It’s been a big year for Big Data, with continued advances of interconnected technologies creating immensely large datasets. The challenge that comes with uncovering insights and developing strategies from such a colossal variety of data sources has led to the development of faster and smarter Business Intelligence tools that have changed the way businesses work, interact, collaborate and secure information.
“The new benefits that Big Data Analytics brings to the table are speed and efficiency. A few years ago, a business would have gathered information, run analytics and unearthed information that could be used for future decisions. Today, that business can identify insights for immediate decisions. The ability to work faster – and stay agile – gives organisations a competitive edge they didn’t have before.” – SAS.
Big Data is a corporate asset that’s most valuable when delivered with speed and accuracy, and measured for competitive advantage with the best tools in the market. To increase the opportunities it can bring, an organisation must ensure that there are no shortcomings in the tools used to make sense of information that could magnify their competitive advantage.
“To truly maximise the value from Big Data, your data must reflect the real state of affairs at any given moment in time. Any insights generated by AI apps must be able to adapt rapidly to fluctuations in the dynamic business ecosystem — otherwise, you’re wasting the valuable time of your data scientists and senior leadership.” – Phani Nagarjuna: Founder & CEO of Nuevora Analytics.
BI TOOLS IN THE MARKET
A critical driver for making better decisions lies in how data is analysed and how to make sense of the information it uncovers. We’ve compiled an illustrative set of BI tools available in the market for your business to harness the most value from your data in the coming year.
“Tableau helps people transform data into actionable insights. Explore with limitless visual analytics. Build dashboards and perform ad hoc analyses in just a few clicks. Share your work with anyone and make an impact on your business. From global enterprises to early-stage startups and small businesses, people everywhere use Tableau to see and understand their data.” – Tableau.
“Search and explore vast amounts of data – all your data. With Qlik, you’re not constrained by preconceived notions of how data should be related, but can finally understand how it truly is related. Analyse, reveal, collaborate and act. Qlik lets you turn data into insights across all aspects of your business.” – Qlik.
Microsoft Power BI
“Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools to analyse data and share insights. Power BI dashboards provide a 360-degree view for business users with their most important metrics in one place, updated in real time, and available on all of their devices. With one click, users can explore the data behind their dashboard using intuitive tools that make finding answers easy.” – Microsoft Power BI.
“Yellowfin offers the only analytics platform that combines machine learning, visualisation, collaboration and storytelling to provide customers with the quickest time to value.” – Yellowfin.
SAS Visual Analytics
“With SAS® Visual Analytics, now everyone can discover, share and collaborate on insights. Visualise data in new ways with features in our new release – including third party customisable graphs, a refined user experience to improve productivity, self-service data preparation, and the power of location analytics to visualise data in new contexts and bring the ‘where’ dimension to the forefront. These enhancements will highlight and provide understanding for key relationships, outliers, clusters and more, revealing vital insights that inspire action.” – Andrei M: CTO at Data Science Central.
“Sisense’s BI software makes it easy to instantly reveal business insights from complex data – any data source, any size.” – Sisense.
Gartner Magic Quadrant For BI & Analytics 2017
There are a lot of players in the BI market, and Gartner Magic Quadrant 2017 highlights which tools are the top performers.
BI PREDICTIONS FOR THE COMING YEAR
“We asked users, consultants and software vendors of BI and data management technology to rate their personal view of the importance of twenty trending topics that we presented to them. Data quality/master data management, data discovery/visualisation and self-service BI are the three topics BI practitioners identify as the most important trends in their work.” – BARC’s BI Trend Monitor 2018.
Here in Australia, Contexti’s own experiences, and those reported by our partners, align to these top three trending topics. Whilst visualisation and self-service BI are well recognised, the strength of the current trend toward Data Governance (data quality, MDM, security) has strongly spiked.
Data Quality & Master Data Management (MDM)
Master data management is achieved by standardising, matching and consolidating common data elements across Big Data sources such as customer, supplier or product data from disparate applications or silos into a single master view of an organisation’s data.
Data quality plays a big part in this, as post-validation is essential for master data. This includes conducting a baseline assessment to identify any potential data quality issues that must be addressed.
For an organisation to be successful with MDM, a clear strategy must be put in place, including KPIs, data management process, and documentation of data domains.
Data Discovery & Visualisation
Data discovery is about mining through the data your business has collected from its many sources by visually navigating through it to detect patterns and outliers. Data visualisation is critical because it facilitates a better understanding among key decision makers in an organisation of what the information represents.
