The Power of Location in Your Data

May 10, 2012

Did you know that 70 percent of all business data contains a location component? With this increasing amount of location-based data, geo-mapping visualizations can help you detect geographic trends, such as customer clusters or outliers.

For marketers, sales executives and product managers, these types of visualizations are critical in understanding customer demographics. Determining where your best markets are concentrated or analyzing your sales performance against incoming demand, keeps you one step ahead of the competition.

Pentaho’s new geographic data visualizations can help you answer fundamental questions, such as:

  • Where are my customers located?
  • Which countries visit my website the most?
  • Which regional marketing campaigns are working?
  • Are my sales territories and client clusters aligned?
  • Which stores are carrying the most shipping costs?
  • Where is my mobile app used the most?

Powerful, isn’t it? For a quick peek at Pentaho’s new geo-mapping visualization capability, watch this three minute video.

What location-based data are you tracking? Let me know by leaving a comment.

- Farnaz Erfan, Product Marketing, Pentaho


Finding Wheelchairs in 1s and 0s: The Power of Location in Data

March 22, 2012

RTLS (real time location systems) have long been embraced by retailers to monitor store foot traffic and secure merchandise. Today, hospitals are also making use of the technology. RTLS systems are used to track and identify the location and status of objects in real time, using sensors that monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as temperature, sound, vibration, pressure, or motion.

For healthcare providers RTLS means hard-dollar savings! With thousands of assets in constant motion each and every day, it becomes very difficult know what is used where, when, and why. These assets are core to providing care; therefore, dirty, in-use, or broken equipment can completely break the processes that take place in healthcare facilities. Simple activities like finding a piece of equipment can consume most of a caregiver’s time, slowing down patient flow, adding costs, and even impacting patient care.

How can a healthcare organization overcome this issue and put their location data into real use? —>By using powerful analytics. Let’s explore. There are two types of analytics:

1. Historical analysis. By understanding the actual utilization rates of equipment, hospitals can better estimate the inventory levels they need to have on hand, tailoring future purchases to maintain optimum inventory levels.

2. Real-time analysis. Monitoring the usage of equipment in real time and providing alerts when rental equipment is sitting idle, or when a piece of recalled piece of medical equipment enters a patient room,  or when par levels of clean and available equipment are not maintained, boosts the performance of the organization, improves staff efficiency, increases patient satisfaction, and improves patient safety and quality of care.

A great example of applied analytics in healthcare is what Intelligent InSites has implemented within their enterprise RTLS Asset Management software solution. Using this tool, some of their customers save up to $30,000 a month by monitoring real-time information on rental equipment and eliminating unnecessary expenses, such as paying for unused equipment. Intelligent InSites embeds Pentaho Business Analytics as part of their RTLS software solution. Their RTLS healthcare platform enables hospitals and healthcare facilities to analyze data from RTLS and RFID tags on medical equipment, such as wheelchairs or IV infusion pumps, gaining visibility into the location or status of these assets, identifying operational bottlenecks, and ultimately improving their patients’ safety and satisfaction.

Great use case, great story! But what are some things to look for when you are searching for business analytics software?

1. Big Data Support. Sensor and wireless data are considered new and emerging sources of information. Data feeds from RFID/RTLS tags are typically stored in a NoSQL database, such as Hadoop HBase, MongoDB, CouchDB and XML data stores. While transactional sources, such as point-of-sales data, will continue to use relational data formats, the value of an analytics platform lies in the visibility that it provides across all sources of data, comparing and contrasting one data set to the other.  Be sure to look for a business analytics solution that has a broad spectrum of data source connectivity, including both un-structured and structured data sets.

2. Embedded Analytics. Aberdeen research shows that the greatest benefit of business intelligence lies in the value of embedded analytics within an enterprise app. Rather than asking your end users—namely doctors, nurses, administrative staff, and knowledge workers—to switch back and forth between their business processes and the analytical application to drive insight, you can cut the latency and deliver analytics in real time.

A great example of this is Intelligent InSites’ embedded analytics from Pentaho that provides data on asset locations, status, usage, utilization and availability, directly from the end user’s RTLS Asset Management application. At a glance, hospital staff can locate the nearest available wheelchair or stretcher, saving valuable time.

