by Ian Bertram | May 2, 2014 | 2 Comments
I just completed a 3 city tour in Asia (Beijing, Taipei and Seoul) where I was presenting and discussing the topic of ‘the after math of Big Data’. My Presentation was called ‘Information2020:Beyond Big Data’. What intrigued me most, was the reaction of people and to hear the questions that surrounded Big Data. Especially when I said Big Data is just Data. I really got the sense that the hype has really hit many big Asian cities and it continues to be at its peak and there is a lot a frenzy within organisations trying to work out where to start.
A journalist asked me how big is the “Big Data” market today. My response was that there still is no such thing as a “Big Data” market, as it was a concept and that there are a huge amount of technologies that are already accounted for in other areas that could have the potential of making up a solution – for example there would be hardware components to cater for storage and high movement of data, multiple software components from Information Management, to integration components to more advance analytics techniques. There are also services components. I pointed out that many organisations could be utilising many of these components today and not calling this “Big Data”. The real question is what value are organisations obtaining from looking at their data sources differently?
I had a lot of questions on where to start. In fact one person asked, “I know I have to do ‘Big Data’ so what type of Hadoop engine should I buy?”. My response to that last question was Hadoop may in fact not be the answer they’re looking for. Rather the question you need to start with is what is the business problem you’re trying to address, what outcome are you try to achieve? Now the outcome maybe an exploratory type of outcome, but to start with the technology is the wrong place to start. The old analogy of I have a hammer, so what nail do you want me to hit comes to mind. The problem is not always a “nail” rather it could be a “screw” and so a hammer is not the only solution and therefore not the only tool in the toolbox you’re going to need.
I pointed out that Gartner has some great research that can help organisations think about the business outcomes they need to consider as a starting point. For Gartner clients, the document “Toolkit: Big Data Business Opportunities From Over 100 Use Cases” ID: G00252112, is one of the best places to start. It helps the organisation think differently with respect to looking at their data differently. If you start with the business objective, then all the other components start to line up – the data source needed, the people/skills and capabilities needed, the process impacted, the gaps in the architecture and infrastructure that needs to be closed, the use case and it’s impact to the business and how success is going to be measured.
The business objectives can be categorised 4 main buckets below:
- • Operational excellence: Process efficiency, cost reduction
- • Customer intimacy: Enhanced customer experience, improved customer service, more customer intelligence
- • New business: Newmodels, new products and services, new markets, information monetization
- • Risk management: This also includes fraud detection and compliance management
So the starting point for any “Big Data” initiative should be here – what business objective are you trying to address, then you can get in to the other elements. You don’t have to start big either, our advice is that these initiatives need to start small, as a Proof of concept, and that an organisation develops the skills and capabilities as this initiative matures. A ‘Big Data’ initiative doesn’t need a ‘Big Bang’ approach.
So start ‘small’ but think ‘big’.
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by Ian Bertram | March 23, 2014 | 2 Comments
Hands up who’s heard of Academy for Leadership Development (ALD)? Didn’t know Gartner ran such a thing? I’m proud to say we do, in Executive Programs APAC, and we’re just coming off a high from back-to-back sessions in Brisbane and Sydney. We’re going into our third year of running academy in the region and slowly trying to draw committed technologists out of their cubicles where they happily e-mail colleagues in the cubicle next door. Who, equally happily, e-mail back. They present 200-page technology-laden strategies and don’t understand why the business avoids them in the corridor.
Ok, so a little exaggeration but many of the people who walk into ALD on day one are a little different when they walk out. “It’s the things we didn’t know that we didn’t know!” said one student leaving the Sydney session. If we can affect just a small mindset shift towards seeing the world like a business leader, as opposed to a technology manager, we can only be happy. “It’s encouraged me how to think like a business leader, rather than just through an IT filter,” Sydney delegate. “Most valuable was breaking my technology mindset,” Brisbane.
I was in a client workshop yesterday where one of the attendees (a recent ALD graduate) corrected his use of “alignment”, as in alignment of IT to the business. Hooray! The point being, IT is as much the business as any other department, not something separate that needs bringing into line. Or it should be.