Data discovery tools such as Microsoft Power BI, Qlik Sense and many more have enabled businesses to overcome many business problems through fast access to advanced functions, algorithms and interactive dashboards.
Self-service BI allows business users to access and work with corporate data even though they do not have a background in data mining or statistical analysis, giving them ability to carry out BI tasks without involving the IT department.
“Functional workers can make faster, better decisions because they no longer have to wait during long reporting backlogs. At the same time, technical teams will be freed from the burden of satisfying end user report requests, so they can focus their efforts on more strategic IT initiatives.” – Information Builders.
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Though many businesses understand the importance of Big Data Analytics and its potential to impact business growth in the areas of marketing, finance and operations, not every organisation knows how to achieve these benefits. One key to unlocking value is harnessing the power of Advanced Analytics.
“Advanced Analytics is the autonomous or semi-autonomous examination of data or content using sophisticated techniques and tools, typically beyond those of traditional business intelligence (BI), to discover deeper insights, make predictions, or generate recommendations.” – Gartner.
Data mining, machine learning, predictive & prescriptive analytics, pattern matching, neural networks and location intelligence are just some of the categories that make up Advanced Analytics. Whilst the applications of Advanced Analytics are many, here are five ways it may help your business.
#1 – RISK MINIMISATION
All businesses have some level of risk, including possibilities of fraud, intellectual property theft and ransomware. Fortunately with advanced analytics, these risks can be measured, identified and acted upon.
“Advanced analytics capabilities enable clearer visibility into the challenges associated with managing the many types of risk in such key areas as operations, regulatory compliance, supply chain, finance, ecommerce and credit. By using analytics to measure, quantify and predict risk, leaders can rely less on intuition and create a consistent methodology steeped in data-driven insights.” – Deloitte.
#2 – INCREASING CUSTOMER LOYALTY
“With improved customer experience and service, and more efficient operations leading to increased customer acquisition and retention, companies are realising what advanced analytics can do for their operations. And as these data-driven strategies take hold, they will become an increasingly important point of competitive differentiation.” – Tribridge Connections.
Advanced analytics is changing the way we engage with customers. We are now able to use data to predict consumer buying behaviours that help with micro-targeting, up-selling and churn management.
#3 – EFFECTIVE PROMOTIONAL STRATEGIES
Ensuring that marketing efforts are effective requires an organisation to invest in promotional strategies that are based on data rather than theory. Today’s business environment requires data to support effectiveness claims and seeks marketing results that are not usually achieved without the sophistication that advanced analytics enables.
Predictive analytics based on machine learning technologies can help in this regard, as the various predictive models can be used for customer segmentation, analysing customer engagement, collaborative filtering, up-selling and prioritising leads.
“Predictive analytics appears to have the potential to double marketing success measures in customer engagement and targeted sales across B2B and B2C industries.” – Daniel Faggella: CEO & Founder of TechEmergence.
#4 – BETTER DECISION MAKING
Data-driven decision making derived from Advanced Analytics enables businesses to decrease costs, increase revenue and achieve regulatory compliance.
“Companies that make better decisions, make them faster and execute them more effectively than rivals nearly always turn in better financial performance. Not surprisingly, companies that employ advanced analytics to improve decision making and execution have the results to show for it.” – Bain & Company.
#5 – IMPROVING EFFICIENCY
“A Big Data and Analytics Implementation can help companies uncover ways to make operations more efficient and effective by improving asset efficiency and streamlining global operations.” – IBM.
Predictive analytics tools such as Optimotive, Infer and SAP Predictive Analytics allow businesses to optimise operations and be better prepared to respond to changes in the marketplace.
Companies that are actively analysing and using data are experiencing the rewarding benefits of staff and operational efficiency. For example, companies can now build forecasting models that accurately predict sales volumes, optimise preventative maintenance or perform optimal resource scheduling. These models are swiftly trained, self-optimise and can accommodate highly complex input considerations, or computations at great scale. This allows businesses to consider the use of data types they’d not previously have been able to harness, such as detailed data from customer website use or use of assets such as machines and vehicles.
To discuss Advanced Analytics and other topics, please contact the team at Contexti – +61 2 8294 2161 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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“There is a new position, the Chief Data Officer. It’s a good idea, but there has been poor execution. What has been happening is taking a CIO and giving them a new title of CDO. However, it should be the Chief Data Monetisation Officer. The job is to determine how to monetise the data you have available. This should be an economics person rather than IT person.” – Jacob Morgan: Principal of Chess Media Group.
