Tag Archives: Social

The Evolution of Social Business Intelligence – Guest Post

Guest Post

This mission of this blog is to share ideas about business analytics. One of the things I want to increasingly do this year is to feature more guest bloggers and do more interviews.

A few months ago, I came across Sanjay Shetty’s unique blog Communities R Us. His approach to blogging about social media topics is very visual. Sanjay and I ended up connecting via a recent blog post where we exchanged a few ideas. The idea of a guest post quickly developed. And here it is: Sanjay Shetty writes about his views on Social Business Intelligence.

Evolution of Social Business Intelligence: Human Business Intelligence

Social Media provides a fantastic opportunity for enterprises to gather enormous amount of business intelligence, whether it’s about their customers likes and dislikes, or whether it’s competitive intelligence. My earlier post and video covered quite a bit of ground. However, I’ve seen organizations limiting themselves and the power of the social opportunity in leveraging true human business intelligence.

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After the Oscars

Just quick thought today while I am waiting to board the next plane It seems to me that there is a bit of a common theme at the Oscars and Golden Globes this year: Communication. ‘The King’s Speech’ is probably the big winner along with ‘The Social Network’. Both movies relate to how we as human beings communicate with each other.

Colin Firth plays the king who struggles with his speech. He needs to inspire his nation and has to overcome some serious challenges with the help of a talented coach. ‘The Social Network’ shows the audience how Facebook was created along with the different human struggles (and lawsuits) along the way. Both are fascinating movies. Both movies deal with communication. Is there a reason for that?

Communication still is a major problem for us as human beings. Not only in our private life but also in business. And the issues seem to grow in this changing world. We are all traveling, we are busy, we deal with complexity. Here is the Dad who travels for business and wants to connect with his family. There is the finance manager who needs to communicate the brutal truth that the numbers are revealing. Or take the sales person who is trying to sell a new and complex product to a new customer who ‘who just doesn’t get it’. We sit through mind-numbing corporate slide shows without a clear message. But most importantly a great majority of people want their voice to be heard. And that is exactly what these movies are about. The kings is looking to convince his nation. Facebook is helping people connect with their friends and family so that their voices are heard and transmitted.

Luckily we have technology today. There is email, there are iPhones, there is Twitter. We use Powerpoint to deliver our message. We have Business Analytics to find meaning in data and communicate the information to our teams. The people in Egypt used Facebook and Twitter to organize themselves.

But at the end of the day we are still struggling with the same problems: how can we best get our personal message across? Technology is the enabler we still have to do the heavy lifting.

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Two days @ the Gartner BI Summit

London Heathrow, Terminal 5. 6pm GMT. I am tired. Really tired. Museum visits, shopping trips and conference whirlwinds belong to a category of highly rewarding and fun activities, yet they also belong to the category of activities that can only be classified as “Holy smokes, why am I so exhausted?” type of things.

THE GARTNER BI SUMMIT

Gartner does a fine job of producing highly relevant and engaging events. The 2011 EMEA Summit was no different. Over 700 people attended the well organized event at the Westminster Plaza hotel in London.

OPENING DAY

The opening day offered some great presentations. I liked the Gartner keynote which highlighted some of the key themes that are happening in the market. A few interesting things that came up include:

  • 62% of all EMEA organizations have a BI strategy. That is a positive change from the prior years.
  • BUT…only 1/3 of all organizations have a real BICC. But Gartner highlighted that a BICC is somewhat of a ‘secret sauce’ for success in BI.
  • Organizations are very interested in Predictive Analytics, In-Memory, Master Data Management & Dashboarding
  • Success means going for BIG BI: not just platform but rather a complete view of people, process & technology.

PANEL DISCUSSION

Nigel Rayner hosted a great and fun panel session with participants from the main BI vendors. Peter Griffiths represented our IBM Cognos team. Nigel did a great job with the panel and he got the audience actively involved by voting on certain topics. A few interesting points:

  • iPads everywhere

    A big majority of the participants believe mobile BI will play a huge role in the future. Not a big surprise.

    Collaboration & social media will change the game for BI

    Many people believe that a large portion of BI spending will go SIs instead of software vendors.

  • 90% of the audience members believed that predictive analytics will become accessible to a broader user spectrum
  • Many delegates are unsure whether BI hardware & software should be bundled

OUR KEYNOTE & WORKSHOPS

On the second day of the conference, Leah Macmillian and I delivered the IBM keynote. It was great to see so many people in the room. We spent almost 50% of our allocated time on showing Cognos 10. Many people in the audience seemed surprised as we were the only vendor to show product. A bit of a surprise to me. Why would you spend so much time talking about future direction instead of showing what you can do now? Everybody has great ideas but at the end of the day we need to deliver value now. Right? No surprise: We did get a ton of questions following our presentation.

CONCLUSION

Kudos to Gartner. It was a great event. Excellent content and excellent participants. I really enjoyed the networking with so many great people. It was cool to see that our IBM portfolio pretty much covers all the main trends that were discussed at the Summit: Mobile, Collaboration, In-Memory, Predictive Analytics etc.. Cognos 10 is a great platform. Gartner’s assessment of IBM’s position in the market clearly highlighted this.