At ALD, we talk about strategy, governance and leadership from a business perspective. CIO leadership capabilities, digital leadership and politics. Branding, and communications using storytelling techniques. It’s not unusual to hear comments about IT being misunderstand … and whose responsibility it is to change that? (Hint: it begins with “I”.) Hopefully some of our alumni will take on the challenge.
Soft skills and emotional intelligence are perhaps the sessions that surprise attendees most. They are capabilities that leaders need but are neglected terribly in the IT space. There’s an expectation that great technology managers who tick all of the skills boxes will pick up a CIO role with relative ease. It’s less and less true, and one of the CIO interview participants talked about the tough six months he spent with a personal coach when he was turned down from a CIO role he expected to walk into. With the technical edges knocked off him and a new way of looking at the world, he secured the role second time around.
Interestingly, personal branding captured much interest this time and subsequently triggered discussions about value statements, profiles, CVs and presence on LinkedIn. The executive recruiter interviews that close academy pulled it all together and brought a reality check to the room. It’s a tough market out there, and competition for CIO roles is coming strongly from outside of IT.
The takeaways, dear aspiring CIO … you’re an IT manager because you do your job well, on time, on budget! To hit the C-suite, you need to think differently. Think like a leader, learn to communicate and be part of the business. Understand that everything you do has to have a business value and should be justified that way. IT for IT’s sake isn’t enough. It’s time to step back, learn some self-awareness and write that elevator pitch that will put you on the board’s radar.
It’s an exciting time to be in IT…for those CIOs who think and walk like business leaders.
If you would like to learn more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Remaining this year are sessions in Mumbai (7-9 May) and Singapore (20-22 August).
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by Ian Bertram | February 4, 2014 | Comments Off
Given the fact that we can now crunch billions of rows of data in microseconds, that anyone can just integrate diverse data sources at the push of a button without being a data ninja, and data scientist can extract entity relationships from documents, and assimilate millions of events into a rules engine, how will business change as a result? How can business taking advantage of all of this new insight?
These questions are clearly top of mind for senior executives. In fact Business Intelligence and Analytics comes out as the number 1 technology spending priority in Gartner CIO’s survey globally for 2014. However in Australia it’s slightly behind in the number 2 spot behind Mobile investment.
When you hear the buzzword “big data analytics” what spring to mind…? Is it a new form of analysis? Does size matter? Should I be investing in this?
As you can see from the slide below, investment surrounding “big data” continue to rise. In fact in Australia and New Zealand the rise is greater than the global average, but we’re off to a slower start in those that have already invested in other parts of the world.
This high level of interest is reflected in the number of people who have already registered to come to Gartner’s Business Intelligence and Information Management Summit late this month in Sydney.
It’s shaping up to be a great event. Gartner research director Lisa Kart will explain why business leaders need to acquire the basic principles of data science. She will also present on emerging trends in big data analytics. She is the author of a 2013 survey of 720 organisations (including Australia) about big data technology investments which is where the graphic above comes from. I will look at the rise of personal analytics, opportunities for data to optimise everything from entertainment to health and what’s in it for business. And research VP Frank Buytendijk will explore the ethics of analytics – how do you determine what is ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ use of information?
It’s on at the Sydney Hilton on 24 and 25 February. Click here for the full agenda for the two days.
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by Ian Bertram | October 21, 2013 | Comments Off
Here in the Asia Pacific region, we are all in the final stages of preparing for next week’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to be held on the Gold Coast in Australia. This years Gartner Symposium theme is about “Leadership in a digital world“. But what does this all mean…?
In essence the digital world will reinvent industries and destroy the boundaries between them. Enterprises will digitalize Business Processes, invent new digital Business Models, and compete at the speed of Business Moments –opportunities that come as quickly as they go, yet always threaten to disrupt competition. If you think your industry is exempt, think again.
In this years keynotes you will hear why:
- Every Company is a Technology Company.
No matter what business or service you deliver today, digitalization is changing it. Data collection and analysis are becoming highly sophisticated in this new era. Genuinely digitalized businesses are creating value and generating revenue through digitalized products and services. Technology will enable you to:
- optimise business processes,
- create new business models,
- and identify and exploit those business moments.