Businesses making it a top priority to bring in a Chief Data Officer are doing so as a means to ensure the quality, governance and performance of their Big Data projects are at their best. The threat of losing opportunities from disruptive innovation and the fear of being unable to manage the exponential growth of data has been a key reason for the large increase in hiring for this role.
“For some organisations today, data has become such an explosive part of business that they have created a Chief Data Officer (CDO) position to reside next to the Chief Information Officer and the Chief Technology Officer. This evolution clearly acknowledges that data in the business setting is separate from the systems running it. Beyond that, it recognises that data has a value that, if fully exploited, can help drive profitable business.” – Wired.
With business acumen, ability to lead change and suitable IT awareness as initial qualifiers, there are many other factors that an executive leader should take into consideration before taking the leap and appointing a Chief Data Officer. Here are a few;
#1 – Establishing A Clear Outline Of Roles & Responsibilities
First and foremost, in order ensure the new executive you’re bringing on board is set up on a path to success, it’s important to present the leadership team with a clear definition of roles & responsibilites, and a solid understanding of what the organisation is hoping to achieve. This will help the CDO create a roadmap that is aligned with the organisation’s goals and highlights potential obstacles that need to be addressed, as well as minimise border skirmishes with CIO and CTO peers. The CDO must be suitably empowered and supported to equip them to succeed. The role is unlikely to deliver the required value to the business without authority and support, especially given the CDO’s remit can include challenging existing practices and contributing to digital transformation within the organisation.
“A successful roadmap should divide the implementation into logical phases in order to reduce implementation risk. Phases should be around three months in duration. Taking on all the metrics and goals at the same time or in large chunks is very risky primarily because business users lose interest if they are not engaged on an ongoing basis. Prioritise your roadmap phases in order of importance to your business so that you reap the most benefits from your analytics early in your roadmap and provide justification for additional phases. Strong early success provides the critical mass and positive impression about analytics which leads to stronger business adoption.” – StatSlice.
#2 – Building The Right Team
“As well as a financial cost, there’s obviously also a cost in human resources and time. If you have data scientists bumbling their way through hundreds of projects with no clear aim, or decoding terabytes of data you have no clear, immediate use for, they’re likely to be unavailable, or distracted, when something of real value comes along. Having the right people with the right skills in the right place is essential.” – Talend.
Part of the responsibility of a Chief Data Officer is to hire the right team and effectively navigate the success of Big Data projects. In order to put together an A-level team, there needs to be a clear set of qualities, characteristics and expectations of prior experience that the CDO must look out for in the hiring process. A considered approach to recruitment and selection, recognising the change process the business must navigate, will help to select the stand-out candidates that are most suitable for the role.
One example is hiring a Data Scientist. Some of the most important traits include statistical thinking, good communication skills, creativity, curiosity, and of course, the right technical skills.
“A great data scientist has a hacker’s spirit. Technical flexibility is as important as experience, because in this field the gold standards change with an alarming rate. Data scientists work together, love open source, and share our knowledge and experience to make sure that we can move at the speed of demand. If your data scientist is a quick study, you’ve made a sound investment beyond the current trend cycle.” – Datascope Analytics.
#3 – Strategic Allocation Of Budget & Resources
“Analytics – the ability to find meaningful patterns in data – can help manage costs, lead to efficiency and better decisions, increase services and make better use of capital.” – Carlos Londono: Global Supply Chain VP at Owens Illinois Inc.
A CDO is responsible for the cost, schedule, delegation of tasks, coaching and technical performance of a Big Data project. In order to be able to implement change, invest in the right technology and systems for processing data, oversee and guide the team and achieve a profitable outcome, effective project management techniques must be adopted to keep track of whether objectives and KPIs are being met.
Among these is also the responsibility to determine which which project management method is most suitable for the project, a popular choice among many organisations being the Agile method.
“By delivering the work in small increments of working – even production ready – software, those assumptions are all validated early on. All code, design, architecture and requirements are validated every time a new increment is delivered, even the plan is validated as teams get real and accurate data around the progress of the project. But the early validation is not the only benefit that Agile brings, it also allows projects to learn from the feedback, take in new or changing requirements and quickly change direction when necessary, without changing the process at all.” – Gino Marckx: Founder & Business Improvement Consultant at Xodiac Inc.
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“Each year computers are getting faster, but at the same time we as humans are getting better at using them.” – Daniel Gutierrez: Data Scientist at AMULET Analytics.
Augmented intelligence is the use of information technology to elevate human intelligence. It focuses on the assistive role of AI, highlighting the fact that it is designed to enhance human intelligence rather than replace it, by helping employees understand and keep up-to-date with the increasingly digital world that we live in.
