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Erin Moloney

Erin E. Moloney is Director of Digital and Social Media Marketing at Perficient, Inc.

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Aligning your BI strategy between IT and the business side

Michael Anderson, an Enterprise Architect at Perficient who blogs on our healthcare IT blog, recently wrote about the types of Business Intelligence categories:

  • Type I – Reporting and Query tool sets
  • Type II – Analytic tool sets
  • Type III – Predictive Modeling tool sets

In today’s post about business intelligence, Anderson writes about how you can align your BI strategy in IT to better serve the business strategy at your company. Michael suggests looking at spend, reports, server setup, user metrics and more.

Read the full post here. 

Gartner and IDC Predict Big Data Trends for 2012

In addition to increases in cloud computing and consumerization of IT, Gartner’s analysts predict that in 2012, we’ll see noticeable increases in big data.

Among other specific predictions, according to FierceCIO:

  • Gartner’s analysts fear that the ever-expanding volume of information available to organizations, coupled with IT’s diminishing control, will make it harder to ensure the consistency and effectiveness of data.

IDC predicts:

  • Worldwide IT spending will grow 6.9% year over year to $1.8 trillion in 2012. As much as 20% of this total spending will be driven by the technologies that are reshaping the IT industry – smartphones, media tablets, mobile networks, social networking, and big data analytics.
  • Big Data will earn its place as the next “must have” competency in 2012 as the volume of digital content grows to 2.7 zettabytes (ZB), up 48% from 2011.
  • Over 90% of this information will be unstructured (e.g., images, videos, MP3 files, and files based on social media and Web-enabled workloads) – full of rich information, but challenging to understand and analyze.
  • As businesses seek to squeeze high-value insights from this data, IDC expects to see offerings that more closely integrate data and analytics technologies, such as in-memory databases and BI tools, move into the mainstream.
  • And, like the cloud services market, 2012 is likely to be a busy year for Big Data-driven mergers and acquisitions as large IT vendors seek to acquire additional functionality.

Where is your big data focus going to be in 2012?

Driving trends in information management and business intelligence

Scott Laningham (@ScottLaningham) and Todd Watson (@TurboTodd) of IBM’s DeveloperWorks podcasts series interviewed our IBM business intelligence lead, Andy Ho, while at IBM’s Information On Demand 2011 conference this week in Las Vegas. As usual, Scott and Todd identified key insights from Andy’s experience working with clients in information management every day, but not without a few laughs here and there. The full video is embedded below. I’ve also paraphrased the questions and answers in this post.


Todd asked Andy, “What does it mean to have business intelligence in the context of healthcare?”

Helping healthcare providers as well as payors become more of an Accountable Care Organization. How do we help them understand what’s driving quality and lowering costs, and then how do you bring all of these things together? IBM Watson is the type of technology that may help us to handle big data. What Perficient is doing with companies like Premier shows that we can bring a lot of different data models together with IBM technologies. (Read our healthcare blog for more about Perficient’s experience in healthcare analytics.)

Scott asked, “What do you feel are the driving trends in information management?”

“Big analytics,” said Andy Ho. The common touch points are always around volume, velocity… and we have a fourth “v” that we see, which is value. Business value and industry value. Once you’re able to penetrate on solving some of these widespread problems, you’re going to start driving much more success across accounts. As a big IBM solution provider, we have a lot of happy customers who have done amazing things with IBM technologies.

Scott asked Andy to tell us more about what Perficient does.

We are one of IBM’s few premier business partners across all of the 5 major software brands. We provide our clients with deep expertise across each individual stack and we offer lots of cross-brand integration. Three main values:

Everything we do has to be connected to a lot of their underlying data and information. We provide strategy, governance and road mapping across these areas

We bring deep industry expertise to our clients, in areas such as supply chain management, regulatory issues, and bench marking against competition. The more customer engagements we do, the more we realize we’re solving the same problem over and over again.


Follow us on Twitter at @Perficient_IBM

If the video below does not show up, click here to view Andy Ho’s interview with DeveloperWorks.

Watch live streaming video from ibmsoftware at

Looking forward to Information On Demand 2011

Eric Sall, VP of Product Marketing for Information Management at IBM, recently did a video interview with one of my favorite podcasters, Scott Laningham (@scottlaningham) of IBM’s DeveloperWorks podcast series. They discussed the Information On Demand conference, at which Perficient will be exhibiting and speaking October 23-27.

