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Entries in business analytics (5)

Monday
Jan302012

How to leverage Big Data for your business

Now that we've defined exactly what big data is, the next logical step is to discuss what we can do with it. What's the best way to handle the heaps of data that your business is taking it? Well, it's hard to say but we can talk about the steps necessary to leverage big data for your company thus leading to increased profitably and engagement with the customers. 

Outline goals

Interestingly, this is also the first steps in gathering business analytics. It's just not possible to become a more efficient company when you haven't even really defined what efficiency is. Outline the key indicators for success and then monitor how they are evolving. 

Don't get overwhelmed 

It can be easy to feel intimidated by having to deal with such large quantities of data. However, realize that most of it is actually not beneficial to the company. Once you outline your goals and key metrics, stick to them. A tip to help from getting overwhelmed is to enlist the help of multiple departments. Big data is the domain of everyone from the management to sales to marketing. 

Get the right people and technology

Exactly as it is. Get the right software for gathering the data then invest in employees skilled enough to interpret it. While these may seem like daunting expenses initially, they'll pay off in the long run. 

Finally, be prepared to make changes

Gathering data really serves no purpose if it doesn't influence your business' tactics in any way. Be prepared to make changes to your policy frequently to keep up with the data. 

 

Friday
Jan132012

Saas BI: Pros and Cons

What are the pros and cons of gathering business analytics in the cloud? Let's take a look:

Pros

 

  • Since technology in the cloud doesn't have to be installed and maintained, it frees up more time for the employees to focus on the process of gathering and analyzing business intelligence. 
  • On a similar note, a company can start using SaaS BI technology more quickly since the installation process is bypassed entirely. 
  • Cloud vendors offer cheaper options usually since there isn't a need to purchase software or hardware (however, keep in mind that the cost will depend on the amount of usage).

 

Cons

 

  • Since technology in the cloud is still growing, it may be less complex than on-premise software but also less functional.
  • And of course, there's the always present concerns about security. Many IT professionals worry about the safety of data being sent over IP connections. 

 

Even though the pros slightly outweigh the cons in my analysis, it doesn't necessarily mean that SaaS BI is the right choice for your business. Clearly there are many factors to the considered and it seems to me that the choice will become more clear when cloud technology reaches its full potential. 

Friday
Jan062012

IT, a business within a business 

(Part 2)

So, in the previous part of this column we discussed how to set up ways to calculate the cost of IT and measure it's benefits and impact for both your company and customers. And as promised, in this piece we'll examine what to do with all of the numbers you receive. How exactly should you approach analyzing your data?

The first thing to look at is the cost of the various IT vendors and take the average of them all. If any particular piece of IT comes out above average, look into it deeper. Consider the reasons for this elevated price then take the necessary cost-cutting measures to reduce it while still maintaining  optimal customer satisfaction. The second thing to consider is what predictions can be deduced from the data. Use these to forecast the costs and benefits of your IT avenues and see how they align with the company's predicted budgets and plans. 

And finally, you arrive at optimal IT function that is both cost-effective and on track with your business's goals and budgets. 

Wednesday
Jan042012

IT, a Business Within a Business 

(Part 1)

The growth of the IT sector in businesses in recent years has made it one of the top five expenditures in a company. This puts the CIOs in a position of responsibility of reporting just what the benefits from the money spent on IT are. Since IT provides a unique service of its own it serves as  business within a business and should be treated as such. The analytics to take away from IT expand beyond technology-based metrics into the benefits a company acquires from its IT sector. While this may seem to be a daunting task, it's achievable if broken down into a few manageable steps. I'll discuss the first three today and the rest in the following part of this post. 

The first two steps are concerned with examining your IT sector, mainly the services it provides and what resources go into these services. This can show the CIO exactly what benefits the customers and business receive from IT. Then by establishing the resources the costs of IT can easily be compared with the benefits it provides for customers and the businesses. Organizing the entire IT sector and cataloging it can help set up the foundation of an easy cost-analysis. 

This is actually the third step. Gather up all the data then store it into some sort of software to make the analysis easier. Therefore once the IT performance data is gathered together information can be fed into it about how the business is using each sector and a cost-analysis model can be created. 

So to conclude this first part, setting up a method to calculate the cost of IT when compared to the impacts and benefits for both a company and its customers is actually quite simple. A discussion of how exactly to analyze this analysis will follow in the second part!

And on a personal note from SFGeneral, Happy New Year, readers! Hope you're having a good one so far. 

Wednesday
Oct052011

Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers

In these challenging economic times, we’re all a little nervous about sales and revenues.  Many of us have to do more in less time with fewer resources and with tighter budgets.  It’s just a function of the times.  I have confidence that things will get better, but in the meantime, we need to fortify ourselves for weathering the challenges.

As we turn our focus on customer acquisition, how to sell more of our products and services and get our companies growing again, as well as what new features or services we hope will clinch the desired sales, we need to make sure not to take our existing customers for granted.  We cannot take for granted customer loyalty, particularly in the current market.  Remember, our customers are facing the same challenges we are.  They could be lured away by competing products and services, or they could just end their contracts outright.  Perhaps now more than ever, it is vitally important to stay in tune with our customer’s needs, and react appropriate and timely when they need something.

Identifying your key customers can help to make this process more manageable.  Use the analytics of your CRM to rank your customers’ value to you.  Of course, every customer is valuable, but large accounts, accounts with recognizable brands, accounts that participate in forums, case studies, social media that both directly and indirectly benefits the business are key accounts to nurture.

These tasks are easily done through Salesforce’s reporting and dashboards.  Get your admin to help you out.  Based on the information you more than likely already have, you can strategize on how to shore up and build upon existing relationships.