4 reasons why big data isn’t coming for your job

One of the key misconceptions about big data and machine learning is that algorithms will replace human data scientists. There is something of a debate around whether a team of analysts is better or worse than a well produced algorithm, but the truth is that the most effective way to prise actionable insights from your data is to make the most of both. While a machine eliminates human error, a human is vital for contextualising and creating a narrative from the insights, as well as working around the limitations of the data.

It only makes sense that CTOs and other decision makers should utilise the best aspects of machine and human performance. While they both have extremely strong points, there are drawbacks to both. Humans are a limited resource, as data scientists are in hot demand right now. Further, we can only process so much information at a time. On the other hand, big data without human input is still essentially just raw data. Let's explore why humans are still critical to leveraging useful insights from big data.

1) Humans understand the difference between correlation and causation

Just because two variables appear to be linked does not mean that they are.

Here's an interesting statistic. Between 2001 and 2009, per capita consumption of mozzarella cheese rose at almost the exact same rate that civil engineering PhDs were awarded. Is it because qualified civil engineers are known to eat stretchy cheeses exclusively? Is it because the cheese industry is handing out scholarships? Or is it simply a random coincidence?

Just because two variables appear to be linked does not mean that they are. You've heard the phrase "correlation does not imply causation." It might sound obvious because there is a clear lack of causation between mozzarella sales and civil engineering doctoral graduates (or vice versa), but when every metric you are reporting through your big data analysis tools relates to your business, it's often difficult to distinguish correlation from causation. A human consultant can help you differentiate the substantial relationships from the meaningless.

The difference between correlation and causation in big data.Is mozzarella the key to completing a PhD in civil engineering? No, no it isn't.

2) It takes a human to ask the right questions

When we say "ask the right questions" we mean identifying the right parameters and constraints for your analysis. A useful simile here would be asking a toddler what they want to have for dinner. They will likely reply "ice-cream", "candy", or "cake" and of course they did, because you didn't set realistic parameters for the question. All of the toddler's responses are legitimate answers to your query, but they don't get you any closer to a real, workable solution.

Such is the case with leveraging insights from big data. Asking the wrong questions usually means getting the wrong answer, but in some cases these incorrect responses can appear to be useful, actionable insights. Making decisions based on this information can be disastrous, The key lies in understanding how to use your analytics platform as well as how to engage with it to produce the information you desire. This is something that can be taught, but it must be taught by a human data scientist, without whom you might be left with the enterprise equivalent of a toddler in a sugar-rage.

Why is it essential to ask your analytics tool the "right" questions?Asking the wrong question almost guarantees you'll get the wrong answer.

3) Imprecise data collection leads to imprecise results

There are a few ways in which the data you've collected can be biased. This is particularly true in the case of user-data. In your marketing department, you might have metrics to collect data from those who have engaged with your website, ads, or other digital properties. The issue here is that this information doesn't represent your target demographic as a whole, but only those who have already engaged with you. Subsequently, analysis of this data will relate to your users only, not necessarily your target market as a whole.

A human analyst understands the limitations of data collection.

In the healthcare sector, you may be using patient records to help you provide a greater level of care. Since there is no centralised medical record database, anything you collect from the archives you can access will be limited. Whether this data covers a geographic area or a particular kind of ailment, the data set could be either too small for meaningful insight or too specified to be of much use on a larger scale.

A human analyst understands the limitations of your data as well as collection methods, helping you make more informed decisions based on the information that is available. Note that biased data can still be useful, as long as the bias is acknowledged and, as previously discussed, you're asking the right questions.

4) Humans provide all-important context

There's often talk of "creating a narrative" with data insights, and this is very much a skill that, at this point, belongs to human analysts alone. While visual analytics platforms can deliver a huge amount of value and simplify difficult relationships in order to inform business practice, a meaningful interpretation and simplistic explanation are what turns this information into good, workable decisions.

AtoBI can not only help you implement the right solutions, we can make sure your human staff have everything they need to get the most out of your data analysis tools. For more information, get in contact with us today.

