Where are the Chief Data Officers?

Which is more amazing? Nate Sliver of the NY Times correctly predicting 50 out of 50 states in the 2012 presidential election. Or that we haven't seen several thousand announcements of companies hiring a Chief Data Officer after watching Nate Silver go 50 for 50. Check out this NY Times interview with Nate Silver (video). Do conversations about data at your company sound like that? Trulia has a Chief Economist. His entire job is to "transform real estate data... into digestible insights for home buyers, sellers, and renters." Does your company have someone whose sole mission is to make data meaningful to your customers? Netflix publicly offered $1 million to anyone or any team that could improve their movie recommendation algorithm. Essentially, their viability as a business depends on their ability to analyze data. Allstate hosted a public competition to predict liability for injury for holders of auto policies. The result was a 271% improvement ...

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Paper to Electronic Invoice Conversion

LEDES Data by Edge Solutions releases it's internally used toolkit to convert paper invoice to electronic data. Our paper invoice conversion software is the result of heavy investment in automation and automated validation. We are the lowest cost provider in the market today. We convert paper invoices to LEDES format electronic data for as little as $0.95 per page. Our pricing is 20% below the market average of $1.25 per page offered by other vendors. Our data is secure on the Salesforce.com platform. Over 100,000 customers trust their data with Salesforce.com. Chances are, some of your data already lives on Salesforce.com. Our software is best-in-class in terms of accuracy. We automate our data validation that compares line item amount with recap totals and invoice totals to ensure accuracy. Recent tests show our software achieves 100% accuracy converting numeric and currency values from paper to electronic. Our software is over 98% accurate at converting free form text such as line item ...

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Automated Legal Bill Review

Insurance companies and corporate legal departments spend millions of dollars a year (or even every month) reviewing legal bills for guideline violations. They pour through spreadsheets of thousands of line items billed over multiple years looking for guideline violations. To date, the only assistance any software has been able to provide are simple if/then rules that are only capable of finding copy charges in excess of $0.10/page. IF Activity_Code is "Copies" AND Rate > 0.1 THEN Flag = True Really? That's it? There must be more than just Copy Charges. CLVR Bill Review is the next step in automated bill review. CLVR Bill Review can identify every major billing guideline violation including Administrative Work, Block Billing, Combined Billing, Duplicates, Excessive Billing, Multi-Time Keeper Review, Non-Attorney Work, and Travel. And yes, we can find Copy Charges too. CLVR Bill Review takes a modern approach to bill review with algorithms that actually read the line items to ...

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Four Parts of a Successful Business Intelligence Competency Center

If data is valuable business asset, and if data is meaningless until it becomes knowledge, then turning data into knowledge should be your most valuable business activity. Enter the Business Intelligence Center of Excellence. Whether a single person with SQL skills or an officially sanctioned department dedicated to working with data and building dashboards, a BI Competency Center helps transform data into knowledge. But occasionally, they do so without a roadmap. The Knowledge Framework is a roadmap to help build knowledge. It creates a learning pipeline to make Unknowns, Known. It defines the purpose of and the metrics of success for each step along the learning path so that you can get more value from your data. Keeping the components separated will result in happier employees, more satisfied business users, and a clear understanding of how to succeed. The Knowledge Framework is a 2x2 matrix (like any good framework, this one is simple). The four quadrants of ...

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Connecting Cognos BI to PostgreSQL

For the past several weeks I've been working within a sandbox IBM Cognos environment playing with configurations, upgrades and connections to various databases. I'm pretty sure I've hit all the errors available in Cognos, but have finally gotten things running properly. My sandbox isn't a conventional production type environment - as it's running on Windows 7. Most of the reports are using a locally hosted Oracle 11g database which works fine. My task was to upgrade Cognos to 10.2 which went fairly smoothly (considering there really is no upgrade process, just install a new environment and move your content, but that's for another post). My goal was to connect Cognos 10.2 to a PostgreSQL database hosted externally - in this particular case, on Amazon's AWS infrastructure. PostgreSQL is a powerful, open source object-relational database system. It has more than 15 years of active development and a proven architecture that has earned it a strong ...

