A new Analytics Center of Excellence Community has been launched on analyticszone.com - where you can download the free book "5 Keys to Business Analytics Program Success". Join the conversation today at www.
Tim O'Bryan 270001NMX7 TIM_OBRYAN@yahoo.com | | Tags:  businessanalytics businessanalyticstoday provenpractices timobryan | 0 Comments | 806 Visits
Learn the value of the new IBM Cognos Planning 10.1.1 (GA November 22). You will be pleased to learn of this release as it affirms IBM’s continued commitment to ongoing support and value-added enhancements to the IBM Cognos Planning solution. The release fulfills our customers latest requests with:
- features for greater ease and speed;
IBM Cognos Planning v10.1.1 delivers additional functionality for contributors (end users), faster access to data for reporting, an improved installation features, and conformance with IBM Cognos BI version 10.1.1 and Microsoft Excel 2010, and other key solutions.
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Tim O'Bryan 270001NMX7 TIM_OBRYAN@yahoo.com | | Tags:  provenpractices timobryan businessanalyticstoday businessanalytics | 0 Comments | 924 Visits
Imagine entering the cockpit of a modern jet airplane and seeing only a single instrument there. How would you feel about boarding the plane after the following conversation with the pilot?
Q: I’m surprised to see you operating a plane with only a single instrument. What does it measure?
Q: That’s good. Airspeed certainly seems important. But what about altitude. Wouldn’t an altimeter be helpful?
We suspect you wouldn’t board the plane after this discussion. Even if the pilot did an exceptional job on air speed, you would be worried about colliding with tall mountains or running low on fuel. Clearly, such a conversation is a fantasy since no pilot would dream of guiding a complex vehicle like a jet airplane through crowded airspace.
This is an often cited story by many business strategists and other management prognosticators which I will attribute to Drs. David Norton and Robert Kaplan, pioneers of the Balanced Scorecard. It’s intended to reflect how critical the actual indicators are that we setup for not only pilots but also the indicators by which you establish for your entire workforce because these indicators will serve as the guiding force behind their decision-making.
Why is this so important? Well, many reasons starting with the business environment has substantially changed where no longer can a company operate rudderless without a core set of metrics to steer each of its employees individually and as a collective unit in the right direction. That right direction is the enterprise strategy. The speed at which these decisions are being made seem to have increased exponentially in just in the past 5 years. The days of top-down, command-and-control authority over decision-making are far from over in deference to a more nimble, decentralized execution hierarchy intended on keeping pace with the velocity of the related competition and customer expectations. The need for getting relevant and actionable information to the business users has never been more pronounced than we’re seeing today. If you can’t react fast enough to the market realities your customers will go elsewhere. We live in a world where product or brand loyalties are becoming more and more a thing of the past. It’s about execution. Good execution is about making smarter, more informed decisions that support the organization’s goals.
These decisions being made are happening across all levels, geographies, and functional areas of the business everyday. For this post I want to zero in on the first question asked which falls under measuring and monitoring the business. This question is, how are we doing?
Sure, the executive suite is constantly measuring and monitoring overall business performance to ensure the company is on track to meet its strategic targets. In addition, the function leads in marketing, sales, finance, HR, and development all the way down to the individual contributor levels of the organization are measuring and monitoring the performance of their area of the business too. But how does everyone know they’re doing the right things at all times? What are their real priorities helping the organization achieve its goals? Is it guesswork? Is it trust-based that the entire workforce is going to naturally make the right decisions supporting top-line goals? How can we be so sure?
This fictional story referenced at the beginning of this post is
really about measuring and monitoring – not an aircraft – but your
business thru a tool called a scorecard.
