Fast Data is the New Big Data

Starting to hear a new buzzword for analytics… Fast Data. Everyone knows about Big Data that is growing almost exponentially.

It is coming to us in mind boggling sizes, from all across the Internet of Things and quicker then ever before.  The traditional 3 V’s of data (volume, variety and velocity) don’t seem to be enough anymore to describe the challenges we have before us.

SO now we are looking for Fast Data solutions, which means getting the right data you need at the right time with minimal delay.

The concept of waiting for reports to be pushed to you so you can analyze them is so 20th Century.

Now its all about being fast.

I can show you a thing or two (or a dozen) about how to supercharge your analytics by moving past management repots and even past business dashboard to start looking for solutions that get data to the decision-makers without any middle man.

Big Data is now Fast Data. Don’t get left behind.

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Join me this coming Feb 21 2017 for a Data Analytics Seminar in Ortigas where we talk about how to take your Big Data and make it your Fast Data.

DMAIPH specializes in arming the Data-Driven Leader with the tools and techniques they need to build and empower an analytics centric organization. Analytics leadership requires a mastery of not just analytics skill, but also of nurturing an analytics culture. We have guided thousands of Filipino professionals to become better analytics leaders.

To that end, DMAIPH offers a wide range of analytics centric training solutions for professionals and students via public, in-house, on-site, and academic settings. We tailor each training event to meet the unique needs of the audience. If you need empowerment and skills enhancement to optimize the use of analytics in your organization, we are here to help.

Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on which of our DMAIPH analytics training solutions is best for you.

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Big Data Analytics: Using Business Intelligence Tools – 7/11/17 in Ortigas

A good analyst uses Business Intelligence Tools like Batman uses devices stored in his utility belt.

Per Wikipedia, business intelligence (BI) tools are “a type of application software designed to retrieve, analyze, transform and report data for business intelligence. The applications generally read data that have been previously stored, often, though not necessarily, in a data warehouse or data mart.”

Knowing what business intelligence tool to employ to what data set in order to conduct analysis and present your findings requires a thorough understanding of what tools are available and what they can do.

The key general categories of business intelligence applications include:

  • Spreadsheets
  • Reporting and querying software: applications that extract, sort, summarize, and present selected data
  • Online analytical processing (OLAP)
  • Digital dashboards
  • Data mining
  • Process visualization
  • Data warehousing

By far the most common business intelligence tool used is MS Excel. Having at least a intermediate masterly of Excel is a good start in understanding how business intelligence tools work.

Learning to run formulas, insert pivot tables and produce simple visualizations using charts and graphs give a foundation in how to take data and do something with it to inspire analysis.

Using Excel also teaches you how data needs to be structured, formatted and managed. You can’t run even basic analysis activities if your data is not encoded in a way that your tools can make sense of.

Once you have mastered the use of Excel then the logical next step is using BI tools that pull data from Excel. For example, Tableau is a BI tool that can extract data from Excel to build more powerful data analysis and visualizations.

BI tools can also be used to mine data from large data storage systems like data warehouses, data lakes and data marts. Again, understanding how data is structured in important. Knowing how queries are written (for example in SQL) to extract data is important.

If you are looking to get a better understanding of what tools you should be using to analysis the data in your business, you can join my next training seminar (July 11, 2017) in Ortigas.

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Analytics Training – DMAIPH offers a wide range of analytics centric training solutions for professionals and students via public, in-house, on-site, and academic settings. We tailor each training event to meet the unique needs of the audience. If you need empowerment and skills enhancement to optimize the use of analytics in your organization, we are here to help. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on which of our DMAIPH analytics training solutions is best for you.

The Stuff of Legends

The 2016 San Francisco Giants beat the odds.

After having a horrible second half of the season, even the most die-hard Giants fans were on the edge of giving up.

But they persisted.

They didn’t give up.

The keep fighting until the last day of the season.

Then they made the playoffs.

And they beat the odds again and beat the New York Mets.

They got their shot and they made it.

Now they have even bigger odds facing them to beat the Chicago Cubs.