What is machine learning and how is it used?

Machine learning is a term that's used frequently in the tech world but for some, it's still a source of confusion. Of course, we're all familiar with the concept of AI, and that's what machine learning seems to be describing, however they aren't interchangeable. Machine learning isn't so much about your smart fridge becoming self aware and asking difficult existential questions – It's more easily thought of as the algorithm that allows your preferred media streaming platform to learn what you like and make smart recommendations.

Systems built around machine learning have created massive changes in the digital world and this technology is helping facilitate positive change our analog lives as well. Let's take a look at what machine learning is, how it works (we'll keep it simple, don't worry) and how it's already making waves.

What is machine learning?

Machine learning describes algorithms developed to process and apply complex calculations to large sets of data, detect patterns and "learn" without being explicitly programmed. While such algorithms have existed for a while, the reason they are becoming increasingly prevalent in big data and analytics is because we've developed the tools to let these algorithms do a lot more, a lot faster. Big data guru and best-selling author Bernard Marr describes it in very simple terms, which we'll paraphrase here:

Think of your data set as a huge number of images. A considerable number of these images are of cats, and each image is labeled either "a cat" or "not a cat". The algorithm analyses each image and determines that all photos labeled "a cat" have similar characteristics. The algorithm has essentially learned what a cat looks like. From here, you could feed the algorithm images and ask it to identify which ones are of cats.

Machine learning: If an algorithm can learn what a cat looks like, what else can it do?This one is definitely a cat.

The key difference between AI and machine learning

The concept of artificial intelligence is over 3,000 years old.

In order to differentiate these two terms, we first need to look briefly at what artificial intelligence is. This concept is over 3,000 years old – artificial beings have been present in myths and legends dating back to the Indian philosophy of Charvaka circa 1500 BC, though the concept has existed in its current form since the birth of computer science in the early 20th century. At its most basic level, artificial intelligence describes a computer capable of mimicking the human decision making process.

Modern AI development generally falls into two areas. The first is applied AI, in which a system is designed to undertake a particular task. For example, this might be AI designed to react to real-time environmental data in Google's self-driving car. The second area is generalised AI, where a system is designed to be theoretically capable of handling any task.

An example of this would be AI research firm Deep Mind's "Alpha Go" algorithm, which beat the best living human Go player (for some context, Go is a 2,500 year old abstract strategy board game that's far more complex than chess – there are famously more possible board configurations than there are atoms in the visible universe). So, while applied AI reacts, generalised AI preemptively strategises.

Machine learning is a subset of general AI, and it was born from researchers experimenting to see whether computers could learn from patterns in data. The definition of AI might encompass what we know as machine learning, however machine learning only describes a fraction of what defines AI.

What's the difference between AI and machine learning?Machine learning doesn't refer to a machine capable of mimicking the human thought process, but such a machine would (will?) be built on similar tech.

Where is machine learning applied?

We've mentioned self-driving cars and algorithms that recommend video or audio media based on your history, so we'll skip over those for now.

  • Healthcare

Machine learning in healthcare is one of the most meaningful and profoundly game changing applications to date. Analysis of medical data is already being used to detect the early stages of breast cancer, and to reduce the incidence of avoidable hospitalisation for patients with diabetes. Additionally, it's allowed us to identify tuberculosis in chest x-rays and to gain a better understanding of risk factors for disease in large populations.

  • Security

From identifying malware variants to predicting security breaches, machine learning is helping us to stay protected in an age where cybercrime is one of the greatest threats to businesses. Not limited to digital security, algorithms using image recognition can help identify red flags that human personnel might miss in screening processes at airports, stadiums and other public places.

  • Marketing

With a dramatic increase in the revenues for collecting customer data, machine learning has helped us to refine marketing strategies to be more personalised. We're able to make smart recommendations of products, custom tailored offers, specialised newsletters and accurately targeted ads, all of which shepherd customers towards a sale. It's difficult to engage customers without knowing what they want, but with machine learning we don't have to.