There are personal, departmental, and enterprise scorecards. A
scorecard includes the key performance indicators, or KPIs, for which,
in the case of a personal scorecard, an employee is responsible which,
if these KPIs are correctly defined, would include measurements that,
when looked at in aggregate, support the enterprise’s top-line strategic
goals and objectives. Inevitably, there will be shared targets for some
of the KPIs in a personal scorecard either within a specific functional
area of the business (Think Marketing Director/Marketing Associate
having similar campaign targets) or as shared KPIs across functional
groups like marketing, sales, procurement, and deve
The actual KPIs – typically there’s about 6-10 for each individual – are critical because they will define the actions taken by the individual for which they’re responsible. The ultimate alignment via scorecards composed of KPIs across these business groups, departments, divisions, business units, etc. is the embodiment of what we call a company’s strategy execution framework.
Harvard Business School having done a study on this framework found that, “a 35% increase in Strategy Execution leads to 30% gain in shareholder value”. That’s a pretty strong argument for at least taking a harder look at it.
How do you deploy such a framework, you ask? Well, in theory it’s very simple. You just translate the business strategy and its related goals into a set of performance indicators that outline the targets for which each department and employee within each department are responsible and away you go, right? Yes, I know. It sounds easy in theory. But, in practice it’s a little more work.
The key is working top-down with each business and support unit area to translate their contribution towards meeting these higher level targets so that these lower-level, cascaded measurements, or KPIs, will, when rolled up in total, directly tie to the top-level enterprise’s strategic goals. This ensures proper alignment of the organization while providing an ongoing set of metrics by which the workforce can measure themselves.
Even more important in defining the right KPIs is the understanding that whatever the indicators are, this will determine the individual’s behavior so take care as you define these. Something else that makes this framework so effective is that it makes it that much easier to reset the workforce when those top-level strategies change. the infrastructure is in place to restructure the scorecards. This allows the company to adapt more quickly.
Think about deploying such a framework for your organization. The best incentive I can give you for taking on this effort is that going through the KPI definition process for each set of scorecards it forces discussions across functions, within departments and at the executive level that will expose how achievable these targets really are with the current resources in place today and who is ultimately responsible for what. This is just about the most important exercise I think a company can go through to make sure it’s not setting itself up for failure because its strategy isn’t attainable given the resources currently in place. Once this KPI definition process is complete and everyone knows who’s doing what and where the synergies lye it’s all about execution. This framework sets companies up to execute well because they’ve already identified their needs and resources at their disposal and now it’s a matter of delivering. It’s go time.
If done right this will be the outcome for your organization:
More coming on this subject. Stay tuned. In my next post I’ll tell you some of the best practices in defining the right KPIs for personal scorecards.
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Tracy Harris 2700026WJ9 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  cognos intelligence business iod11 ba-strategy baforum ibmaq analytics | 0 Comments | 1,264 Visits
Have you created your BI Strategy? If not, you can get started with lessons learned in a podcast from the team that brought you the book “BI Strategy: A Practical Guide to Achieving BI Excellence”. In a three-part series over the next few weeks, you can hear about the experiences of:
- John Boyer, Manager, BI Center of Excellence, at The Nielsen Company
- Bill Frank, Technology Manager, BI Practice, at Johnson & Johnson
- Brian Green, Manager of BI and Performance Management at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee
- Kay Van De Vanter, Enterprise BI Architect and BICC Lead at The Boeing Company
And myself (the fifth author) as we share practical advice on how to get more strategic in the use of analytics to help your organization outperform.
In this series, you’ll hear about how organizations can design a strategy that promotes business alignment, get practical advice on organizational design and culture as well as benefit from their pooled knowledge on technology strategy.
In this first episode, the team deep dives on the “Business Alignment Strategy” which sets the stage for how you define your stakeholders, map to the business needs of the organization and prioritize the many different projects that come to light when success is realized.
