Posted on

4 Things to Know About the Blockchain System

blockchain, innovation, business, competitive advantage

Source: Harvard Business Review

Introduction

Why is blockchain becoming a trend for businesses?  There’s one area for improvement that needs help in systems today.  It’s contracts, transactions, and records of actions completed.  Paperwork all over the place.  The system in place hasn’t kept up with the rest of the digital age.  Blockchain can help in this arena if companies started to take advantage.   

The blockchain is open source and takes care of virtual currencies. It records transactions between two people buying and selling currency in permanent ways. If blockchain is in the business world, imagine the possibilities.  Storing contracts without worrying about tampering.  All agreements, process, task, and payment go into the records.  People, agencies, machines, and algorithms would be able to contact and communicate with each other with little trouble.   

The problem here is looking after security and breaking down barriers already in place.  The blockchain isn’t considered a disruptive technology because it will create new foundations.  The ramifications are huge.  

The 4 Adaptations for Blockchain

  1. Single Use – Low coordination applications to make better, cheaper, highly focused solutions. 
  2. Localization – High in innovation but don’t need many users to create usefulness. It makes it easier to promote to the rest of the agency. 
  3. Substitution – These build on what’s already in place.  And here there will be high resistance.  It requires coordinating and replacing systems already fully integrated into systems. It could take years to put in place and start using.   
  4. Transforming – These are new items that will be placed into use, creating fast change to economic, social and political systems.  Smart contracts are the best options to start with now.  It automates payments when conditions are met.   

Summary 

Start the blockchain in single-use applications.  There won’t be as much risk taken during changes as they aren’t new and don’t involve much coordination with third parties. Blockchain can help to find problems quickly through tracking processes agencies have in place already.  Another cool thing is that it could possibly cut costs of transactions.  The big thing to consider is this, if blockchain becomes big in business, it will affect your company in some manner.   

 

Posted on

5 ways companies are using big data to help their customers (via VentureBeat)

big data, enterprise data, analytics, data analytics, data modeling, data science, data modeling, data model, data, data science, data scientist, data management,

Five ways companies are using big data to treat customers more like individuals — and build better long-term relationships so those customers happily buy more and more

Source: VentureBeat

Review

As we all remember, back in the day you could go to the store and the clerk would know you personally.  They would ask you how you are and how your family is. It was a very personal relationship you would have, therefore creating loyalty between you and the store.  It has been lost for a while when stores started to sell online.  There were no programs to make your shopping experience more personal or enjoyable.  You just went online to search and buy.  Big data helps to build relationships again as it can help companies offer better service to customers if used.   Here are the five ways that big data helps online stores to treat their customers more like people instead of just numbers.

5 Methods to Use Big Data

  1. Prediction – Big data can help analyze past behaviors of customers to build a more personalized experience for them. This in turn creates satisfaction for the person and increases purchases.
  2. Excitement – This is more for wearable technology. FitBit and other companies spew out the data they gather to their clients, which makes the client more interested and excited to see improvements.  This is completed in other industries too, not just the health industry.  There are apps to help track finances too and make people excited to invest more.  Showing the data makes the client happier.  It can show them where they need to work to improve themselves too.  It’s a good tool for the customer to use.
  3. Improvement – Customer service is just as important as effective marketing and product development. Big data can help in all these areas too.  Representatives can answer questions more quickly and effectively when the correct data is in front of them.  This way the customer doesn’t feel like they are being badgered.  The data helps as the customer has so many ways to get a hold of companies now than before.
  4. Identify – Find the difficulties customers are having to improve their experience. It’ll make for happier and more loyal customers.
  5. Reduce – This deals with the health care industry for improving quality of patient care. It helps to cut cost and improve treatments.

Summary

Big data helps companies now to understand their customers better.  This helps agencies give better services and build relationships again, in a more modern way.  Just consider all the possibilities.  I would think about switching over myself if I had a bigger company and could afford it.

Posted on

84% Of Enterprises See Big Data Analytics Changing Their Industries’ Competitive Landscapes In The Next Year (via Forbes)

big data, data science, big data analytics, analytics, data modeling, data management, smart data, data mining

87% of enterprises believe Big Data analytics will redefine the competitive landscape of their industries within the next three years. 89% believe that companies that do not adopt a Big Data analytics strategy in the next year risk losing market share and momentum. These and other key findings are from an […]

Source: Forbes

I just thought that I would share this article.  It has some great statistics on why Big Data is now considered essential for any type of competitive growth.  For example, only 13% use Big Data analytics in predictive modeling, while only 16% are using the information that they find to improve processes.  If you were to use Big Data analytics, image what kind of growth your business could have…

I love studies as they always show the numbers to help strengthen their arguments.  Just wanted to share this with you all.

Posted on

Steps to create Data Model (via learndatamodeling.com)

Big Data, big data, data modeling, data, data science, data scientist, data management, analysis, data analyzing, technology, tech

Source: learndatamodeling.com

Review of Article

These is general guidance for creating standard data models.  I’m not going to include all the steps as it’s over 24 separate steps, but depending on what your business requires you might not need to have all the steps anyways.  The link to the article is above if you’d like to see the entire list of what you can include.

