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New Frontiers in Business Intelligence

Nari Kannan

Much Needed Analysis Innovations, at least the next Decade!

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So far, Business Intelligence has been mired in questions of data collection, data cleansing and just storing the d**g data somewhere, anywhere.

Meanwhile, ask any serious user of Business Intelligence, 9 times out of 10 they may come back with an answer "Yes. The Data is all There, but......".

We have been so preoccupied with the collection and storage of data that the real purpose of all that data has been getting the short end of the stick, all through! The data collection and integrity problems are serious enough to have warranted all that attention, though. Let's not begrudge them that.

Business Intelligence is all about consolidating, aggregating data, and making it provide insights in many different ways. Insights are gleaned from all this data need to be immediate, useful, and easily available to the end users, not IT gurus that know all the magical incantations to tease reports out from all of this.

Previously I have written about how Data Visualization can help a lot with this.

However, Visualization is not all that matters, all by itself. First problem a lot of Business Intelligence efforts must address is that when you are analyzing the data, are the relevant data all in there for you to make use of it.

Funny thing is that when the Data Warehouses were being designed a couple of years back, the company was in a different time and place and since then things have been changing constantly. The question now is has the data you thought you needed at that time is still valid? There is every possibility that you overlooked some things and did not capture some of the data in the detail you needed was being captured and stored.

Simple example - Let's say you want to improve the "Churn" (turnover of customers) factor in a Telecom company. But when you designed the data warehouse you captured only whether a customer was a Residential or Business Customer. Now you wanted to see what's happening with High Value Business customers alone and not waste your cycles on customers that had less value for you.

These kinds of Analysis related issues may come up only at the time of analysis. Now can you go back and finetune your data collection efforts easily so that you can get the precise kinds of analyses that you need?

Life is that way! Sometimes iteration is the only way you will be finding out what is needed at any time, especially in the future.

There might be other newer kinds of analyses, not just visualizations that may be needed, on the fly!

Let's hope the next decade focuses a lot on the Analysis side of things and produce much needed innovations in that area, especially going back and flexibly changing things all the way back to data collection so that you get the kinds of analyses you need, easily, quickly.

Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working. - Anonymous




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It is necessary to innovate using young experience with console games and social networking experience, in order to obtain new ways for obtaining, presenting and analyzing all data in BI efforts.

Some trends (or wishes) here:

Nari Kannan's blog explores how new approaches to business intelligence can help organizations improve the performance of business processes--whether these processes are creative or operational, internally-focused or customer-facing, intra-departmental or across functions.

Nari Kannan

Nari Kannan started and serves as the CEO of appsparq, a Mobile Applications development company based in Louisville, KY with offices in Singapore and India. Nari has over two decades of experience in computer systems development, translating product and service strategy into meaningful technology solutions, and both people and product development. Prior to this, he has served as both Chief Technology Officer and Vice President- Engineering in six successful startups, two of which he co-founded. He has proven experience in building companies, engineering teams, and software solutions from scratch in the United States and India. Prior to this, Nari started Ajira Technologies, Inc., in Pleasanton, CA, where he served as Chief Executive Officer for more than six years. While at Ajira, Nari was instrumental in developing service process management solutions that modeled, monitored, and analyzed business processes, initially targeting the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Telecom, and Banking verticals in India, and Finance, Insurance, and Healthcare verticals in the United States. Prior to this, he served as VP-Engineering at Ensenda, an ASP for local delivery services. He also served variously as Chief Technology Officer or VP-Engineering at other Bay-Area venture funded startups such as Kadiri and Ensera. He began his career at Digital Equipment Corporation as a Senior Software Engineer. Nari has a long involvement with Customer Support and other customer facing processes. At Digital Equipment Corporation he was involved with their 1800 person customer support center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was tasked with coming up with innovative tools to help customer support people do their jobs better. He holds a U.S patent for a software invention that automatically redirected email requests for customer support to the right group by digesting the contents of the request and guessing at which software or hardware support group is best equipped to handle it. At Ensera, he led a 45 person team in developing an internet based ASP service for handling auto insurance claims, coordinating information flow between end-customers, Insurance companies, Repair shops and Parts suppliers. Ensera was acquired by Mitchell Corporation in San Diego. Nari holds a B.S. degree in Physics from Loyola College, and an M.B.A degree from the University of Madras in Madras, India. He graduated with a M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1985. Contact Information: Nari Kannan. Email: nari@appsparq.com Mobile: 925 353 0197. Website: www.appsparq.com View more .


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