Sean Gourley, CEO of Stealth Machine Intelligence Company, describes Augmented Intelligence as “humans and machines learning together to solve very, very difficult problems that neither one can solve by themselves.On the one side, you’ve got a very complex world, and we use mathematics to simplify it, and the other side, we’ve got the human version 1.0, where we use visualisation to enhance our natural cognitive ability, and It’s being used to solve some of the most difficult problems in the world.”
Companies like Quid, CognitiveScale, Eolian and Virtualitics are using Augmented Intelligence to improve their business outcomes, with many other emerging start-ups following the lead. Here are some examples of how the interface between humans and machines can help you increase the success of your organisation.
#1 – CONTEXTUAL DISCOVERY
Contextual discovery refers to the early phases of research where new knowledge or different ways of thinking about a subject are introduced. With the combined power of machine learning and human curation, contextual awareness across the entire data and analytics workflow is impacted.
“Augmented Intelligence enables contextual discovery so users can find what they’re looking for based on natural language queries and context of their work.” – Vice President of Brand Experience at Brainspace.
#2 – ENABLING OPPORTUNITIES ACROSS THE ORGANISATION
“Augmented Intelligence is the perfect marriage of machine learning and human intuition, enabling any user to become a data scientist; R&D can use it to research patents, HR can use it for workforce analytics, or corporate investigators can use it to explore cases.” – Brainspace.
Augmented Intelligence serves multiple purposes in an organisation across sales, finance, HR, operations and marketing departments, helping with the streamlining and classification of data, increasing savings, enabling better employee management and resource allocation whilst also reducing human error.
“Using augmented intelligence to make suggestions to staff, and to record their response, means that humans and the machines can work together to come up with the best solutions. There is less need to worry that people are going to miss important actions or take wrong decisions because of the visibility of what’s going on.” – Dataconomy.
#3 – FASTER & MORE ACCURATE INSIGHTS
“Quantitatively, the speed with which users can extract key insights with machine learning can save your organisation significant time and allocated costs. Augmenting worker intelligence allows your organisation to extract valuable data hidden in all corners of the company and connect it in ways that make sense to human users.” – Brainspace.
Time management is of high importance in every organisation. With augmented intelligence, the ability to extract meaning from unstructured data and present it logically enables the organisation to derive higher quality insights more quickly.
“AI developers are looking for opportunities to augment our abilities, and to develop tools to do tasks that we cannot do. Consider healthcare professionals, who only have seconds or minutes to make huge decisions.” – Ronald Van Loon: Director of Advertisement.
#4 – SECURITY ANALYSIS
Using AI, a business can analyse reams of structured and unstructured data and identify errors and security breaches faster than any human alone. Augmented Intelligence tools, like IBM Watson, are proving to be effective at this.
“Dozens of organisations are already working with this technology and helping discover new ways Watson can be used in the fight against cybercrime. In the future, bots will seek out network vulnerabilities, diagnose them, and recommend ways to patch them — all while working seamlessly with cybersecurity experts, who will be even more valuable in the fight against cybercrime because they have been trained in the use of augmented intelligence.” – Sandy Bird: Chief Technology Officer at IBM Security.
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In a fast-paced, constantly evolving digital era, time waits for no one. Agility, fast recovery from failure and adaptability to change continue to grow in importance for businesses who want to remain competitive. The capability to be this sort of business requires the right team and right technology.
Agile refers to a type of project management used often for software development. Tasks are divided into short phases of work and plans are frequently reassessed and adapted.
Here’s three ways an agile approach to Big Data Analytics can improve the success of an organisation.
#1 – DECISIONS & DELIVERY IN NEAR-REAL TIME
Data science allows us to make sense of the information we collect, and identify the valuable insights hidden in terabytes of structured and unstructured data. That being said, Big Data projects can be uncertain in nature if the right delivery methods are not used. This is where agile comes in.
“The principles and practices that are collected under the Agile umbrella all focus on validating assumptions as early as possible in the delivery lifecycle, significantly reducing the risk exposure as the project continues. By delivering the work in small increments, even with production-ready software, those assumptions are all validated early on. All code, design, architecture and requirements are validated every time a new increment is delivered. Even the plan is validated as teams get real and accurate data around the progress of the project.” – Gino Marck: Head of Agile Competency Center, EPAM Canada.
#2 – TEAM EFFICIENCY & COMMUNICATION
For a team to truly embrace agile, an interactive, adaptable and feedback-driven culture must be fostered in the organisation. The ability of a team to communicate progress and change direction when needed is crucial to the success of any Big Data project.