Steps for Building Logical Data Models

  1. Gather up the business requirements
  2. Analyze business requirements
  3. Select target database – the data modeling tool will build the scripts to create reports
  4. Assign data type to attributes created to find data
  5. When analysis complete create columns to sort data
  6. Build subject areas to add the data
  7. Validate data model
  8. Create reports

Steps for Building Physical Data Models

  1. Get the logical data model and build a physical one from it
  2. Add properties to sort data
  3. Create SQL scripts
  4. Compare the database from the data model
  5. Create change log to document changes that have occurred

 

Posted on

3 Roles for Information Systems in Business

business, business information systems, data, upgrade, competitive advantage

Purpose of Information Systems

Information Systems (IS) are to help you and your company to find new strategies in order to gain competitive advantage in your industry. One way to do this is through adapting IS in your business. IS helps the organization to use its data, reduce workload and assist compliance with mandatory regulations.

3 Roles for IS

Information Storage and Analysis

Companies now use more advanced databases that contain all types of data about what they do. IS can store, update and analyze the information. From all the information that the agency has, they can figure out new solutions to both current and future problems. Information can also be integrated from different sources both in and outside of your company. This allows you to keep the company up to date with both internal performances and external opportunities or threats.

Assist with Making Decisions

Information Systems are all about helping you to make strategic plans for your business. The management team uses the information gathered to create plans and decisions for longevity and making more money. You use IS to measure and test all the information gathered from all sources. The analysis and comparison of market trends helps you to decide if your strategic decisions made are both adequate and are good quality.

Assist with Business Processes

IS helps businesses to create more value based systems for your company. Information Systems are integrated anywhere to measure out where tasks will make that department run better and for less money. Or it can make sure that everyone follows whatever regulations each department needs to follow to stay in compliance with government laws. It both simplifies business processes and gets rid of unneeded activities. They also add controls to employee processes. This in turn makes sure that only the ones who need to know have access to certain tasks. IS gets rid of repetitive tasks, increases accuracy and leads to better project planning and implementation.

Some Considerations

Implementing new systems costs a lot of money. It includes not just the installation but also employee training sessions. Some employees might even resist the changes being brought on. This in turn can hinder your operations and employee turnover could increase. Just make sure to have strong leadership in place when doing this. It will help guide employees and managers through the transition while weighing cost against benefits to see if you would really like to do this.

Posted on

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.

 

Posted on

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.

Posted on

8 Competitive Advantages

strategic information planning, systems planning, strategic planning, business planning

Strategic Information Systems

Strategic information systems (SIS) are used to support and shape business competitive advantages. SIS is defined by its way to be able to change how business is conducted. It is not classified by structure, functionality of areas, or support systems. Anything that is used to change goals or processes of companies add competitive advantage, therefore becoming strategic information systems.

Competitive Strategy

The competitive strategy is how the company is going to compete in the future. What the goals will be, and new plans and/or policies needed to implement everything. The advantage is being able to measure cost, quality and speed over competition. SIS assists businesses gain the advantage through adding to strategic goals of organizations. It is also measured through the increase in performance and productivity, therefore making them more powerful than the competition.

The digital economy is affected all the time as changes in technology occur. This causes change in business models in order to keep up. The core business isn’t changed to keep up with the digital economy even though it feels like it has. For the most part, businesses use the tools offered by the Internet, but nothing else.  There are two questions to ask here…

Where does my competitive advantage come from in my business and industry?
How can information technology and the Internet help?

How is SIS Looked at Now?

Most companies consider SIS more of an outwardly focused tool. It aims at increasing direct competition and is visible to all. Now it is more used internally. It focuses on employees’ productivity, smoothing business processes, and helping to make strategic decisions and isn’t visible to all.

Role of IT in Strategic Management

  1. Innovative Applications
  2. Competitive Weapons
  3. Changes in Processes
  4. Links with Business Partners
  5. Cost Reductions
  6. Relationships with Suppliers and Customers
  7. New Products
  8. Competitive Intelligence

How To Use The Internet As a Tool

The Internet is the most important tool in competitive intelligence.  It is so easy to look up information on the competition. The information that is gathered then can be analyzed further by what is called intelligent agents and data mining.  Both deal with software products to help them do their job. Here are some ways to do research on the competition:

  • Review Competitor’s Web Sites
  • Analyze Related Electronic Discussion Groups
  • Examine Publicly Held Financial Documents
  • Market Research on Your Own Web Site
  • Use Information Delivery Services like My Yahoo
  • Use Corporate Research Companies

Conclusion

There are numerous other ways to gain competitive advantages over your competitors. The key is to gain and maintain a sustainable strategic advantage that can be held for years to come. It is suggested that people, technology and shared risk and responsibility will help keep the advantage now. It is so difficult to otherwise as there is so much innovation occurring now.

Posted on

Digital Transformation – 5 Identifiers

digital, digital transformation, upgrading systems, upgrading business systems, business systems

What is Digital Transformation?

