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Thursday, 5 September 2013

Business Intelligence - Are you game for the Moneyball Process?

The importance of data-driven decision making and different aspects of looking at data was much popularized among the civic society by Brad Pitt starred Hollywood movie ‘Moneyball’ which is based on a true story.

A quick snapshot of the storyline:
“Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is upset by his team’s loss to the New York Yankees in the 2001 postseason. With the impending departure of star players, Beane attempts to devise a strategy for assembling a competitive team for 2002 but struggles to overcome Oakland’s limited payroll. Billy turns baseball on its ear when he uses statistical data to analyze and place value on the players (not star players though) he picks for the team. This resulted in Oakland’s Athletics (baseball team) set a team record of 20 wins in a row. Similar strategy was adopted by Boston Red Sox’s who won the World Series in 2004 since their first win in 1918”

(Sources: WIKI, IMDB)

What Beane had done differently that turned the game around was application of Sabermetrics (A Statistical analytics method of analyzing data points in the game of baseball). The analytics lead application of Sabermetrics helped Beane to question traditional methods of evaluation such as RBI (Runs Batted In) and batting average. It took in-depth analysis to conclude that matches were not won by players with higher batting average but by those with a higher On Base percentage (OBP), Slugging percentage (SLG). Beane formed a team based on these new metrics and other parameters.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Big Data Landscape for Supply Chain

Supply Chain of Information

Supply Chain essentially is considered to be the flow of goods and services across the manufacturing / retail value chain in order to deliver the desired goods/service to the end-customer. With the proliferation of information technology, supply chain in addition to the above mentioned components is essentially the flow of information between the different entities – Suppliers, OEMs, Manufacturers, Distributors and Retailers.

Interestingly these entities have varied touch points outside enterprise boundaries – web (social, videos, blogs etc..) handheld devices (EOBRs), RFIDs etc that makes it a challenge to control the bullwhip effect. This necessitates for a strategy to handle unstructured data (Big Data).

What the Research Says?

Organizations have realized this importance and are focusing on Big Data initiatives, but according to a research by Supply Chain Insights LLC – deriving intelligence from sources outside enterprise boundaries still remains to be a challenge.

Data Source Importance vs. Ability

Monday, 18 February 2013

Hold Hexaware Tech; target of Rs 94: Firstcall Research

Firstcall Research has recommended hold rating on Hexaware Technologies with a target of Rs 94, in its February 11, 2013 research report.

Firstcall Research has recommended hold rating on Hexaware Technologies  with a target of Rs 94, in its February 11, 2013 research report.

“The Hexaware Technologies is formed in 1990. Hexaware is a specialized IT and BPO service provider, ranked the fastest growing mid-sized company in India. The company leadership positions in PeopleSoft, HRIT, Airlines, and BFSI. It specialize in Business Intelligence and Analytics, Legacy Modernization and Independent Testing, and have around 6000 staff in 20 countries serving 156 clients globally. The experience in the business process outsourcing arena fully complements and strengthens its service spectrum and allows operating as an enterprise-class solution delivery company.”

“The solutions that aim to provide high value by optimizing cost of ownership of technology investments for customers. Hexaware has been mentioned as one of the fastest growing RIMS providers in the Gartner report titled “Competitive Landscape in India-Based Remote Infrastructure Management Service Providers” Hexaware is a leading global provider of IT and BPO services, focusing on delivering real business results from technology solutions and specializing in Business Intelligence, Business Analytics, Enterprise Applications, HR-IT and Legacy Modernization. With 156 active clients, Hexaware has achieved leadership position in industries such as Healthcare & Life sciences, Manufacturing, Travel, Transportation, Hospitality and Logistics, Banking, Finance, Insurance, Leasing and in Domains such as HR and Business Analytics. The companies leverage over 4,000 person years of project experience and 500 engagements globally, including successful implementation of technologies like PeopleSoft, SAP, Oracle Applications, CRM and Microsoft Dynamics to affect an increased ROI from clients’ ERP investments.”

Monday, 11 February 2013

A Proactive Approach to Building an Effective Data Warehouse

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – The famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein applies as much to Business Intelligence & Analytics as it does to other things. Many organizations that turn to BI&A for help on strategic business concerns such as increasing customer churn, drop in quality levels, missed revenue opportunities face disappointment. One of the important reasons for this is that the data that can provide such insights is just not there. For example, to understand the poor sales performance in a particular region during a year, it will not just help to have data about our sales plan, activities, opportunities, conversions and sales achieved / missed, it will also require understanding of other disruptive forces such as competitors promotions, change in customer preferences, new entrants or alternatives.

Thomas Davenport, a household name in the BI&A community, in his book ‘Analytics at Work’, explains the analytical DELTA (Data, Enterprise, Leadership, Targets and Analysts), a framework that organizations could adopt to implement analytics effectively for better business decisions and results. He emphasizes that besides the necessity of having clean, integrated and enterprise-wide data in a warehouse, it is also important that the data enables to measure something new and important.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Big Data becomes friendly in 2013

Many organizations are in the phase of evaluating the Hadoop platform . Certainly Hadoop has been the only option to handle large unstructured data for organizations that run their business handling unstructured data like Google, Yahoo.  For others Hadoop positively provides an opportunity to look at data (Dark Data) which they haven’t considered as part of the Enterprise Data Warehouse.

In the process of defining and executing a proof of concept with Hadoop platform, we generally face two challenges which are:

The need for developers to acquire new skills to handle different programming languages related to Hadoop. It’s not easy for a developer who has worked on a GUI based ETL tool like Informatica to work on Hadoop ETL process.

The means to visualize the results from Hadoop, definitely we need outputs which are more than a search engine output

2012 can be seen as the year which brought in lot more tools and utilities related to Hadoop to make things easier…following are the few key releases from major BI vendors

IBM moved up a level and announced on the availability of few integrations which will increase the adoption of BigInsights platform. Some of them include integration of InfoSphere Data Explorer ( recently acquired product Vivisimo) with BigInsights , availability of Applications Accelerators with the BigInsights platform – Machine Data Analytics Accelerator for analyzing machine data and Social Data Analytics Accelerator for analyzing social media data sources like Twitter, Facebook and integration of Cognos with BIgInsights