You can look at all the data you want, but sometimes it just comes down to things hard to measure.

Like heart.

Like persistence.

Like belief.

You need these things to make it.

I love data and use it all the time, but sometimes in life you just can’t explain how some can beat the odds.

Like the 2016 Giants.

This is the stuff of legends.

Analytics Leadership – DMAIPH specializes in arming the Data-Driven Leader with the tools and techniques they need to build and empower an analytics centric organization. Analytics leadership requires a mastery of not just analytics skill, but also of nurturing an analytics culture. We have guided thousands of Filipino professionals to become better analytics leaders. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to discuss a uniquely tailored strategy to ensure you are the top of your game when it comes to Analytics Leadership.

Things Data-Driven Cultures Do

Data-Driven Cultures Do These Things:

  1. They embrace Big Data. They aren’t afraid of it. They relish the addition of new data sources and actively look for more.
  2. Managers use Evidence-Based Management techniques. Just about every choice comes based on data analysis.
  3. Challenges are addressed with Data. When something happens that was unexpected, the challenge is met with a data centric approach.
  4. The right data is being used. A lot of work goes into validating data and keeping it clean and fresh. The concept of having a data lake that supports multiple parts of the business is in place.
  5. The have the right analytics talent. Analysts are empowered to go out and discover not just current challenges, but look for potential ones as well.
  6. The know how to communicate. The sharing of information is done to benefit everyone. You won’t see lots of data trapped in silos. Data has no one true owner.
  7. They take action based on their data and analysis. You don’t see a lot of useless reports that kills a small forest or clog up an inbox with massive files. They keep it smart and simple.

Like most of the blog posts in this series, I took inspiration from Bernard Marr when I came up with this list, adding my own analytics spin.

Data-Driven cultures are a lot harder to find then they should be. In this day and age, every company should have a strategy on how to use data to drive more intelligent decisions, but they don’t .

Success eludes many companies because they don’t have the 7 qualities listed above in place. If you were to ask what they look like it would be something akin to this:

  • Top management is afraid of data. Senior leaders don’t even know how to use MS Excel. There is no analytics champion in the organization to spearhead data projects.
  • Decisions are made based on what worked in the past, relying on experience and gut feel. There is little evidence used to go in any certain direction.
  • When things don’t work out, data and analysts take the blame. You will hear a lot of “why didn’t you tell me” and “I didn’t see it coming” excuses.
  • What data is being used is old, dirty, incomplete, full of errors and doesn’t tell the whole story. Reports are basically useless and just produced to look at what people generally already know. They look for what’s there, oblivious to what’s not.
  • They don’t not share data. They hoard it. They don’t trust anyone else with access to it. The data is stored in unconnected storage places. There is no common understanding how to use data.
  • They fail a lot. Success generally happens by hard work as much as luck. It’s impossible to know for sure what caused what to happen.

It’s not easy to take a company that has little or no data-driven decision-making and turn it into an Intelligent Company, but it can be done. I have done it. I have guided transitions from the stone age to the information age. Let me show you how.

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The Philippines is at the center of the action when it comes to solutions to the global need for analytics. Blessed with a solid foundation of young, educated and English speaking workforce, companies around the world are look for Filipino analytics talent to fill analytics positions.

DMAIPH specializes in arming the Data-Driven Leader with the tools and techniques they need to build and empower an analytics centric organization. Analytics leadership requires a mastery of not just analytics skill, but also of nurturing an analytics culture. We have guided thousands of Filipino professionals to become better analytics leaders. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to discuss a uniquely tailored strategy to ensure you are the top of your game when it comes to Analytics Leadership.

The “DMAI” in Risk & Compliance

When it comes to risk and compliance, the most successful teams are the ones who empower data-driven decision-making through the use of analytics and business intelligence. By bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies risk can be optimally mitigated and compliance best achieved.

The three primary skill sets I bring to the table are data-driven decision-making, analytics and business intelligence have served me well in both my risk and compliance work with Wells Fargo and in running my own business. Finding the right data at the right time is key to seeing potential issues before they arise, quickly solving them once they do, and putting the monitoring in place to make sure they don’t happen again.