  • This year’s theme: “Turning Insight Into Action” – focus on business analytics and optimization. It’s time for companies to take that insight and turn it into action.
  • Information continues to explodes. Businesses are facing a challenge in dealing with this breadth of information & data.
  • An MIT study will come out soon with IBM, which will show that the companies that can be actionable on data are taking off faster than those that aren’t.
  • This conference covers the whole area of information management, business analytics and enterprise content management. IBM expects to announce key updates to each of these areas during the conference, so look for key announcements.
  • Eric recommends going to the general sessions and also looking into the segment area keynotes. There will also be hundreds of technical sessions, hands-on labs, free certification testing, and the exhibit hall.
  • This is the biggest show that IBM puts on – it’s over 10,000 people.
Perficient is excited to join IBM, its business partners and customers for what is sure to be an outstanding event filled with inspiring and valuable content and insights.
We’ll be tweeting live from the show from @Perficient_IBM
Find out more about our presence at the show next week, and visit us at booth P-409 if you’re attending as well!

Key Elements of a Solid BI and Data Management Framework

I was struck by a blog post written by Forrester’s Rob Karel (@rbkarel), titled “How Complete are your BI and Data Management Strategies?

This is the type of answer that our business intelligence consultants ask our clients every day, and we often come up with a framework as complete and strategic as the ideal one described in the recent report that Karel’s blog post references.

Here are some of the key elements of a solid BI / data management framework that I took away from the report:

  1. Predict solid ROI via a business case that will demonstrate one or more of these:
    • reduce costs
    • increase revenue
    • differentiate the company
    • reduce risk
    • drive efficiency
  2. Deliver scalability, flexibility and agility
  3. Gain adoption across the organization, by executives and key stakeholders who will be leveraging the system/data
  4. Anticipate governance, legal, compliance, and/or architectural challenges
  5. Include a change management plan
  6. Carefully evaluate and select software, hardware and service providers, and don’t forget to negotiate with them
  7. Measure and monitor progress and ROI along the way, after release
  8. Plan for updates, optimizations, and tweaks to the program
  9. Research best practices from your peers as well as case studies in line with the approach you want to take
Overall, driving your data management strategy back toward #1 is what Forrester recommends, and rightly so.
“..Align your initiative with the business value those strategies deliver. To produce a streamlined and effective program, maintain a focus on the business processes and decisions it’s enabling — not just the data.”

Starbucks goes mobile with business intelligence

Business intelligence is a pretty strong buzz word right now, and for good reason. So many companies are jumping on the bandwagon, investing funds into BI because it can provide unique business insights that drive efficiencies, speedier decision-making, and mobility, among other benefits.

This is particularly true for the retail sector, where operations such as inventory management, staffing, order management, scheduling, and supply chain management are all more accurate, more timely and easier to accomplish with robust business intelligence tools.

But one recent news article I read about Starbucks investing heavily in BI gave me a double take. Everything about Starbucks use of BI made sense to me:

There are plenty of BI tools that help retailers track things like inventory, sales and staff schedules, but the technology Starbucks is testing from MicroStrategy also lets managers take actions–such as ordering supplies–in the same application

Except that I was shocked – and quite impressed – to read that they have encourage such a broad percentage of their work force to utilize the BI tools.

Starbucks has been using MicroStrategy technology since 2005, and approximately 40,000 of its employees access the BI tools.

Why? Because the company wants all of its store managers to be able to interact directly with supply chain and HR systems on mobile devices.

Read more about how they’re defining the mobile and tablet-based environment to support exception-based reporting and richer analytics:  Starbucks BI Test: Can Managers Beat Heatwave?


CFOs, It’s Time to Increase Visibility Into Financials

Mastering your company's finances requires reliable and comprehensive business intelligence

Try asking the following questions about your company:

  • Are we using analytics?
  • Do we share the same data across the company?
  • Are we measuring the right things?
  • Do we really have a handle on cost?
  • Do we strategize from the top or rationalize from the bottom?
  • Are we moving the corporation forward or watching from the sidelines?
You want your company to be considered productive and adaptive to change. You and your company’s leaders deserve comprehensive, instant, reliable and insightful visibility into the organization’s finances in order to ensure this.