“For example, Ruben Perez, who runs a digital project management team at Scholastic Corporation, has his managers hold a daily scrum. When work is moving fast, you have to ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction, he says. “The scrum manager holds a 15-minute check-in every day to ensure that the tasks that have been slotted for a particular sprint are on track and that nothing is blocking forward progress. Anything that is standing in the way is assigned to someone to resolve—separately.” – The Economist.
#3 – IMPLEMENTING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
“Shorter product cycles, compressed delivery times and pressures from a global economy require employees to thrive on change and be empowered to make decisions in near–real time. To power this sort of agility, companies must have the right technology—tools that allow for instant communication, collaboration and centralised platforms. And they’ve also got to establish and nurture an adaptive culture. Changing directions in a large organisation with long-established processes isn’t easy.” – The Economist.
Once the right culture is set in place, working with the right tools is what makes agile possible. An organisation must select the technology that will best cater to the transformation they’re after. Luckily, there’s no shortage of options. We’ve rounded up a few that you may find useful.
#1 – JIRA
With key features like issue tracking, bug tracking, kanban boards, workflows and the ability to customise the dashboard to meet the needs of your business, this software is the among the most popular project management tools available.
#2 – PLANBOX
Built as a four-level platform supporting Scrum Methodology, Planbox allows members across the business to collaborate, plan, and deliver projects, as well as enabling agile software development. Its features include release management, iterations, stories, backlog, prioritisation, scrum roles, sprints, estimated hours and story points.
#3 – ASANA
Asana is the ultimate progress tracker that helps you visualise your team’s work and follow up on individual tasks on a kanban board, calendar or list. It’s a flexible tool that adapts easily to an organisation’s scrum practices. With work efforts and communication in one place, team members can ensure that they have full clarity on sprint plans, milestones, launch dates and backlog.
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Agile project management tools:
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Harnessing the power of Big Data, and finding the right set of tools that will enable your business to efficiently generate value from it comes with its challenges. Successfully utilising the power of technology starts with a shift in culture, adopting a data-driven mindset and clearly identifying the business challenges you are looking to address with data analytics.
“The biggest challenge of making the evolution from a knowing culture to a learning culture—from a culture that largely depends on heuristics in decision making to a culture that is much more objective and data driven and embraces the power of data and technology—is really not the cost. Initially, it largely ends up being imagination and inertia.” – Murli Buluswar: Chief Science Officer at AIG
Businesses can use information derived from data to increase their efficiency and success in many ways, like automating processes and gaining in-depth knowledge of target markets. This month, we’ve gained insights from five businesses who are front-runners in the data analytics game.
#1 – AMAZON
“The next time you contact the Amazon help desk with a query, don’t be surprised when the employee on the other end already has most of the pertinent information about you on hand. This allows for a faster, more efficient customer service experience that doesn’t include having to spell out your name three times.” Eleanor O’Neill: Writer at ICAS.
Amazon, the online retail giant, has mastered the art of ecommerce. By embracing cutting edge technology to analyse and make use of the massive amount of customer data they have access to, they have become the pros of supply chain optimisation, price optimisation and fraud detection. With sophisticated advertising algorithms, and leveraging their
Amazon Elastic MapReduce platform for machine learning, the company has built an empire by providing goods to their customers faster and cheaper than their competitors, as well as exceptional customer service.
“Amazon.com Inc is a leader in collecting, storing, processing and analysing personal information from you and every other customer as a means of determining how customers are spending their money. The company uses predictive analytics for targeted marketing to increase customer satisfaction and build company loyalty.” – Jennifer Wills: Owner of JDW Writing.
#2 – GOOGLE
“Google is of course an expert in Big Data. They have developed many open source tools and technologies that are widely used in the big data ecosystem. Using many different Big Data techniques, it is capable of sifting through millions of websites and petabytes of data and to give you the right answer within milliseconds. How do they do that?” – Datafloq.
Aside from their impressive search engine, google’s strategy of mining data and placing targeted ads in front of customers who have used free google products before has been a key factor in their success, allowing them to track customers based on their behavior and interests. Google’s service offering to businesses looking to get their ads in front of the right customers has been a huge revenue builder for the organisation.
“Google has not only significantly influenced the way we can now analyse Big Data (think MapReduce, BigQuery, etc.) – but they probably are more responsible than anyone else for making it part of our everyday lives. I believe that many of the innovative things Google is doing today, most companies will do in years to come. Although these days Google’s Big Data innovation goes well beyond basic search, it’s still their core business.” – Bernard Marr: Founder & CEO of Bernard Marr & Co.