Some of the risk and compliance successes I have achieved during my career include:

  • Managed project teams on a variety of analytics and compliance initiatives while providing guidance to less experienced consultants. This includes extensive anti-money laundering research and investigation data projects for bank remittances.
  • Identified compliance training opportunities and designed compliance training materials while with Wells Fargo Commercial Mortgage on various investment products.
  • Delivered extensive training on using big data and analytics to mitigate risk and follow compliance requirements across various financial services companies in the Philippines.
  • Have worked with a variety of internal and external resources during my 15 years with Wells Fargo to provide my expertise in analytics, risk management and compliance adherence.
  • Applied my process improvement knowledge (Lean Six Sigma) and data analysis expertise to develop corrective action plans and facilitate change with several departments of Wells Fargo and with dozens on clients in the Philippines.
  • Developed comprehensive reports and business dashboards using MS Excel, Tableau and Qlikview to deliver analysis to senior business leaders to influence the establishment of risk detection and mitigation controls. Relevant reporting topics from my time in Wells Fargo Card Services include anti-money laundering, remittance limit hits, high risk customer behavior, card services usage, competitor intelligence, household cross sell, and market penetration.
  • Worked closely with IT teams at various points in my career to develop security controls, risk monitoring tools, and QA reports to determine effectiveness of payment solutions with both Wells Fargo and within my own outsourcing business. I know how to code, I know how data is structured, and I know how data should be reported when it comes to risk & compliance.

10406025_10152524531307425_1404103117_nOverall, I have 20 plus years working in positions where managing risk and meeting compliance standards are part of the daily routine.

This has gifted me with an extensive knowledge and understanding of payment products like credit cards and remittances, fraud detection and prevention, and practical experience with risk monitoring and controls.

So from my perspective, Risk Management & Compliance needs to be neck deep in data-driven Decision-Making, Analytics and business Intelligence to be able to stay ahead of the game.

Analytics Consulting – DMAIPH specializes in a variety of analytics consulting solutions designed to empower analysts, managers and leaders with the tools needed for more data-driven decision-making. We have helped dozens of companies get more analytics in their business. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly so we can tailor an analytics solution made just for your unique requirements.

HR Analytics – Curiosity Trumps Technique

I came across an advertisement for an upcoming HR Analytics training a few days ago.

It’s a three-day class that goes pretty heavy into the technical side of HR Analytics. Like most analytics training classes being offered in the market right now there is a lot of emphasis how to gather data and report it. I am starting to see a little more emphasis in data visualization and building more dynamic reports, which is encouraging.

However, no matter what analytics tool you have, and how well your HR analysts are in using the technology, if your HR analysts aren’t empowered to really ask questions and unleash their curiosity on the people data they have access to, then you really won’t see a significant success when it comes to using data.

In addition, if your business is not ready to have an ongoing discussion about how to use the data to improve decision-making at all levels of the organization then you are not going to be successful either. You need an analytics centric culture to really benefit from all the amazing tools and techniques now available to HR teams.

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When you look over the agenda of an HR Analytics training class and you don’t see anything about culture, empowerment, data-driven decision-making, or dynamic reporting using interactive tools… then it is highly unlikely you will benefit much from sending anyone to these types of trainings.

If you would prefer to send your team to a training where your HR analysts and managers will not just learn a few techniques and demo a few tools, but really get into what it means to be an HR analyst and how HR can be at the forefront of building an analytics centric culture, then I would be happy to include them in my next HR analytics training class.

HR & Recruitment Analytics – The recruitment and retention of top talent is the biggest challenge facing just about every organization. DMAIPH is a leading expert in empowering HR & Recruitment teams with analytics techniques to optimize their talent acquisition and management processes. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to learn how to get more analytics in your HR & Recruitment process so you can rise to the top in the ever quickening demand for top talent.