If you’re struggling with any of the above questions, now is the time to take a deeper look and learn about a driver-based cost and profitability model for Enterprise Performance Management.


On Thursday, July 29th, Perficient will host a free webinar at 12:00 CST, specifically geared toward finance executives.
Register here


Along with the launch of our business intelligence blog here, gain access to our BI and EPM experts starting with this webinar, and subscribe to email alerts from this blog in the top right corner of this page.

How to go Social with Business Intelligence: Data Visualizations

Does your organization collaborate around its data?

TIBCO Spotfire has a great recent blog post all about “Social Business Intelligence”, indicating that your organization’s BI can become more social in the following ways.

Make meetings about business intelligence more collaborative: Include data visualizations to get better use out of your company’s data.

Mark Lorion, Spotfire’s VP of Marketing (@mark_lorion) says it’s time to give collaborative meetings a try:

Recently progressive companies have begun to conduct their business reviews, strategy meetings and planning sessions in a much more productive way – using dynamic data visualisations to facilitate collaboration among participants and yield actionable results signed onto by all stakeholders.

Mark explains that these data visualizations can be very flexible (“you can play with different scenarios on the fly”), and as questions are asked, the presentation can be adjusted to answer questions on the fly, provide deeper insights, and lend itself to enhanced collaboration among the team.  Ultimately, as he explains, this should lead to immediate and actionable decision-making.

Take a look at Mark’s list of Do’s and Don’ts for making collaborative meetings happen, and tell us in the comments below whether or not your organization has begun to conduct such meetings or to present data in a visual, interactive format to enhance the value of business intelligence across the organization.


Perficient acquires IBM Cognos Partner, JCB

Perficient announced today that we have acquired JCB Partners (JCB), a $15 million annual revenue business and technology consulting firm focused on enterprise performance management, analytics and business intelligence solutions, primarily leveraging the IBM Cognos suite of software products.

More than 23,000 leading companies and organizations around the world choose Cognos performance management solutions and leverage business intelligence software to monitor performance and make strong decisions. Business leaders use financial performance management software to set targets and allocate the resources to achieve them.

“A four-time winner of IBM’s Cognos Partner of the Year Award, JCB is a recognized enterprise performance management consulting leader,” said Jeffrey Davis, Perficient’s CEO.

The addition of JCB further strengthens Perficient’s position as one of the leading business intelligence and enterprise performance management consulting firms in the country,” said Kathy Henely, Perficient’s COO

The acquisition of JCB also increases Perficient’s market presence in the Denver, Chicago and Northern and Southern California markets.

Read more about this news.


Will Mobile Business Intelligence Replace Full-Client Systems?

Everyone agrees that taking business intelligence mobile adds flexibility and versatility to access to information. On the road or out in the field, access to data and analytics is increasingly mobile, and for good reason. Access to business data on the fly is making us more efficient and helping us make decisions faster and more frequently than ever.

A great article by SAP’s Timo Elliott appears to predict that the mobile device may someday replace full-client systems. One of the technology advancements that has enabled this to happen is the growth of our mobile devices into having larger interfaces and in many cases, the more convenient and versatile multi-touch screen. How often do we all do this: “I find myself reaching for my iPad to access data, rather than my laptop, even when it’s right in front of me,” says Elliot.

Perhaps we should stop thinking about our devices as “mobile” or “not-mobile” as eventually most of our machines will be mobile-enabled? Just think about how many businesses have replaced desktop PCs with laptops, even for the thousands of workers who do not travel or work from home. That was the first step. And now there’s so much more.

Elliott makes several cases for the eventual replacement of the full-client system:

  • “it’s simply more intuitive and easy to access  information using your fingertips than it is a mouse.”
  • “tablets are becoming more powerful, and supporting “traditional” operating systems like Windows”
  • “laptops are starting to come installed with multi-touch touchpads, GPS and 3G connections.”

While Elliot sees this as an inevitable evolution, I also agree with him that there are several challenges in the way that may delay the process, one of them being the plethora of new platforms (Android, Windows, iOS, etc.) that must be accommodated, requiring extra work for vendors and slower adoption by the enterprise.

You can follow Timo on Twitter at @timoelliott and Perficient at @Perficient.