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Find out more: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/infosphere/warehouse/

Facing the limitations that can hamper access to insight

Many existing data warehousing solutions have limitations, such as a lack of real-time operational data, that make it difficult for organizations to fully leverage the power of information. 

  • Limited reach: Business users need to access and analyze a broad array of information, from the unstructured information in call center notes, emails and blogs to the structured information in databases, spreadsheets and other data sources. Yet current infrastructures often have limited reach. The proliferation of transaction systems and the emergence of new data sources available outside the business force users to cast a wide net to gather the information they need to support better decision making.
  • Limited access: Enterprises must deliver useful and timely information to more people as part of everyday business processes to drive innovations and reduce costs. Business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools can help, but only if they are widely available rather than limited to high-level decision makers and specialized analysts.
  • Limited depth: Many existing information infrastructures also have limited depth. Often business users are unable to get answers to complex ad hoc questions. IT teams need flexible tools that can capture and deliver more types of information in the way that users need it, when they need it, where they need it and how they need it.
  • Poor flexibility: Older BI systems may restrict the type and quantity of data that certain users can access. Organizations need ways to support a large numbers of diverse users and enable those users to quickly and easily customize how they receive information based on their specific needs.
  • Poor responsiveness: In many cases, existing information systems lack the responsiveness required by today’s business landscape. Organizations can gain a significant advantage over competitors if they can quickly analyze a wide range of information and deliver actionable insights to executives and frontline decision makers. They need solutions that can be implemented swiftly and then deliver rapid results.
  • Excessive costs and complexity: Some BI solutions can be costly to acquire, difficult to deploy and complex to manage. Organizations need solutions that can be implemented quickly and include capabilities that streamline administration and lower the overall cost of ownership.
  • Lack of real-time operational data: Without the availability of accurate, real-time operational data, business decision making can stall and organizations may miss identifying opportunities and insights. Several factors contribute to a lack of real-time operational data. For example, archaic extract, transform and load (ETL) processes can lead to delays in capturing operational data into the data warehouse. Performance overheads in handling heavy workloads and complex queries from the data warehouse for analytics processing can also cause problems. Within the data warehouse, non-responsive resource allocation according to the priority and criticality of data can slow analytic results.

Organizations must address these challenges and work to achieve on-demand access to insight. If they succeed, they can target smaller customer segments and communicate with them about their individual needs and wants. They can identify and capitalize on even the smallest trends, attaining competitive advantages normally only realized by more flexible and dynamic businesses. They can detect small behavior patterns that can have a significant influence and impact on business in terms of revenue, expenses and growth. Most important, they can build competitive strategies around data-driven insights and generate impressive business results.

Gaining insight without boundaries using IBM InfoSphere Warehouse

Through dynamic warehousing, IBM helps organizations extract insight from virtually any type of data—helping to deliver the right information at the right time and in the right context so business leaders can make the right decisions quickly. IBM dynamic warehousing solutions integrate data warehousing and business analytics to help define an organization’s central business concepts and the data required to support those concepts. These solutions allow organizations to pull data from a variety of enterprise and source systems that traditional BI and data warehousing solutions have not been able to access in the past. As a result, IT organizations can better support business requirements for actionable information. This information is not just raw data but data backed by intelligence that can help people take action and make sound business decisions.

IBM InfoSphere Warehouse is a complete, multipurpose environment that allows organizations to access, analyze and act on operational and historical information, whether structured or unstructured. With InfoSphere Warehouse, organizations can gain the insight and agility they need to generate new opportunities, contain costs and satisfy customers. Unlike traditional data warehouse and BI solutions, which may be complex and inflexible, InfoSphere Warehouse simplifies the processes of selecting, deploying and maintaining an information management infrastructure while offering the flexibility for dynamically integrating and transforming data into actionable business insights. It enables organizations to centrally, accurately and securely analyze and deliver information as part of their operational and strategic business applications.

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Find out more: http://www.ibm.com/software/data/infosphere/warehouse/
Virtual Conference: https://events.unisfair.com/index.jsp?seid=33250&eid=556 

IBM InfoSphere Warehouse is a complete real-time data warehousing platform that delivers superior scalability and availability, design, build, and management tooling, and business analytics. It provides a complete, multipurpose environment that allows organizations to access, analyze and act on operational and historical information, whether structured or unstructured.