That’s why every company will become a technology company.
Every Budget is an IT Budget
The internet of things will create tens of billions of new objects and sensors all generating real time data. To turn that data into money … you need decisions. And you won’t have the time or capacity to make all those decisions yourself. You’ll need processing power. The Internet of Things creates a world where every non-trivial object is smart and networked.
Every Business Leader is Becoming a Digital Leader
The Chief Digital Officer helps the CEO, executives and the board answer the question …“How should we survive and thrive in an increasingly digital world?” We see the Chief Digital Officer, the CDO, as an interim role … not around forever, but championing our escape from analog inertia.
What does digital leadership look like? First, moving from managing the IT organization… to being the information and technology leader in the business… and being an influential digital leader in your ecosystem …creating and communicating the digital vision. Second, moving from aligning to the business strategy to enabling the digital future … and maybe even competing from within … to creatively destroy and reinvent your company’s business model
Come join us to hear this and so much more on the Gold Coast next week -http://www.gartner.com/technology/symposium/gold-coast/agenda.jsp
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by Ian Bertram | August 25, 2013 | 3 Comments
Hearing a question with the term “Big Data” in it is, for me is like traveling with my kids on a long road trip and hearing ” are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet….!!!” . AAARRRRGGGGGGGHHHHH…..it makes you want to just pull over to the side of the road and say get out…!
Now thankfully many execs I speak to are getting over the term as well, so when the term does come up – the eye rolling starts to happen not just from me. So this begs the question – when will we be ‘there’ when it comes to Big data..?
Governments have traditionally been seen as laggards when it comes to adoption of new leading edge environments. Statistically when it comes to “Big Data”, a recent Gartner survey conducted by us with over 700 respondents globally shows that very well with only 16% of Governemnt respondent saying they have invested in “Big Data”, which as you can see by the Chart below is the furthest right column next to Utilities at 17%. Leading the pack, no surprise was Media and Communications followed by Banking.
The announcement by the Australian Government Information Management office(AGIMO) of their “Big Data Strategy” I believe indicates that we’ve arrived at a point where “Big Data” could be considered just the norm. So thank you AGIMO. ‘Hey Kids – look it’s Wally World.’ Or should I say “Big Data World”.
However , and don’t you hate howevers’, we’re not quite riding the “Big Data” roller coasters just yet, and I don’t think we’re even in the car park, rather we’re heading down the main road with “Big Data world” in the distance. What a strategy document like the one from AGIMO does is really helps provide the navigation for the last few streets to get us into the car park.
The AGIMO strategy papers outlines 6 principles: (Or Navigational elements that organizations public or private could learn from)
1. data is a national asset (turn that into just Data is Asset)
2. privacy by design
3. data integrity and the transparency of processes
4. skills, resources and capabilities will be shared
5. collaboration with industry and academia
6. enhancing open data
In no way does it provide us the answers, despite being an excellent navigational document. What it does do is opens the door on the debate on some really sticky issues such as privacy and ethics.
There are obvious and subtle privacy issues, but there are also large security benefits. Let’s say we can monitor all employee message traffic (e.g.: internal email and Facebook activity when logged on during office hours) and physical movements – we might be able to identify a potential security problem in the making. This sort of analysis has been pursued for years to detect people that might become violent in the workplace and law enforcement is taking similar approaches to perform triage for making the most effective resource deployment. Some would say hooray I’m being protected in the work place and I know I’m safe.
But, in that pursuit, we also learn about all sorts of irrelevant, but intensely private issues. Your religion, gender preference, the address of your therapist, the brand of shoes you prefer, the colour lipstick you wear, the hotel you frequent with a co-worker, etc. How comfortable are you with your employer knowing all this?
So we have the sign posts to get us to the “Big Data” car park. Yet when we get there, we still have to find parking, we then have the long queues to get a ticket and then once you’re inside, some one will immediately want to go to the bathroom which will take you off track and delay you further from getting on that roller coaster.
The question I would like pose is- why call it “Big Data” at all, what makes it big? Rather why not call it just “data” or “Information” as aren’t we just talking about different sources and extracting value from the combination of these sources? Aren’t we trying to find patterns to build models, identify risk, understand intent and sentiment and develop networks?
