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4 Preventions Smart Cities Provide

smart cities, prevention, transportation, environment, security, people

Smart cities are becoming more and more popular now.  By 2050 they will be so popular that more people will live in them than out of them.  I find them extremely interesting about how they can help society.

Think of how they help the environment, populated areas, and traffic.  They will be instrumental in the future to creating new technologies for solar power, finding new water sources, and pollution control.  Exciting times are coming.  I can’t wait to see what it brings us.

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3 V’s of Big Data

Big Data, business, upgrade, business intelligence

Big Data. What is It?

Businesses get almost an overflow of big data every day. It’s information gathered through structured and unstructured means. Companies can use the results to make better decisions and plan strategic moves.

3 V’s of Big Data

  1. Volume – Information comes from many sources. Everything including business transactions to social media to machine-to-machine data.
  2. Velocity – Data comes in a super fast speed. So your business has to handle the speed in near-real time to act quickly.
  3. Variety – It comes in various formats. Anything from structured, numeric results to unstructured documents like email, video, or audio files to name a few.

The Potential

Big Data is growing every day worldwide. It offers huge amounts of help to businesses that use it, but even with all the evidence, most companies are still not using it to its full potential. There’s nothing to do with how much data you have, but everything to do with what you want to do with it. Big Data can help with cost and time reductions, new product development, and smart decision-making. Combining big data with analytics can help you with tasks like finding root causes of failures in near-real time, make coupons based on customer’s buying habits, recalculate risk portfolios and sensing out fraudulent behavior before it can affect you and your company.

Who Uses Big Data

Industries carry out Big Data findings when they decide to use them. Banks use it to better understand their customers and lower risk and fraud. Education uses it to find at-risk students, make sure that students are making progress and create better systems evaluating teachers and principals. Retail uses it to market better to customers, better handle transactions, and revive struggling businesses.

Consider This

Make sure to research companies that can handle your data for you. Look for cheap and huge amounts of storage, quick processors and affordable open source, distributed platforms. Look for parallel processing, large grid environments, high connectivity and virtualization. Also look for cloud computing capabilities for resource allocation arrangements.

Do your research. Don’t rush into choosing a company as you want to stay with them for years, not months. Big Data is a huge help for your company. Just make sure that you can get access to it quickly and easily, while having good security options in place to make sure others cannot.

 

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5 Key Steps for Business Innovation

business innovation, innovation

What is Business Innovation?

The definition of business innovation pertains to changing processes, or creating more effective products and ideas. In business this means anything from implementing new ideas to improving existing services. This is the driving catalyst for growth and success if done correctly. It really assists adapting and growing in the industry. Innovation can also mean that the business model is changing so that the business can adapt and change to better deliver products and services that the customer really wants.

5 Key Steps

  1. Analyze – Look for trends in the marketplace and what your customer really wants. Look at the competition too.
  2. Consult – Talk with your customers and employees to get ideas. You can than improve your processes, products and services both inside the company and out. It will make your business stronger in the long run.
  3. Seek Advice – Look to business advisors, grants and other types of help to drive innovation.
  4. Be Open – Be open with all ideas brought to you. Allow the company to adapt easily to change.
  5. Training – Empower employees to think in more creative ways from the top down.

Innovation in the Data Age

Innovation in the data age is a little different though. Use loyalty programs to capture spending patterns of customers. Another is to gather feedback on processes to cut time spent doing something online. Collecting data will help you to make better, more informed decisions. An inexpensive way to do this is through using the Internet to research spending patterns. You can also find out what the newest trends are in your industry this way. Go ahead and analyze store transactions to find insight and use marketing research. Cloud-based tools are great too, as you can reach resources to help you analyze data gathered.

Or if you want to go back to basics, run a promotion allowing a survey of your customers. This will really help you to find new ways to improve your business as you are getting the information directly from those who buy from you. Or you can make a market research checklist. Put economic and industry trends there, plus customer needs, just released products and competitor actions. Or you can just do old-fashioned research. Read through data publications to find out what the specialists are saying, and try to carry out some of their recommendations.

There are tons of ways to become more creative with your business. The question is, are you going to do any of them so that you can create an edge over your competitors?

