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Is Your Organization Ready for Self Service Analytics?

The Trend Towards Self-Service in Business Intelligence – Are You Ready?

According to Gartner, a major shift is occurring in the balance of power for companies. Business users and other departments outside of IT need to have access to the data they need for Business intelligence (BI) and analytics and quickly find answers on their own. For the average user, making use of  data can be daunting though. After all, the perception is that it would take an expert to access and make use of their unstructured data.

The technologies that make it easy to identify, explore, verify, analyze, report, predict, and share information exist today.

As they gain access to critical data, business users will have to be prepared for the task of preparing data for analysis. Rita Sallam, Research Vice President at Gartner, explains that “Data preparation is one of the most difficult and time-consuming challenges facing business users of BI and data discovery tools, as well as advanced analytics platforms.”

In response to this shift, companies will have to enlist tools that empower workers to prepare and analyze data for insights without mastering algorithms and data science. Accordingly, Gartner predicts that by 2017, most organizations will give their users and analysts access to self-service tools that automatically prepare data for analysis.

Preparing for Self-Service Analytics

Currently, most companies are not prepared for the shift from IT to the everyday user. Gartner’s research shows that 70% of users in organizations lack a statistical background and, in spite of this, do not use BI tools that could help them process data. Without access to BI tools, employees are forced to juggle spreadsheets to make sense of all the information that’s coming in from multiple sources.

Another problem arises in that users lack confidence in the quality of the data they need to make decisions. A vast amount of data is streaming into companies, and much of it is unstructured. Information comes in from legacy databases, ERP systems, CRM applications, and real-time operations, and customer transactions on your website and mobile applications.

Challenges

As employees from different departments begin using analytics, they need to be able to judge the quality of the source data they use to make decisions. In its list of the top 5 BI problems, Information Management cites ignorance about data quality as a contributing factor to lack of BI readiness. Without the correct information, your business will miss out on insights that could help you collaborate, streamline business processes, and improve customer service.

Business Intelligence = Empowerment

The tools that most users need to harness the power of BI and analytics are out there. You don’t need to be an expert in BI or data science to use IBM Cognos Analytics. This unified solution eliminates the need for data prep. You can feel confident in the accuracy of the source data because data governance is built right in. With IBM Cognos, data is curated so you eliminate risk and can trust the validity of decisions you base on your information.

Solution:

IBM Cognos Analytics bridges the gap between governance and self-service with:

  • A user-friendly interface
  • Natural language intelligence to respond to queries in your own keywords
  • A personalized dashboard to replace spreadsheets
  • Graphic reports to easily identify patterns and trends

As companies move BI processes from IT to the general workforce, be prepared by arming your team and organization with the latest self-service BI analytics tools.

Contact us today and we can provide recommendations tailored to help you on your journey to better self-service analytics and better business decisions.

SQL Tech Tip: UNION ALL vs. UNION?

When doing a union query, is it better to use UNION ALL versus UNION? The UNION will try and eliminate duplicate rows between the two queries and essentially does a select distinct on the entire query. Most of the time when doing a union, users build the queries so that each query returns unique results and therefore they don’t need UNION. So, if you have a slow union query, try changing to UNION ALL. Bottom line: UNION ALL does not remove duplicates, therefore it is faster than UNION.

Thanks to our two expert consultants Brian and Emily for providing this great SQL tech tip!

IBM Cognos Houston User Group Meeting

Don’t MISS this great event!

Join Capitalize for a free IBM Cognos User Group meeting on August 2nd in Houston. This meeting is a great place to network and meet other Cognos users, exchange information and get real value in an interactive, live demo format. Get involved today and help us make the Houston IBM Cognos User Group an awesome and successful group for all things Cognos. REGISTER NOW to save your spot!

Agenda:
8:00-8:30   Breakfast compliments of Capitalize
8:30-9:00   Welcome, Idea Solicitation
9:00-9:45   Update on Cognos Analytics (v11)
–          Should you upgrade? When?
–          Upcoming Mapping Integration
–          Rave 2
–          Upgrade Path
9:45- 10:15   Break/Networking
10:15-10:50  Making Report Studio reports More Dynamic With In-Body Prompts
10:50-11:30  Demystifying Page Sets, Master Detail Relationships, For Highly Formatted Reports
11:30-12:00  Round-Table: User Group Planning, and Future Strategy
Time permitting: Discussion on cube/columnar technologies

Event Details:
August 2, 2016 8:00am-12:00 – Complimentary breakfast provided
IBM Houston Office
2 Riverway (Omni Hotel Complex)
2nd Floor, Rooms 234 & 235
Houston, TX 77056

REGISTER NOW

7 Reasons You Need Predictive Analytics

Right now, data is pouring into your organization – from sensors, social media, enterprise systems, and other sources. Hidden within this data are valuable insights that can give your organization a competitive advantage – but to find them you need the right analytical techniques. How do you unlock big data secrets? IBM SPSS predictive analytics can help you support your organization’s use of big data and unlock the secrets hidden. SPSS enables users to:

  • Expand both the sources and quantity of data they analyze.
  • Extract actionable insights and create more accurate predictions.
  • Deliver the business results that your strategy and competitive pressures demand.

