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Analytics News & Analysis

The Customer Intent Wake Up Call

2014-21-October-Alarm-Clock.jpgAs companies evaluate their growth strategies for the New Year, the conversation ultimately comes down to which set of dials to turn. Does the company invest in more sales people, product features or marketing programs?

Companies aspiring to be customer-aligned add a few more dials to the conversation -- what should the chief customer officer be measured on, beef up the customer success team, invest in employee engagement / culture initiatives, innovate their customer engagement strategy, and/or shift from a product-feature-pushing sales model to a services-selling-path?

What all of these dials have in common is that they focus on the customer. Except each dial reflects an organizational silo that is focused on a slice of the customer experience -- none focus on the whole customer. Revenue growth depends on the organization’s ability to understand how to detect, decipher and act on the customers’ perspective of their intent.

NetScout's Trying to Poison the Jury, Gartner Claims

The Gartner Group took a hard swipe at NetScout Systems yesterday, claiming the information technology company is relying on "unnecessary, repetitious, scandalous, impertinent [and] immaterial" allegations to build a case against it and "poison the mind of the jury and the court."

In the latest action in what promises to be a lengthy legal fight, Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner took off its gloves to deliver a stinging blow to Westford, Mass.-based NetScout.

Look Before You Leap Into the Big Data Revolution

2014-21-October-Pre-Jump.jpgLike the proverbial elephant and five blind men, big data looks different depending on who's describing it: from holy grail for information in society, to dangerous step toward a world in which people are treated based on predictions of what they are likely to do instead of what they actually do. While neither of these extremes may turn out to be our future, big data is obviously more than a passing fad, and will be defined ultimately not by what it is but by what is done with it and what it does to those at whom it is directed.

Cloudera + Microsoft's Snuggle in the Cloud Causes Confusion

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Anyone that Hortonworks gets into bed with, Cloudera snuggles up to next.

This, of course, is not a proven theorem. But it sure seems to be the case lately.

Earlier this month Hadoop enterprise data hub provider Cloudera announced a deeper integration with long time Hortonworks partner Teradata. Hortonworks’ 100 percent open source Hadoop distribution (HDP) powers many of Teradata’s big data offerings, including the Teradata Appliance for Hadoop.

Yesterday, at a Microsoft press event, Mike Olson, Cloudera’s Chief Strategy Officer, shared the stage with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and corporate vice president Scott Guthrie to announce his company’s intention to become Microsoft Azure Certified.

IBM Stumbles on its Road to the Cloud

The transition to the cloud is not happening fast enough for slow-moving IBM, which today reported disappointing third quarter results: Revenue of $22.4 billion declined 4 percent year over year and fell short of the Wall Street consensus estimate of $23.37 billion, while per-share earnings of $3.68 missed the consensus by 64 cents. 

With the second half of this year now coming in weaker than expected, the company’s outlook has gotten more hazy, so management pulled its 2015 earnings forecast of $20 a share, saying it would provide an updated figure in January.

IBM’s latest numbers have not been well received on Wall Street: the stock today is down 7 percent, earlier hitting a new 52-week low at $166.71. 

For the quarter, IBM’s global services revenue of $13.7 billion (61 percent of total revenue) was off 3 percent, while software revenue declined 2 percent to $5.7 billion and hardware revenue dropped 15 percent to $2.4 billion. “We saw a marked slowdown in September in client buying behavior,” said CEO Ginni Rometty.

Faking Big Data #strataconf

Sorry folks, but this shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise. Anytime a new technology or field emerges, so does a group of posers. They’re typically software vendors, consulting firms and “experts” who claim to be able to help you cross the chasm between where you are and where you need to go to remain viable in the future.

These aren’t, for the most part, evil companies, snake oil salesman or under educated individuals. Vendors iterate products as quickly as they can and push them out too early, they take shortcuts and rationalize them and sometimes they simply don’t know that they don’t know what they’re doing.

Big data is still an emerging field.

Deliver Big Data in Bite-Sized Pieces with Mainstream Apps

2014-16-October-Squirrel-Lunch.jpgHow can we transform Big Data into the Big Idea that turns into an opportunity in the digital revolution? How can we use this data gleaned from multiple sources and turn it into smart “consumer style” data driven, mainstream apps? The answers aren’t easy.

But without these answers we'll be unable to develop the data driven-apps that analysts are flagging as the next “Big Thing” in the sales and marketing arena.

Transform the Customer Journey with Predictive Analytics

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Predictive analytics is on the rise. Two years ago, retail chain Target was able to find out a teenage girl was pregnant before her father even did. While this revelation sparked controversy around issues of user privacy, the incident demonstrates the power of data.