  • Financial services

Banks, investment platforms and other financial institutions can use machine learning technology to gather valuable insights from data which can identify investment opportunities and inform investors when to trade. The speed with which these insights can be generated is responsible for these companies making smart decisions that regular old humans didn't have the processing power for. From establishing more people-friendly solutions to stock market predictions, machine learning is of great benefit in this area.

  • Search engines

You may or may not have noticed that search engines are a lot better than they used to be. This is because machine learning has helped platforms such as Google better understand how we interact with search results. This includes watching how users respond to results to provide a more personalised service, as well as determining which websites are best answering common queries and ranking them in order of usefulness. Machine learning is helping us get the information we need, quicker. Businesses can look at search engine algorithms and tailor their content to perform better in search.

Are you ready to find out what machine learning processes can do for your business? Get in touch with AtoBI today.

AtoBI and Outcome Health: A collaborative relationship

 

At AtoBI, we pride ourselves on building ongoing partnerships with businesses that equip their teams with the skills needed to execute powerful Business Intelligence (BI) solutions. Through our consultancy, training and support services for organisations across Australia, we empower them to use BI in new and exciting ways.

No relationship better exemplifies this than the one we’ve built with Outcome Health, a Melbourne-based healthcare organisation. Outcome Health supports Primary Health Networks (PHNs), GPs and other primary healthcare professionals with a range of digital health solutions. Their Chief Information Officer Jason Ferriggi talks about the relationship he’s built with our team over the past six years and how we’ve helped Outcome Health come up with innovative solutions to resolve some tricky scenarios.

The beginning of the relationship with AtoBI

We approached Jason about six years ago. At the time, he was facing the challenge of having a large amount of data that needed to be presented in a more user-friendly format. In an attempt to find a solution to his problem, Jason decided to review all the BI tools currently available. At this point he hadn’t heard of Qlik or AtoBI.

“AtoBI wanted to come in and have a chat,” he recalls. “I said, ‘you know what, what do I have to lose? Come in guys and show me what you’ve got!’ They came in on a Friday afternoon around three o’clock and I said ’30 minutes guys, do your best.'”

“They showed me how the Qlik product worked and their experience with it and I was just blown away. I remember downloading the trial version that night and had my first report going in about two hours. I automatically saw the value in the tool.”

Ever since then, Jason’s been a firm advocate for Qlik and AtoBI, which is why he continues to use us in his current role at Outcome Health.

“[Qlik] hit the main characteristic of what a BI tool needs to be and that’s usability. It needs to be intuitive and it needs to break down the fear people have of interacting with tools in order to find some kind of analysis or insight.”

Helping Outcome Health out with the tricky stuff

As a digital health solutions provider, Outcome Health have their own in-house dev team that uses BI on a daily basis and handles most of the necessary work.

“AtoBI have been there to support us with the things we really need help with – not just your run-of-the-mill scenarios.”

“Our own team can handle about 90 per cent of our Qlik issues. AtoBI are our go-to people when we hit that 10 per cent,” says Jason. “We only go to them with the really hard stuff. They’ve been there to support us with the things we really need help with – not just your run-of-the-mill scenarios.”

“We may develop some things and we’re not 100 per cent sure whether we’ve done it correctly or whether it’s been optimised properly. So we ask AtoBI to come in and review our work – almost like an insurance policy – and that gives us peace of mind that we’ve done it right.”

So, what are some of these sticky scenarios?

PHN reporting

Outcome Health works closely with a number of Australian PHNs. These entities are looking to receive funding to implement services that will benefit the community by getting them the healthcare they require. Because the financial decisions are based upon data, Outcome Health helps present it in a visual format that can be easily interpreted by all stakeholders.

The organisation built a report suite that gives PHNs the ability to interpret their data, and we’ve worked in close collaboration with them to help refine that report.

“We’ve come up with a really good shell and structure, and AtoBI are really adding value to the report so that it’s more usable for the PHN customers,” says Jason.