When we conducted a “Big Data” survey in 2012, and asked which characteristic is the biggest issue for your organization – it wasn’t the volume of data that was the issue (which is really the ‘big’ part), it was the variety, such as video and audio, that dominated. In fact 50% of the respondents thought that was a bigger issue over Volume and/or Velocity of data so 2:1 thought variety more challenging. And, variety of data doesn’t need to be big. Or is it that “Big Data” is just a catchy phrase that we’re never going to get rid of?
So imagine you’ve bought your ticket, you’ve been to the bathroom and you’re now walking down main street of “Big Data World” and you look up to one of the CCT cameras’ and just then you get a text on your phone that says, “Please be advised, due to your recent heart condition, you will not be allowed access to Big Data Mountain ride. We do however have your favorite brand of herbal tea available at Big Data Café which is 200 meters to your right.”
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by Ian Bertram | June 20, 2013 | Comments Off
There’s been numerous media report recently questioning how private our personal data is. In the US there’s be a furore of articles published about the NSA collecting and storing “call data records” from telecoms companies. Data such as phone numbers individuals have been calling and how long calls have been going on for. There’s been a number of articles calling into questions the PRISM Scheme in the US, which claims to have collected and stored information from such sites as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Skype, Microsoft and Apple. Then we have articles in Europe claiming the UK authorities have access to the PRISM data the US and other national authorities have been collecting. The question is what is being done with this data. The party line is it’s for ecological research……
It begs the question, in a digital age, how much privacy are you willing to give up?
There are sectors of the business world and general community that believe that consumers and employees should have no expectation of privacy, because the “benefits” that can be extracted from the extensive analytic exploitation of personal data far outweigh the potential risks of the loss of privacy. Is there that elusive information needle of gold in amongst the haystack of data?
On the other hand, there are those who believe that modern society has reached a privacy “tipping point,” and that only intervention by regulators and privacy advocates can prevent catastrophic damage resulting from the incremental loss of privacy over time, or that ethical guidelines need to be drawn up to protect the illegal use of what is deemed to be private data.
The ethical debate on how we use publically available data is still playing out in the community as a whole. The well publicized story of how a large retailer exposed a Teen’s girl pregnancy, all based on her buying patterns is well documented and when I recently asked a packed room full of attendee’s at a recent BI and Information Management conference whether they thought it was ethical – it was evenly divided – 50/50.
Whichever side you’re on – it’s a slippery slope and likely the big winners will be the law firms as these thing play out in courts around the world….
As to my personal opinion on Telco’s handing over my “call data records”, I don’t know about you, but the only thing this would tell someone is that I never seem to be off a teleconference service, I should ring my mother more regularly and I order pizza every Friday night around 6:30!
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by Ian Bertram | June 16, 2013 | 1 Comment
The GFC may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean companies have any less focus on cutting costs. With CIO budgets essentially flat, and demands for innovation increasing, IT cost reduction is on the agenda for many enterprises in 2013. Even in growing Asia Pacific economies like China, Korea and Australia, it’s still a top priority. We hear it all the time from clients and it’s one of the areas where Gartner helps its clients most.
We find that some organisations are not actually ready to optimise costs. They might have a lack of visibility into current costs across the enterprise or a lack of executive level support for the cost optimisation initiative. The organisation might have a high proportion of fixed costs in IT, which means that costs often do not go down when business volume is reduced. They might be facing extreme resistance on the part of IT users to change the way they consume IT, such as accepting lower service levels, keeping PCs for longer or getting rid of redundant systems. Change management is a critical part of any ‘cost optimisation’ program.
Many IT organisations have reached their logical limits as to how much more they can save using traditional cost optimisation tactics. They’ve already been through at least one round of cost cuts. It’s no longer enough to tinker around the edges, but instead time to make hard decisions about business units/agencies, business processes and programs. Round two of IT cost optimization is a story of big changes, strategic shifts, improved IT management practices, rightsizing IT service levels, “doing less with less,” better IT demand management and taking advantage of what new IT services the marketplace has to offer.
