04 Oct. 11 03:48
  • Has business intelligence failed?

    To help businesses get smarter and stronger, business intelligence (BI) systems analyse and synthesise huge pools of corporate data to create terabytes of performance-enhancing information for enterprises of all sizes.

    Written by Todd R. Weiss21 June 11 08:18
  • CallPlus makes it to Global CIO 100 awards

    CallPlus' internally-produced business intelligence solution propelled it to become the sole New Zealand company to make it as a 2011 CIO 100 winner.
    IDC, which conducts the annual search, says the award honours companies and their IT teams for innovations that advance business results.

    Written by CIO New Zealand01 June 11 22:00