#3 – NETFLIX
With a user base of approximately 99 million, data scientists at Netflix collect and analyse a colossal amount of behavioral data to reveal insights for decision-making in a way that differentiates them from competitors like Stan and Amazon Prime Video.
“From predicting the kind of content that would garner high viewership to recommending content to specific users, Netflix uses data everywhere. In fact, since its days of being a DVD-by-mail service, Netflix placed prime importance on collecting user data and building a recommendation system. Cinematch was the first algorithm behind their recommendation system. After launching their streaming media service in 2007, it took them 6 years to collect enough data to predict the sure-shot success of their first original production ‘House of Cards’. Data accumulated from numerous sources influence decisions regarding shows. Not only user data, Netflix also observe data generated by piracy sites. “Prison Break” is a hit show on that front.” – Toai Chowdhury: Author at upX Academy.
#4 – AMERICAN EXPRESS
“The AMEX team now comprises 800 data scientists globally. American Express claims the lowest fraud loss rate on their records, and among the lowest in the industry. The company states that benefits from fraud improvement alone have paid for their investments in Big Data.” – Randy Bean: CEO & Founder of NewVantage Partners LLC.
AMEX has improved their identification of customer attrition using IBM’s SPSS predictive analytics modelling software. The model delivers a list of prospective customers at highest risk, which allows the organisation to communicate with methods such as direct marketing and follow-up calls.
“American Express increasingly is moving away from focusing on its traditional function of providing credit for consumers and providing merchant services for processing transactions, and toward actually making the connection between consumers and the businesses that want to reach them. The company is using its vast data flows to develop apps that can connect a cardholder with products or services. One app looks at past purchase data and then recommends restaurants in the area that the user is likely to enjoy.” – Bernard Marr: Founder & CEO of Bernard Marr & Co.
#5 – APPLE
“With the help of Big Data Analytics and Hadoop cloud, Apple has positioned itself as not just one of the best tech companies around, but one of the best companies period. That reign will likely continue into the future as Apple utilises Big Data in new and exciting ways.” – Jonathan Buckley: Founder & Principal of The Artesian Network LLC.
Apple’s partnership with enterprise experts like Cisco, Deloitte, IBM and SAP has impacted their success as a powerful presence in the mobile market, with millions of loyal customers around the world. The wide range of apps they have released for banking, insurance, travel and entertainment; and the launch of wearable devices like the iWatch, Apple is collecting more customer data than ever before.
“As well as positioning itself as an ‘enabler’ of Big Data in other people’s lives, it has also been put to use in its own internal systems. Apple has often been secretive about the processes behind its traditionally greatest strength – product design. However it is known that Big Data also plays a part here. Data is collected about how, when and where its products – Smart phones, tablets, computers and now watches – are used, to determine what new features should be added, or how the way they are operated can be tweaked to provide the most comfortable and logical user experience.” – Bernard Marr: Founder & CEO of Bernard Marr & Co.
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“Deep Learning has had a huge impact on computer science, making it possible to explore new frontiers of research and to develop amazingly useful products that millions of people use every day.” – Rajat Monga, Engineering Director at TensorFlow & Jeff Dean, Senior Fellow at Google.
With innovation driving business success, the demand for community-based, open-source software that incorporates AI & deep learning is taking over start-ups and enterprises alike. We’ve rounded up a few successful deep learning technologies that are making a big impact.
#1 – TensorFlow
TensorFlow is an open source software library that uses data flow graphs for numerical computation. Nodes in the graph represent mathematical operations, while the graph edges represent the multidimensional data arrays communicated between them. With extensive built-in support for deep learning, TensorFlow can compute any algorithm that can be expressed in a computational flow graph.
“TensorFlow was built from the ground up to be fast, portable, and ready for production service. You can move your idea seamlessly from training on your desktop GPU to running on your mobile phone. And you can get started quickly with powerful machine learning tech by using our state-of-the-art example model architectures.” – Google Research Blog.
#2 – IBM PowerAI
Offering a collection of open-source frameworks for deep learning in one installable package, IBM Power AI claims to simplify the installation and system optimisation required to bring up a deep learning infrastructure.
“PowerAI makes deep learning, machine learning, and AI more accessible and more performant. By combining this software platform for deep learning with IBM® Power Systems™, enterprises can rapidly deploy a fully optimised and supported platform for machine learning with blazing performance. The PowerAI platform includes the most popular machine learning frameworks and their dependencies, and it is built for easy and rapid deployment. PowerAI requires installation on IBM Power Systems S822LC for HPC server infrastructure.” – IBM
#3 – Intel Nervana
Nervana Systems, acquired by Intel last year, is now known as Intel Nervana and referred to as ‘the next big shift inside corporate data centers.’