Numerous changes happen where digital economy of business is connected real-time due to new technologies. Digital transformation is directly related due to this. Just about all small and midsized firms have some sort of resources in place. It can be anything from newer and more powerful software and/or computers, new forms of communication or cloud computing. The company has to ensure good implementation and integration of programs to increase performance. How to do this is:

5 Identifiers

  1. Hyper-connectivity – Anytime/Anywhere communication
  2. Unlimited Computing Power – Caused through diverse platforms
  3. Cloud Computing – Easy access to hosted software/services
  4. Numerous Sensors and Mobile Devices – Supply continuous streams of information and ways to access them
  5. Cybersecurity – Lessen internal/external vulnerabilities

Why Buy At All?

Faster growing companies look at ways to drive revenue growth, increase productivity, and get new customers. This is supported through the use of advanced technology. The question becomes what is the best approach to get and use new technology in order to support objectives? Most are buying advanced software applications to help grow their businesses. Buying collaboration software, CRM and ecommerce all help growing businesses through helping internal productivity and efficiency. When one application is updated, they all are. This improves performance of the agency as a whole.

Causes to Upgrade

Most upgrade due to partner and/or customer needs. Their main focus is to improve internally.  External influence is also taken into consideration though. Who wants to chase away potential clients due to not listening to their needs too? This is key in order to keep up with competition and the environment that they work in. Effective coordination of technology brings in greater performance results.  It is greater then the sum of the parts bought to improve the system as a whole.

Benefits

The departments that benefit the most from these improvements is sales and marketing. Everyone from services to manufacturing to wholesale and retail benefit too. Internal processes is also up there, but externally faced business is considered more important. This is the rank from highest to lowest in importance:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Production / Operations
  • Commerce / Ecommerce
  • Customer Service / Call Center
  • Finance
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Manufacturing
  • Strategic Planning
  • HR

3 Takeaways 

  1. Leverage Technology
  2. Digital transformation is a continuing process
  3. Direct / Continuing participation and support of senior management and executives. If there is none, or it is perceived as none, then changes will be hard to implement.

Key Questions to Ask

Key questions to ask yourself and those involved in the process of beginning the changes are many. Where are you falling short compared to other companies? What is the competition doing that you are not? Do you have a strategic plan in place that supports digital transformation? Some things to consider…

Posted on

4 Dimensions of Strategic Information Systems Planning

strategic information systems planning, SISP, IT, Improvements, upgrades, business intelligence

Strategic information systems planning (SISP) is a very important issue that has to be considered when upgrading. Information technology (IT) use along with proper planning can help increase business success. SISP is used as it’s considered a great tool to support the company. It makes sure that IT activities go along with what the company does and needs.

What is Strategic Information Systems Planning?

SISP improves organization performance however upper management wants to focus. The aim is to achieve maximum benefits from resources while reducing risks at the same time. All resources work efficiently, effectively and competitively together to make the company stronger and more adapt. Especially now as IT is an important part of any company. Strategic Information Systems Planning is intended for technology that’s used at the company level. It needs to mesh with what the needs and strategies are of said agency.

Objectives include:

  • Align IT with business
  • Gain competitive advantage,
  • ID new and higher payback applications
  • Increase top management commitment
  • Improve communication with users
  • Forecast IT resource requirements
  • Allocating IT resources
  • Develop information architecture
  • Increase visibility of IT

4 Dimensions of SISP

SISP helps the above mentioned by addressing future needs for IT/IS resources with business plans. There are four dimensions included to make sure everything is included.

  1. Alignment
  2. Analysis
  3. Cooperation
  4. Capability

The first three are considered goals while the fourth is considered improvement over time.
SISP methodologies include gathering information and making plans comprised of one or more techniques. The techniques can be viewed as abstract systems.  They change organization input into a strategic plan for output. Some of the more popular planning techniques are:

  • Looking at Stages of Growth and Critical Success Factors – Here flexibility of needs can be used as a measurement tool. This methodology needs support of others.  CSF alone makes information requirements difficult to reach.
  • Competitive Forces Model and Value Chain Analysis – Michael Porter’s model analyzing threats of new entrants and bargaining power of buyers and suppliers. Also reviewed are threats of substitutes and rivalry of competitors. It’s used to get products and services to buyers and servicing.  It also finds primary and support activities that can add value to the product or service.
  • Scenario Planning and SWOT Analysis – What will the future bring? Actions to take if future is going in a direction not wanted.

Criteria of Choosing

The criteria of choosing methodologies include availability of resources, internal policies and preferred suppliers to name a few. It would be the company’s choice as to what is more important to them.  Which they would want to improve the most?

SISP leads to good planning. This in turn helps companies stay ahead in competitive environments. You have to make sure that top management stays aware of best processes for SISP. They need to stay committed and involved in order for it to be considered a success.

There is no best way to implement SISP. It’s up to the companies which way they want to focus what they want to improve. The success would be applied to how well they used methodologies in their planning process. Were success and failure factors applied while planning and implementing the changes? These are the questions that need to be answered in order for Strategic Information Systems Planning to be considered a success.