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Separating Business Intelligence and Data Analytics

How are Business Intelligence and Data Analytics different? It's really just semantics. But if we restrict Business Intelligence to tasks associated with building reports and dashboards then we can define Data Analytics as the more data-centric tasks (modeling, organizing, and relating data) in the overall knowledge framework. Separating these two processes will result in better, more useful dashboards and better, more insightful analysis. Traditional Business Intelligence is all about communicating and sharing knowledge. Building dashboards is a communication challenge, not a technical challenge. Data Analytics is all about acquiring knowledge and learning. It is an iterative process typically performed the "wrong way" many, many times so that the "correct way" can be found. Traditional BI requires speed of delivery and consistency. Dashboards should run quickly. Questions should be answered quickly. The answers shouldn't change based on who ran the query. Analytics requires speed of iteration and flexibility. An analyst must be able to iterate through many ...

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Which BI Tool is the best fit for your use? A look at Hyperion, Cognos, and Business Objects

Having worked many years using SAP’s Business Objects and then having recently gotten familiar with Oracle’s Hyperion Designer and IBM’s Cognos Business Intelligence, my natural inclination was to compare the tools and differentiate what I felt were the advantages, frustrations, and other characteristics amongst the three. Hyperion Designer’s interface is the least sophisticated and aesthetic of the three. My immediate reaction after seeing it for the first time was that it resembled Microsoft Access, as you must drag and drop the various tables you want to use and then decide on which fields to join together. After you have chosen what your dataset is, you can then build pivots, reports, charts, and dashboards with it. Although Hyperion is probably the least user friendly and least advanced of the three, it is the best tool to use for ad hoc analysis. I am not referring to building ad hoc queries and reports, ...

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Context for legal data

Insurance analytics company debuts claim visualization app, giving Insurers a big picture view of their claim data Boston, MA – January 1, 2012: Edge Solutions, a leading insurance industry analytics company, announced today the immediate availability of CLVR, a heatmap based visualization of claim activity. CLVR is a hosted application that helps an insurer see and understand the big picture context of activity related to their claims. Building on Edge Solutions’ expertise in insurance and legal analytics, CLVR creates a calendar-based visualization of aggregated billed activity over the life of a claim so that users can easily see when and how work was billed on a claim. “The Claim Billing Heatmap is the best way to invest just a few seconds to get a big picture understanding of how thousands of line items, billed in 6-minute increments, add up to the total legal cost of a claim,” said Edge Solutions co-founder Nathan Wenzel. ...

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When Siri Doesn’t Understand You

I recently bought an iPhone 4S. I was anxious to try out Siri, the (supposedly) game-changing voice recognition software. Siri's great at some things (fetching the weather), reasonably good at others (setting up reminders), and relatively hopeless at many other things (its fallback to anything it doesn't know how to do is to suggest a web search). I speak fluidly in an unremarkable Midwest American accent, but I still have to take care to enunciate. There's a large group of people for whom Siri is almost completely useless, however: many deaf people, and many people with speech impediments. It's also far less reliable for English speakers with certain accents. Estimating the number of deaf Americans is a little complicated. People can develop hearing loss at different points in life, and estimates of people who speak American Sign Language vary wildly, from 100,000 to 15 million. There are more reliable figures on people ...

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10 Pounds of Stuff in a 5-Pound Bag

Sometimes, I see a chart that has too much crammed into it, to the point where it becomes unreadable. I'm reminded of the old military slang, "ten pounds of in a five pound bag", referring to an ugly or unmanageable situation. Here's an example of what I mean. This chart appeared in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago, in an article about Google's acquisition of Motorola: Is it a solar system model? A railroad map? Here are all the types of data this graphic is trying to show at once: Market capitalization Specific partnerships in the smartphone industry General levels of corporate competition with Google Market share of smartphones for April-June 2011 Market share of mobile OS for April-June 2011 Market share of set-top boxes for January-December 2010 That's six separate things, which are being conveyed through bubble sizes, colors, connecting lines, icons, dollar figures, and percentages. Some are in different units, or for different time periods. ...

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