3. Power to the User. Given that most users in healthcare are doctors, nurses, and administrative staff, ease of use and an intuitive user interface is one of the most crucial selection criteria. These users should not only be able to easily read and understand packaged reports, but also have interactive design tools to build their own analysis and dashboards.

Selecting the right Business Analytics software for your location data requires some level of due diligence. Know that you are not alone: location-based intelligence and analysis is applied across all types of industries. Whether you are a retailer looking to understand your customer preferences, a hospital tracking your equipment and resources, or even a horse race sponsor connecting your race track data to betting shops and TV screens, analyzing real-time location data unlocks immediate value.

What location data are you analyzing? Drop me a comment.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing
Pentaho


Powered by Pentaho 101

March 14, 2012

This week we announced a new program for ISV and SaaS providers called “Powered by Pentaho.” I received several questions from clients and press so I thought I would share them with you to help explain the details behind this great new offer.

What is Powered by Pentaho?

Powered by Pentaho enables Pentaho OEM partners to deliver market-leading analytics capabilities in as little as eight weeks. The new OEM program is a response to the rapid rise in Pentaho’s 2011 OEM sales bookings, which grew more than 130 percent over the same period in 2010.

What does this 8-week program entail?

Pentaho provides the training, support and integration recommendations that best fit your solution objectives. You do the development and quality assurance. Keep in mind that all throughout your development cycle and thereafter, you have access to Pentaho experts who are intimately familiar with the Pentaho architecture and APIs. The best way to picture this is to think of Pentaho’s engineering team as an extension of your own engineering team. We want you to become successful, go to market fast, and build market leadership using our business analytics.

What about Pentaho makes this possible in eight week?

Pentaho technology – We provide embedding options that require little to no development. All you need is basic HTML skills to change the look and feel of our product to match your style and branding. We refer to these options as ‘Bundled’ or ‘Mashup.’ Pentaho offers more in-depth integration level, for OEM partners that require extensions and customization. We often see our OEM partners start with a re-branding and single sign-on approach and later move to a deeper integration.

Pentaho support and training – Pentaho has built services specific to every phase of an OEM’s software development lifecycle. You can not only go to market faster, but also build your future releases, changes and modifications much easier. These services include:

  • Architecture Workshop – Learn the best practices and best integration strategies for your development approach;
  • Tailored Training – Get your engineers and support staff a solid foundation for developing and troubleshooting your solution;
  • Development Support – Get your engineering staff access to Pentaho Java developers with in-depth knowledge of Pentaho architecture to get you to market faster.

Am I the right candidate?

This program is ideal for companies with information-centric software or packaged applications that want to go to market faster with attractive and sophisticated business intelligence and data visualization capabilities. All our customers who have successfully done this in eight weeks or less have a set of common characteristics. They typically have:

  • A phased approach, usually starting with a Bundled / Mashup type embedding option;
  • Data sources that have been prepared, cleansed, and put into a business analytics / reporting format. Pentaho has tools to help you do that;
  • At least one developer – with HTML and some Java skills – staffed – who has taken part in our training and architecture workshop classes.

Does Pentaho have proof points?

To date, hundreds of ISVs and SaaS providers have become Pentaho OEM partners. Marketo is a great example. Marketo was looking for both a modern, flexible technology and a true partner to help them build a brand new business analytics product. With Pentaho they were able to go to market in just eight weeks, delivering a feature-rich product that became a new source of revenue.

We have several great resources such as white papers, webinars, OEM Partner success stories and more. Visit pentaho.com/explore/embedded-bi/ for more information.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing
Pentaho


The Rise of Analytics in Healthcare – Part 1

November 15, 2011

Recently SearchHealthIT.com published a study revealing that today only 50 percent of healthcare organizations make extensive use of analytics. Yet, the rest are getting started (40 percent) or are planning to implement (10 percent) – see figure 1. This is no surprise. Like many industries, healthcare seeks to improve efficiency and reduce costs using analytics. But unlike many other industries, healthcare is a heavily regulated sector, shifting from a pay for service culture to a pay for performance approach. This requires healthcare providers to measure their quality of care performance metrics. In addition, the rise of evidence-based medicine is creating demand for analytics. Advanced analytics help providers gain scientific evidence for clinical treatments, instead of only using their conventional wisdom.

