Who and what does no business intelligence solution impact

Having no business intelligence solution in place impacts many things and many people. It impacts your bottom line, it impacts your customers, it impacts your employees, and it impacts the understanding of your business right now and in the future.

Your bottom line

With having no business intelligence solution in place, a business cannot see the full picture on what is happening. The business cannot see where all its money is being spent, it cannot see what areas are most inefficient, they cannot see what area they are most efficient in and why and then drive those efficiencies to other areas of their business. They slow down and prevent the business from making real-time data driven decisions. Without seeing the big picture, the business can be limited or just wrong on actions that are taken that they believe are good for the business. All of these reasons as well as many more impacts your business’s bottom line.

Your customers

Having no business intelligence solution does impact your customer. I get a lot of feedback on this one and it is usually from the people that do have the silos of data running within their business. They want to feel better by giving me excuses on how not having a business intelligence solution does not impact their customers. I always tell people that if you cannot get a full picture, a full understanding of the journey a customer takes from the start of the relationship to the end of their relationship within your business you sir or mam will never see its full potential. With so many touch points that a customer could have with a business you have the potential of creating many silos of data. These silos can be in reference to marketing, selling customers additional services, interaction with customer support and even the customer on-boarding process. All these systems and any others should be integrated in order for you to get a clear understanding of the experiences your customers will go through. The silos of data, the lack of the single source of truth will hamper that understanding and the business will never understand the customer’s journey. Picture this: a stack chart and on the X axis you have date values representing the last two weeks, and on the Y axis you have a numeric representation of hours. Within the charting you have multiple columns (different colors) representing different touch points that a new customer had to take in order to become a customer and then received their service from your business. Within seconds you can see where you can improve the process and where the process is working. That is just one powerful reason on how business intelligence can impact your customers and having a single source of truth can help your business.

Your employees

How does no business intelligence solution impact your employees? Without a business intelligence solution, you have silo’s that can affect employees when other departments within your business do not wish to share their data. Think about how many times have you heard or have been involved when a department within a business has identified a problem but cannot do anything about it. I have seen a business identify a problem and could not take the appropriate measures to correct that problem because of silos of data. This can be corrected by doing several things. First, leadership must create a unified front and be creative and tactical in their approach. Work towards a common goal. I know each department has its own responsibilities but the business should have one shared vision — the business’s mission statement. Create the data governance group because that will encourage collaboration, build repeatable processes, share measures across the business, and the group will act as one team pushing to that common goal. Most humans instinctively will get behind a common goal and will feel more united when they can share the same measure of excellence to be obtained with the person next to them.

Your Single Source of Truth

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Your Single Source of Truth is a quick-read for busy business and IT professionals struggling to create a Business Intelligence solution. Packed with advice, proven methods, and real-world uses cases, this book provides the knowledge to get you not only started but to keep your Business Intelligence solution going.

This book is intended to help you understand how a business can deal with their epidemic data problems and see a bigger clearer picture from the data they are collecting. There are mountains of data being collected in many different departments each with their own transactional system (silos). And each silo is not being joined to give a bigger and clearer picture to the business. This is a data centric world and businesses are collecting and saving data at an enormous rate but most are doing nothing with that data. They are not learning from the data and not making actionable and informed decisions from the data.

Business Intelligence and silos of data is not just a small business issue — it’s an issue that all different size businesses are facing and are having problems getting their arms around. Whether it is lack of resources, low priority, or a lack of understanding that there is a problem. I believe if I can explain the issue, analyze it and point companies in the direction in solving their Business Intelligence issues then I would get to see many businesses grow and flourish. I want to help businesses answer those questions that I believe every business wants to answer: How is my business doing right now? How is my business doing compared to how it did in the past? Are all my areas of my business performing well? Which areas can have better efficiencies? What are my customers thinking and how can I better serve them? This is just a very small sample of questions that I know a business intelligence solution can help businesses answer and this book will help get you started.

