Informed decisions that have a positive impact on the bottom line start with accurate data for business analytics. But that be a challenge if employees still rely on email for analyzing, communicating, and collaborating.
Mike Ostrowski, Vice President, Technology at Mainline Enterprise Digital Solutions, presents a webinar January 12 on turning your data into actionable business insights. Mike spoke with Noreen Chase of SocialBizUG.org about the webinar and a better approach to turning information into insight.
Noreen Chase: Tell us about your upcoming webinar, “The Force (of your Data) Awakens! Turn your Data into Actionable Business Insights by Leveraging Social Software.”
Mike Ostrowski: Organizations today do a pretty good job of generating reports and dashboards and delivering them to end users. That’s what I call table stakes. But just because I get the information, that’s not the end of the story. That’s really the beginning of the story.
With a dashboard, you’ll see an indicator on it that’s red. Well, what do I do? How do I act upon it? Look, analytics are great. They deliver information, but then you need to act on it. In some cases, I need to interact with my people to do something or I need to ask other people questions to help me figure out what’s going on. The purpose here is to enlighten people about two things: social analytics and action analytics, which is basically taking analytics and adding collaboration features and mobile features. That way, information is obtained with your dashboards which allow you to act upon it in a successful manner. It’s basically catching what companies are already doing today from a port and dashboard delivery to action.
How is mobile being integrated into companies’ data analytics efforts?
Ostrowski: Almost every company is doing something around mobile. They may not be a mobile enterprise in that everything they do is mobile, but there are uses cases in almost every organization where they are doing something around mobile.
Here’s an example. A retail organization delivers its information to store managers and district managers around inventory levels. Now, with a dashboard, someone sees something that’s red around inventory levels. Well, what does he want to do? He’s got a problem, so he wants to go and re-order something. Instead of making that person flip over to some other screen, or if they are traveling, they can access data right from their mobile device and get their analytics. So he does and decides, at that moment, he wants to re-order. He wants that order to go into his SAP system so the stock is replenished. It’s taking report delivery and then adding the integration or collaboration to that report.
What are these integrations and collaborations like?
Ostrowski: It’s really a set of products and a concept. I have analytics, which is great and it gives me the ability to understand my business. We just take it to the next step and allow you to act upon that. We leverage tools such as IBM Connections or a mobile Verse platform to allow the analytics to be extended to collaboration and mobile devices around so it can be acted upon.
Technically speaking, it’s the concept of mashing those things together.
I’ll give you another example in retail. Dashboards are often delivered to people based on their roles. A store manager gets one report, a district manager gets a district report, and a regional manager gets a regional report. And there exists all kind of indicators, so the regional manager gets his dashboard and he notices some things that are red around salaries that are too high in some of the stores.
Well, what they would do in the past is email those store managers with the information. Well, once it is in email, there’s no governance. Can you even find it? When you use this dashboard, you want to find out who are the right people to talk about this data with so you can invite them, and someone from HR, to talk about salary ranges in their territories and have a dialogue in context on that topic. So they are not doing it in email, they are all doing it together on the dashboard. And the beauty of that is everybody can see the report while they are talking about it. But you also have a history. So six months later, if it happens again, you can go back and see what happened in the past and know how it was solved and who was involved. It’s about allowing people to locate the right type of experts to then pull them into the dialogue to solve problems about the business data. In the end, the data is just telling you that you’ve got a problem in your business. You still have to solve it.
Can anyone add more people to the community – this dashboard? Do they have that ability? Or is the community managed by just one person?
Ostrowski: Whoever is the owner can determine if they want to have tight control or they can delegate control. It can be either/or. Oftentimes, it’s a combination. If it’s around payroll, it will probably be very tight around who can gain access. If it’s around inventory, it will probably be a broader group.
So, in this webinar, people will learn that they will have the expansive ability to have real-time access to data and real-time access to problem solvers. Can you give me an example in finance?
Ostrowski: Let’s say we are doing quarterly reports, and quarterly earnings are down. The CFO uses his dashboard as he is making his preparations for the FTC and sees his quarterly earnings are down and he wants to investigate and make sure that’s right. Because when it’s a public company, once it is reported, it’s a done deal.
A CFO can add in different people from his department, add in people from sales, and add in people from product delivery to do a deep dive to their quarterly earnings to make sure it is accurate.
There are scenarios in healthcare. You may have a situation with a patient or a specific floor on a hospital and you want to invite proper healthcare professionals around their area of expertise to solve that problem.
This is definitely cross-industry. In the end, it’s all about connecting analytics to the ability to take action. You have analytics and now you want to execute actionable business insights with it. You just don’t want to look at it, you want to take action and you want to stay out of email because you don’t want to be making decisions in email.
The Force (of your Data) Awakens! Turn your Data into Actionable Business Insights by Leveraging Social Software is Tuesday, January 12, 2016, at 11 a.m. Eastern time. For more information and to register, click here.
Noreen Chase is community manager of the SocialBizUG.org, the epicenter of IBM Notes and Collaborations user groups. She has over 14 years of experience using and writing about collaboration software. She regularly interviews game changers on the bleeding edge of technology that impacts mobile, cloud, and IoT.
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