Figure 1

Among many interesting points, one interesting angle that the survey revealed is the predominant types of analytic functions that healthcare providers are looking to use in the near future. Based on this data in Figure 2, the two top analytics functions that the CIOs plan to use in the next two years include:

1. Health Information Exchange (42%)

2. Predictive Analysis of Diseases (43.6%)

Figure 2

Let’s explore the reasons behind each one:

Health Information Exchange

Historically, healthcare information systems have been built around special departmental needs. For example, a radiology department uses its own information system to log patient data, while laboratory services, patient admissions and urgent care each use their own systems to store information. This creates information silos, trapping patient data across multiple sources.

With the increasing populations of patients and higher demands for quality of care, having a single view of patients information has become much more important than what it used to be. However, because each of the information systems stores data in a particular shape, size, and format, creating a holistic view of a patient becomes increasingly harder.

To cope with this issue, HL7, a non-profit organization, has developed a set of standards for exchanging healthcare information. By using common standards, different information systems can communicate, exchange, and share information much easier.

Today HL7 is an international framework for information exchange among different healthcare organizations. More and more hospitals, health centers and medical services are adopting HL7 every day. With the growing adoption of these standards, the demand for data integration tools that can retrieve information from different repositories, parse, consolidate and transform it into these standards has become extremely high.

A vivid example of how better integration and exchange of health information has helped a healthcare organization accelerate its quality of care is St. Antonius Hospital. Based in The Netherlands and with six locations around Utrecht, St. Antonius Hospital uses Pentaho Business Analytics to build a holistic view of both hospital activities and patients. By using Pentaho as the central business analytics platform, St. Antonius was able to break down departmental silos, making data analysis available to the entire hospital staff, providing highest quality of care over a half-million patients a year.

Interested to find out how St. Antonius was able to overcome its health information challenges? Register for the webinar on December 1st: St. Antonius Hospital Improves Patient Services with Better Data Access and Analysis.

Stay tuned – in Part 2 of this blog, we will explore the reasons behind the high growth of Predictive Analysis of Diseases.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing, Pentaho


From Convicted Felons to Wall Street Investors – Business Analytics is for All

October 28, 2011

This week US Politics Today highlighted a case study about how NYC Department of Probation is using Pentaho Business Analytics to gain visibility into the lives of 35,000 convicted felons, helping them get back into their communities and building productive lives under a monitored probation program.

At the heart of NYC Department of Probation’s mission to “restructuring lives” is powerful analytics, giving the department access to massive amounts of data, such as detailed information on the background of the men, women and young people being supervised, the types of crimes that they have committed and their progress.

This is a vivid example on how powerful analytics is empowering public sector and government organizations to improve their performance, streamline their administration services, and ultimately help the public. Business Analytics is no longer a novelty specifically made for investors, financial analysts, and executive managers. Today business analytics serves all.

Anibal Sempertegui, director of information technology, software, New York City Department of Probation explained, “Because of Pentaho’s open source business model, we can affordable to make it accessible throughout our department and use it to facilitate data integration with other city departments as well. Overall, the New York City Department of Probation has realized huge cost savings with Pentaho Business Analytics. We figure that we are paying 80 percent less than we would with a commercial business intelligence application for licensing, maintenance and support.” 

Growing populations, presidential budget proposals, and new economic developments calls for smart investment in business analytics in all areas of the government including:

  • Health and Human Services
  • Social Security Administration
  • Defense
  • Treasury
  • Criminal Justice
  • Transportation
  • Education
  • And more….

Government agencies can now ‘Occupy‘ powerful business analytics with Pentaho at 80 percent less cost than proprietary vendors. Learn more about how Pentaho helps NYC Department of Probation police its data.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing
Pentaho


Does the Current Financial Crisis Impact BI Investments?