Gartner sees four areas of opportunity for cost optimisation, ranked by level of difficulty as well as their potential to deliver value:
IT procurement – make sure you are getting the best pricing and terms. Use public cloud services, pursue crowdsourcing for selected projects, use open source, negotiate better contracts.
- Cost savings within IT – identify and prioritise ways to reduce IT costs. Can you extend the life of systems, reduce power use or consolidate your portfolio? Reward your team for cost saving innovations.
- Joint business and IT cost savings – implement cost saving initiatives and improve business processes. How can we do things better, faster, cheaper and where can IT help?
- Business restructuring and innovation – this is often dubbed ‘transformation’. Should you shut down or add channels, cancel high-risk programs, aggressively implement teleworking or provide cloud-based services rather than just consume them?
The bottom line is that cost optimisation cannot be just a one-time project. It should be an ongoing process and discipline that cuts across all domains of IT and the business. Leading organisations run continuous cost optimisation initiatives and use IT to drive growth and innovation in the business. Leading CIOs raise enterprise effectiveness by running IT like a business. They raise the bar for IT’s performance in terms of responsiveness and productivity, and demonstrate IT’s value contributions to the enterprise.
If this is a focus for you this year, come along to one of Gartner’s briefings around the Asia Pacific region on cost optimisation strategies to be held in June in Australia (Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane) and in July/August in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Seoul, Beijing, Taipei and Hong Kong.
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by Ian Bertram | November 1, 2012 | Comments Off
In the Australian state of Victoria, detailed information about electricity customers’ power usage, which gives insights into when a house is occupied, is being shared with third parties including mail houses, debt collectors, data processing analysts and government agencies.
This is exactly what Gartner has predicted: a blurring of social and operational technologies (OT) resulting in new compliance and risk issues.
Some have speculated on the ability to infer home occupant activity based on patterns in electrical usage. You’d not only be able to tell when the house was occupied, but you’d be able to track a lot of activities, because of their distinct energy use signatures.
I know of someone who publishes her home energy use on her blog using the monitor system that came with her solar system. That’s a screaming advertisement for occupancy. The level of risk that this form of attack represents is debatable, but it’s a question that’s worth asking.
I’m sure that I’m not the only person who avoids posting anything on social networks that sends the message “our house is unoccupied.” Sure, the common thief is not sophisticated enough to take advantage of FB—yet. But it has already happened in the US.
The big risk is not about social media or social networks but about the accessibility of devices to/via a public network. Whether a device sends/receives tweets presents only a slightly different risk from that device handling email, SMS, voice recognition, etc. The specific vector for transmission is a minor issue. Accessibility of the device is the core risk.
Too much of the privacy conversation focuses on secrecy. People are lousy at keeping secrets and community is based on shared information and the demonstration of a willingness to share personal data. The privacy conversation should focus on the use/abuse of personal data. Secrecy is a lousy control.
You might find it a bit absurd to discuss privacy concerns about power usage in a society where people (at least some) tell you where ALL of their tattoos are and who they’re sleeping with in their Facebook account, or brags about all of the technology they have in their home on Twitter. This isn’t a technology problem, it’s about the use of the intelligence derived from said technology. For the energy and utility companies, this will no doubt be a topic for policy changes regarding customer data, but utilities are used to that kind of discussion and have been for decades. It’s a question of doing it rather than being aware of it.
The primary beneficiary of data derived from a number of “Internet of Everything” (IOE) points like smart meters for utilities will be the titans of commerce. Understanding patterns of behaviour of actual and potential customers just feeds the commerce engine like nothing else can. No doubt a new class of statisticians and analysts will arise to big-data mine IOE endpoints and weave the story of life together for potential customer profiles.
We voluntarily (for now) give the electric utility more detailed information about our electrical usage to give ourselves a benefit – the utility will theoretically charge us less because it can build less generating capacity because it is monitoring usage more closely, and it can turn off our appliances remotely to cut demand in peak periods and so on. The decision on how to share the benefit – what proportion of the gain will go to the “greedy” utility and what to the “greedy” consumer – will be settled in a complex negotiation among consumers and utilities. Government is the referee in this discussion.