Data can also predict user behavior. Google Calendar, for instance, absorbs user information and can predict where you will be and what you will be doing on a given Tuesday afternoon.

But data’s ability to anticipate and understand human behavior is not limited to business-consumer interactions: it has the ability to implement much-needed change in the way we engage with customers in general.

How Big Data Projects Are Different

2014-16-October-Chess-Moves.jpgHow is big data strategy different from any other technology-related strategy? There’s definite overlap with other IT strategies, including the need to be aligned with business strategy, to have strong sponsorship, to address specific business problems, and to have decision making mechanisms for resource allocation and ongoing capability development -- that is, good governance processes.

The key difference lies in what makes Big Data unique -- the implications of the classic 3 v’s of Big Data -- the volume, velocity and variety.

Microsoft's Big Data Steps Boost Customer Insights #Strataconf

Microsoft hasn’t been shy about its goals for the data-driven age. It plans to bring business intelligence to a billion screens and to remove the barriers that are preventing broad adoption of advanced analytics.

These are lofty ambitions, perhaps, but there is no company on the planet that’s in a better position to deliver on them.

Put aside, for a moment, that Excel is a default tool for data crowd, that Office 365 is a next logical step for workers, and that so many enterprises inherently trust the Azure Cloud. The company is also rolling out big data solutions that are, at once, as powerful and compelling as those that scrappy start-ups are delivering today.

Will Salesforce's New Analytics Cloud Make Waves? #DF14

2014-15-October-Bolivia-Salt-Flats.jpgData Science is hard. Ditto for Big Data. You can add analytics to that list as well.

But “difficulty” and “complexity,” as they relate to data, aren’t the bogeymen of this day and age. Partly because it’s too expensive to let them play that role when the difference between winning and losing, success and failure, on a macro scale might come down to how well you leverage your data. And partly because a new generation of startups has emerged to put a smart, user friendly face on big data analytics.

Ensighten Buy Adds Analytics to Marketing Stack

Digital marketing tag management provider Ensighten scooped up a marketing analytics company in an deal that gives Ensighten integrated data collection, real time personalization and marketing analytics. 

Ensighten, based in San Jose, Calif., announced today that it bought San Diego's Anametrix and its cloud-based multichannel marketing analytics platform.

It's another way five-year-old Ensighten tries to compete with the big marketing cloud players. When the company acquire rival TagMan in March, Ensighten CEO Josh Manion said the company is gunning for the Adobe Marketing Cloud. It "provides marketers with the unique ability to derive powerful insights and act on them in real time,” Manion said in a statement.

“In a competitive environment smart and timely actions make all the difference, and we’re proud to be leading the industry towards delivering more relevant and personalized consumer experiences across the entire customer journey,” the company boasted.

Big Data as a Disrupter - Thinking About Big Data Strategically

2014-15-October-Roller-Coaster.jpgAfter riding the roller coaster of hype, Big Data disillusionment has been setting in, driven in part by the inherent fuzziness of exactly what the term means, but also because the term by itself is really descriptive of just a bunch of bits, rather than tangible business benefits. So I’ll try to put some gloss back on big data by putting it in the context of business strategy, which, after all, is the context that matters to the senior executives who have the financial wherewithal to really make big things happen with big data.

Salesforce Catches the Wave to Customer Success #DF14

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There aren't many CEOs who'd hire the Beach Boys to break into "Good Vibrations"  in the middle of a keynote address. Then again, there aren't any technology evangelists quite like Marc Benioff.

After spending an hour promoting the charitable efforts of Salesforce.com, the Salesforce CEO cued the band to fire-up the crowd. After the final chorus, he explained how Salesforce's new analytics cloud — called Wave — will help his company become a customer success platform.

Yesterday's speech was the centerpiece of the four-day Dreamforce conference, which more than 140,000 registered to attend in Salesforce's hometown. 

SAP, IBM Steal Salesforce's Thunder

It wasn't if, but when. Who would try to steal the thunder from Salesforce and its Dreamforce glory?

It was SAP. And IBM. Together.

The enterprise software giants joined forces today.  SAP announced its HANA Enterprise Cloud service is now available through IBM’s cloud in a move officials from each company claim expands major markets with the addition of the IBM cloud data centers. 

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, said in a statement the demand for SAP HANA and SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA in the cloud is "tremendous and this global agreement with IBM heralds a new era of cloud collaboration."

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty called it a "significant milestone in the deployment of enterprise cloud” and added that IBM's "secure, open, hybrid enterprise cloud platform will enable SAP clients to support new ways to work in an era shaped by big data, mobile and social.”

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