Tim O'Bryan 270001NMX7 TIM_OBRYAN@yahoo.com | | Tags:  timobryan kpis provenpractices businessanalyticstoday businessanalytics strategyexecution strategy | 0 Comments | 750 Visits
Books. There’s all genres. Business. Nonfiction, Fiction, History, Current Events, Biographies, Mysteries and on and on. Whatever the genre there’s nothing like a great book. They can entertain you, inform you of information you’d otherwise never know, challenge your thinking, and even change your life. Many people like to read so much that they’ll take on multiple books at a time each serving a different purpose: one, current events; another, fiction; a third, history; a fourth, humor, etc. I suppose the thinking is that depending on their mood they’ve got a book to satisfy that moment’s interest. If you’re in this camp then you know you can easily end up bouncing from book to book, day to day slowly chipping away at each one.
Delaney Turner 270003RQ8K Delaney.Turner@ca.ibm.com | | Tags:  ibmsoftware business_analytics iod11 | 1 Comments | 581 Visits
1. If you write a book about analytics, they’ll make a movie about you. It may even star Brad Pitt: For the second year in a row, the event’s keynote speakers are co-authors of a famous book about analytics. Last year, the unlikely duo of “Dubner and Levitt” recounted their insights from the world of Freakonomics. Hollywood made that book into a documentary. This year, IOD welcomes Billy Beane and Michael Lewis of Moneyball fame. Beane, you may recall, was the general manager of the perennially cash-strapped Oakland A’s baseball team who found a new (and controversial) way to win by analyzing player statistics that other teams both overlooked and undervalued. A bestselling author, Lewis transforms a discussion about sports stats into an exploration of the nature of talent and how to identify it to maintain your competitive edge. Hollywood made Moneyball into a movie, too. Here's the preview:
2. You’ll find ways to boost your AQ, guaranteed: This year we’re offering 200 breakout sessions across five distinct tracks covering business intelligence, delivering customer success, financial and risk analytics, predictive and advanced analytics and new this year, social media and customer analytics. Many of the breakout sessions are led by our customers who are eager talk about their own journeys to better business outcomes. Listen, learn and take your next steps toward a higher level of analytics maturity. Not sure about your AQ? Take our quiz before you leave for Vegas.
3. There are precisely 46 days left to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount: Actually, it’s less than that. Take away the 12 weekend days when you’re unlikely to be at your desk, there are in fact 34 days. Of course, you can register after Aug. 31, but why pay more? Click here for registration info.
4. You can save another $100 off your registration with a single tweet: Yes, it is just that simple. Follow @IODGC2011 and tweet with the hashtag #IOD11 and we’ll send you a code through direct Twitter message (That is, if you’re OK with us following you as well).
5. You can get IBM-certified for free: Take up to three IBM software certification exams at no charge and take as many more as you’d like at half-price. You’ll save $100 per exam and come home with certificates suitable for framing.
6. Information On Demand boasts IBM’s largest EXPO. Explore more than 300 exhibitors, meet with IBM experts and see hands-on demonstrations to see what’s possible with our software, get answers to your toughest questions and try the latest products that until now you’ve only heard about. There's lots more about the EXPO here.
7. It’s not just for Business Analytics: Information on Demand 2011 is also home to Information Management and Enterprise Content Management Forums, with in-depth introductions to IBM solutions for data management, enterprise content management, information integration, master data management and data warehousing. These capabilities are fundamental to successful analytics deployment, so be sure to attend some of their breakout sessions or demo peds as well.
8. It’s even better when you bring your team: Attend with your colleagues to maximize your learning and professional networks. Divide and conquer when you can’t decide between sessions. See more of the EXPO and get more of your team excited about what’s possible with IBM solutions. Collaborate on alibis if necessary. Plus, sign up six of your colleagues and the seventh conference pass is on us! Contact the IOD 2011 Event Team for more information on our company pass discounts.
