Curious About Role-Based Reporting?

Watch our new video and learn how you can start benefiting from Role-Based Reporting yourself, or check us out at the next webinar on Thursday to see our Role-Based Apps in action!

See how individuals are gaining better business insights from BI@S pre-built dashboards & reports in order to improve overall performance for their business area.  Our dashboards will show you improved decision making within hours, and in this webinar we will be discussing:

  • Business Objects Data Tools
  • Best in Class dashboards, using predefined Key Performance Indicators
  • Mobile dashboards on tablets and phone
  • Free use of reporting apps
  • Free data integration

In the webinar, we will demo Business Objects Dashboards for  3 major roles that can be found in most companies:

  1. VP of Sales,
  2. Financial Controller
  3. Supply Chain Manager.

These roles are historically important to all businesses, but these days there can be too much data to reel into a simple report, and that is where the BI@S Role Applications come in for your company!

This webinar aims to demonstrate how BI@S can capture & integrate your data from any source, then load it into our BI@S Role Apps and onto your mobile device for you to view in real-time and from anywhere.

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Take A Look At The New Supply Chain Management Application!

supplyapp

BI@S has just released it’s new Supply Chain Management Application, check out this video to see how you could be using it to manage a Lean Supply Chain at your company!

To see some of the other Business Intelligence Applications by BI@S click here.and browse through the BI@S Dashboard Portal.

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Bring Analytics To The Developing Utility Skills Shortage

Canada’s minister of employment and social development recently highlighted mismatches between available employee skills and needs in the electricity industry.  The U.S. faces a similar problem.  While “renewable” energy has gotten a lot of hype, especially from the federal government, traditional utility skills for things like substations, poles, wires and even technical/computer-related employees are lacking.

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Despite the fact that there remains a great deal of under- and un-employment in the U.S. from the “great recession”  (the government doesn’t count people who have given up looking for a job in it’s unemployment stats), the fairly technical skills utilities need still are relatively hard to find.

 

What utilities need to do is use advanced analytics on the employment/skills issue, just as they would any other technical or business problem.  If you know where you are, what’s needed, and what’s available out there, you have a better chance of fixing the problem before it becomes even more serious.  Analytics are ready for the challenge.

-Warren B. Causey

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New Smartphone Sensors Can Aid Healthcare & Generate All Important Data

Thanks to technology that includes smart meters and home area networks, a huge amount of data is being generated on a daily basis.  In fact, research from McKinsey discovered that an average business with over 1000 employees has already stored more data than the information contained in the Library of Congress (which coincidentally contains twenty-five terabytes of information). Moreover, the volume of stored information is expected to increase forty-four times by 2020 – according to reports from IDC.

 

Within the healthcare realm, one of the areas that will generate a significant amount of information in the future is the use of sensors.  Why sensors?  Well, many times doctors are unable to get necessary data from patients.  For instance, many patients become lax when it comes to recording their blood pressure readings and/or glucose readings on a regular basis.

Qtel-mobile-healthcare

Smartphone-Based Medical Sensors

In a comparatively short time period, smartphones have become extremely popular among consumers of all ages around the world. As smartphones and related technology becomes increasingly more sophisticated, smartphones with embedded sensors are becoming a reality. For example, many smartphone apps utilise smartphone-based sensors to determine jogging distance, speed, the route, and even the number of steps an individual takes along his or her jogging route.  More specifically, the Convertis PiiX  can measure heart rate, respiratory rate, posture, activity level and so much more.

 

A wireless sensor called AliveCor Heart Monitor was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.  This interesting piece of technology can currently be prescribed by doctors and works by simply connecting it to a smartphone.  Then, when an individual touches two sensors on the device, it can produce and record a reliable electrocardiogram.  Further, this electrocardiogram can be transmitted to doctors in real-time.  Without a doubt, this product will come in handy for at-risk individuals.

 

Should People Embrace this Technology?

That said, the Food and Drug Administration is still cautious about this type of technology.  For example, they expressed concern that the data given on the smartphones to patients and their doctors may be inaccurate information.  Fortunately today, the processors used in smartphones are incredibly powerful and can minimize these types of worries.  In fact, the newest smartphones are definitely comparable to small handheld computers since they are so powerful and capable of many tasks.