Predictive analytics has entered the business mainstream. It is now widely considered an essential business practice to sustain competitive advantage. How can you achieve 7 critical business goals using predictive analytics? Read the white paper by expert Eric Siegel where he highlights 7 business goals you can only fully achieve by applying predictive analytics techniques. See how advanced analytics can help your organization more effectively:

  • Secure a competitive stronghold.
  • Increase sales and retain customers.
  • Maintain business integrity by managing fraud
  • Advance your core business capability competitively.
  • Meet today’s escalating consumer expectations.
  • Do more than evaluate the past; learn from it.
  • Render analytics truly actionable.

Big data is here to stay. And you need the most advanced analytics to capture, organize and analyze it – as well as capitalize on the business value it provides. If you’re considering predictive analytics or looking for ways to advance its use in your business, we can help you discover new opportunities to become more competitive. Contact us today to have a discussion.

Ever wondered what browsers, data sources, etc. IBM Cognos supports?

Here’s an easy way to find out!

  • IBM websites move around so start by googling “IBM Cognos Supported Environments”. The first set of links should be correct but make sure they look similar to the below.IBM Cognos
  • Click one of the links and you should be taken to the following page where you can select the version of IBM Cognos you are interested in.

IBM Cognos Blog

  • You’ll see below the version that you can get information about “Operating Systems”, “Software”, “Hardware”, etc. In our example we are interested in data sources and web browsers so we’ll click software.

IBM Cognos Capitalize blog

  • The following report will come up. Normally you’ll click on the “Supported Software” tab.

Capitalize IBM Cognos Blog

  • From here you can print the entire set of supported software environments or link down the page to the desired area. In this case we’ll link to the “Web Browsers”.

Cognos Supported Software Environment_5

Cognos Supported Software Environment

  • If you are interested in exactly what is/is not supported for a given environment you can click “View” in the “Details” column to get more information.

Cognos Support Software

  • For more detail about what is supported by component click the “Components” tab. You’ll notice that some of the older and/or client-side environments don’t work in Chrome for example.

Cognos Supported Software Environment_7

Cognos and Google Chrome

  • You can do the same for nearly anything that interacts with IBM Cognos such as data sources.

Cognos Data Sources

Note: These reports are kept very up to date so check back often if you’re looking for support for a new database or OS release.

Houston Cognos User Group – Call for speakers and topics

Get involved today and help us make the Houston IBM Cognos User Group an awesome and successful group for all things Cognos. We’re looking for speakers to share their success stories with Cognos. If you are interested in being a guest speaker or presenter at the August 2nd meeting, let us know and we will get you on the agenda!

We would also love to hear what topics you are interested in or what you would like to see covered in the upcoming user group meeting. Please shoot us an email or complete our topic suggestion/guest speaker form and let us know if you would like to present or provide some topics that you would like us to address in our upcoming event in August. So, get involved today – mark your calendar for the next IBM Cognos Houston User Group event August 2nd @ 8:00am-12:00! Register now.

Event location:
IBM Houston Office
2 Riverway (Omni Hotel Complex)
2nd Floor, Rooms 234 & 235
Houston, TX 77056

Can’t miss live webinar on SPSS Modeler

Learn how YOU CAN use SPSS Modeler for predictive analysis. Join Capitalize Analytics and our Managing Partner, Eric Soden on the hot topic of predictive analytics on June 15th @ 10:00am CDT. IBM and analysts talk about predictive analytics like it is the holy grail of BI but no one ever shows how to DO it! You don’t have to be in IT or have a PhD in statistics!

In this webinar, we’ll take a hands-on approach showing you exactly how SPSS modeler works. We know you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is to dip your toe into predictive analytics and data science.

Register now.

Predictive Analytics – Crystal Ball?

How Everyone Can Harness the Power of Predictive Analytics

We would all love to have a crystal ball to tell us what will happen in the future or what we should do next, but, unfortunately, that isn’t reality. In the business world, having insight into possible future scenarios and recommendations on what to do next would be a wealth of information. It could help us grow sales & retain customers, secure a competitive stronghold, enforce security policies by detecting fraud and much more. Our data can reveal current conditions and possible future developments, we just need to tap into it.