“Nervana has built an extensive machine learning system, which runs the gamut from an open-sourced software platform all the way down to an upcoming customised computer chip. The platform is used for everything from analysing seismic data to find promising places to drill for oil to looking at plant genomes in search of new hybrids.” – Aaron Pressman: Senior Writer at Fortune.
This state-of-the-art deep learning system is made up of curated, enterprise-grade collections of the world’s most advanced deep learning models and is updated on a regular basis.
“The Intel® Nervana™ Deep Learning Studio, a suite of tools with an easy-to-use interface, dramatically simplifies the deep learning process and accelerates time-to-solution. After you import your data, you can extend one of our state-of-the-art models or build your own. Then, you can kick off training with single click and track progress on the dashboard. All the capabilities of the platform are also accessible via a powerful command line interface.” – Intel Nervana.
#4 – NVIDIA Deep Learning SDK
‘The NVIDIA Deep Learning SDK provides high-performance tools and libraries to power innovative GPU-accelerated machine learning applications in the cloud, data centers, workstations, and embedded platforms.’ – NVIDIA.
Offering a comprehensive development environment for building new GPU-accelerated deep learning algorithms, and the inclusion of libraries for deep learning primitives, inference, video analytics, linear algebra, sparse matrices, and multi-GPU communications, your business could dramatically increase the performance of existing applications.
“With the updated Deep Learning SDK optimised for Volta, developers have access to the libraries and tools that ensure seamless development and deployment of deep neural networks on all NVIDIA platforms, from the cloud or data center to the desktop to embedded edge devices. Deep learning frameworks using the latest updates deliver up to 2.5x faster training of CNNs, 3x faster training of RNNs and 3.5x faster inference on Volta GPUs compared to Pascal GPUs.” – NVIDIA.
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“Big Data does not only refer to online activity but also to behaviour offline, including use of credit cards or even smartphones, which send GPS locations and records behaviour. The existence of large volumes of data that can be used for different applications provides those willing to data mine and analyse with several opportunities.” – Daniel Abela: Owner & Managing Director at Redorange.
In the past few years, Big Data analytics has become a game-changer for many businesses worldwide, with profitable outcomes achieved in successful startups like Treasure Data and MapD, and large enterprises like Amazon and Apple. With new and innovative technologies continuing to launch at a rapid pace, the potential for growth won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
“The integrated use of analytics, Big Data, the cloud, the Internet of Things (“IoT”), mobile, and application development—is driving change at unprecedented rates. Our digital economy is subject to Moore’s law and digital transformation has become the new normal.” – Forbes.
Here’s some examples of how you can use data analytics to grow your business.
#1 – Business Intelligence For Better Decision-Making
“No matter what BI application is used, the reality is that organisations are continuously searching for ways to get more value out of their data. BI provides one of the best ways to transform data sources into interactive information that can lead to better decision making and planning.” – Lyndsay Wise: Solution Director at Information Builders.
The aim of business intelligence is to generate value, insight and support better decision-making. With a myriad of BI tools in the market delivering real-time insights on user-friendly dashboards, businesses have more power than ever when it comes to leveraging information to their advantage. We’ve rounded up a few successful ones to help you decide which tool is right for your business.
With the ability to easily combine your data sources and get detailed reports in an instant, Qlik has been deemed as an effective and user-friendly analytics tool by its users.
“With the Associative engine at its core, Qlik Sense lets you discover insights that query-based BI tools simply miss. Freely search and explore across all your data, instantly pivoting your analysis when new ideas surface. You’re not restricted to linear exploration within partial views of data. And you get total flexibility with a cloud-ready data analytics platform that supports the full spectrum of BI use cases – ideal for any analyst, team or global enterprise.” – Qlik.
“Designed to be used by people who need to consume and analyse large amounts of data but have little or no prior experience in data crunching.” – Forbes.
An industry leader in business intelligence tools, this agile tool lets you analyse and visualise both big and disparate datasets and adapts to the needs of your business.
“Our Single-Stack™ architecture takes you from data integration to visualisation with a single BI software solution, eliminating the need to use additional tools.” – Sisense.
Microsoft Power BI
“It is the exact visually-appealing, dynamic, and user-friendly tool every developing company needs, and has thus brought a number of critical benefits.” – financesonline.com.
