Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for June 2012

A New Style of Analytics: Making Sense of Data Overload

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If you’re in the business of making decisions…or if someone in your business supports you through decision making…then you’ll probably want to take note of an announcement IBM just made to help bolster decision making capability using analytics technology.

“Big data” is the digital convergence of structured and unstructured data. Those organizations that can capture and analyze their data, regardless of what type, how much, or how fast it is moving, can make more informed decisions.

Yesterday, IBM announced new predictive analytics software that automatically correlates and analyzes big data to help clients embed hyper-intelligence into every business decision.

In addition to generating insights on internal data in a matter of seconds, the software measures the impact of social networking channels and factors this information into organizational decision making.

The software represents a new class of “decision management” capabilities that revolutionizes the way organizations gain, share and take action based on information gathered as part of business processes such as marketing, claims processing and fraud detection.

In these, and other data-rich areas – where anywhere from a thousand to five billion decisions are made daily – the software will put forward the next best action to front-line employees ensuring optimal interactions and outcomes.

Driving Repeatable Results With Fewer Resources

Companies across all industries are increasingly under pressure to drive immediate and repeatable results with fewer resources, react more swiftly to rising customer demands, and gain faster insights on business data.

These pressures are challenging organizations to strengthen their approach to decision making, and forcing organizations to act not only corporate policy and gut instinct.

For example, according to a Columbia Business School Center Global Brand Leadership report, 90 percent of senior corporate marketers believe that successful brands use customer data to drive marketing decisions. Yet 50 percent say that a lack of sharing customer data within their own organization is a barrier to effectively measuring their marketing efforts.

Compounding these challenges is the variety, velocity and volume of big data which is growing at record rates. According to IDC, the decision management software market is expected to exceed $10 billion by 2014.

“In today’s marketplace, when a customer says they’re not happy, companies must decide how to react — not later that day, or in an hour, but instantly,” said Deepak Advani, vice president business analytics products and solutions, IBM.

“With these new technologies, winning organizations can embed analytics into under-served areas of their business, empowering all employees to make information based decisions.”

IBM Analytical Decision Management Software

The new Analytical Decision Management software, part of a series of IBM Smarter Analytics initiatives, helps clients apply automated, real-time analytics into any operational data no matter where it resides, and instantly analyze it to uncover trends and expose hidden paths to growth.

As a result, insights can now be automated, socialized and used for predictive decision making.

In a single platform, IBM has combined the power of business rules, predictive analytics and optimization techniques through intuitive interfaces that allow users to focus on specific business problems. The resulting decision can be consumed by existing pre-packaged or custom-built applications, including many applications on the mainframe.

The platform also takes advantage of IBM InfoSphere Streams technology where big data can be analyzed and shared in motion, providing real-time decision making in environments where thousands of decisions can be made every second.

Entity Analytics: Making Sense of Data Overload

IBM is also extending the powerful analytical functionality with the inclusion of its newest entity analytics capabilities. For the first time, businesses can take advantage of entity analytics as part of the decision management platform.

This feature, especially well suited for big data environments, is a unique analytics engine that enables identification and matching for all entities – people, places, or things – making systems smarter as more information becomes available.

Unlike traditional methods, the IBM entity analytics capabilities are context based and accumulate knowledge, resulting in a more accurate picture, better models, and better outcomes. This ability to understand how the data is related delivers higher quality models and helps to ultimately produce smarter decisions.

Understanding Social Relationships and Influencers

A new social network analytics feature enables companies to take sentiment analysis a step further by analyzing who the influencers are around any given topic, who exactly is listening, and why people should care.

This feature enables decision makers to factor in how customers behave, what they say, and how big their sphere of influence is in a social network.

For example, which other customers does this person know? Does this person influence others in their social network? The ability to incorporate social network analytics into the predictive models used in analytical decision management helps organizations identify social leaders who can influence behavior.

C Spire: Predicting Customer Behavior

IBM client C Spire, a leading telecommunications service provider, is using IBM analytics to get closer to their customers by better predicting customer behavior and intervening before a problem ever arises, making their service and experience more personalized.