Whether you are a data scientist or a general user, IBM SPSS can help your business integrate predictive analytics with decision management. You can predict possible future outcomes with confidence, which will improve business processes, minimize risk, and strengthen customer retention and loyalty. It’s the closest thing to a crystal ball we can get! Regardless of where data originates or is stored, you can process the information to make sense of it and gain actionable insights and direction.

How does predictive analytics work?

You don’t have to be an expert analyst or a PhD.  Watch this series of 5 short videos on how predictive analytics is being used and making a big impact in organizations in various industries such as law enforcement, education, retail, and insurance. To dig even deeper, register for our free webinar on June 15th, 10:00am (CST), where we will take a hands-on approach, showing you exactly how SPSS modeler works.

Predictive Analytics Video

 

The Trend Towards Self-Service Analytics

According to Gartner, a major shift is occurring in the balance of power for companies. Departments outside of IT will increasingly have access to the data needed for Business intelligence (BI) and analytics. For a lot of employees, making use of Business Intelligence and analytics data can be daunting. After all, the perception is that it would take an expert, a data scientist, or a PhD to make sense of all the unstructured data.

As they gain access to critical data, employees outside of IT will have to be prepared for the task of preparing data for analysis. Rita Sallam, Research Vice President at Gartner, explains that “Data preparation is one of the most difficult and time-consuming challenges facing business users of BI and data discovery tools, as well as advanced analytics platforms.”

In response to the power shift and the related skills gap, companies will have to enlist tools that empower workers to analyze data for insights without mastering algorithms and data science. Accordingly, Gartner predicts that by 2017, most organizations will give their users and analysts access to self-service tools that automatically prepare data for analysis.

Preparing for Self-Service Analytics

Currently, most companies are not prepared for the shift from IT to self-service analytics. Gartner’s research shows that 70% of users in organizations lack a statistical background and, in spite of this, do not use BI tools that could help them process data. Without access to BI and analytics tools, employees are forced to juggle spreadsheets to make sense of all the information coming in from multiple sources.

Not only does this manual manipulation of data take an enormous amount of time, but there is a lack of confidence in the quality of the data when everyone is manipulating the data how they want. A vast amount of data is streaming into companies, and much of it is unstructured. Information comes in from legacy databases, ERP systems, CRM applications, and real-time operations, and customer transactions on your website and mobile applications.

The Challenges of Data Governance

If you don’t have confidence in the information you are using for critical decision-making and you don’t have the right information in the hands of the right people, your business will miss out on insights that could help you collaborate, streamline business processes, and improve customer service. As users take over analytics duties, they need to be able to judge the quality of the source data they use to make decisions.

Business Intelligence Tools Mean Empowerment for Everyone

The tools that users need to harness the power of BI and analytics are out there. You don’t need to be an expert in BI or data science to use IBM Cognos Analytics. Data from across your company becomes valuable information when it can rapidly flow from process contributors and management decision makers. All users have read and write capability as required for contribution, ad hoc analyses and “what-if” scenarios. And a rich web interface is perfect for a distributed environment where many of your team members work remotely across business units and geographies.

This unified solution eliminates the need for data prep. The software automatically collects, cleans, and prepares the data for analysis. You can feel confident in the accuracy of the source data because data governance is built right in. With IBM Cognos, data is curated so you eliminate risk and can trust the validity of decisions you base on your information.

This cutting-edge BI software bridges the gap between governance and self-service with:
• A user-friendly interface
• Natural language intelligence to respond to queries in your own keywords
• A personalized dashboard to replace spreadsheets
• Graphic reports to easily identify patterns and trends

Today, you need speed and actionable insights and as more and more companies move BI processes from IT to the general workforce, you must be prepared. Arm yourself with the latest self-service data preparation and BI analytics tools.

Do you need help with getting started with self-service BI and analytics for your organization? Schedule a call or meeting with us today, we would love to help get you started.

June Cognos Training Savings Event

We are kicking the summer off with our June Cognos training savings event, register today for one of the classes below, enter discount code JUNE2016 and receive 10% off of the training prices shown below.

Training Event Classes offered:

Report Studio
June 13-15: Report Studio Fundamentals (3 days): $2,100
Register here

June 15-17: Report Studio Advanced (2 days): $1,400
Register here

Framework Manager
June 13-17: Framework Manager (5 days): $3,500
Register here

Capitalize is a certified IBM Training Partner utilizing formal IBM materials. All of our instructors are certified consultants who consistently get 4.5 or above ratings (out of 5). Please contact us if you have any questions about training.