Evolving Business Intelligence For Manufacturing

As data analytics and business intelligence continues to find value across many industry areas, the manufacturing industry has been no exception.  In the ever increasing world of looking for efficiencies and dealing with fierce competition, many progressive manufactures have been looking for ways to unlock the value in the data that they have.

dataI’ve had the pleasure over the last couple of years of working with several manufacturing companies that have undertaken various types of BI related initiatives ranging in scope and service.  Through this work, it’s given me the opportunity to assist manufacturing companies in creating dashboards to help visualize the data behind various Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and ultimately, gain some insight that they can then take action on (at the end of the day, we need to find meaning in the data so we can act on it, otherwise, there is no point in carrying out a BI exercise).  Most of these dashboards have been sales related, looking at revenue generated, quantities shipped, customer profitability, age of entered orders and other such metrics.  Of course these are all hugely important, and of course, there are many many more types of KPIs to be considered.  Perhaps in a future post I’ll write about various types of visualizations that are useful for manufacturers to consider.  But today, one thing struck me – what about operation dashboards?  Dashboards that aren’t necessarily being utilized by senior leadership, but rather, actively being used by frontline workers.

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Reboot of My Personal Tech Blog

Wow.  Time flies.  Of course, I’ve been having fun, so that’s most likely why. :-) But seriously, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve written / published something here.

It’s been an incredibly busy couple of years, with most of my time being focused on client work and growing Insegni Centre Inc.  and working with outstanding people in the process.  Of course, I’ve been avidly sharing interesting items and short thoughts via Twitter, but over the last while, I’ve been itching to write, capturing thoughts in a variety of ways but not publishing (my bad).  In truth, we’ve been creating a lot of good published content, but it’s specifically for clients.  We’ve soft launched a paid service for clients as well, called Insegni Insights where we publish thought leadership and research pieces, which has been exciting.

With all that going on, however, I’ve missed the more casual opportunity to write, and so I’ve come back to my personal tech blog to express some ideas, formulate some thoughts, and strike up some interesting conversations like we’ve done in the past.

Stay tuned for some fun posts over the next few days and weeks to come.  And, as always, thanks for reading.

Testing the Playbook OS 2.0

With the updated operating system (OS) that Blackberry released, I thought I should give it another real world test drive to see how this tablet faired for me.  I put my iPad away and carried the Playbook every day into meetings, workshops, while waiting in coffeeshops.  I tried as well to use it at home in the evenings for personal use (though occasionally I succumbed to grabbing my iPad so I could watch some programming on Netflix…an app, like so many others, that is missing from the Blackberry ecosystem).  I wanted to keep track of where the Playbook exceeded my iPad experiences and where it fell short.

Unfortunately, for me, the list in the “Fell Short” column was a lot longer than the “Exceeded Expectations” column.

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Recent Presentation on Social Intelligence

Below is a video presentation of a recent talk I gave on the topic of Social Intelligence.  Looking at how to leverage Social Media Data via business intelligence methods yields some fantastic insight.  This insight is Social Intelligence.  The presentation is a walkthrough of what that really means.  Once you have watched the presentation, if you’d like more information please don’t hesitate to let me know.  We are doing a lot of exciting stuff in this area with our partner Project X Labs.

You can watch the video below or head over to the Insegni Centre video channel as well.

Presentation on Social Intelligence from Insegni Centre on Vimeo.

OneNote for the iPad

I’ve always been a fan of OneNote from Microsoft.  It is an incredibly useful tool.  Seeing that my iPad is an incredibly useful tool as well, what better app to have featured here on App Wednesday that OneNote for the iPad.

OneNote for the iPad lets you create a series of Notebooks, collections of information.  You can integrate all kinds of content into these notebooks, making them versatile for many different types of daily usage.  Within each notebook, you can create various sections to organize whatever content you are assembling.  It has some decent formatting tools so you can make notes look good while working on the iPad.  I also like the ability to email notes from the app on the iPad to another user.  The email recipient receives an embedded version of the formatted note.  It’s not a picture, which is good, because it means that the recipient can edit the content when they receive it (and they don’t need OneNote).

