Income Inequality, Political Polarization, and Big Data

A fascinating piece in a recent Washington Post article draws a striking comparison between income inequality and political polarization. It suggests a high correlation between greater inequality and more polarization. That’s all well and good, but it’s all meaningless if you don’t hypothesize a causal relationship between the two. And the emergence of big data enables us to go off on more and more efforts that are frequently wild-goose chases.

External Data: Radar For Your Business

How much of your business performance (profit) is driven by external factors versus internal? A figure of 85% compared to 15% was mentioned at last month’s Manufacturing Analytics Summit, and although I could not find the study mentioned to confirm, it feels about right to me. Certainly more than half, right? So, how much of yourdashboard reporting and KPI metrics incorporate external data?

Diligence is Key to Successful Proof of Concepts

When integrating business and technology, proof of concepts (POC) are invaluable. Whether you’re designing business intelligence (BI) solutions, mobileapps, or business processes, POCs can help to mitigate or eliminate the risks associated with new technology and business requirements.

DIY Business Process Applications: Wish vs. Reality

BPM systems are highly demanding in terms of scalability, traceability, serviceability and security. This results in a plethora of technical questions and requirements which simply ask too much of a typical business division. Why should a business user concern himself in detail with these sorts of questions, given that solving the problems they raise frequently extends far beyond his area of influence?

Analytics – Easy as One, Two, Tree

Insights from decision trees and other basic analytic techniques show that you don’t always need complex analytics to solve business problems and add value. This was the message from Dr. James (Jim) Foster, Director of Research and Process Development, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), at last month’s inaugural IE Group ‘Manufacturing Analytics Summit’ in Chicago, which I had the great privilege to chair for both days.

Everyday BI: Typical User Profile

First and foremost, everyday BI usersare data consumers who use technology to drive insight from diverse data sources. In some cases, they generate the source data by their actions, such as accumulating purchases, signing up for subscriptions, or making inquiries. In other instances, they may not have any control over the transactions (like the stock market, weather, or other consumer data) but have an interest in monitoring these trends or developments.

College Admissions: Metrics Run Amok

[To EPM Channel readers: I posted this item on my website,, about five years ago. My, but time does fly by, but I find it just as true now as I found it back then. As you read this, ponder the impact on all the stakeholders involved – students & their parents, the colleges,…

Data Democracy vs. Data Anarchy: Governed Data Discovery

Successful business intelligence has always been about negotiating the right tradeoffs between the needs of individual business people and the needs of the organization as a whole. In 2001, Bernard Liautaud, founder of self-service BI pioneer BusinessObjects  wrote a book called eBusiness Intelligence: Turning Information Into Knowledge Into Profit that discussed these tradeoffs. He drew the analogy with systems…

In The Beginning Was Analytics

In the buzz around Big Data,it’s worth remembering that analytics is as old as business computing itself. In 1953, LEO (short for Lyons Electronic Office) was the first computer in the world used to manage a business – and for the first ever analytics applications.