Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Location Intelligence Answers the Question: "What Else?"

We've all heard the estimate: 80% of business information has a location aspect. It's been repeated so often that it has become common wisdom, but it is a very round estimate, and the importance of location varies quite widely depending on the business you are in.

So, rather than being impressed by a vague number that may or may not reflect our actual business scenario, we should ask ourselves how location information can help us achieve our own strategic objectives, and how it can help us execute on a tactical and operational level.

If business intelligence reports tell us the "what" of business information, and analytical tools help us answer the "why" and "what if" of this information, then location intelligence tells us the "what else."

Location gives us a way to ask the question: "What else should we consider before we make important decisions about our product development, sales and marketing operations?"

Location allows us to group customers, industries and anything else that has geographic specificity to discover what else they have in common -- demographics, psychographics, legislative requirements, climate and a host of other factors that can influence our decisions.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Live Tweeting APOS #StorageCenter Webinar

I'll be live-tweeting this morning's Storage Center webinar using the hashtag #StorageCenter. The webinar gets under way at 10am, and will be repeated this afternoon at 4pm.

The webinar will discuss the place of robust archive, backup and selective restore capabilities in a well managed BI strategy for SAP BusinessObjects.

Register here.

My Twitter handle: @WellManagedBI.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Healthcare Regulatory Compliance and APOS Storage Center

If you are a provider or payer in US Healthcare, your world has become radically more regulated over the past decade or so, thanks to several pieces of legislation, including:

It's a complex landscape. In no other industry is data such an important asset, and yet such a potential liability. The regulatory burden and responsibility continues to grow for both providers and payers. As a BI platform manager in the healthcare industry, you need to be proactive about data governance.

APOS Storage Center can complement your SAP BusinessObjects system and help you with regulatory compliance through the following features:
  • Rules-based backup, archive, versioning, and selective restore
  • Offline and online archiving
  • Extract and export
  • Versioning, purging retrieving Web Intelligence reports
  • System performance improvements

Being proactive about data governance means not waiting until you have a problem to have a solution in place. APOS Storage Center resolves SAP BusinessObjects document instance archive, backup and restore issues before they become security and regulatory compliance problems.

Webinar: Proactive Information Management for SAP BusinessObjects

Tuesday, February, 28, 2012, 10am ET and 4pm ET.

Register for the webinar.

Most organizations have important compliance and/or operational needs which require them to keep a long history of report instances. Every SAP BusinessObjects platform manager needs control and flexibility over report objects, instances and schedules.

The APOS Storage Center well managed BI solution streamlines administration workflows, minimizes the impact of human error, and gives you more flexibility and control over your SAP BusinessObjects deployment. Storage Center mitigates risk and delivers system storage efficiencies for improved system performance and usability. And it makes migrating your SAP BusinessObjects document instances significantly easier.

Please join us for a 45 minute webinar that focuses on the unique benefits of APOS Storage Center, and the flexible control options that it will provide for you. This webinar will provide a functional overview of the APOS Storage Center solution, including:


  • Business rules driven archive of report instance
  • On-line and off-line archiving

Backup and Versioning

  • Business rules driven backup of report instances
  • Business rules driven backup of report objects with version controls

Selective Restore

  • Restore specific objects without system downtime

Dynamic Exporting

  • Conversion to neutral format and compression for long-term storage

Intelligent Purging

  • Selective purging of instances from main environment

Friday, February 24, 2012

Building a Better Fleet with Location Intelligence

You know a technology has arrived when it starts affecting each and every one of us at some basic level without us being aware of it. Like the price of corn, simple things can have giant effects. has a case study that demonstrates this point well. "Using location intelligence for better truck driver scheduling" tells the story of a company that uses very basic location intelligence to minimize miles driven and balance the driving workload.

There is no knowledge more basic to location intelligence than just knowing where things are at any given moment. That's what GPS gives you. Applying that knowledge systematically to a real business problem creates location intelligence.