The app is free, and with that you can have up to 500 notes.  If you want to go beyond that, you can purchase the upgrade for $14.99

If your organization is progressive and using Office365 then you can further find advantage to using OneNote for iPad.  The cloud version of OneNote in Office365 gives you easy, secure access from anywhere.  If your organization doesn’t use Office365, you can still take advantage of a cloud-based version of OneNote through Microsoft Windows Live.

Let’s hope that Microsoft continues to bring iPad versions of Office to the iOS platform.  It would be a win for them and for consumers.  Here’s hoping the current batch of rumours is true! In the meantime, grab OneNote and experience this great application for yourself.

Insegni Centre and Project X Labs Announce Joint Social Intelligence Offering

I’m so thrilled today to be announcing that Insegni Centre has partnered with Project X Labs to create a joint offering in the area of Social Intelligence, called LikeInsight.

Social Intelligence you ask?  Think Social Media Data + Business Intelligence!

I look forward to sharing a more detailed post tomorrow with snippets from an upcoming presentation I am giving.

In the meantime, to read the press release, please click here or read below.


TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ – Project X Labs Ltd and Insegni Centre Inc. today announced a new solution that brings together Social Media Data and Business Intelligence (BI).  The solution, called LikeInsightTM, aligns Social Media strategy, social data and a company’s existing data assets to increase the insights available to organizations.

As with all BI visualization solutions, richness of data and relevance is crucial.  Social data provides a level of relevance from some of the most active sources of data that enrich the sentiment analysis. Through this innovative solution, LikeInsightTM allows organizations to segment their Facebook fans based on their interests and motivations, developing a never before available picture of their customers’ online sentiment.

Leveraging a jointly integrated process for business intelligence strategy and delivery, Project X Labs Ltd. and Insegni Centre Inc. have a solution to enable social insight for organizations in a way that has not been previously possible.

“Everyone is talking about Big Data. Working together we have built a solid framework to readily take advantage of some of the rich data that is available for our clients,” said Stephen Hayward, president of Project X Labs. “By partnering with Insegni Centre we’re able to take their proven strategic approach and Social understanding, combine it with our Rapid Results business intelligence visualization tools and create real results for current and new clients.”

“Social media usage by companies has been predominately a one-way marketing channel,” said Michael Ianni-Palarchio, Founder of Insegni Centre.  “The strategy of leveraging social media data has been an increasing business priority, and partnering with Project X Ltd and Project X Labs, a leader in business intelligence development and deployment, allows us to move clients from Social Media data strategy to Social Media Insight reality.”

For more information on LikeInsightTM and how your organization can tap into the insight of your customers’ social media data, request a demonstration and an initial consultation.

About Project X Labs
Project X Labs combines innovative product development with rapid results thinking to bring global customers business intelligence and data visualization software products. Focused on breaking down the barriers around enterprise scale software and delivering solutions that show results in weeks, not months, Project X Labs is redefining access to business intelligence for every size company.   Project X Labs is a wholly owned subsidiary ofProject X Ltd. They can be found at www.pxlabs.ca.

About Insegni Centre Inc.
Insegni Centre is a strategy advisory firm that specializes in assisting organizations develop strategic positions across a wide variety of business technologies and solutions.  With a focus on understanding business objectives and ensuring that IT initiatives are strategically aligned to enable those goals, Insegni Centre utilizes an approach that focuses on rapid innovation to obtain strategic differentiation.  In the area of Business Intelligence (BI), Insegni Centre works to provide the strategic framework that allows companies to identify BI opportunities within their organization, develop their BI Vision & Objectives and define their BI Requirements.  To find out more visit us atwww.insegnicentre.com .

For further information:

Stephen Hayward – shayward@pxltd.ca  – 416.422.8900 ext 201
Michael Ianni-Palarchio – mip@insegnicentre.com – 416-900-1055 ext 100

Include Change Management to Ensure Strategic Success

A while back I posted a poll to gauge how effectively change management was being used to deliver IT projects.  The results of that poll, while not surprising to me, point to a concern that should be addressed.  You can see from the image to the left that change management isn’t a focus of many projects and that those projects end in failure.  Of the over 7000 respondents, 40% didn’t have any element of change management and the projects were deemed a failure.