Tim O'Bryan 270001NMX7 TIM_OBRYAN@yahoo.com | | Tags:  businessanalytics openpages clarity ibmcognos | 0 Comments | 1,076 Visits
Leveraging IBM OpenPages & Cognos Clarity for Risk Management, Disclosure Management and XBRL
Ashley Weeks 270006R983 email@example.com | | Tags:  barcelona group dubai partners delta | 0 Comments | 627 Visits
Delta Partners is the leading Advisory and Investment firm specialized in Telecoms, Media and Technology with offices in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America. We partner with global and regional telecom providers, digital players and other TMT clients to help them address their most challenging strategic issues.
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Our unique combination of Management Advisory, Corporate Finance and Investment Services creates unparalleled value for our clients and business partners.
Nikki Gonzales 270005YHQW firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  test | 0 Comments | 519 Visits
Tim O'Bryan 270001NMX7 TIM_OBRYAN@yahoo.com | | Tags:  timobryan financialperformancemanag... businessanalyticstoday businessanalytics | 0 Comments | 2,567 Visits
Finance teams are the performance management captain of the corporate ship empowered to provide the executive team, and business and support units with real insight and understanding of past, present, and future performance while guiding them on what the information means to each of their constituents and how it can be interpreted for decision making. That is their most strategic value to the business. However, because of the explosion of information, speed of business, growing systems through M&A and unique information capture needs of different areas of the business not to mention growing business practice demands, such as regulatory compliance to meet the regional, national, and global reporting requirements, the corporation’s most important analytical asset, finance departments, remains mired in just completing the basic week-to-week tasks without providing this strategic guidance. As a result, emerging trends, exploitable opportunities, efficiency gains, addi
In the 1960′s, IBM was the 800-pound gorilla in the mainframe business whose technology supremacy went unchallenged and superior performance went virtually unabated into the 1970′s. They were the blue suits bearing information-based mainframes to help companies use data to run their large – sometimes multinational – businesses with greater know-how about customers, products, operations, and financial performance far more adeptly than any other technology could. Yes, they were considered the masters of product innovation largely due to world-class business practices and industry expertise. However, Big Blue got complacent and far too comfortable in their long held pole position. Their inflated confidence and market share eventually disintegrated as they missed the advent of the new information-based technology, which, if they would have had the right analytic capabilities in place, they would have seen it coming; the emergence of the minicomputer. Minicomputers were technologically simpler than mainframes but with stronger computing power while requiring less resources to run them. To be fair, it wasn’t just IBM that missed the advent of minicomputers. It was virtually every mainframe company in existence at that time. This new technology virtually wiped out the entire mainframe business such that no mainframe business would be a major player in the minicomputer business at all.
What happened? What was missed? Who screwed up?
In my opinion, there were many failures that caused this emerging technology to go unaddressed by IBM and others, but the chief culprit who could and should have been prepared for it was finance. Yes, I think it’s up to finance as the owners of business performance (past, present, and future) to fundamentally understand the business climate – internally and externally – to then advise their corporate constituents on what the information they’ve analyzed means to them. For this to happen finance needs to get a handle on its core responsibilities before it can begin to really spot these performance-sapping icebergs that can possibly turn into business shuttering threats.
Let’s get back to the technology story for a minute if that’s okay. Then, I’ll finish my point.
Where were we? IBM’s out because the mainframe business has gone south – way south by way of the minicomputer. Exit IBM. Enter Digital Equipment Corporation. DEC virtually created the minicomputer business along with a few other aggressively managed companies like Data General, Prime, Wang Computer, Hewlett-Packard, and Nixdorf. Did DEC and others in the minicomputer business learn any lessons from IBM’s big miss on the minicomputer market so as to not repeat the same mistake? Of course not. The story of DEC’s demise rings almost too tellingly true to IBM’s mainframe debacle of the 1970′s. In fact, the management gurus and business journals missed it too. Digital Equipment Corporation was considered by all who had some insight into the company’s operations as being the ultimate technology company for decades to come. For certain it was a featured company in the McKinsey Study that became the stellar 1980′s management book, In Search of Excellence. DEC seemed destined for monster success. Still, despite all this fanfare, DEC missed the next wave in computing technology, the desktop computer market.