In the case of this anonymous company, the dispatcher balances the workload to avoid unnecessary hiring and firing, and plans the most efficient routes for drivers and cargos, saving the company large amounts on wages and fuel, as well as improving customer satisfaction:
Where work needs to be reassigned Joe can update the route planning to add or remove clients against a driver based on the current number of orders, while still keeping a driver focused on delivering mostly in their nearby territory.

Location intelligence is about taking GPS data and using it to manage a fleet more profitably, making informed decisions and planning clearly for the future. It's about having the hard data to use when required to dispose of underutilized assets or request additional drivers.
The rising cost of fuel and commodities is making such simple efficiencies essential.

Via @gpsfortrucks.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Healthcare Outcomes and Business Analytics

In 2001, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an arm of the US National Academy of Sciences, released a report detailing the many failings of health care provision in the US, and laying out a plan to fix health care. The plan was to become more proactive and less reactive in engaging patients and families to manage their healthcare, improving the overall health of the population, improving the safety and reliability of the healthcare system, coordinating patient care amongst multiple agencies, delivering palliative services, eliminating abuse, maximizing access, and improving the healthcare system's information infrastructure.

In fact, the focus on healthcare IT at the IOM goes back even further. In 1991, they published "The Computer-Based Patient Record: An Essential Technology for Healthcare"(revised 1997), a report heralding computerized patient records as the best hope for higher quality of care.

In the Fall 2010 issue of the Journal of Healthcare Information Management (a publication of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society ‑ membership required), Judy Murphy writes about the progress that has been made in healthcare since the IOM's push for better healthcare IT began over twenty years ago:
Robert Wachter, author of two books on patient safety and editor of the federal government's two leading safety Web sites, gives efforts an overall grade of B-, a slight improvement from his grade of C+ when he performed a similar analysis five years ago. Wachter says that overall, the past decade has seen progress in hospitals' responses to accreditation requirements, regulation and error reporting, but health IT has lagged behind, with research in the area slowly advancing and remaining underfunded.
As Judy Murphy notes, progress has been at best mediocre:
Unfortunately, the attractive claims linking health IT and quality outcomes rest on scant empirical data. Several studies and system reviews published in 2009 and 2010 have demonstrated some evidence for cost and quality benefits of computerization at a few institutions, but with little evidence of broader application.
And it seems that the long-term strategic objectives of this initiative have been obscured by the shorter-term tactical objectives:
The modest quality advantages associated with computerization are difficult to interpret, and are clouded by the fact that the quality indicators used today often reflect care process metrics rather than patient care outcomes. In other words, we are measuring how many patients receive smoking cessation counseling or prescriptions for beta blockers; we are not measuring how many patients quit smoking or what their reinfarction rates are.
The bright spot in all of this is the use of clinical decision support tools: also seems clear that implementing and adopting health IT is not enough. The evidence points out that, unless you specifically use systems with clinical decision support tools and paired with practice changes, you are unlikely to improve quality and patient safety and unlikely to achieve overall reductions in health costs.
Before computerization of healthcare records, we said that healthcare was data-rich, but information-poor. Post computerization, it seems healthcare IT is information-rich, but analysis-poor. In other words, we have the information we need to make a difference, but haven't yet applied the appropriate analytics tools and mindset to the larger strategic objectives.

Clearly, budget is a large part of the problem, but in the age of doing-more-with-less, asking for a larger budget is probably a non-starter. So business analytics managers in healthcare need to look at ways to liberate resources from repetitive administrative tasks so they can spend more time adding value to outcomes via better decision support capabilities. You can't focus effectively on the larger issues if you spend all your time resolving the smaller ones.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Location Intelligence and Enterprise Bandwidth

The Constellation Research website has an interesting article on the importance of location in enterprise software. The key insight is this:
If location was stored with objects, that data could then be used to filter information, just like how facets such as time and author are used today... In other words, location is an important data point that could be used to reduce the rapidly increasing amount of information that is being pushed into activity streams.
By leveraging the location aspect of business intelligence / enterprise information, we can refine our searches to the most relevant data, and reduce our use of enterprise bandwidth. So not only does location intelligence allow us to be more effective in targeting our activities, but also to be more efficient in our use of enterprise resources.