Seeing the picture

Join Goggle and marketing data to get big picture of your prospects. The why and how

The Why:

When you look at each silo of data individually you do not get a complete picture of what a visitor or prospect is interested in, you only see what that one piece of the puzzle is showing you. You can get good information from your Google Analytics data (silo) when you look at it by itself and you can get good information from your marketing data (silo) when you look at that data by itself. What I am writing about in this blog is bringing those silos of data together to give you more insight into a potential customers journey, like when you put pieces of a puzzle together you see the picture clearer. Lets say that your business is utilizing Pardot as its marketing tool to not only manage email campaigns that are guiding potential customers to landing pages that are hosted on your web site but you are also gather customer information from forms that are being embedded within your business’s website. Wouldn’t it be great to see what content that prospect was looking at prior to and after they filled out a form on your website or where did they navigate to after getting to that landing page from one of your email campaigns? You have all the information in Pardot first name, last name, email address, etc and now you would be able to gather additional intelligence about them by what they are viewing within your business’s web site. You could even use that information to send out more direct campaigns based on the new knowledge that you have obtained from joining the data. For instance the prospect was on your website for 5 minutes and they visited the integration, business analytics, and warehouse pages. I know what I want to send to that prospect now.


The How: 

You have to join that data somewhere so lets bring that data into a warehouse. I used the CopperHill AIR Platform to run all the jobs that I created with Talend to move the data from Google and Pardot into the AIR Warehouse. Lets start with the steps I took with Google first. I opened Google Query Explorer which is a tool that allows you to play with the Core Reporting API by building queries to get data from your Google Analytics views. This tool allows you to set different metrics, dimensions, sorts, filters and segments so that you can see the end results before applying them into your data integration tool. Once I got the queries working just as I wanted them to and the data looked good, I move those exact settings inside my Talend tool. With Talend I had to install the Google Analytics Component as it is not part of the base install. The component is free and very easy to install. Once I setup the component and deployed it to the AIR Platform I was immediately streaming data. Below is just an example of one call to Google’s Core Reporting API within the job. I repeated the same steps for each call I wanted to make to Google Analytics API and all the data transfers were handled inside that one job. Channel Data

The next step was to get Pardot data flowing. Pardot does have a great API that you can access and read your marketing data from. Again I used the AIR Platform to run the job that I created in Talend to move this data out of Pardot and into the AIR warehouse. Let me say this, you do have to have knowledge of the Pardot API or creating this job can be a little tricky. What I did was setup a REST call to each of the Pardot objects that I wanted to receive data from and store within the AIR warehouse. I have attached a portion of the job I configured to retrieve data from the Pardot campaign object. As you can see the setup and configuration is a little more complex then the call to the Google API but the data is flowing just as fast.

Now that all the data from the two sources Google and Pardot are streaming into the AIR warehouse we can create the reports showing exactly what we stated in The Why section. This thought process and build out can be applied to really any marketing tool that a business is using and join that to your Google Analytics data. If you want to gather great actionable information around your prospects then joining google and marketing data is definitely a great idea for you and your business. Finish the data puzzle so you can see the big picture and just do not look at the pieces by themselves.

Silos of Data

Silos of data

What are silos of data? I define silos of data as points of data that have been collected and being stored in many locations that could bring value to your business. Many times these silos of data store similar to identical information. Usually these systems are considered transactional systems that employees and/or customers are entering data into every single day. These transactional systems typically have different databases that are storing data related to your business and can be hosted on and off premise. Other silos of data that you will need to consider are spreadsheets, word documents, text files that are being maintained by employees on their personal computers. Employees (which includes everyone from the CEO down) are most likely storing data that could be important to the business. Identifying and coming up with a solution to collect all that data will not only help give you the big picture of the business but also protect one of the businesses greatest assets their data.

I would like you to think about not only where all the silos of data are and how valuable it would be once connected but also be thinking about how that data is being protected and who else is viewing that data (if that does not keep you up at night, I do not know what will).

I typically tell my clients, ask yourself two questions every time you walk out your business doors. Is the data on my laptop important to the business and/or sensitive in nature? If it is, how is that data being protected on my laptop? This is an area were I think a lot of businesses fall short and not only do they not have policies in place but do not even think of this situation. I have seen so many times employees storing sensitive information on their laptops, walk out their companies doors without even considering the security and responsibility that they should have in protecting that data.