DMAIPH is Good at Helping Companies Looking to Expand (1 of 3)

The first type of company we generally get involved with is companies looking to expand. Huge growth is just around the corner and there is a need to staff up quickly,    but given some uncertainty as to how much growth will be needed how soon, you want a little more flexibility in staffing. Our virtual, hybrid staffing solutions will give you access to a very talented work force that is flexible and affordable. We can also assist with developing the expansion strategy with our business intelligence package of demographic profiling, competitive landscaping and market assessment.

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Let me tell you about one of our clients who came to us in expansion mode. We started with six work from home staff who were tasked with adding key words to online auction items. Starting with a small team who would just do a small percentage of the key wording for our client. We quickly found our talent pool was very large and very deep. So we quickly built the team up to a dozen and then 25 and ultimately 50 people. We worked closely with the client at first but over the first six months also built up our own expertise to the point, the client became very hands off.

Work from home positions make a lot of sense for this work as its very independent and easy to assign, track and review. We also got past a lot of challenges with work from home team, but really building the team using social media to connect them and make them feel like part of the larger organization.  This hybrid approach where the employees feel both independent and connected has led to extremely low attrition.

We also found that in the Philippines, there are literally a million former call center employees, with college degrees, good English and the drive to do a good job who left the call center industry to spend more time with family. So our work from home jobs are right in line with their needs.

Things have worked so well, the client has had us add a graphic design team, an email-marketing team, a desktop support team and a customer care team in addition to the key word team. The key word team has added a QA team and a 2nd level support team as well.

From a financial standpoint we helped the client save a lot of money by staffing in multiple locations, added the ability to do 24/7 customer care and never miss a beat with meeting our SLA.

This is the kind of thing we can do for any company looking to expand both rapidly and strategically using our home based, virtual team solution. Just connect with me and I will explain how.

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Analytics Consulting – As a founding member of Gloabl Chamber Manila, DMAIPH specializes in a variety of analytics consulting solutions designed to empower analysts, managers and leaders with the tools needed for more data-driven decision-making.

We have helped dozens of companies get more analytics in their business. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly so we can tailor an analytics solution made just for your unique requirements.

Q10: Please talk about how, when and why we use should descriptive analytics?

Going back to our previous definition of descriptive analytics, it is used to answer questions about what has happened in a business. It is primary use is to look at the current business situation with an eye towards looking for cause and effect. It helps one to understand how to manage in the present based on what happened in the past.

The vast majority that have attended my trainings on analytics, are looking for help with descriptive analytics challenges. Using unstructured big data for predictive analytics modeling is not really something they are concerned with.

I have found that people who are really engaged with analytics are very driven to self-educate. They are driven by curiosity to make use of cutting edge stuff to tackle bigger and bigger challenges. For data scientists and really good analysts, descriptive analytics is easy and kinda boring.

But that is a small percentage of people who use analytics every day.  To most of my attendees, its more about how to cut down on the time it takes for them to prepare the reports they have to make and how to make them more useful to their bosses. That’s where most of my descriptive analytics training has an impact.

How to make a better report? How to build and maintain a simple business dashboard? How to have more impactful power point slides. How to streamline the reporting process? This is one way to look at descriptive analytics… its not just taking historical data and using it for reports, but also how to make the reports better.

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So how can we use descriptive analytics? Well, we probably already are. Inventory control, payroll, performance management, quality assurance, sales reports, marketing results… all use forms of descriptive analytics. They take what happen, they look at it and then they make decisions.

For the most part this can and is done in Excel. If you want to supercharge what you do in Excel, then you can use a business intelligence tool to build dashboards and publish dynamic reports. This is where most people doing reports need help. How to better visualize the data so it has more power and how to use BI tools to do things faster than can be done in Excel.

In many, many companies a lot of time and energy has been devoted to building reporting tools in house. And this is generally the problem. The reports are static and hard to change. If you are in a company like this, then descriptive analytics can be a bear.

To make the most of it, I suggest using free tools like Tableau Public, which is free, to demonstrate new ways to analyze and report data, to get the boss interested in updating the way you company reports.