“The benefits we are able to see from using this advanced IBM analytics technology will give us the ability to put the right message in front of the right customer at the best time and in the best channel,” said Justin Croft, manager marketing campaigns and promotions, C Spire.

“We will now be able to deliver true personalization, giving the customer exactly what they need, without having to ask for it. Not only does this improve the customer experience, it also positively impacts sales and customer retention.”

This recent announcement builds on the recent release of IBM’s operational decision management software, and represents the first time that both analytical and operational decision management are provided to clients jointly on one platform.

IBM: Laser Focused on Business Analytics

The news is part of IBM’s larger focus on business analytics and optimization, which spans hardware, software, services, and research. IBM projects $16 billion in business analytics revenue by 2015.

To meet that target, the company has established the world’s deepest portfolio of analytics solutions, growing its business and industry expertise to approximately 9,000 business analytics and optimization consultants and 400 researchers, and created global analytics solution centers in Berlin, Beijing, Dallas, London, New York, Tokyo, Washington and Zurich.

IBM has acquired more than 30 companies to build targeted analytics and information expertise and continues to expand its ecosystem, which today consists of more than 27,000 IBM business partners. IBM has also secured hundreds of patents a year in analytics.

These investments have enabled IBM to develop breakthrough technologies like IBM Watson, a new class of industry specific analytical capability that uses deep content analysis, evidence-based reasoning, and natural language processing to identify relationships buried in large volumes of data that can be used to improve decision making.

Go here to learn more about IBM’s Analytical Decision Management technology.  You can also following the ongoing discussion around IBM and entity analytics on Twitter via the following hashtags:  #smarteranalytics #ibmbigdata and #decisionmgmt.

IBM Survey: Marketers Face Tech Dilemma

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IBM just got the results in on yet another of its boundless surveys, this one concerning my favorite, the marketing industry.

Click to enlarge. While new social media and mobile devices are vital, the recent IBM “State of Marketing” survey revealed that 41 percent say keeping pace with the growth of these channels and device choices will be their biggest challenge over the next three to five years. This finding follows IBM’s 2011 CMO study where 65 percent of CMOs stated that they are under prepared for the growth of social and online channels such as Facebook and Twitter and new device choices including smart phones and tablets.

The lead: CMOs and CIOs must partner to connect with today’s elusive consumer across new channels (including mobile and social).  

Sounds obvious enough, but fully 60 percent of marketers point to their lack of alignment with the company’s IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today’s consumers.

On the mobile front: Mobile marketing seems to be working well, according to the findings, but marketers are preparing to move beyond coupons and deliver mobile advertising that reaches customers on smartphones and tablets.

34 percent of respondents stated that in less than 12 months, they intend to deliver mobile ads, the highest rate of new marketing tactic adoption in the five-year history of the study.

Overall, 46 percent of respondents are currently using mobile web sites followed by 45 percent mobile applications, up from 40 percent and 44 percent respectively since last year.

Social Media Growing Pains

While the mobile channel is thriving, marketers lack this same clear consensus on how to best utilize social media, which will result in ongoing experimentation with these channels.

When  looking toward the remainder of the year, 26 percent intend to launch applications on 3rd party social network sites, 24 percent plan to incorporate user-generated content into their social media efforts, and 23 percent are looking to launch social media ads or share links in email and web offers.

Dipping their toes in the water, checking things out, but not necessarily diving in.

IBM digital marketing consultant Todd “Turbo” Watson provides his own response and recommendations concerning the results from IBM’s 2012 “State of Marketing” study.

The State of Marketing 2012

This IBM “State of Marketing 2012” study surveyed more than 350 marketing professionals across a wide range of industries and geographies.

Notably in the study, 51 percent of respondents who identified their companies as high-performing indicated they have good relationships between marketing and IT, 10 percent higher than other companies.

This figure validates the importance of the marketing and IT alliance which gives top performers greater responsibilities for the products and services, price, place and promotion (the 4Ps), and communication across the purchasing cycle.

As a result, marketers from these higher performing companies are nearly three times more likely to be pro-active leaders in driving their organization’s customer experience across all channels.