Rate calculations

Recently, we also helped Outcome Health with some rate calculations in dashboards they were using for population health.

“One of the developers came up with a solution that as far as I know hadn’t been done anywhere else in the world. He’s come up with an amazing method of doing something that I didn’t think was possible,” says Jason.

“That’s the kind of problem solvers AtoBI are. They like being chucked in the deep end.”

“That’s the kind of problem solvers AtoBI are. The more complicated the issue, the more they seem to like it. This is unusual, because generally everyone likes to know what they’re doing, but they like being chucked in the deep end.”

General practice reporting

We also stepped in to assist with another report Outcome Health was using to monitor people who require a diabetes cycle of care. Because this report required manipulating the Qlik model in a different way, Outcome Health asked us to come in and help them build the page from scratch. Our developers built a data model and front end to enable them to produce the report and get it out to their partners.

“The report has been very well received,” Jason remarks. “But more importantly, we were able to see another way that Qlik can be used. We learn a lot from AtoBI. They’ll come in, give us all the codes and talk us through them. At the end of every engagement the whole dev team will sit down with the AtoBI consultant and they’ll say ‘tell us what you’ve done and how you did it.'”

A collaborative approach

This is a key reason why Jason enjoys working with us – the fact that our team doesn’t just come in, implement a solution and leave, but works closely with their dev team to educate them on how they can use the Qlik tool themselves. The three most advanced developers at Outcome Health have been using Qlik for about three years now, and one junior developer has been using it for a year.

“The AtoBIs of the world are great when you get stuck.”

Jason notes that in the beginning, his team would use us for around six weeks a year. Now, engagement levels have dropped to around two-three weeks, as the Outcome Health team picks up more and more from our consultants along the way. Jason sees this as an undeniable benefit:

“We want collaboration because we want to be able to do as much of this as we can ourselves. You don’t ever know it all, but with AtoBI you know where to find resources. The AtoBIs of the world are great when you get stuck. They don’t play their cards close to their chest – they want to get us skilled up so we’re up and running. They’re about empowering us.”

Do you want to empower your organisation to use BI tools that will help you out of tricky situations? We’re always here to help! Reach out to us for more information.

4 keys to building a strong IT consulting team in Australia

 

When your employees run into difficulties with business intelligence, it pays to have a team of consultants on hand that can diagnose problems and work to find solutions. The key word there is “team.” For your consultants to band together and achieve real results, they’ll need to collaborate well in everything they do.

How can your consultants not only learn the BI skills they need, but also develop a sense of teamwork?

What does it take to build this sense of collaboration? How can your consultants not only learn all the skills they need to achieve BI success, but also develop a sense of teamwork and achieve more together than they would separately?

Building a company tech support team is no small challenge. To help smooth things along, the following are four proven strategies for forming a strong IT consulting team in Australia.

1. Align your IT strategy with your company strategy

Most business leaders, when asked to name the key to building a great tech support team, will say something about expertise with enterprise solutions for BI. The truth is that’s part of the answer, but not all of it. Ideally, you’d do more than just deploy BI solutions – you’d do so in such a way that your tech strategies aligned with the long-term goals of your business. This can take some tinkering to get right.

2. Get proactive about solving BI problems

If your team members are really in sync, they’ll be so in tune with the company’s needs that they can detect problems before they even happen. If there’s a certain skill your workforce is lacking, or a gap in the organisation’s knowledge, your team should be able to address the problem quickly and deal with it proactively.

When things go well in business, document your successes and learn from them.When things go well in business, document your successes and learn from them.

3. Learn from all of your successes

In solution consulting, you want your business partners to learn how your company works and adapt as they go. A key part of this effort is taking the time to document the problems you encounter and the fixes you discover for them. The more successes you have, the more you’ll be able to apply this knowledge and achieve at a higher level in the future.

