Organizational Issues for Business Intelligence Thesis

I am in my final semester for a Masters in Business Intelligence. I started the program two years ago, hence the lack of activity this site. I look forward to writing again after graduation.

I would like to write my thesis on organizational issues around business intelligence. Instead of the typical BI technology slant, I want to examine best practices in organization design, talent development, and operational processes for BI and business analytics. I’m still working out the details but it could explore topics such as:

  • Factors that would influence one organizational design over another — e.g. centralized vs. decentralized, utility model of buying analytic talent vs. embed capability in the business,
  • Approaches for talent development — e.g. grow internally, hire from outside, essential skills, etc.,
  • Operational management of business intelligence projects — what processes must be in place, who owns them, IT-ownership vs. business-ownership, agile vs. big bang project management,
  • Enterprise cultural and change management issues related to becoming an analytic organization.

To help me settle on a topic, I’m searching for materials that discuss these ideas. If you have ideas on the topics or potential resources, please drop me a note or enter a comment. In the near term, I’m specifically looking for:

  1. Current resources that explore these topics including books, webcasts, journal articles, white papers, etc.  Must be published in the past two years.
  2. Names of thought leaders regarding the people/process side of business intelligence with design and implementation experience in larger enterprises.  I’ve seen most of the big consulting company and vendor materials.  I’d like to develop a list of boutique firms and independent thought leaders to get a different perspective on the topic.

Thanks much. Stay tuned. I hope to eventually publish this thesis.

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Primer on Machine Learning

A Beautiful WWW posted a great primer to machine learning. Among the recommendations:

Though that’s enough to get you started, the author promises to add on as time goes by.

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Super Freakonomics Coming Soon

As a Freakonomics fan, I can’t help but be intrigued by the “freakquel” available for pre-order on Amazon.

SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as:

  • How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?
  • Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands?
  • How much good do car seats do?
  • What’s the best way to catch a terrorist?
  • Did TV cause a rise in crime?
  • What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common?
  • Are people hard-wired for altruism or selfishness?
  • Can eating kangaroo save the planet?
  • Which adds more value: a pimp or a Realtor?

I’ve ordered my copy. You?

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Technologies That Are Reshaping Business Intelligence

What do predictive analytics, real-time monitoring, in-memory processing, and SaaS have in common?  According Doug Henschen at InformationWeek, they’re all a part of next-generation business intelligence.

Next-generation BI has arrived, and three major factors are driving it: the spread of predictive analytics, more real-time performance monitoring, and much faster analysis, thanks to in-memory BI. A fourth factor, software as a service, promises to further alter the BI market by helping companies get these next-generation systems running more quickly.

Interesting article with a number of good points.  What’s your take?

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Mining the Sentimental Journey

Analytical Thinkers typically are searching for the truth and the truth often implies hard, cold facts. The NY Times article Mining the Web for Feelings, Not Facts might seem hypocritical but speaking from experience, “there’s gold in that ther’ text.” In the mid ’80s I managed a group of employee relations analysts that mined mountains of text in an attempt to quantify employee morale for a 10,000 person company.  Out of this work came “ERATS” or the Employee Relations Attitude Tracking System.  (We were really tracking morale but couldn’t come up with a good acronym with that pesky “M”. Sentiment analysis is exactly what we were trying to do but completely by hand.

An emerging field known as sentiment analysis is taking shape around one of the computer world’s unexplored frontiers: translating the vagaries of human emotion into hard data.

Two recently devoured books on my shelf explore the web-analytics from a few angles.  If you haven’t already, check out:

Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters

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Excel 2010 – Part of Microsoft’s Business Intelligence Strategy

ExcelLogoI find it interesting that while so many enterprises are trying to reduce the number of Excel spreadsheets that contain different versions of the truth, Microsoft continues to enhance Excel with an emphasis on being the BI front end. From the Microsoft Excel Team Blog:

Business Intelligence continues to be a strong focus area for us, and you will see a number of innovations in this space, perhaps most notably the “slicers” feature visible in all the Excel 2010 demo videos released over the last few days.  Excel expands its role as the best BI client by introducing such features as OLAP write-back, support for dynamic sets, fast search in filter dialogs, and more.  We also worked with the SQL team in developing project Gemini.

See the full post for the 10,000 foot view of Microsoft Excel 2010.

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Future of Blogging [Mind Map]

Interesting perspective on the future of blogging over at Mashable. Steve Rubel, SVP-Director of Insights for Edelman Digital says:

From my point of view, blogging’s future will likely flow down one of two paths: either it will evolve and grow into something else (like many species have) or it will succumb to Darwinism and become extinct (like the Dodo). Let’s take a closer look at each.

The key points are represented by my favorite mind mapping tools: MindMeister.  Take a look at the map below and comment on what pops out at you.  Click the map to visit MindMeister to view and interact with the map. 

No need to join but if you are interested, find information on MindMeister here.

Thanks to Mashable.



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Click – What Millions are Doing Online

I’m a bit behind sharing my recent reading list so I’ll try to spend some time over the next few weeks providing some recommendations.

I “listened” to the audiobook of Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters on my iPod.  This is one of those fasicinating books that makes one think, “How can I get a job like that?”

Bill Tancer mines the gold found in search-engine data.  I imagine him sitting in front of a computer screen with a massive amount of data starting his day by saying, “OK. What can we learn today?” What he learns is fascinating.  From prom dresses to porn to politics, he uses search data to understand and predict consumer behavior.  No need to search for this book — just “Click” on the image and get a copy for yourself!

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