Helping the business make sense of Business Intelligence


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Chances are, your role in IT has been changing as the needs of the business have changed. But the forces outside your company are now driving that change at an ever increasing pace. This environment means that you have a great opportunity to partner with your business colleagues to truly innovate rather than just do "break/fix". Understanding what business intelligence is and how it can help your business is a great place to start.

The world of business intelligence (BI) goes beyond what most think of as just "reporting". It has nuances and complexities that require a combination of skills and people. Fo​​​r example, are you ready to help your company understand the difference between analytical reporting and prescriptive reporting? What about "Big Data" and Data Mining? As a SharePoint Professional, you want to be aware of what is possible.​

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  • For over 20 years, the IT industry has been focused on keeping its systems running
    These systems have matured now to a point where they can be kept running at scale
    First started seeing this with Co-Location, and VM technology further accelerated this trend
    No different than electricity generation originally
  • Having the data, and the capability to extract useful knowledge is a key strategic asset
    If you don’t see the asset, not much else that I have to say today will matter to you.
  • Past – Economics is the art of predicting the past. Useful, but like driving while looking in the rear view mirror
    Present – KPI, real time vs real enough time
    Future – Target story about father that used Visa card and got a coupon for baby formula because his daughter had bought a pregnancy test kit with his credit card…
  • Past – Economics is the art of predicting the past. Useful, but like driving while looking in the rear view mirror
    Present – KPI, real time vs real enough time
    Future – Target story about father that used Visa card and got a coupon for baby formula because his daughter had bought a pregnancy test kit with his credit card…
  • As an example – what documents are relevant to a manufacturing operation?
    We generally focus on search, and attempt to derive relevance from usage, term matching etc, but why not be explicit as at our customer?
    Mashup production ERP data with document data to present a report in context of what is important on a particular day
  • When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail
  • Business knows the data – they have questions and need help

    You know the technology – you understand all of the reasons that things shouldn’t be done, and security, but the business just needs answers – they don’t care if you’re busy keeping things running

    You need to integrate yourself with the business and your value to the business is being well versed in BI fundamentals
  • Excel is something that the business understands and it will help you communicate and even offload work.
    Effort expended here can be upgraded to SharePoint and even to Analysis Services.
  • I would encourage those of you so inclined to look at the Lean methodology. The central tenet of Lean is to start small, and build on successes. Don’t do anything that doesn’t bring tangible value of some sort.

    The idea is MVP – Minimum Viable Product. In essence, how little can we do to have something worthwhile? Then build on it.

    Our company has built BIT….

    Everything you need for Personal and Team BI staged on a tablet
    It helps facilitate:
    Rapid Prototyping
    Rapid Data Discovery
    Modeling Tool
    Rapid Insights
    Which leads to better requirements gathering – shortens the feedback loop
  • You may not have all of the data that you need. So buy some!
    Lots are free – Time intelligence tables
  • This wouldn’t be possible with pure search. Maybe some automated tagging system on an hourly basis, but how difficult?
  • 30,000 – great! But so what! Not meaningful
    What value does social give us that we don’t get from email? Isn’t it just another place to go check?
  • Applying BI design principles and listening to the business users brought us to TyGraph.
    - No more in place reporting, we build a proper data warehouse, and gather the data using the appropriate sources.
    - One stat – replied but not mentioned- on average about 50% shows the value of social over email. It’s the water cooler.
    Within 2 months of inception we are either talking to or installing at 30 of the largest Yammer networks out there
  • The business – don’t just listen - ask
  • Helping the business make sense of Business Intelligence

    1. 1. John White
    2. 2.    
    3. 3. The Challenge for IT
    4. 4. IT Commoditization  Better understanding breeds greater repeatability  Greater repeatability requires less skill  Outsourcing > co-location > VM Hosting > IAAS/PAAS/SAAS  Cloud Computing
    5. 5. Growth in the cloud market is outrunning prior forecasts, according to Forrester Research Inc. (FORR), which projects a rise from $58 billion last year to $72 billion this year. The market is on course to be about 20 percent bigger by 2020 than estimated earlier, Forrester said in a report to be published today. Cloud computing has reached “hypergrowth” as businesses replace standard licensed software from companies such as Oracle Corp., SAP AG and Microsoft Corp. Bloomberg, April 2014
    6. 6. "We estimate that for every dollar spent on [Amazon Web Services], there is at least $3 to $4 not spent on traditional IT, and this ratio will likely expand further. In other words, AWS reaching $10 billion in revenues by 2016 translates into at least $30 to $40 billion lost from the traditional IT market." Baird Equity Research Technology, April 2013
    7. 7. BI can’t be commoditized  BI technologies are the tools  Data is the raw material  Insight is the product  Many have tried
    8. 8. BI Fundamentals
    9. 9. What is BI?  Reporting?  Cubes?  Big Data?  Data Science Business intelligence (BI) is the transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes. ….BI technologies provide historical, current and predictive views of business operations. Common functions of business intelligence technologies are reporting, online analytical processing, analytics, data mining, process mining, complex event processing, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining, predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics. -Wikipedia
    10. 10. A Series of fundamentals  Useful data extraction  Temporal Context  Data description (knowledge extraction)  Correct tooling
    11. 11. Useful data extraction  In Place reporting  Real Time vs Real Enough time  Data Warehousing and ETL  CRISP - Cross Industry standard for data mining
    12. 12. Temporal context  Past (reporting)  Present (monitoring)  Future (predictive analytics)
    13. 13. Data description Automatic data extraction Structured vs unstructured Manual metadata input  Data mashups Modelling
    14. 14. Correct tooling  Operational/Prescriptive Reporting  Analytical Reporting  Dashboarding  Predictive analytics  Pattern Matching
    15. 15. Getting Started
    16. 16. Know the business  Business knows the data  You know the technology (and some data)  Business user data tool of choice – Excel  IT user tool of choice – SQL Server  Business gets frustrated, leads to governance violations  Need to come together for value  PowerPivot a middle ground
    17. 17. Moving ahead  Gather your data  Work with familiar tools  Go for quick wins and build on them  Excel/PowerPivot is a great place to start  Keep the goals clear
    18. 18. Minimum Viable Product
    19. 19. Think BI
    20. 20. Other “BI” data driven systems  SharePoint search driven content  Credit card fraud  Google placed ads  Cortana
    21. 21. Example – Document Relevance  The Challenge  Production relevant documents  The Solution  Explicit relevance  Warehouse document metadata with SSIS  Mashup with SQL Server  Surface in SharePoint with SSRS
    22. 22. Example – Yammer analytics  Social data is out there  Social networking has value, but how much?  Existing tools focus on vanity metrics  Easy to grab  False sense of progress  i.e. 30,000 new signups this month!  Nothing answered the real burning questions
    23. 23.      