Utilities Still Have A Ways To Go With Analytics


I had the privilege of attending Energy Central’s Utility Analytics Institute conference in Atlanta the week of Sept. 23.  It was an interesting and enlightening conference.  Here are some of the interesting tidbits I picked up while I was there:


  • A number of the speakers made remarks that indicate utility analytics is still an evolving field. Yes, utilities are drowning in “big data” from AMI, but they still are making relative baby steps toward making effective use of those data.  As one speaker noted, five years ago 41 percent of utilities didn’t even track data. Today, only 13 percent of them are collecting 15 terabytes per day.  They’re drowning in data, but are still relatively early in utilizing all those data.
  • One speaker said utilities are still transitioning from AMI implementation to analytics.  Data analytics and visualization are among their top concerns.
  • Three of four utilities believe they are doing unique data-oriented applications.  Examples include: AMI outage data shows up on field crew devices; field crews have the ability to perform on-demand reads on AMI Meters; half of utilities feel they’re ready to mine data, five years out, 75% thought they would be ready.
  • There are a lot of unique analytics applications, few standardized ones.

In other words, utilities still have a good long ways to go before they get their arms completely around the new analytics world.  But it is a journey that is essential to their survival long-term given federal activities making traditional generation and distribution more difficult.


Warren B. Causey

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Retail Doing Good Job With Analytics; It Can Still Get Better

We’ve pointed out in these blogs the many areas where retail enterprises excel in using advanced analytics–particularly at such retail giants as Home Depot, Walmart, Kroger, etc.  However, analytics still is a developing field and the true experts still are fairly few and far between.  Advanced analytics has not been a major focus of U.S. educational systems, however, and now that is changing.


College institutions are starting to provide Business Intelligence degrees

College institutions are starting to provide Business Intelligence degrees

Information Week has a good article about advanced analytics degrees now being offered by a variety of educational institutions.  That article is available here.  As the article points out, many colleges and universities now are offering  masters degrees in big data and analytics.  Some are one-year programs, others two years.  As the article points out: “All of these programs are geared to candidates who already have undergraduate degrees, and most favor professionals with three or more years of work experience. In many cases part-time options are available, so students can continue to work as they learn more about big data analytics.


As big data continues to grow at all kinds of businesses, there increasingly will be a need for this expertise.  If big data is the future–and increasingly it seems that is the case–getting qualified experts to work with it is essential.  The assembly line is up, you need to tap into it if big data is clogging your systems.

–Warren B. Causey

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Healthcare Data Analytics Can Help Physicians with Better Job Performance

While the majority of physicians are competent, the power of Big Data can help physicians improve their service to patients; as such, data analytics are now increasingly being used to measure physician performance levels.  One area that needs improvement in particular is the prevention of potential blood clots in US hospitals. Clinically referred to as deep-vein thrombosis or DVT, this condition refers to a blood clot that originates in a vein deep in the legs or lower abdomen.  The clot can then interfere with blood flow and in some cases, it can break up and create blood clots that travel via the blood and be lodged in the lungs where they can cause major organ damage, and even lead to death.  In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 60,000-100,000 people in the United States die from blood clots each year.


How good are your doctors?

How good are your doctors?

With that said, these blood clots in patients are preventable.  How?  Well, if the patients at risk are given the appropriate medications, these blood clots can be minimized.  However, according to studies, some physicians are not prescribing blood clot prevention medications to patients with certain blood clot risk factors.


Some of the Blood Clot Risk Factors Include:


  • Vein Injury due to Injury or Major Surgery
  • Tubes Placed in Veins for Medical Treatment
  • Long Car Rides and Airline Trips
  • Limited Mobility due to Medical Reasons
  • Abdominal Cancer or Heart Failure
  • Being Overweight
  • Being Over Age 60
  • Being Pregnant
  • Previous or Family History of Blood Clots
  • Taking Birth Control Pills
  • Being a Smoker
  • Having High Blood Pressure


How Can Physician Performance Improve?


While reprimanding particular doctors can lead to an uncomfortable situation, issuing a “report card” of sorts to all doctors based on data analytics can be a more effective way of managing physicians and improving positive treatment outcomes in the process.  Of course, variables such as risk factors, complications, and volume of patients will also be taken into consideration when evaluating doctors.

Additionally, the hospital administration will work with the physicians to help improve their “report card”.  For example, physicians may simply need additional medical decision support tools to help them with patient assessments.


To conclude, data analytics offers a great opportunity to improve physician performance and increase patient treatment outcomes as well.


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Waffle House analytics for storms


Most southerners are aware that our ubiquitous Waffle House restaurants are a leading indicator of how bad and widespread a weather phenomena may be.  Waffle Houses are 24-hour operations and most of them have backup power.  In times of storms they often are the only refuge for people who have to be out and about, most other places may be closed.



This phenomenon is so serious that more than 10 years ago, emergency managers noticed it and began using it as an indicator of what they were facing.  There was a three-way code developed for Waffle Houses, green for fully open, yellow for limited menu and red for closed.  If a Waffle House is closed, it’s definitely a “red” indicator for the community.