“This research indicates that as new channels continue to mature and consumer habits evolve, marketing and IT have no alternative but to emerge from their traditional silos and form a strong partnership that puts the business in a position to succeed,” said Yuchun Lee, Vice President, IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group.

“CMOs and CIOs, an ‘odd couple’ in some respects, will be the catalysts in forging this union and enabling the types of personalized multichannel brand relationships that today’s customers demand.”

Here are some other interesting results found in the survey:

  • Marketing and IT Lack Integration: While 48 percent of respondents believe that improved technology infrastructure or software will enable them to do more, nearly 60 percent indicated that lack of IT alignment and integration are significant barriers to the adoption of technology. This void further reinforces the notion that CMOs and CIOs must forge stronger, more aligned relationships that put the business in a position to succeed.
  • Marketing and IT Lack Unified Vision: While 71 percent believe integration across owned, earned and paid channels is important, only 29 percent are effectively integrating these different channels. When asked why, 59 percent said that existing systems are too disparate to integrate these channels. This is most evident in areas such as mobile and social where only 21 percent and 22 percent of respondents run these tactics as part of integrated campaigns with the remainder conducting them in silos, discretely and on an ad hoc basis, a practice which inhibits their ability to deliver effective cross-channel campaigns.
  • Marketers State Social and Mobile are Biggest Challenges Moving Forward. While new social media and mobile devices are vital, 41 percent stated that keeping pace with the growth of these channels and device choices will be their biggest challenge over the next three to five years. This finding follows IBMs 2011 CMO study where 65 percent of CMOs stated that they are under prepared for the growth of social and online channels such as Facebook and Twitter and new device choices including smart phones and tablets.
  • Marketers Ignore Social Media Insights: While marketers continue to experiment with social media channels, 51 percent are not using this data to inform decisions about marketing offers and messages. This may represent a missed opportunity for marketers looking to best meet the needs of today’s customer.
  • Marketers Fail to Turn Data into Action. When asked how they are using online visitor data, 65 percent of respondents are doing the basics, reporting and analyzing their data. Despite that number, only one third are using this data to target one-to-one offers or messages in digital channels and less than 20 percent are using this online data to make one-to-one offers in traditional channels.

The Recommendations: Let The Customer Lead and Tear Down Those Walls

So, what’s a poor, social-media starved, completely unintegrated, IT-deficient CMO to do?

Lead with the customer experience.  Collaborate with your other business functions and work to expand the role of marketing throughout the purchasing cycle.  Make marketing everybody’s job (because they should all have a stake in its outcome), and use business analytics with agreed on core KPIs that helps convey to everyone your progress (or lack thereof).

Break Down Those Walls…And Silos. Think about your customer experience from their perspective, map your engagement with them, and then figure out where the gaps and inconsistencies are. You can have the best TV ads in the world, but if your customer service rep hasn’t been enabled to address that wonderful Facebook campaign you were running, no amount of apologizing can make up for such basic gaps and gaffes.

Embrace a tech marketing platform. Use technology to your advantage. Stop practicing the art of southern engineering (using chewing game and baling wire to build your campaign). Partner with IT to more aggressively eliminate silos and integrate and bring on board those new technologies that will help you automate your marketing. In the process, learn how to speak to your CFO in their terms, and be increasingly prepared to explain the value of your marketing in (numerical) terms they can appreciate.

You can download the full study results on SlideShare.

IBM And Wimbledon: Real-Time Tennis Analytics, Anyone?

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So we’ve witnessed one big golf event for the summer, and now it’s time to turn our attention across the pond to Wimbledon and the All England Club.

At this year’s Wimbledon Championships, IBM SlamTracker will use predictive analytics technology to enable fans to gain deeper insight into the match. SlamTracker is a multifaceted feature of Wimbledon’s digital presence that leverages historical and real-time data to add depth and insight to the Championship experience. The ‘Momentum’ capability maps a match in real-time, visualizing key turning points and their causes (i.e. winners, aces etc.).

IBM has continued its partnership with Wimbledon and is helping bring a vibrant new digital environment to tennis fans this year and the launch of an all new Championships’ website, www.wimbledon.com

Wimbledon.com has been completely re-designed to reflect the heritage and appeal of the event, as well as to offer the tournament’s anticipated 16 million unique website visitors a more creative and immersive experience through improved content, more powerful imagery and intuitive navigation process.