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Defining IS 4 Primary Functions in Business

IS, IT, business functions, business information system function, information systems, information technology

You can define business by four primary functions: 1) Marketing and Sales, 2) Production 3) Accounting and Finance and 4) Human Resources (HR). It is all about finding ways of supporting your business operations and management.

Marketing and Sales IS

Information systems go towards planning, promoting and selling the products or services. They support decision-making through:

  • Planning
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

This is the entire marketing IS where it has to draw on many sources of results to find information. Completing marketing research helps focus on finding answers supporting decision-making. Marketing subsystems help support decision-making. The decisions are then integrated with the sales forecast and marketing plan, comparing sales results.

The Subsystems

  • Product subsystem – The planning of introductions of new products
  • Place subsystem – Making the product available to the customer at the right place and time
  • Promotion subsystem – Supports both personal selling and advertising
  • Price subsystem – Contain industry prices and help set up pricing goals
  • Sales forecasting – Forecasting and developing a full marketing plan comes with planned marketing and outstanding orders

Components for information systems for accounting include:

  • Accounts receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • Payroll records
  • Inventory control
  • General ledgers

They rely heavily on online databases and reports custom-built. Essential functions of financial systems are:

  • Financial forecasting and planning – Predicting funds coming into and out of your company long-term. Using cash-flow models help find needs of funds locations along with where they’re coming from.
  • Financial control – Budgeting and Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Funds management – Managing liquid assets for high yields with lowest degree of loss risk
  • Internal auditing – Auditing reviews and shows independent appraisals of your accounting, financial, and operational procedures.
  • Human Resources IS support through providing information to the HR office. It has grown immensely over the years to keep up with needs to adapt to new laws and regulations.

Giving access to stakeholders including:

  • Employees of the HR department
  • Personnel of your company wishing to see their records
  • Workers wishing to see open positions and benefit plans
  • People taking computer training classes for work and completing evaluations
  • Managers can rate their subordinates and make decisions
  • Executives creating tactical and strategic planning

Other databases include:

  • Applicant databases
  • Position inventory
  • Skills inventory
  • Benefits databases
  • External databases

Conclusion

As we can see, all these different information systems have to work together smoothly to give superior results for your company. If not, it is bound to disappoint your customers. They expect timely delivery of products and services, perform QA to their own standards and flexible credit terms to name a few. Information systems offer support integrating business processes, cutting across functional lines to do it. In turn it makes everyone happy, from business partners to customers and suppliers.

 

 

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A New, Agile Approach to Security (via WIRED)

cyber security, Agile security, computer security, security

So, your company has fully internalized the message that businesses need more agility. You’ve made the most of cloud-based computing, an agile workforce and have gotten your employees to think like disruptors.  You’re on the road to enabling enterprise Digital Transformation. There’s just one issue: Security. It turns out that hackers have already…

Source: WIRED

This article is very interesting as it deals with what we are all concerned about today and that is security.  Hackers are very agile, so why can’t we be?  That is a big security risk  that has to be reviewed and strengthened.  Hacking is a huge issue that we have to try to mitigate if possible.

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9 BI Software Upgrade Mistakes

BI, upgrading, upgrade, buiness intelligence, business

Types of BI

Business Intelligence (BI) is extremely popular and is a top focus. There is the traditional software, cloud services, mobile apps and social media. What type do you need for your business that will help and not hinder progress? Choosing the wrong software to fix your business problem(s) or having end users who don’t understand the new programming will cause failures.

BI Mistakes

  • Not defining the business problem(s) – Don’t jump the gun until you know exactly what you need. Buying for general capability is the worst mistake you can make. Look for defined problems that need solving.
  • Not getting commitment from end users before choosing the BI solution – Make sure to get people’s opinions of the selections available as they’re the ones who will ultimately use it every day. Otherwise, the tools will be ineffective as no one will use the upgrades. They have to approve of what might become the new initiative, or they will never use it. Don’t tell them they have to use it, help them to understand why they’ll want to use it when it’s up and running.
  • Not considering security or legal requirements – Follow data governance when selecting new solutions. It protects both your company and customers.
  • Don’t get swayed by features and forget legacy systems and integration – Most companies look and rank BI software by the features available. This is wrong. You need to look and see which app will be able to integrate with what system you use already. There has to be an ability to work with all your other business systems or it won’t work correctly.