4. Never stop communicating – or listening

IT consulting is an ongoing pursuit. Your team can’t simply listen to your concerns once and then move on – you’ve got to keep communicating and have consultants who are willing to continually listen and adjust their strategies accordingly.

To get this sort of help with business consulting, all you need to do is contact us at AtoBI.

What does it take to be a great healthcare consultant?

 

Healthcare is one industry in particular where companies often reach out to consultants for help with learning new technologies. Because the industry is evolving fast and there’s so little room for error, it’s important to have consultants keep you up to speed.

What makes a great healthcare consultant, anyway? What insights do they bring to the table?

But what makes a great healthcare consultant, anyway? What insights do they bring to the table, and what are the key mistakes they know to avoid? Consulting is challenging enough in general, but specifically in health, it requires a great deal of technical knowledge and a fair degree of industry specific business insight.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes a great Australian healthcare consultant.

Strong connections in the industry

One of the things to look for in a healthcare consultant is a professional who has a wealth of experience in the health industry and has made connections with key people who can help you advance your business goals. According to Intrepid Now, many of the top consultants are noteworthy because they’ve spent a lot of time building colleague relationships both in person and on sites like LinkedIn.

A good consultant is someone who knows not just healthcare and business intelligence, but technology as well. It’s worth going out of your way to find someone well connected.

A clear big-picture view of the business

A consultant is someone who comes into your business with an outsider’s perspective, which is challenging because they probably know virtually nothing about what you do at first. So for Australian businesses, one of the most important healthcare consultancy tips and tricks is to make sure you can find someone with the intelligence to build up a big-picture view of what you do.

You want someone who's able to see the big picture.You want someone who’s able to see the big picture.

Before you can get to work implementing business intelligence solutions for any business, you first have to get a good handle on what they do and how BI can help them do it. This is a hallmark of solution consulting – the ability to learn and adapt.

The skills to actively manage projects

Part of successful consulting is being able to deploy enterprise solutions for BI, but that’s not all of it. The job also requires being able to manage complicated business projects, coordinating the work of the many people involved.

This may seem like a significant challenge, but it becomes feasible when you have a highly qualified business consulting expert by your side. At AtoBI, we have a team of people who are well versed in providing tailored consultancy services and are ready to step up for you.

What do you look for in a business intelligence consultancy?

 

If your company needs a little help to make the most of business intelligence, it might be wise to reach out to a consulting firm that can give you the necessary guidance. Having consultants in your corner will help you smooth out any issues, technical or otherwise, that might pop up along the way.

There are a lot of consulting firms out there, and it’s not always easy to choose just one that fits perfectly.

There are a lot of these firms out there, though, and it’s not always easy to choose just one that fits perfectly. So what do you look for? How do you find a consultancy that will meet your needs?

The best business intelligence consulting strategy is built around the idea of forging strong relationships from day one and getting to work quickly. If you’re looking to usher in major BI changes in your office, you don’t have any time to waste.

Making your company’s IT changes stick

Anyone can introduce a new plan for business intelligence, but the hard part is making sure the changes actually stick. The last thing you want is to introduce a new system, see it catch on, then watch people backslide into old habits within a week or two.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, this is one of the key things to look for in BI consultants – people with the persuasive ability to make sure your staff follows through. When you roll out new enterprise solutions, you want to align your IT strategy to the overall goals of the organisation and get the entire staff to buy in. A good consultant can help make sure that happens.

Filling gaps in your staff’s knowledge

Inevitably when you start using business intelligence solutions in your office, your staff members are going to have some strengths and weaknesses with them. They’ll master some aspects but not others. Inc. Magazine notes that your tech consultants’ strategy should be to identify gaps in people’s knowledge and fill them.

Are there some gaps in your staff's knowledge about BI?Are there some gaps in your staff’s knowledge about BI?

This is what solution consulting is all about. No two organisations are alike, and one key reason is that everyone’s staff has different holes to fill in terms of expertise and know-how. Consultants should know how to fill them.