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Social Networking = Better Performance = Happiness?

Amazon.com’s recommendation engine is pretty amazing I have to admit. The algorithms at work clearly know how to expand one’s horizon beyond the obvious choices. Needless to say, I was a bit surprised and almost annoyed when the engine suggested the fluffy sounding title ‘The Happiness Advantage’. Does amazon.com really think I need some self-help books??? To make a long story short, I ended up buying the book based on the enormously positive reviews and my general curiosity. Turns out that this was a good decision. But apart from providing some provocative ideas the book also revealed some highly interesting research about social networks. And this research is relevant to Business Analytics.

SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

One of the key points in the book is that the quality and the strength of our social network has a big impact on our happiness and our job performance. In other words: The more stressed we are, the more time we should invest in social interaction. We all seem to know that…sort of. One of the researchers mentioned in the book is George Vaillant. In an article from 2009 in the Atlantic Monthly he stated that there are ’70 years of evidence that our relationships with other people matter, and matter more than anything else in the world.’ That is a pretty big statement, but I guess we all agree with that. So, that is not a surprise. But there is a big surprise.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK AT WORK

Shawn Achor goes ahead and describes that studies have found that positive social interaction between employees during work hours are tremendously effective at protecting people from the stress of their job. As a result, those people that invest in these interactions typically perform better. Again. Seems like common sense. But it gets better. The MIT was looking at this stuff as well. So they spent an entire year at a small company that you might have heard of: IBM. The researchers from MIT followed over 2600 IBM employees over an entire year. The guys monitored and analyzed various different aspects of the social network of these employees: Buddy lists, size & scope of their address books, social interactions. Here is how Shawn Achor describes the core findings of this study:

“(The researchers)… found that the more socially connected the IBM employees were, the better they performed. They could even quantify the difference: On average, every email contact was worth and added $948 in revenue. There in black and white is the power of social investment.”

Wow….interesting insights. Wouldn’t you agree?

1+1 = 4?

In a previous blog post I discussed how IBM Cognos 10 allows users to leverage the power of social networking. Using the latest Cognos 10 platform, we can collaborate around Business Analytics using the same techniques that we use on the popular platforms like Facebook, Flickr & Twitter. Most of you would probably agree that this is a powerful value proposition. And the findings make sense if you think about it: Business today is complex and finding solutions to problems is complex as well. The better networked we are, the easier we can pull relevant people into the problem solving process. And if all this is facilitated by technology, we can collaborate in real-time.

THE PATH TOWARDS HAPPINESS?

Over the past few months I did run into some skeptical people. They still regard social networking as ‘a thing that teenagers do’. But let’s face it: the way we communicate has been changed once again. Email did that a while ago. And this study shows that there is a tremendous benefit in expanding and using our social network. And if it’s not just about better job performance, how about increasing our own happiness? Now that is a unique value proposition, isn’t it?

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Collaboration and BI?

One of the first things we learn from our parents and teachers is that we are stronger when we act as a team. 1+1=3 or something like. And it is true! I have had some of my best learning experiences in a team environment. Every once in a while, we forget just how powerful teamwork and collaboration can be. We get stuck trying to solve a problem by ourselves and we loose a lot of time. Okay. Everybody knows that.

But what about Business Intelligence and Business Analytics? Are we really collaborating with that team idea in mind? Even more important: even if we wanted to collaborate, would we be able to do so in an effective and efficient manner?

What does collaboration for BI and PM look like. Think about the following common situation. It is early Monday morning and you conduct some analysis in your BI portal. You quickly realize that there is a big problem. And you have no idea what to do about it. The first question that comes to mind is whether anybody else has come across this issue. But what do you do? It’s early in the morning. Nobody is in the office.

Social media are changing the way we communicate with each other. Email did that for us 15-20 years ago. Today we are at the start of a new revolution again. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr etc allow us to collaborate in an unprecedented way. We can leverage the wisdom of large crowds of people. People we don’t even know. The other day, I had a problem with my camera. I sent out a tweet with a question about it. 20 minutes later I had the problem solved with the help of other photographers out there on this planet. And this new way of collaborating is now entering the corporate world.

Back to our little Monday morning problem. We still have no idea what to do. Imagine we could quickly identify whether another colleague had reviewed this dashboard and come across this problem? What if you could see what steps they have taken to identify a solution? Wouldn’t it be nice to search for similar problems and find out how colleagues fixed this in the past? How about we could help other team members by contributing to their questions?

The time is right. We should be able to collaborate in our corporate world just like we collaborate in our private lifes. Cognos 10 allows us to just that. We can comment on dashboards, reports, cells, graphs. We can share activities, we can assign tasks. We can discuss, review and share. Just like we do on Facebook and Twitter. Within our own company. I have had to opportunity to test this functionality and I love it! But most importantly, the many customers I have shown this to love it just as much. When I return from travels through Europe and the Middle East I will share some additional thoughts and reactions about this. What do YOU think about this?

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