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  • Joe Wichowski 1:22 pm on January 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business intelligence, Data Integration, ,   

    Talend Components for Lotus Notes released… 

    We have just released our Talend Components for Lotus Notes.  What is Talend?  It is an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tool, that allows us to perform better data integration than just utilizing tools like Lotus Domino Enterprise Connection Services (DECS).

    With Talend and our components for Lotus Notes, we are able to offer true integration to just about ANY system – cloud services, web services, Big Data, traditional databases, excel worksheets, and more.

    If you have a project that requires data integration, give us a call.  We’d love to explain how we can eliminate the “swivel chair” within your company.

    Download the components here:

    • tNotesInput – Reads data from a View (or @Function Select formula) and exposes as rows within Talend.
    • tNotesOutput – Write data to a database (Inserts and Updates)
    • tNotesRunAgent – Runs a background agent in Lotus Notes
  • Joe Wichowski 9:10 am on January 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Business intelligence, , ,   

    TCG – The year ahead… 

    Happy New Year!  On behalf of all of us here at Traction Consulting Group, we hope your holiday was awesome, and you are ready to get-after-it in the new year!  As a primer to some of the innovations we have set for our customers in 2012, here are some of the exciting things we are working on:

    1. BizBoard – Our streamlined web-enabled metrics system is ready to engage your management team. With it, teams will be able to combine metrics from ERP, CRM, Spreadsheets, and other database applications – all into a single dashboarding solution. In addition, each metric will have an associated “Action List”. So not only will the metrics help you better understand your company, but they will also prove as a central hub of activity to improve where there is work to be done. This solution works from any web browser, including iPads and other tablets.
    2. BizBoard Mobile – We don’t want your iPhone or Android to be left out.  To that, we have created BizBoard Mobile, specifically formatted for phones with web browsers, to better react to just-in-time information while on-the-go.  Alerts are set up to push to users on a daily or hourly basis.  For example: customers and orders requiring follow-up, salesmen not performing to goals, opportunity not closing, and more.  Users can then interact with these alerts, and track them over time, giving them mobile tools to quickly react to changing business data.
    3. Traction LMS– As part of our ongoing focus of Mentoring & Training as an extension of the Development & Support services we perform for our customers, Traction has created a Learning Management System (LMS) to help customers gain traction within their educational initiatives.  No longer will your employees struggle to find policies, procedures, instruction, and expectations.  With our LMS, teams will find a one-stop-shop for everything – Instructions and procedures, policies, how-to’s, tips and tricks, videos, and more.
    4. Traction Alerts – Don’t hunt for information – have the information find you.  Our alerts/reporting system for Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM, and SugarCRM delivers just-in-time information directly to a user’s inbox.  So instead of salesmen “searching” CRM for information, the information is pro-actively delivered to them.  We have many generic reports, like:  This week’s customers & activities, Customers you haven’t visited in a while, This week’s birthdays, and Opportunity Follow-up; but we can also customize these or add any additional as needs arise.  We also include these services free-of-charge with our Managed CRM Service Agreement.
    5. Traction Intelligence – For Microsoft CRM Online and Salesforce.com customers, it is often best to have a “local copy” of the information in order to do extended reporting, analysis, and data integration.  Traction Intelligence provides you with exactly that – a copy of your Online information, directly in a local database your resources can quickly reach.  You can choose your database – our data pumping system does the rest.

    Thanks again for all your support in 2011, and we look forward to continuing our rock-solid quality, service, and value for you in 2012.

  • Joe Wichowski 2:28 pm on November 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Business intelligence   

    With operation metrics, putting the cart before the horse can really pay off… 

    Often companies stall to create metrics to measure team performance because the operating data they have does not exactly match the numbers they want.  However, as Jeanne Ross, director of MIT Sloan School’s Center For Information Systems Research points out in this weeks InformationWeek article, creating a single-vision of data within your company “doesn’t have anything to do with accuracy – it has everything to do with declaring it” as the central go-to number.

    Her view is that teams spend far too much time “collecting, cleansing, and perfecting what they think is “the right data” to measure, instead of actually tackling the underlying business problem itself.  The real value is therefore in starting with some number – any number – to begin to understand how likely you are to run out of stock, how often you fulfill orders “on time”, how long does the average customer service request take to resolve, and so on.  In other words, it does not matter if you cannot simply calculate those numbers.  Instead, you may need to look at several other, related or relevant numbers, that you have access to right now in order to make proper inferences towards the business challenges you seek to resolve.

    As a driver of the Management By Exception philosophy for our customers, we at Traction agree that it is always better to “start measuring now – something, anything” instead of the continual discussions that take place, which focus more on the topic of “the measurements that we don’t have” versus the one’s we actually do have.  By shifting to a “good enough to start with” mentality, companies can break free of this cycle, and instead of waiting for data they don’t have, they can focus on the data they do have – and create new ways right now to drive improvement, innovation, and performance.

  • Joe Wichowski 12:16 pm on October 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Business intelligence, , , ,   

    What exactly did I do last month? 

    In this month’s Wired magazine, Clive Thompson talks about how Daniel Giovanni utilizes 4SquareAnd7YearsAgo to mine his 4-square check-ins.  He then gets a daily summary of where he was last year.

    What a simple idea, and a great concept.  Sales teams often forget about the repetitive nature of sales – they end up focusing on “This Month’s Deal” instead of also making progress and touch-points on ideas and connections in the past.

    This offers a great opportunity for our daily alert streams that we create for our customers.  By sending Sales teams a summary of where they were, who they talked to, and what they talked about – 1 month, 1 quarter ago, or 1 year ago “today” – we can help remind them of the conversations and activities of the past, to continually “work” the opportunities of the future.  (The Daily Alert streamer is one of the custom tools we’ve created for our customers – if you need additional details, please email me)

    If you don’t have our daily alert streaming system (or some other alert-type system), you could also facilitate this via a simple report or view in Microsoft CRM, Salesforce.com, or SugarCRM.  It won’t “push” to the user, but you could add it to your “Monday Morning Process” and train sales teams on how best to utilize it.

  • Joe Wichowski 12:38 pm on January 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Business intelligence,   

    Analyze the crash – InformationWeek: Top 10 CIO Priorities for 2011 

    In Bob Evans InformationWeek article on top CIO priorities for 2011, I couldn’t help but notice #1:

    1. Seeing and Shaping The Future: The Power Of Analytics

    BI is not just about tools, its about mining data to make educated guesses on the future.  So, to that, how many companies have now gone back, some 2+ years later, and analyzed the data not just leading up to the crash, but the recovery after?  Were there any key indicators in your market segments early in 2007/08?  Have you looked at your CRM interactions and notes looking for things that “pop out” during this time frame?   What tools were missing in your sales and service force at that time, that did not allow you to react faster to the crash, or even before it?  How were you positioned after the crash and throughout the recovery?

    All of these questions can quickly be answered, and a new data model created to trap for this anomoly in the future.  These models should become a piece of your BI analytics of today.  Although the recession has (mostly) passed us, that doesn’t mean it will never happen again.  And when it does, will your company be able to see it coming, and more importantly, have the tool set and information necessary to counteract it?

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