Power BI is a set of business analytics tools designed to analyse data, share insights, provide a 360-degree view of important metrics available on all devices, receive real-time updates and provide hundreds of connections to popular business apps.
“Power BI can unify all of your organisation’s data, whether in the cloud or on-premises. Using the Power BI gateways, you can connect SQL Server databases, Analysis Services models, and many other data sources to your same dashboards in Power BI. If you already have reporting portals or applications, embed Power BI reports and dashboards for a unified experience.” – Microsoft Power BI.
#2 – Digitisation Of Business Processes For Operational Efficiency & Customer Retention
“Spoiled by user experiences on Google and Amazon, people are increasingly demanding enhanced digital access to their records, as well as instantaneous access to the services they’re buying. This increases the pressure on traditional companies and leaves them vulnerable to disruption.” – Sharon Fisher: Content Strategist at The Economist Group.
Digitisation of people and processes is the future of business. The end-to-end customer experience design of your business can make or break your competitive edge. As demands and expectations grow, automation and optimisation become key to customer retention and organisational productivity.
“Intuitive interfaces, around-the-clock availability, real-time fulfillment, personalised treatment, global consistency, and zero errors—this is the world to which customers have become increasingly accustomed. It’s more than a superior user experience, however; when companies get it right, they can also offer more competitive prices because of lower costs, better operational controls, and less risk.” – McKinsey & Company.
Using Big Data analytics to implement automated operational strategies into your business model can be both a cost and time effective strategy, as well as an enabler for revenue growth.
“Automation gives fast growing companies the tools to keep up, but the how-to-get-there can seem like a daunting task. Any successful owner, founder, or CEO knows you have to plan for growth. That plan should include finding the right technology that can scale with your business — and automation must be integral to that plan.” – Salesforce.
#3 – Innovation & Growth Using Big Data Analytics Powered By Cloud Computing
“Whether making the decision to move to the cloud is instigated by economics or the ever-increasing speed of business, organisations need to get data-driven faster, and turning to the Cloud sooner rather than later may just be the answer.” – Dataversity.
Companies who maximise their use of analytics have a faster rate of growth and are in a stronger position to innovate than those who don’t. Using the cloud as a platform for speed, scale, customer engagement and innovation has increased the performance of the companies below.
Atlassian – “Aussie startups are thriving thanks to cloud technology services. Atlassian, a company that sells $100m worth of software to 130 different countries per year is an Australian startup success story. Atlassian has grown from a tech startup making clever use of cloud technologies, to an internationally renowned, billion-dollar company.” – Amazon Web Services.
Founded in 2002, Atlassian is a software company with various collaboration tools used by enterprises and startups worldwide.
“Atlassian uses AWS to scale its issue-tracking software applications faster than before, provide improved services to tens of thousands of global customers, and enhance its disaster recovery and availability. The Australia-based organisation provides software that helps developers, project managers, and content managers collaborate better. Atlassian uses Amazon EFS to support customers deploying JIRA Data Center on AWS, and also runs an internal issue-tracking application platform on AWS.” – Amazon Web Services.
Pearson – Founded in 1998, Pearson is a global online education provider that offers learning resources to a wide range of people, from preK-12 education and higher education to industry professionals.
“Pearson is using the cloud to transform the way it delivers education worldwide. The cloud is enabling Pearson to establish a more flexible global hybrid infrastructure with common systems and processes, which frees up resources to invest in new, more web-oriented educational products that deliver measurable outcomes for learners. This is part of an enterprise-wide business transformation that will help accelerate the company’s shift towards fast-growing markets — like South Africa and China — and educational products that are increasingly digital in nature.” – Forbes.
Judo Capital – “Working with cloud based services and capabilities, provided by Itoc, has enabled us to remain focused on our true mission, while achieving our vision of an IT-less future.” – Graham Dickens: Chief Technology Officer at Judo Capital.
Judo Capital, built by a small group of highly experienced bankers, is a specialist financier designed to address the financial needs of Australian SMEs. Using Itoc, a provider of a range of cloud and DevOps services, they have been able to leverage growth through better decision-making.
“Designed and built from the ground up in just 6 months, the Judo team and their technology partners have created a new breed of platform, a true ecosystem in the cloud that supports real time effective distribution of information, transparent communication and decision making. The result of which empowers Judo bankers and brokers to deliver an unrivalled service and provide customers with the opportunity to gain insight and transparency into the renowned ‘dark art’ that is today’s customer experience of SME lending.” – Richard Steven: CEO of Itoc.
For more resources, please see below:
Business Intelligence Tools
Businesses Leveraging Cloud Computing