It’s interesting the indicators that can be tracked by analytics.  Popular Science has an article in its November issue that includes the Waffle House indicator as well as a number of other “off-the-wall” ones tracked.  For example, economists at Vanderbilt University used the price of Big Macs to “evaluate economic differences among countries that use the Euro and those that use their own currencies.”


Analytics indicators are everywhere.  It’s interesting that data scientists are catching up to them with modern technology.  We southerners already knew if the Waffle House wasn’t open, it was a very bad day indeed!

–Warren B. Causey

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Webinar: BI@S Manufacturing Analytics Dashboards & Tools: Designing Best In Class Information Systems For Manufacturing Companies




Webinar: BI@S Manufacturing Analytics Dashboards & Tools: Designing Best In Class Information Systems For Manufacturing Companies

Thursday, 10/24/13 @ 1pm

Register here for our next Webinar!

Register here for our next Webinar!

The manufacturing industry has been overrun by a slew 0f big data in regards to supply chain management, production capacity, quality control and many other factors; so much so that it’s become an overwhelming burden just to keep up.  Much of that data is being stored in data warehouses; or even worse, filing cabinets; where it can end up sitting until it becomes little more than dusty history. Lowest cost providers need to be efficient, and efficiencies are driven when processes can be measured and improved; they need to be able to track performance across the whole organization and quickly.  BI@S will show a KPI Tool built to help manufacturing companies design their own business intelligence dashboards to track that performance and visualize it in real-time.  After we demonstrate some of our manufacturing dashboards and reports from best in class decision making tools, you will be able to leverage your manufacturing business data to achieve your own successful enterprise Business Intelligence solution!

This webinar will show manufacturing industry personnel how to:

  • Determine what is most important now for their facility
  • Put together a roadmap which will highlight these important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Put that roadmap to use in order to map out the future of your enterprise”



  • There will be a 30-minute overview of BI and how an analytics roadmap is developed, as well as a demonstration of the BI@S Manufacturing KPI Tool and some examples of interactive dashboards.
  • 30 minutes of questions from manufacturing industry professionals to help guide them in actually developing the first steps of an analytics roadmap during the webinar.  Questions during this period will be taken only from manufacturing professionals, not from vendor representatives!


  • Jay Stanell, Process & Metrics Specialist for BI@S
  • Dan Pirato, Customer Engineer for BI@S
  • Paul Grabham, CEO of BI@S

This webinar is the first in our series for Analytics in the Manufacturing Industry.

Register here for our next Webinar!

Register here for our next Webinar!

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Data Analytics Will Improve the US Economy

According to a McKinsey report, computing and analytics technology is transforming “data into insights that create operational efficiencies”.  More specifically, by the year 2020, data analytics has the potential to increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the manufacturing and retail sectors by upwards of $325 billion.

Fortunately, the costs associated with government and health care services can decrease a generous $285 billion by this same date.

Called Data Driven Innovation (DDI), a recent report also suggested that the proper use of Big Data can significantly save money, resources, and increase overall efficiency.  After all, data analytics can benefit all industries that include healthcare, education, the environment, security and many more areas.


Data Analytics and Healthcare

In North America, healthcare organizations currently spend over $20 billion on IT-related expenses and over the next decade, this number is expected to increase to almost 7.5 percent.  Moreover, due to the HITECH Act, the US government has committed to pay over $30 billion to healthcare facilities and professionals. Health care related IT expenditures include data analytics, electronic health records, revenue cycle management, therapy software, telemedicine, informative websites and patient interaction phone apps.

Therefore, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and approximately 35 million new health care users, the need for efficient technology is greater than ever.  For example, information gathered from patient data can be used to improve proactive healthcare delivery for individuals at risk. Further, pharmacists would be better equipped to track and customize individual prescriptions. Understandably then, there is also demand for technology that will ensure that this data remains secure.



Big Data Helps Analysts to Understand the Economy

While data analytics will definitely improve the overall economic outlook in the future, it can interestingly also help analysts understand the workings of the economy itself.  For example, analysts traditionally had to rely on time consuming research surveys to garner a better picture about what is going on in the economy.  However, due to the advances in data analytics technology, vast amounts of data can now be collected and analysed in an extremely effective manner.  In particular, the activity of small business can more readily be monitored.  Since the output of small business accounts for approximately 15 percent of the total US economic output, the importance of understanding small business activity cannot be overlooked.

Overall then, recent technological advances in data analytics will definitely help the US economy in the near future – as well as help individuals to understand this economy.

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Check out the new Business Intelligence Dashboards by BI@S!

How are you monitoring your business? BI@S has just released 3 new dashboards; Procurement Self-Analysis and Production Capacity for the Manufacturing industry and Healthcare Financials for the Healthcare Industry; which would not only bring you up-to-speed, but put you ahead of the curve on the latest business information your company is generating!

Click Here to check out other dashboards made for the Manufacturing Industry!

Click Here to check out other dashboards made for the Manufacturing Industry!

Click here to check out more dashboards made for the Healthcare Industry!

Click here to check out more dashboards made for the Healthcare Industry!

To get a closer look at how you can be managing your enterprise with your own business data, whether it be a manufacturing company or healthcare facility, sign up for a free trial with BI@S today!

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