Prototyping the exact solutions you need

At the end of the day, the key is to find experts who can help your organisation overcome whatever challenges you’re up against. Whether in healthcare consulting or any other field, the objective should be to listen to you and figure out exactly the level of service you need.

At AtoBI, we’ll do this – and we’ll also help you prototype, develop and implement tailored solutions that work specifically for you. Crafting unique, personalised BI tools is what the consultancy process should be all about.

Many professionals struggle to appreciate BI – how can you do better?

Business leaders today still have work to do on IT training.

 

Business intelligence tools offer a great deal of potential to any organisation. Collecting data, analysing it and finding key truths within it is a strategy that can help companies in all sectors optimise their operations and make greater profits. In recent years, this has been proven true time and time again.

BI can only be effective if employees are fully on board.

It’s only true in a general, abstract sense, though. In practise, the hard part is that BI can only be effective if employees are fully on board. This can be difficult because analysing data is largely an IT function, and many professionals don’t have the IT skill set to match.

There’s nothing more frustrating than being asked to tackle a new project at work and not having the basic understanding or the technical know-how to pull it off. If such a problem exists in your office, it might be necessary to bring in consultants who can help smooth out the wrinkles in your operations.

Professionals aren’t satisfied with BI

There’s no doubting that companies have enormous potential in front of them when they adopt business intelligence solutions. That’s the good news. The bad news is that many companies today are struggling to reach that potential.

A recent study from software startup LogiXML found that many users of BI solutions today are not satisfied with their ability to deliver results. The company polled 575 non-technical professionals across many industries and found that 49 per cent of them aren’t happy. This figure was far lower – 33 per cent – among people who do specialise in IT. The problem is that if you’re not trained in using and analysing data, you’re bound to have trouble achieving results.

LogiXML also went one step farther and polled users about their greatest impediments to deploying BI. Unsurprisingly, 42 per cent identified issues with data analysis manpower, either saying they didn’t have the IT staffing resources necessary for BI or that their existing staff members found it too technically challenging. These are important problems for companies to address as they get deeper into BI.

Avoiding the common pitfalls

One of the major problems, as TechTarget noted, is that companies often struggle because they treat their non-tech employees like IT specialists. Many workers today aren’t ready to get into the nitty-gritty details of how to optimise BI. With them, it makes more sense to back up and answer the more fundamental question first – “What is business intelligence?”

Overcome the common difficulties that limit IT success.Overcome the common difficulties that limit IT success.

An additional challenge is timing. It’s not enough just to teach people effectively about what BI is and how to take advantage – you have to know when to teach them. Start too early, and you risk watching your staff forget everything they learned once it comes time to apply it. Start too late, and you might be diving into a project that your employees aren’t ready for. Getting the pacing right is a key element of BI success.

Consulting can address your company’s pain points

To get your employees up to speed on the potential that BI has to offer, it might make sense to work with a consultancy that can bring valuable insights to the table and help you get ahead. At AtoBI, we have the foremost experts on business consulting in Melbourne, and we’re well prepared to identify your BI needs and relay them to your staff.

There is no “one size fits all” solution that makes BI fit for everyone. Instead, every company has its own individual needs that must be met, and we take pride in meeting them. That’s why we offer tailored consultancy services to each and every client.

How technology presents challenges to the healthcare community

The healthcare community is lining up to roll out new technologies.

 

In recent years, we’ve seen the growth of modern technology do great things for the healthcare community. Public and private organisations alike have used cloud, mobile and analytics solutions to do everything from improving patient outcomes to reducing costs. Having said all of this, there are still challenges in healthcare tech that need to be addressed.

The more technology continues to improve, the more pressure the health industry will face to keep up.

The more technology continues to improve, the more pressure the health industry will face to keep up with this constant evolution and reach its full potential in terms of patient health, financial management and more.

A key challenge in the years ahead will be to identify the obstacles impeding future growth and use targeted, effective strategies for overcoming them. Consultants can certainly help in this regard.

What challenges lie ahead in health?