With InfoSphere Warehouse, organizations can gain the insight and agility they need to generate new opportunities, contain costs and satisfy customers. Unlike traditional data warehouse and BI solutions, which may be complex and inflexible, InfoSphere Warehouse simplifies the processes of selecting, deploying and maintaining an information management infrastructure while offering the flexibility for dynamically integrating and transforming data into actionable business insights. It enables organizations to centrally, accurately and securely analyze and deliver information as part of their operational and strategic business applications.

New and enhanced features of version 10:

One of the driving motivations behind this new version 10 is the desire to accelerate time-to-insight so that decision makers throughout an organization can make faster (and better) business decisions. Accelerating time-to-insight focuses on two key areas: 1) the latency of data ingest, and 2) the analytics latency – time to perform analytics and provide insights to decision makers.

Business value is realized when a decision is made or action taken.

Reducing Latency improves business value by being able to make decisions faster.

Continuous ingest

In more traditional warehouse environments, additional data is loaded once a day, once a week or perhaps even once a month. InfoSphere Warehouse continuously ingests data from multiple sources throughout the organization while optimizing resource utilization across all the data sources.

Continuous ingest of data optimizes loading of data – not once per day, not once per hour, but continuously. This ensures that the most up-to-date data is used all the time – no more waiting for a nightly ETL process and scheduled reports to be run the next morning. This is a significant feature for companies where being first is critical – ha, I can’t think of any company that wouldn’t want to analyze fresh data and take action before their competitors!

Multi-temperature data management

As warehouses grow in size, storage costs escalate. At the same time, service-level agreements (SLAs) for warehouse access are becoming tighter for certain mission-critical warehouse information. Multi-temperature data management enables warehouse data to be spread across multiple tiers of storage, defined by performance or cost. The optimizer and workload management features use information about data priority to enhance query performance for hot data while reducing resources for lower-priority queries that access archival or cold data.

Faster performance delivers insights faster. Pretty simple concept. Multi-storage data management puts high priority, frequently accessed data in the fastest (hot) storage available to the warehouse, and of course, less frequently accessed data in warm and cold storage. This accomplishes two things – 1) for end users, queries run faster, and 2) for IT, it optimizes performance, storage and costs.

Storage savings and enhanced performance through adaptive compression

Adaptive compression improves on the leading compression technology found in prior versions of InfoSphere Warehouse by adaptively determining the optimal compression between row- and page-based compression. Using InfoSphere Warehouse 10.1, organizations can improve the compression ratio by nearly 30 percent compared with prior versions. By combining InfoSphere Warehouse and the terabyte charge metric (in which organizations pay for only the post-compression data volume), organizations now can store more raw warehouse data with less storage while enjoying improved performance to query that data. Adaptive compression eliminates the need to completely rebuild compression dictionaries as data grows and reduces the requirement to periodically perform table reorganizations.

Time travel queries through Temporal Table support

The relevance of data within a warehouse often degrades significantly over time. For example, knowing the specific updates to a customer’s record throughout the day may provide valuable insight into a customer’s activity patterns. Two days later, however, it may no longer be necessary to store same-day activities data within the warehouse. Temporal Table support enables organizations to enhance table definitions to define the relevance of transitional changes within the rows stored in the table. After changes reach a predefined threshold, historical (temporal) changes are removed from the table. Organizations can use temporal analytics to gain new insights into the patterns and transitory activities of their business—insights that were previously too expensive to manage or store within the warehouse.

Improved efficiency and performance for BI queries

To improve the speed of BI queries, InfoSphere Warehouse provides industry-leading efficiency in collating multiple data formats, including unstructured data. The result is a 3x or better performance improvement for standard, star-schema types of complex BI queries. Intelligent analytic query optimization helps reduce I/O to minimize resource requirements for heavy workloads.