This year’s site is built atop IBM’s SmartCloud infrastructure that can change quickly to meet surges in demand.  It will also be integrating a new online broadcast channel to keep online viewers up to speed on the tennis action, Live @ Wimbledon, which will help complement the IBM SlamTracker scoreboard that provides such rich interactive analytics.

Live @ Wimbledon

Featuring both TV and radio, Live @ Wimbledon will blend live action from around the grounds by dropping into matches at crucial points in play (a stream of one game, per set, per match, per hour) with the off-court color of a day at The Championships.

In addition to the minimum of five hours live broadcasting per day, viewers will be able to enjoy pre-packaged content such as previews and reviews, match highlights and archive footage.

The Live @ Wimbledon radio service will offer an enhanced and improved version of its popular predecessor (Radio Wimbledon), which will be available worldwide online and on the three local FM channels.

“Together with IBM, we’ve created a new website which features increased options for people to personalize their Wimbledon experience,” said Mick Desmond, Commercial Director, at the All England Club, home of The Championships.

“Visitors can follow the progress of their favorite players, view live match play clips of the day’s action, and access scores and results delivered in real-time. We expect this increasingly engaging and personalized online experience to appeal to fans in ever greater numbers.”

IBM SlamTracker

At this year’s Championships IBM SlamTracker will use predictive analytics technology to enable fans to gain deeper insight into the match.

SlamTracker is a multifaceted feature of Wimbledon’s digital presence that leverages historical and real-time data to add depth and insight to the Championship experience.

The ‘Momentum’ capability maps a match in real-time, visualizing key turning points and their causes (i.e. winners, aces etc.).

“Keys to the Match” is a feature within SlamTracker that leverages historical and immediate data to determine the top three things a player must do in order to do well in a specific match.

While SlamTracker is an example of how analytics drives insights for tennis, the uses for businesses are almost infinite. Businesses across multiple industries and geographies can gain insights from large volumes of data and then use that knowledge to choose the best strategies and better predict outcomes.

IBM SecondSight heads to Center Court

Following on from the 2011 pilot on Court 18, this year for the first time on Center Court, IBM will trial player movement tracking.

Following on from the 2011 pilot on Court 18, this year for the first time on Center Court, IBM will trial player movement tracking. With “IBM SecondSight” it will be possible to track the fastest moving players and how their performance changes, set by set and match by match. The system can provide new data that could help players, coaches, commentators and fans alike, as well as add a new dimension to fan’s understanding of the science of tennis.

With IBM SecondSight it will be possible to track the fastest moving players and how their performance changes, set by set and match by match. The system can provide new data that could help players, coaches, commentators and fans alike; and, add a new dimension to fan’s understanding of the science of tennis.

“This year a completely new website takes the understanding and insight into the Wimbledon Championships to a whole new level,” said Alan Flack, IBM’s Programme Executive for Wimbledon. “Using the power of cloud computing each individual data point is integrated instantaneously to deliver a powerful experience for fans, players, coaches and officials alike.”

IBM and Wimbledon

IBM is the Official Supplier of Information Technology and Consultancy to The All England Lawn Tennis Club which stages The Championships. Since 1990, IBM has worked with the All England Club to introduce new technologies that help bring the wealth of real-time data captured during The Championships to life.

IBM sends the captured data around the world in an instant, keeping on-site broadcasters, media and tennis fans everywhere up to date with all the latest scores and statistics. Detailed analytical reports for the players are also available as soon as each match has been completed. During The Championships 2011, the tournament website received 15.6 million unique visitors and 451 million page views.

Below The Surface

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So Microsoft went and introduced a tablet computer, huh?

I watched some of the live blogging coverage from the Milk studios in LA, where the announcement was made.

And though it seemed like an interesting product, doing Surface means I’d have to do Windows, and I’ve done everything possible to minimize my exposure to Windows, and I’m going to keep it that way.