More BI Mistakes

  • Not choosing a program that can scale and adapt to change – Choosing a solution that isn’t flexible is one of the worst things you can do. Self-service analytics are now the norm, where they can work well with new data sources. The ability to scale is necessary is as the system grows, the software has to keep up. You don’t want to have to buy new software every time the business grows.
  • Not considering the mobile workforce – You have to consider mobility. Being able to use the new BI solution on a smart phone is a great advantage and allows for more productivity.
  • Rushing implementation – Never rush the upgrade. Mistakes are going to be made with possible cost increases.
  • Insufficient training and underestimating costs of training – A few weeks of training isn’t going to cut it with today’s BI systems. The systems in place now are very complex. End users need a lot more training to work them. There’s also the need for ongoing training to keep the end users in the loop for changes to the programs.
  • Not leveraging intelligence and reporting – If you’re going to collect all this data, then make sure to share, analyze and act on what is found. It’s a waste to buy the new BI solution if not used properly.

Uses for Upgrades

This software is used in many ways. It is used to build reports, find risks and opportunities and forecast trends. Don’t become complacent with pre-defined sets of reports. You’ll miss changes that are occurring in the business world.

 

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3 Challenges to Business Intelligence and Analytics Adoption

big data, challenges, business intelligence, BI, analytics

Business Intelligence and Analytics

What is the biggest challenge today for upgrading your business? You’ll find the answer through using tools enabling business intelligence (BI) and analytics strategies. It seems that businesses are looking to adopt BI and more advanced analytics to achieve bigger gains. Upper management needs to explore more information to gather key areas that they feel need improvement.

The Biggest Challenges:

  • Data Preparation – The ability to complete data management in putting together and cleaning data before compiling reports and analytics.
  • Skills and Leadership – Is there a structure focused on needs of both BI and analytics along with more complex methods?
  • Ease of Use – Can those who are less technically inclined be able to use the system?

Preparing Data

The biggest gaps are in data prep. It is more difficult and more complex than it seems. The size of the company and how they are using BI and analytics doesn’t matter. They all see big gaps in how they filter, transform and prepare their data. Good data gathering and compiling is completed. It helps find both relationships and potential outcomes quickly. The information found here will help improve your company’s productivity and build competitive advantages. Consider automation and self-service also for those in the agency who are less technically inclined. Analytics are behind BI. Improvements are needed to be able to prepare, augment and explore the data gathered. This will help your agency to find root causes and trends. You can then build and update predictive models through using machine learning.

Skills and Leadership

Skills and leadership are key too. Agencies strong in these areas still say that there are many challenges in innovation, creativity, and leadership. Shown executive support enforces the need for upgrades or change just will not happen. If there’s no strong vision and support at this level, the initiatives will fail or underperform. A leader needs to make sure that they openly show the value of success from the new initiatives.

Ease of Use

Overworked data scientists or analysts already in your company because of changes being implemented need help. In this case, it’s better to create self-service and interactive tools where everyone can find them. Nontechnical users will need the guidance, and instead of overworking your data scientists and analysts, this can help. There’s software built to aid building systems that can detect relationships, correlations, segments, and outliers. It could use natural language to create queries. It could present context-based narratives of important findings. All sorts of things could be created with the new software to help the organization.

Increasing adoption of BI and Analytics

  • Invest in data and data prep
  • Nurture culture, skills, and leadership
  • Keep self-service and Ease of Use in the Forefront

Conclusion

If the challenges of gathering and preparing data are not addressed, it will become more difficult to find a use for BI and analytics. If strong leadership isn’t used to make the employees excited to use the new technologies, the initiative will be a failure. And if ease of use with smart/automated capabilities isn’t used, it’ll hinder adoption of BI and more advanced analytics. Consider these things before upgrading your systems.

 

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What is Unit Oriented Architecture?

system architecture, computer architecture, system, UOA, unit oriented architecture, systems,

Definition of UOA

UOA is an business method of performing tasks based on the hierarchical composition of different units of software. These units give support to both operational and actions completed in technological systems. UOA creates groups of software fully supporting purpose, function, behavior, and structure of these systems. It helps clarify and strengthen architectures through finding right places and owners for assets. Included are web applications, mobile apps, web services and business processes to name a few. The unit then becomes both a construct and micro-platform that allows other components plugin.