Again, where was finance watching past performance by measuring and monitoring it, to get analytical insight into what the future might look like to then advise their constituents across the business on what all of this means to each one of them? Answer: Heads down.
The desktop computing market was predictably seized not by DEC or one of its minicomputer compadres but by Apple Computer, Tandy, Commodore, and IBM’s PC-division. (Yes, IBM can’t be held down for long!)
What happened next? Like Rick Blaine says in the movie Casablanca, “Play It Again, Sam.” Apple, Tandy, IBM and the rest of the desktop computer gang focused on making the best desktop computers they could but ended up missing the next new, new thing. Apple Computer and IBM lagged 5 years behind bringing the latest-and-greatest technology rage to the market: portable computers. That market was owned by Silicon Graphics, Sun, and Apollo – all newcomers to this market.
In each case, the leading companies mentioned were regarded as the gold standard given their product excellence and operational execution only to be quickly pushed aside by an out-of-nowhere, technologically superior solution that reset the market’s expectations rendering the prior leader’s solution frumpy and stale. Missing emerging trends in the marketplace and not adapting to them quickly enough can ring a death knell for most companies. Think Wang, Silicon Graphics, Apollo. For others, this misstep can set them back 5 or even 10 years before they’re back on their feet again.
As a note, in the above example, I simply chose the technology sector but we could have easily used the retail merchandising sector (Think Sears vs. Nordstrom) or retail books (Think Barnes & Noble vs. Amazon), or Automotive (Think GM vs. Toyota). Each situation is an example of a failure to see the changing landscape which, I believe, finance is mostly at fault for squandering these opportunities.
How come finance? I think finance failed their companies in each instance because they weren’t effective enough in managing the day-to-day, low value tasks which, if they had them under control, they would have greater leverage to spend time on higher-value practices like forecasting and business analytics to uncover data points that can help the entire business spot emerging market forces before it’s too late to respond. This responsibility to identify these threats and opportunities lies squarely on finance. If not them, then who else? Be careful because whomever you’ll name will probably expect finance to provide them with the meaningful insight into performance results across the business as well as external information, which, again, means it’s incumbent on finance.
So, how does finance get to that point where it’s able to provide this kind of insight with the resources it has because Lord knows it’s not going to get additional headcount? Well, it all starts with finding a way to better leverage the resources it has. This requires finance teams to get the lower value tasks automated as much as they can so that they can off-load these process management steps to take on added capacity for these analytic practices.
What are the world class finance teams doing to be analytic leaders in their industry? World class analytic finance teams have these repeatable practices down to great consistency and repeatability from end-to-end:
These practices are the foundational elements required for finance to be the advisor in providing guidance to the business. Excel at the practices mentioned above and you’re soon positioning your analytic experts on your finance team to do the real analysis they’re supposed to be doing. It’s incumbent upon the CFO’s finance department to provide this guidance and leadership given finance’s role as the performance managers for the company. It is therefore finance’s job to provide insights into past, present, and future performance but also trends, anomalies and market opportunities that become visible only after thorough analysis of the information-based business results gleaned from systems, i.e. ERP, CRM, SCM, etc. and processes, i.e. forecasting, what-if scenario analytics, etc.
This finance role is looked to not only explain past business performance and its financial effects but also advise and guide the strategy in determining where to make investments with the resources at hand. The CFO’s analytics team – finance – needs to spend its time not on the everyday execution of basic, low value process steps, like compiling, validating, and reconciling data for various internal and external reporting needs but also analyzing past, present, and future to present guidance on what’s happened, what’s happening now, and what could happen. Only with an infrastructure in place to easily manage these basic elements of the finance team’s mandate can the real value-added analytic insights come to light. Otherwise, their companies will continue to drive through its business climate with a perpetual blind spot on what’s coming soon rendering them the next Tandy Computer, Silicon Graphics, or Apollo.
It’s up to you finance to not let this happen.
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