 

As more and more of these types of devices are being introduced to individuals and medical professionals, it will not be long before there are applications and devices that could possibly monitor the health of people on a constant basis and in turn, let doctors know if there are any causes for concern.  Moreover, as mentioned earlier, this type of technology will generate more data which in turn can be analysed to further prevent and best treat diseases in the future.

-Larisa Redins

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Weather: Is Advanced Analytics In Play At All?

As this was being written, the first potential hurricane of 2013 to potentially affect the U.S., Karen, was brewing in the Gulf of Mexico south of New Orleans.  It was predicted to either get stronger and transition from tropical storm to hurricane, or maybe not.  It was projected to make landfall near New Orleans, skip over the lower Mississippi River delta and then head for the Florida Panhandle, or maybe not.  Where I live in Northwest Georgia, we were expected to get some rain by Saturday even or Sunday morning, or maybe not.

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If you’ve ever looked at the weather forecast a few days ahead and planned a family outing for the predicted sunshine and warm and then had to cancel because of rainfall and cold, it would make you wonder if weather science has come very far since Ben Franklin sent horseback riders west of the Appalachians to ride back and give him the next day’s forecast for his newspaper.

 

I’m not picking on weather forecasters here, the “art” has improved quite a bit in my lifetime–radar certainly helped by letting forecasters look out a ways toward where their area’s weather usually come.  However, forecasting still seems to be a largely hit-or-miss activity, especially for the short-term.  Of course, it doesn’t do very well for the long-term either, global temperatures were supposed to continue to rise over the last 14-15 years and they haven’t.  And the Arctic ice pack was supposed to be gone this year.  It isn’t, it’s 60% bigger than it was last year.

 

I know weather forecasting uses probability tables and a lot of other tools, but it still seems very much more art than science.  Maybe advanced analytics could help?  Are they in use?

–Warren B. Causey

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Utility CIOs Should Already Be Using The Cloud

Most people probably don’t realize how much they’re already using the cloud services of some sort; even last generation’s utility CIOs probably have music, books, or even their pictures in the cloud.  For example, if you buy digital books from Amazon, your originals are automatically stored there for you in case you need to find it again.  With that being said, you download a copy to your mobile device or reader, and you keep a copy on your computer, but the original remains stored in the cloud for you.  You can access them there from anywhere you want, and even replace a missing copy if you ever lose it!

cloud-perpetual

Similarly, many people store their music in various cloud locations where it is accessible from any device.  Some us even do all of our banking virtually in the cloud; I know I do.  I don’t even get cancelled checks back, and in fact use written checks very rarely these days.  But if I want to see one, I have to go into the cloud to look at it.

 

What has happened, whether deliberately or not, is that most of us have migrated many of our important pieces of data to the cloud.  That trend is likely to continue as more and more analytics are moved to the cloud.  Cloud storage is cheap, secure and effective.  If it’s good enough for your books, music and banking, it’s surely good enough for your analytics without the need for massive in-house server farms.  I’ll be participating in a webinar with Metro Resources on cloud analytics storage at 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12.  Join us by registering here.

–Warren B. Causey

 

Register here for our next Webinar!

Register here for our next Webinar!

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Analytics & Environment Require Utilities To Change Mindsets

The advent of advanced analytics offers tremendous opportunities for utilities in challenging times.  The times are challenging because of political decisions being made in national and state capitals around the world.  A lot of those decisions relate to environmental issues and those decisions have broad effects on utilities.

 

Do you remember where you put those solar panels?

Do you remember where you put those solar panels?

One of the major issues utilities always have faced is having less than comprehensive inventories of their assets.  Too often, they have relied upon long-experienced staff to know what facilities are in what locations, their conditions and their maintenance/replacement needs.  With an aging/retiring workforce, relying upon such experience no longer is viable.

 

What utilities have begun to do, but need to accelerate if they hope to survive in today’s rapidly changing business environment, is reduce all the accumulated knowledge of field crews and staff into detailed lists providing a comprehensive database against which advanced analytics can be applied.  Yes, the industry faces mega-issues with the Global Warming scare, reduced consumption, U.S. federal government hyper-activity in generation.  But a major part of the solution to these mega-trends, is to have the minute data needed to understand the effect of these trends on assets, replacement costs, budgeting trends, etc.  In other words, they know there is a forest out there, count the trees, their types, age, health, height, number of leaves, etc.  Then put advanced analytics to work determining how to help deal with the forest.

–Warren B. Causey

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