Already in the US your insurance company will lower your car insurance bill if you agree to have an on-board device that allows it to monitor your driving habits. We move into George Orwell’s 1984 voluntarily to save $ 250 per year. In the future, maybe only the rich or the very poor will be able to afford privacy (when you having nothing, there is not much to monitor and not much reason to monitor you).
So we may be selling our privacy at too low a price. Gartner wrote a research note on the “information based” utility of the future. It makes for interesting reading. My colleague Kristian Steenstrup is the man to talk to about this – he has led much of Gartner’s research on OT, particularly in the energy and utilities sector.
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by Ian Bertram | September 20, 2012 | Comments Off
With protest actions and subsequent riots happening around the world over recent You Tube posts in the US, many being organised, promoted and commentated on through social media, there are questions being asked about how much control should governments put on these new forms of communication. The alternative question is, do tougher laws then impinge on many countries right to freedom of speech?
In Australia there have been calls recently by personalities hit by vile comments on social media from so-called trolls for stricter penalties against these people. Many politicians have jumped on the band wagon calling for tougher actions by law enforcement, one quote was to ‘replace the trolls’ keyboards with handcuffs’. There has been some equally ignorant and reactionary reporting of the issue by mainstream media, stirring up FUD about social media in general. The question is really how far is too far or should we all just take our mothers’ advice of “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me!”. The best course of action is to ignore the trolls. It’s hard to do in practice, but in these kinds of situations anything you say in response will only feed the frenzy, and it is a frenzy!.
A positive out of last weekend’s events in Sydney showed that police, through sophisticated monitoring of social media, were able to rapidly respond to an impending threat and were able to resource appropriately and not be caught short handed.
The social media debate will continue to rage. Join me at Gartner Symposium on the Gold Coast 12-15 Nov to hear a keynote by Dom Sagolla, co-creator of Twitter and author of ‘140 characters: a style guide for the short form’. It will be interesting to see what he has to say about the use and abuse of his creation as a communication channel.
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by Ian Bertram | August 16, 2012 | Comments Off
I’ve been preparing for my presentation at next week’s Applications Summit being held in Sydney. The focus of this year’s event will be on the reinvention of software for mobile, cloud and the future web. Application strategy managers, software development leaders and enterprise architects will learn how to overhaul their application portfolio to support business growth and innovation.
As well as running a roundtable on how to build an analytics capability (the flavour of the year with many organisations – for good reason) I’m giving a presentation on “Using Events and Analytics to Create Intelligent Business Operations”. In it, I’ll be applying the concept of the OODA loop to business. OODA stands for Observe, Orientate, Decide and Act, and is a concept that was originally applied to military or combat situations. The concept was devised by military strategist Colonel John Boyd, to help troops continually absorb information from different sources, process that information in the context of the situation they are in, react to that outcome and make a decision that will direct the focus and energies to defeat the adversary and survive.
Many believe OODA today is more applicable to security situations due to the Observe and Orientate components, but as someone once told me – everything in life is a supply chain. Life’s has a start, middle and end with multiple processes in between; marriage is like a supply chain, some better and some worse; if you get sick and go to hospital you start at one end of the supply chain and pop out the other side supposedly all healed. All of these things can get broken down into a process whereby you need to make a decision and act upon something before moving to the next part of the chain. At each stage of this process you obviously want to make the most informed and best decision possible – that bit is obvious. However the situation in which you make a decision can change based on many factors.
So this concept of the OODA loop is more relevant today for operation decisions than ever before as we try and make every process within our business more automated, more efficient, more accurate, more targeted.
We as individuals make hundreds of decision each day, and we contextualise them on our surroundings. For instance, what should I have to eat, it’s morning and it’s cold, so I’ll have hot porridge for breakfast rather than cereal with cold milk as that will warm me up and make me feel better.
Many people within organisations make suboptimal decisions because they don’t take advantage of the information that is available to them from customers, suppliers, partners, the external world or even their own companies information in other departments.
This of course is where analytics comes in. The question comes down to how can you use the information and apply the observe, orient, decide and act (OODA) loop to analyse business situations to determine what kinds of real-time intelligence to apply, for a better result. That’s what I’ll be covering at next week’s conference, hope to see you there.
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