Advanced security through row and column access control

Advanced access control allows organizations to restrict data access to certain users or groups. Administrators can decide to present only the data that users are allowed to see, or they can mask certain data, such as all but the last four digits of credit card numbers. Quick setup and standardization of security features simplifies security, enabling organizations to control, monitor and help ensure enforcement of security by the database. These security policies help reduce complexity for organizations trying to manage these policies and procedures within applications and business groups. Fine-grain access control capabilities also enable organizations to host multitenant warehouses while limiting access to a single tenant’s information, thereby leveraging resources across multiple warehouse clients.

Real-time operational warehousing

Using the features and enhancements of InfoSphere Warehouse 10, organizations can realize the benefits of real-time data warehousing and deliver greater business value through faster access to time-critical data. Historical trend analysis using temporal tables allows finer insight into business and market trends. By maximizing the utilization and prioritization of resources, organizations can achieve those benefits at a lower total cost of ownership.

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Good data is attained by integrating multiple data sources, deriving a ‘single version of the truth,’ and putting that good data (and unstructured content) into a data warehouse where the BA/BI tools can perform their magic. DDD (data-driven decision making) begins and ends with good data.

“smarter technology” posted a great article “Data Two, Gut One” that got me thinking more about the value of good data. In the article, they state that new research shows data-driven decisions improve organizational performance and company value.

In my current position as a marketing evangelist for data warehousing and analytics, that has proven itself time and time again. When looking for ways to increase our marketing effectiveness, I look at the various marketing channels we use to get our messages out to the market. Having complete data available regarding marketing activities, marketing channels used, customer segmentation sets, response rates…and, how leads progress through the sales funnel, is critical.

When some of the data is unavailable, quite simply, the “truth” is not known, and any decisions based on this information is just a guess, gut feel, intuition, a hope and a prayer, a SWAG. When the data is complete, accurate and trusted, I can then make quality decisions to fill in any gaps, go after new markets, tweak the messaging to get higher response rates, etc.

Analytics applications that nicely present dashboards, scorecards, historical trends, predictive analys, and give me actionable insights, can all benefit from good data. Good data begins with data integration, data quality, and a good data warehouse.

If anyone reading this post has had good experience with good data, or a bad experience with bad data, I encourage you to share your story by commenting.

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Great article on Business Week site… http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/feb2011/ca2011023_063316.htm?campaign_id=yhoo 

Uncertainty… To mitigate uncertainty you need insight into the marketplace, your business, customer behavior, economics, supply chain, etc etc etc. Where do you get that insight?? From the data sources within your company and from data outside your company. How do you analyze it?? With good data warehousing solutions, good data models and business intelligence / business analytics tools. Will this get you ALL the answers you need?? NO, but it’s far better to do your analysis and make as many decisions as you can based on facts, analytics, trends, scorecards, dashboards, performance, predictive modeling, than it is to rely on gut feel, intuition, or that arrogant word, experience. Data warehousing and analytics are seeing a huge surge for this very reason – to take as much uncertainty out of the equation as possible and base decisions on facts and analytics rather than gut feel. See more here… http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/infosphere/data-warehousing/.

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IBM’s Analytical Ways – Why Big Blue has invested $12 billion in data analytics.

Written at Forbes.com by Kym McNicholas, http://www.forbes.com/2010/11/05/data-analytics-ibm-technology-cio-network-jonas.html

In good economic climates, even a monkey on a rock can make money. In the tough times that we face today, you have to know your markets and your customers deeply in order to make better, faster and more confident decisions. This can only come from an integrated data warehouse based on trusted information, that is mined for trends, insights, opportunities and cost savings.

1 in 3 business leaders make decisions on information they do not have or do not trust, and 1 in 2 don’t have access to the information they need to do their jobs (IBM CIO Study 2010 – http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/cio/ciostudy/executive-views.html).

So the New Year’s Resolution you must make, is to invest in providing your executives and Line of Business managers with the information and insights they need. And provide visual reports, scorecards and dashboards on key performance indicators.

You can bet that your competitors are fast at work doing this. Data warehousing and business analytics are more important in today’s global economy than ever before.

Once you have this insight, then and only then, can you take the right actions to optimize your business.