For those in the healthcare consulting community who are looking to leverage the latest technological advances and create more positive outcomes for patient health, there are a few roadblocks in front of them, according to recent research from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

One is finding optimal pricing strategies for prescription drugs and medical treatments. What’s the best way to arrange payment structures such that patients can afford the medical help they need, and providers can get paid? For instance, PwC found that 53 per cent of drug consumers are willing to pay for drugs gradually over time instead of all at once. Is this an adjustment that needs to be considered more? Data can help answer that question.

Another priority should be to improve and to popularise mobile applications for patients. PwC also discovered that health and fitness apps are on the rise, as only 16 per cent of people used them as of 2013, versus 32 per cent in 2015. Additionally, as mobile and cloud data gain prominence, security will be a concern. There’s a lot for healthcare business leaders to think about.

How a good consultant can help

Because using technology optimally in healthcare is so difficult, it’s common for savvy organisations to invest in consulting services that can help them get up to speed.

This happens for myriad reasons, and it’s not all a matter of handling difficult technical aspects such as using business intelligence solutions. In fact, having the right consultants in your corner can help in many other ways. Pamela Slim, a consulting expert at Escape From Cubicle Nation, has written that one key skill a consultant brings is the ability to see the big picture for your organisation, understand how the pieces fit together and develop workable solutions to complex problems.

Being able to present data effectively is a key skill.Being able to present data effectively is a key skill.

This isn’t all, though. Another key aspect of consulting is the ability to synthesise a great amount of data, turn it into an engaging presentation and deliver it in a way that people will be likely to respond favourably. This means having great interpersonal skills, public speaking ability and the willingness to embrace difficult change management challenges.

Our special approach at AtoBI

Making the most of healthcare technology is not easy, and there’s no shame in admitting that your organisation needs a little bit of help with doing it just right. At AtoBI, we are ready to provide that help. We offer solution consulting services that are tailored to the specific needs of each business.

Our goal is to study your healthcare organisation carefully and become intimately familiar with the challenges you’re facing and the strategies you’re developing to overcome them. We want to help you along this journey by designing and implementing whatever business intelligence tools you need. We have unparalleled expertise and a passion for following through on our promise to make your business better.

Consultants can help you maximise your company’s BI investment

Consultants should help your organisation address real challenges.

 

Organisational leaders everywhere have come to realise the immense power of business intelligence (BI) for improving their operations. When they devote funding to purchasing new BI solutions and using them to analyse their business, modern companies are able to find inefficiencies, address them quickly and build more profitable organisations for the future.

Most of your employees were not born with BI talent. This will take some time.

Of course, one hiccup in this process is the fact that most employees were not born with BI talent. It comes with nurture, usually – not nature. If you have a staff of people with expertise in one particular area – say, healthcare for example – it will take some time to build up their skills with BI, which is an entirely new pursuit, separate from their ordinary duties.

It might prove necessary to bring in outside help for educating your workforce. Fortunately, this is exactly what a skilled consultant should be able to do.

Is it time to hire a professional?

Maximising your IT investment is crucial to the future success of your business. Your company isn’t just investing money into BI solutions – it’s investing time as well. If you don’t make the most of BI, you’re going to waste considerable resources and, in the process, continue to run your business inefficiently.

The Huffington Post advises that it’s wise to go out and hire professionals that can bring your staff members up to speed. This is what the consulting industry is for. Specifically, when you bring in consultants, you want people who will speak your organisation’s language. If you’re looking for someone with expertise in a certain field, such as healthcare consulting, you shouldn’t settle for someone who’s just a BI generalist. Industry knowledge is key.

There’s no reason to skimp on costs when it comes to hiring consulting talent. After all, you shouldn’t view that money as an expense – rather, it’s an investment in the future of your business. You’re spending now so your organisation’s results will be much stronger later.

Find someone with the right skill set

There is one caveat to remember when looking for consulting talent. TechRepublic recently emphasised the point that not all IT professionals, even talented ones, will necessarily make great IT consultants. Someone’s skill set might look great on paper, but that doesn’t mean it will translate to the specific field you work in, nor does it guarantee they’ll be great at teaching their skills to others.