I have often spoken, written and practice that for IT projects to be a success, they need to be rooted in strategy.  That being said, it’s imperative that change management is a part of that strategy.  Be sure to include a discussion on change management at the onset of your strategic planning exercise and ensure that it is embedded a process throughout implementation.

People often think that change management is something to be done at the end of a project, if it’s done at all.  This approach of tacking change management on at the end of an initiative is sure to cause bumps in your project deployment.  The technology is often the easy part of any implementation, with the people part and gaining acceptance being much more challenging.  While this is true, we often see the exact opposite in technology projects, where most of the attention is given to the technology, and the end-users are a secondary thought. On your next IT project, work to bring more balance to that effort and ensure that adequate attention and planning are given to managing the change that is being introduced to your organization.  After the initiative has been completed, be sure to go back and measure how well you did not only in the technical aspects of the project, but also in the areas of change.  If you do this, you will see the successes of your IT projects increase and that will make everyone in your organization happy.

The Creation of Insegni Centre

It’s been a busy few weeks since I ventured back out into being an entrepreneur and started my own consulting company, hence the lack of blogging.  Besides being busy, it’s been incredibly exciting and I look forward to getting back to blogging to share technology and strategy insights with you.  Stay tuned as well for some interesting announcements over the next short while!

Insegni Centre was created out of the idea that in order for companies to truly realize the value of technology, they need to approach it strategically. By starting with business goals & objectives and assessing where in the technology spectrum a company falls, the Insegni Approach to strategy will allow organizations to experience the rapid realization of value from their IT investments.

The word Insegni is Italian for “teach” and that is the crux of our approach, where members from our client teams teach us about their business and we in turn bring knowledge & resources for technology usage. Our goal is to learn quickly, foster mutual learning between our clients and our team, and to ultimately create innovative strategies for leveraging technology. It is a client-centric approach where we integrate members of the client team and the Insegni team so that an intimate understanding of the business is coupled with the best practices of strategic IT. The Insegni Approach delivers the rigor of classic strategy, coupled with a nimbleness and creativity that organizations demand in today’s dynamic marketplace.

As I said earlier, stay tuned for some follow-on exciting news including a new joint-service offering in the area of social media and business intelligence,  the launch of an upcoming strategy book and the creation of an innovation centre where clients can come onsite and participate in our unique strategic workshops to create breakthrough innovation strategies for their use of technology to create new advantages in their businesses.

Thanks to everyone who have been so supportive and enthusiastic about this new venture!

Question of Change Management

I have an exciting blog post about the do’s and don’t of change management as it relates to IT projects.  Before releasing that post, I’d like to get some input from you regarding your experience of the effective use of change management to ensure the success of IT initiatives.  I appreciate the feedback/input.

Transform Your IT Group If You Want To Innovate

I’ve chatted before in my podcasts about the changing nature of IT groups within companies and thought I’d write a brief post about this emerging and important trend.  Too often, I still find within organizations that IT resources are being purposefully kept as merely “break fix” resources, distant from the realities of the business and intentionally act as blockers rather than enablers to the business.  Those organizations allow the IT leadership to perpetuate an older paradigm of IT where they were gatekeepers of technology rather than business partners within the organization, thought police rather than thought leaders.

This dated model of IT has been radically (and thankfully) changing within companies today where IT is viewed as a strategic asset rather than a necessary evil.  Progressive IT leaders work hard to make their IT resources champions of innovation within organizations to ensure that business goals and objectives can be supported.  We’ve all heard about the “consumerization of IT” – the idea that consumer technology (like iPads) is being brought into organizations and is driving what IT needs to support.  This is true, but there is another exciting aspect to this trend.  That is the “technifying of consumers“!

By technifying of consumers I mean this, that our end users in organizations are more sophisticated than they were before.  They are more technical from the point of view that they leverage technology in numerous ways outside the organization.  My strategic approach has always been to learn from my clients or the organization I’ve joined with regard to their business.  The end user is always going to know more about the business than an IT person. The end user is the subject matter expert and now that they’ve been technified, as an IT leader I have this wonderful opportunity to recruit them into the strategic IT planning cycle.  Today’s end users will brainstorm great ideas to how different technology can be used to enhance their business.  That is a fantastic paradigm as it sets up progressive organizations to realize exponential value from IT.

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