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Forbes.com BLOG – You can grow wealth in 2011 like Amazon, Apple, Priceline, Colgate – http://blogs.forbes.com/adamhartung/2010/12/24/you-can-grow-wealth-in-2011-like-amazon-apple-priceline-colgate/

This article lays out a great set of recommendations, but HOW do you execute these? For every company in every industry in every market, the key to accomplishing the recommendations in this article lies within the company’s information warehouse and business analytics functions. That is, in order to make decisions on each of the key points above, you must know your markets and your customers deeply – better than your competitors. But, 1 in 3 business leaders make decisions on information they do not have or do not trust, and 1 in 2 don’t have access to the information they need to do their jobs (IBM CIO Study 2010 – http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/cio/ciostudy/executive-views.html).

So the New Year’s Resolution you must make, is to invest in providing your executives and Line of Business managers with the information and insights they need – actionable insights, based on trusted information. With sooo much data and information available today, to everyone, companies need to integrate it all together into a trusted data warehouse, mine that information to identify trends, patterns, business opportunities, cost savings, who your most profitable customers are, what your optimal marketing mix is, which business segment is most profitable, etc etc etc. And provide visual reports, scorecards and dashboards on key performance indicators.

You can bet that your competitors are fast at work doing this. Data warehousing and business analytics are more important in today’s global economy than ever before – when the economy is growing, even a monkey on a rock can make money, but it takes deep insights and better, faster decisions to make money in a tough economy.

Once you have this insight, then and only then, can you implement the suggestions laid out in this article.

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I think that a key reason why Business and IT Alignment is coming up again is that the two functions are now moving at significantly different paces. In years past, IT often lagged the business needs, taking some time to implement enterprise-wide initiatives. That was acceptable when business moved rather slowly. Now, business is moving faster and faster, and IT is struggling to keep pace.

This is one of the reasons that Microsoft SharePoint has gained so much ground as a departmental content management system – departments could not wait for IT to agree on and deploy an enterprise-wide ECM solution, so they ventured ahead with many (far too many, in most cases) SharePoint systems. Now they shot themselves in the foot, with far too many silos of disconnected information. And IT must regain control and pull everything back together.

Also, warehousing and business intelligence systems need to rely on a single source of trusted information on which Line of Business Managers and Executives make their daily business decisions. Again, the pace of what is possible in business has accelerated…there is so much data and information available today. Michael Porter’s “Competitive Advantage” plays a new role here – he who can make sense of all the information to better understand market and customer dynamics, and take action on that new insight, wins.

With so much information available, businesses want more and more insight, and they often struggle to state their requirements clearly. It’s been said that 1 in 3 business leaders make decisions on information they do not have or do not trust, and that 1 in 2 don’t have access to information they need to do their jobs. That is just plain scary! This is a key source of business and IT misalignment.

The issue is now doubly difficult – IT has to bring all the existing sources of information together, and they have to wrap in new sources that can be quite large (e.g. mining social media to understand market perceptions, or using social media as a marketing channel or at least supporter of marketing initiatives).

Telcos have massive data sources to understand customer churn. Banks, financial services organizations and insurers have tons of data to better evaluate risk and detect fraud. Healthcare providers can tap into new sources of data to better evaluate treatment options to improve patient outcomes. Police departments can dive into many new sources of local information to predict when and where crimes may occur. Retail organizations can better segment their customers/prospects to improve promotion response rates and better coordinate inventory levels with marketing campaigns. RFID tagging can track items, or shoppers, everywhere, providing retailers and supply chains with tons of information to improve efficiencies. The list of possibilities goes on and on and on….

And my closing statement which seems to resonate well with those I speak with… In good economic times, even a monkey on a rock can make money. But in today’s challenging times, it takes an agile, intelligent company to make sense of all the data and information at their fingertips, gain new insights and take decisive action. Companies that consistently invest in gaining new insights outperform their peers by a very significant margin. IBM’s “The Global CFO Study 2010” shows that very clearly. Data Warehousing & Business Analytics can provide that game-changing insight. Today, it’s the difference between survival and failure.

Ref:  http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/bus/html/gbs-2010cfostudy.html

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