Key Points of UOA

  • Creates digital constructs for actions completed and operational support
  • Views companies as a Composite (control) or Leaf (functional)
  • Unit software has to be comfortable and work in the unit assigned
  • Every unit has to have formal software boundaries. They represent contracts between assemblies both in and out of the agency.
  • All units have to run operations implemented as business processes that are executable. Every process is owned by one section only.
  • There is particular emphasis on control units. It causes a weakness in the company as only a few personnel will know how to run it.

What Does UOA Do?

UOA uses Systems Thinking to define problems. It uses Organization Design to configure enterprise and composite units. SOA uses constructing unit boundaries, and Business Rules to govern the system to name a few.

UOA allows practical and natural approaches to satisfy the needs of users. It completes this through unit orientation and clarity of what the system is supposed to do. Hierarchical unit structure helps define roles and spreads responsibilities between all the units. It creates a stable system where it can adapt, develop and grow fast. Process-centric (inside) and event-driven integration (outside) is where processes pass through the units to complete work.

Differentiation between functional and control units is defined here. Functional (leaf) units don’t contain other groups. They provide services and products, all digital. Control units have more entities in them. Actions are directed, coordinated, measured and controlled to ensure best means to get the bottom line. There’s a clear understanding of what everyone is to do in the company and delegates decision making to the right people.

Supported are operations interactions. The direction of vision focuses towards products and services instead of the process is itself. The quality of communication between system parts is considered more important than the quality of parts. The character of interfaces measures effectiveness.

The Possibilities

If a company’s units support strongly built digital constructs that entirely concentrate on the customer, everything will grow. Effectiveness, efficiency, and efficacy will improve. New capabilities initiate with further development. Growth through cloned abilities will occur, while agility will increase speed. There are numerous opportunities abound.

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10 ERP Upgrade Mistakes to Avoid

ERP, strategic planning, business, upgrade, IT, information technology, information systems, competitive advantage

What Is ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) has to be considered part of the plan when upgrading your system. In this information technology (IT) has to be combined with the business process to help bring a competitive advantage to others in the same industry. It is anything from reading an e-mail to updating records of procedures. An ERP is an application that uses a centralized database to run the entire company. This medium allows data from one department for viewing in other branches of the same company. It can be bought either as modules for different parts of the agency, or a subset. ERP systems are there to enforce processes that your business will adopt.

Upgrade Mistakes

  1. Not explaining what new systems means to users before starting the project – If the users of the upgrades don’t know why it’s happening and are in agreement, the update will fail.
  2. Not load testing systems with scripts and end users – How do you know if your file loads are typical? Load testing with scripts and users will complete real tests in this area to make sure that the process will work or not.
  3. Not performing tests of the new process to see if it works or not – Will everything work as planned?
  4. Not taking change management or testing sincerely – Know everything you need to know about the change and regression tests beforehand, so you aren’t surprised by “new opportunities.”
  5. Assigning internal personnel as project managers – Get a consultant project manager as they will focus on the upgrade only. They’ll catch the mistakes made and keep things on schedule and budget.
  6. Not telling others of changes before they happen – End users don’t like change so make sure to communicate before so they aren’t caught off guard.
  7. Giving classroom training only – Allow for video training that the users can find and use if they come across a problem they can’t fix. Create a Knowledge area that they can access to see before elevating.
  8. Not moving components to open business standards – This speeds up future upgrades that will happen. Try to change reports and interfaces to open business standards. It will help a lot in the future, and possibly save money with more completed upgrades.
  9. Not archiving before upgrading and keeping up security during – Archiving before upgrading will save you time and money. It speeds up queries on large tables, and table conversions as they are will run quicker. Security wise, upgrades are to be need-to-know only. There’s no use in upgrading if spies find a way to get the information out to your competitors.
  10. Assuming internal tech personnel will pick up years of experience in weeks – Keep the consultants around for a while after the upgrade is complete. Enhancements aren’t easy to learn, and someone has to be there who knows how to run the system. Or at least until the first workers understand the system as well.

Impact of IT on Business

IT has a significant impact on how companies design, build and support their business processes. Information systems have a considerable effect on how these methods work. Agencies improve effectiveness and quality of products and services through empowering their employees. Something to consider.