August 12, 2011

“Fear returned to Wall Street on Wednesday, sending the S&P 500 to another 4 percent decline, triggered by worries that Europe’s debt crisis could engulf French banks and spill onto the U.S. financial sector.” Campos, R. (2011, August 10). Banks drag Wall Street lower as fear returns. Reuters

Uncertainty is a common theme in economies worldwide at this time. Companies with Business Intelligence have a competitive advantage in ‘uncertain times.’ Business Intelligence and Predictive Analysis can forecast the future of the market, competition, and help with planning budgets and investments.

Although businesses intelligence provides a great way for organizations to view information as a strategic asset, available options in the market are either priced very high or require long implementation cycles. A struggling economy puts even more pressure on customers’ buying agendas. Stories of our customers validate this fact and shed new light into how businesses are coping with tough economic times:

  • After excessive maintenance and upgrade costs for an existing Oracle BI, Otto International looked to Pentaho for a BI solution that not only dramatically reduces ongoing costs, but is also a modern and scalable solution for their complex and time-consuming BI tasks.

“Working with BrainChild and Pentaho, we’ve been able to improve our BI capabilities and dramatically reduce our ongoing BI costs.” – Otto International, An International Trading Organization

  • London Oncology Clinic selected Pentaho over SAP Business Objects because SAP’s price per additional user created a large uplift, inhibiting their staff, senior management, and board to benefit from reports on treatment types and diagnoses.

“We entered negotiations with Business Objects, but the price-level limited our options.” – London Oncology Clinic, Europe’s Top Cancer Treatment Facility

  • After going through a cumbersome and manual process for creating and distributing reports manually, BNSF Logistics was able to build its data analysis and reporting in just 6 weeks after purchasing Pentaho.

“Not only did we deliver a powerful business intelligence tool set for our organization in short order, but were able to do so at a fraction of the cost of proprietary alternatives.” – BNSF Logistics, Leading Supply Chain Company 

As an alternative to reading the depressing headlines about the economy, I suggest a white paper that reveals low cost, high value alternatives to BI. Leading Industry Analyst, Mark Madsen compares open source BI pricing to other BI tools that carry a hefty price tag and long implementation cycles. Hopefully the results in this report will give you a glimmer of hope in the days of rising prices and falling economy.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing
Pentaho


The New School of BI: An Agile BI Practical Guide

August 9, 2011

According to The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI), “Agile business intelligence addresses a broad need to enable flexibility by accelerating the time it takes to deliver value with BI projects.”

Essentially, TDWI’s definition of Agile BI is doing more in less time. Of course, that sounds very appealing, but the question is: How does Agile BI accomplish more in less time?

As a pioneer in Agile BI, Pentaho has interviewed several customers using our Agile BI solution and have found that the most effective approach to BI includes the following actions:

  • Creating smaller projects that add up to the big picture
  • Rapidly deploying the initial solution, focusing on a few reports or metrics at a time
  • Building on that foundation with frequent iterations and checkpoints
  • Facilitating constant collaboration between Business and IT  throughout the life of the project

By starting small and growing bigger through multiple iterations, Agile BI creates a rapid development environment for BI project teams and avoids keeping IT working in a vacuum. These projects stay on track and improve over time through constant collaboration between business and technical users.

Unfortunately, most of practitioners still approach BI the old-school way. This is due to the industry culture, outdated skills in the market and access to only traditional/proprietary BI tools that have dominated the market for the past 10 to 20 years.

The times have changed. The BI buyer now has several options such as: Data Discovery tools, Cloud-based and hosted solutions, and unified Data Integration and Visualization platforms. The new school rules have opened the playing field making it easier for BI practitioners to be more productive and get something up and running quickly.

Download the Agile BI Practical Guide – How to Lead your BI Project with a Brand New Approach which was developed via insight gained from interviewing our customers who have previous experience with other BI tools before choosing Pentaho. The guide summarizes the top three major reasons that BI projects fail and describes a simple four-step process for solving these issues.

If you are attending TDWI World Conference in San Diego this week make sure to stop by our booth (#209) to learn more about Pentaho Agile BI.


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