I learned as much as possible about Mac OS X.  I’m now getting much more familiar with Linux (Ubuntu 12.04, in particular). And so I’venot been in a steady Windows environment for some time now.

And you know what?  I really don’t miss it.

This has nothing to do with the old OS/2 v. Windows grudge match.

I’ve long been over that.  It simply has to do with what environment is it that helps me get my job done day in and day out, and be productive with minimum interference from  the realities and demands of the operating system.

And the UNIX-based Mac OS X does that.

So, for the most part, does Linux (although Linux can be a little more of a challenge until you get the basic hang of it as an OS).

Windows, on the other hand, I always felt was intruding in my productivity.

There was always something going wrong in Windows for me.  There was always something crashing.  Something needing to be moved from one place to another for something else to work.  Some file to associate with some thing to get the app to open. And on and on and on.

Mac’s don’t do that.  For me, Macs just work.

As much as I liked PC guy, Mac guy definitely won the computing platform war.

And I have a feeling that will be the case with tablets as well.

First, Apple has a two year head start.  Apple has a massive application install base, one that increasingly links the Macbook line with the iPad, and an audience of several million happy iPad campers.

But, admittedly, Microsoft does  have going for them the massive Windows footprint and install base of their productivity apps stretching eons into the past.

If they can convince the market the Surface is a productivity tool, and capitalize on that massive footprint, there could be a there there.

But if they think they’ll compete on a feature match as a leisure tablet device, I think the Surface will soon sink well below it.

Written by turbotodd

June 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm

The Distance Between Your Ears

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If you’re an avid golf fan, you’re probably experiencing a combination of elation and depression this particular Monday, following the dramatic finish of the 2012 U.S. Open held at the Olympic Club Lakes Course in San Francisco these past four days.

First, let me send out my hearty congratulations to first time major victor and 2012 U.S. Open Champion, Webb Simpson.

Though Webb has certainly had a strong showing these past couple of years on the PGA, his was not a name widely circulated as being a likely victor for this year’s championship.

And though he wasn’t widely featured on the telecast coverage through the first three days of the tournament, he slowly crawled his way up the leader board and yesterday cemented his +1 victory over fellow golfers, Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell.

McDowell, who won his first U.S. Open at Pebble Beach two years ago, held fast to the bitter end, but his final putt wandered just a little too much to the left to earn a playoff with Simpson.

And Furyk, the grinder’s grinder, played steady and firm until that wayward hooked drive on hole 16 at Olympic, also sending his second U.S. Open Championship hopes into the rough along with his uncooperative Srixon ball.

But boy, what drama. If Shakespeare had the occasion to write about golf, he would have gotten at least a sonnet or two out of these past four days of play.

First, there was Tiger Woods’ return to rare form on day one and two, only to see him fade away into the pack with his early six over par on the first several holes yesterday.

Then there was this year’s Cinderella story, committed University of Texas (the new NCAA men’s golf champions, after a forty-year drought) golf aspiree and 17-year-old wunderkind, Beau Hossler, whose grace-under-pressure and whimsical but lethally accurate iron play left everyone wanting more. Standing ovations abounded for “the kid” by the crowds at Olympic, a kid from whom we will certainly hear a lot more and (I hope), soon.

But for my money, the real victor of this year’s U.S. Open was the Olympic Club course, and, of course, the fans.

Olympic played like a great U.S. Open course should — it seemingly brought the best players in the world to their knees, and forced them to play smart and steady golf in order to arrive on top.

That’s the kind of golf Webb Simpson (and a few others) played, and it’s the kind of golf that keeps golf fans coming back for more.

And, after Rory McIlroy’s pummeling of Congressional at last year’s U.S. Open, it was time for the U.S.G.A. to return to the essence of what makes a great U.S. Open — the matching of the best players in the world with the most challenging, but fair, golf course and playing conditions imaginable.

This year, they delivered in spades, and so did Webb Simpson.

Congrats to them both — it was a victory well deserved!

Written by turbotodd

June 18, 2012 at 8:12 pm

IBM Leads In Social Software

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Click to enlarge and view the full infographic. IBM announced earlier today that for the third consecutive year, IDC ranked IBM number one in worldwide market share for enterprise social software. According to IDC’s analysis of 2011 revenue, IBM grew faster than its competitors and nearly two times faster than the overall market. Currently, more than one-third of the Fortune 100 use IBM social business software.