Another big challenge facing analysts doing mostly descriptive analytics in the form of reporting, is blending data. Taking data from different data sources and combining them. This can often be very manual and general done in excel if you company hasn’t invested in a way to centrally store enterprise wide data and make it easily accessible. There are some applications out there that can help you with this, Alteryx and Qlikview being ones I have used and they both have a free demo.

If you are already doing predictive analytics, then you probably have your descriptive analytics figured out.

So, if you need help super charging your reporting, are looking to get started using business intelligence and data blending tools, and/or need to build a business case to invest more into analytics, let me know. I’m happy to help you come up with a much better way to build reports that have real impact and don’t take up all your time.

 

Prelude to Q10: Understanding the 3 different types of analytics.

The analytics efforts in a business are generally divided into 3 types; descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics.

A simple definition of descriptive analytics is that it is used to answer questions about what has happened in a business. It is primary use is to look at the current business situation with an eye towards looking for cause and effect. It helps one to understand how to manage in the present based on what happened in the past.

Per the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), descriptive analytics make use of current transactions to enable managers to visualize how the company is performing. When teaching the concept, it is generally focused on analysis and reporting to guide decision-making.

Most businesses use mostly descriptive analytics in their analysis, reporting and decision-making.

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Have to apologize to whoever made this image,  I dont know the source, but you have my thanks for making it. 

As you can see in the image, predictive analytics takes data and extrapolates patterns to predict likely outcomes. Past, Present, Past Present, Future… the goal being too provided educated guesses on what is most likely to happen next. The primary use of predictive analytics is to predict outcomes using models that will mitigate risk and eliminate choices based on unlikely outcomes.

Per CHED, Predictive analytics allows voluminous data to be used for prediction, classification and association making it very useful tool for projections, forecasts, and correlations. Most lessons around predictive analytics involve data modeling and require a much higher degree of skill then descriptive analytics.

In general, predictive analytics is used by large companies in data-rich industries. Up until recently there were very few tools available to smaller businesses to add this type of analytics to their decision-making.

Prescriptive analytics goes one step further and finds the best course of action for a given situation. Its primary goal is to enhance decision-making by giving multiple outcomes based on multiple variables.   The analogy of how doctors prescribe medicine to patients based on a wide range of variables in a patient’s health, using an equally wide range of treatment options.

Per CHED, Prescriptive Analytics help organizations develop insights to make decisions from the current data that maximizes the organization goals.  Prescriptive analytics not only anticipates what will happen and when it will happen, but also why it will happen. Largely, instruction take the model building found in predictive analytics and supercharges it with more data, more choices and more outcomes.

Prescriptive analytics is fairly new and just now gaining widespread use in the corporate world. There are not many tools available that are cheap or easy to use. Generally, you find data scientists assigned to prescriptive analytics projects. It also take us closer to some decision-making in a business being completely automated. With enough data on hand, using machine learning to analyze the data, we are starting to see artificial intelligence at play with prescriptive analytics. It is a pretty exciting time.

Its important to keep in mind that to really be good at predictive and prescriptive analytics you need both the high tech tools and the training/experience to use them effectively.

 

Last To Know? Good Leaders Like To Be The First To Know

I learned at an early stage in my career, that’s its best to tell your boss early when you have bad news.

Most people hate to be the last to know, and that feeling is magnified when it comes to someone who is responsible for making a lot of decisions.

Some think that its better to not share things with the boss that might distract them. Maybe they are too busy and you think it is just better to not interrupt them.  Maybe you are too busy and you just forget.

However, none of this is what any boss wants.

Being surprised is never a good thing when it comes to running a business. Trying to balance the budget, execute a strategic plan or deciding where to put time and energy is hindered when bad news pops up last minute.

You can find countless business experts and great leaders saying its good to get bad news early.

I bet you can’t even find one credible source that says its better to get bad news late.

And this just doesn’t go for bad news. It’s really any news that can impact the business in a significant way. And this is especially true when it come to news impacting the budget.

Having a good reporting process or regular staff meetings helps.

Always remember, without the latest and most up to date data, making good decisions is impossible.

So do yourself, your boss and your company a big favor and give them the bad news early.

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