Find consultants who are ready to help with real business problems.Find consultants who are ready to help with real business problems.

Great solution consulting is about having the solutions to all of your employees’ BI issues, whether they’re big or small. People’s challenges might span many different hardware and software solutions, not to mention varying aspects of your business. A marketing BI question might require a dramatically different approach than a sales-based challenge. An adept consultant is someone who’s equally comfortable with both.

Get services tailored to your needs

If your organisation is diving into BI and hoping to optimise its investment, it makes sense to reach out to AtoBI for tailored consultancy services that will help you truly shine. We’re ready to work with your business for the long haul. We’ll begin our process by listening carefully to your concerns; then, we’ll get to work crafting BI strategies that are perfect for you.

If you’ve made the choice to invest in a new BI solution for your organisation, such as Qlik, you want to be sure you’re fully prepared for transition. Fortunately, we have many years of experience helping companies take that leap. Contact us today, and you could be next.

What skills do your staff members need to ensure BI success?

Get your entire team to embrace new BI solutions.

 

There’s no doubt that your organisation has a lot of potential once it decides to begin using business intelligence (BI) solutions. By gathering comprehensive data on your operations and analysing it in real time, you can start to make better decisions about the future of your enterprise.

It’s important to do your homework before your company takes the plunge into BI.

The only problem is that this process can be difficult, and not everyone on your staff will have a natural gift for collecting information and doing the number-crunching. You may need to go through a long-term process by which you get your employees up to speed.

It’s important to do your homework before your company takes the plunge into BI. Ask yourself the key questions: Which skills do my people have already? Which ones do they need? How long will it take to make the transition into BI a relatively seamless one?

The skills required for BI success

Deploying BI solutions and finding instant success – meaning, uncovering key truths about your operations and using the data to optimise them – is far from a guarantee. According to the Industry Skills Councils, there are a few key skills your employees will need to have if they’re going to make the most of modern technology:

  • Selecting the right solutions: For example, if your company is going with QlikView, do you have a specific reason in mind? Do you know what such a tool can bring to your organisation and how that will translate to real ROI? Ideally, your entire staff would understand the roles they’re slated to play.
  • Data analysis skills: It can be overwhelming looking at a bunch of numbers and trying to make sense of them. Looking for trends and interpreting what they mean for your business is a big challenge.
  • Maintaining data over time: As new information trickles in, you’ll need to adjust your strategies on a rolling basis. You’ll also need to maintain your company’s information, keeping it accurate and timely even as circumstances change. This will be a constant concern.

Reforming your culture around technology

To make BI success happen, what you really need is an entirely reformed corporate culture. Your entire staff needs to be on board with a new, dynamic, data-driven way of doing business.

Small Biz Trends recommends that in this effort, the first step should be to encourage all employees to learn. Getting results from BI requires having your whole staff buy in, and some people may need a little push before they can embrace unfamiliar technology.

Build a culture where everyone is comfortable with new technology.Build a culture where everyone is comfortable with new technology.

Once you have a few early adopters among your ranks, you can use your BI-excelling employees as mentors, having them provide technical support to the rest of the staff. The hope is that eventually, the necessary tech skills will trickle down to pretty much everyone.

This will be a long-term process, and it’s good to set measurable training goals along the way so you know how your employees are doing. You want to make sure everyone is improving and no one is left behind.

Consultants can make the transition smoother

Taking the plunge into BI is not always easy, which is why many companies choose to reach out for a little help from the professionals as they go. At AtoBI, we can provide just the kind of help you’re looking for. What we offer is a solution consulting service that’s tailor-made to fit the specific needs your business is facing.

Our team has many years of experience delivering BI solutions to companies that need them – sometimes with a specific focus on QlikView, sometimes not. Whatever tools your organisation needs to be successful in the future, we are prepared to deliver them. Let’s get started.