It’s official: For the third year in a row, IBM has been found to be the most social enterprise company around.

Well, something like that.

For the third year in a row, IDC has ranked IBM number one in worldwide market share for enterprise social software.

According to their analysis of 2011 revenue, IBM grew faster than its competitors and nearly two times faster than the overall market (which grew approximately 40 percent).

IDC also forecast the enterprise social platforms market is expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2016, representing growth of 43 percent over the next four years.

Much of that growth comes with the continuing popularity of social networking, with more and more organizations looking for ways to adopt social business practices to integrate global teams, drive innovation, increase productivity and better reach customers and partners.

Using Social Software For Enterprise Transformation

While this demand is on the rise, organizations are still looking for ways to embrace social capabilities to transform virtually every part of their business operations, from marketing to research innovation and human resources, but lack the tools to gain insight into the enormous stream of information and use it in a meaningful way.

“Social software is gaining in momentum in the enterprise,” says Michael Fauscette, group vice president for IDC’s Software Business Solutions Group.

“Companies are seeing significant gain in productivity and increasing value from successfully deployed social software solutions including supporting ad hoc work by bringing people, data, content, and systems together in real time and making more effective critical business decisions by providing the ‘right information’ in the work context.”

Today, more than 35 percent of Fortune 100 companies have adopted IBM’s social software offerings including eight of the top 10 retailers and banks.

IBM Connections: Social Inside And Outside The Enterprise

IBM’s social business software and services is unique combining social networking capabilities with analytics to help companies capture information and insights into dialogues from employees and customers and create interactions that translate into real value.

IBM’s social networking platform, IBM Connections, allows for instant collaboration with one simple click and the ability to build social communities both inside and outside the organization to increase customer loyalty and speed business results.

IBM Connections is available both on premise and in the cloud.

In the past year, new IBM Connections clients include Lowe’s Home Improvement, Electrolux, TD Bank, Newly Weds Foods, Russell’s Convenience stores, Bayer Material Science, The Ottawa Hospital, Premier  Healthcare Alliance, Earthwatch, and the law offices of LaVan & Neidenberg.

“The opportunities for organizations to adopt social business processes to connect people and speed innovation is limitless,” said Alistair Rennie, general manager, social business, IBM.

“A successful social business can break down the barriers to collaboration and transform the next-generation workforce, from device to delivery vehicle of your choice, to improve productivity and speed decision making.”

Learn more about IBM and social business technologies here.

Just How Big IS Big Data?

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So just how big IS big data?

This is your opportunity to find out, and, to contribute.

IBM’s Institute for Business Value is conducting a study on big data, and we’d like to hear from you.

The idea behind the study is simple: To develop a fact-based analysis of big data activities in the global marketplace.

Through this research, IBM hopes to help the marketplace better understand some key tenets behind the big data movement: To gain an organizational view of big data and organizations’ primary objectives for investments in this burgeoning area.  To understand better the drivers and leaders of big data activities. To understand the current and planned state of big data activities, and patterns that suggest best practices of big data implementations.

The survey is slated to run through June 29, 2012, and takes approximately 10-15 minutes per respondent.

All responses will be viewed in the aggregate, and individual responses will not be disclosed beyond the survey analysis team without expression permission of the respondent.

The audience for the survey: Global business executives, management and analysts, as well as IT professionals, across all levels of the organizational hierarchy (from C-suite to data analysts).

Once the fielding is completed, the survey results will be analyzed by a wide team of subject matter experts from within IBM, along with a team of faculty from a globally recognized university.

This data will be combined with interviews and case studies to develop a final reporting of findings and big data benchmarks to be published in October of this year.

So, in short, this is your opportunity to be part of the benchmarks that will define the big data era, one that you can use to compare with your own organization.

All participants will receive a copy of the final study, and will also be eligible to download the IBM e-book entitled “Understanding Big Data.”

Here’s the link if you’d like to be part of this exciting big data discovery!

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