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Blog: Claudia Imhoff Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

Claudia Imhoff

Welcome to my blog.

This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

So...check it out every week to see what is new and exciting in our ever changing BI world.

About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

May 2005 Archives

I recently just finished giving a talk at the Warburg Pincus IT conference in New York on operational risk (OR) and BI – basically what OR is and how BI can help not only monitor it but also manage and mitigate it. Here are the highlights of that talk...

First what is operational risk? According to the Office of CC (insert link), these are defined as:

1. Internal fraud – perpetrated by your employees
2. External fraud – perpetrated by your customers, suppliers, distributors, etc.
3. Failed business processes or procedures
4. Failed HR processes or procedures
5. Liabilities around products or services offered.

How does BI mitigate, monitor or even eliminate some forms of OR?

1. By identifying the OR risks a bit faster than we can do today. If we can detect and stop fraud – whether internal or external – just a little bit faster than in recent history – then we have mitigated the risk associated with it quite a bit.
2. By using sophisticated analytical models to predict potential OR events or situations – sophisticated models of operational risk – causal models, trending and patterning models, even statistical models that indicate the likelihood of OR events happening are being developed today to help with future situations
3. Using these predicative capabilities, we can reduce OR by giving our front line workers the knowledge and intelligence to recognize OR much faster with the added bonus of giving them insight (using the even more futuristic guided decision making) into how to react to and handle the risk.

BI has a tremendous role in mitigating or even eliminating it before it takes root in your organization. However, it will require a new paradigm for BI – the use of these vastly more sophisticated models, pattern recognition, predictive analytics, and guided decision making technologies. The era of in which simple multidimensional analysis is king may be coming to an end!

Posted May 20, 2005 3:33 AM
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I recently got an email from the Personal Tech Newsletter regarding a new service from Google – Google Maps. It is a beta product that offers maps and something that is not available in Mapquest, the current favorite for directions – something that will knock your socks off when you see it. Read on for details.

I used to think that satellite imagery was just for the military or a few very specialized applications involving some sort of fancy geospatial telemetry analysis. Not anymore. Google is trialing a new service called Google maps that not only gives you very specific details on where some address is but then gives you the satellite image of that particular location. Go ahead – give it a try by typing in your home address. When the map comes up, click on the “satellite” button. You will be amazed at the incredible detail. I sure was. There was my neighborhood, the walking paths around my neighborhood, and, by holding down the left key, I could scroll across the entire area of Boulder, Colorado.

The email that I got informing me of this new service also showed me so fairly unintended consequences of the satellite imagery. The satellites took pictures of things that perhaps our government did not want others to see. For example, the famed B-2 Stealth Bomber or the newer version, the F117 Stealth Fighter, parked at air bases .

The newsletter also had some lighter findings like a blimp captured by the satellite over Florida. Take a look at this image for a bit of levity.

So… think you are alone? Think again. This new service by Google should shake us all up in terms of our “privacy”. Anyone, for no cost, can peek into your neighborhood and perhaps even your house with incredible clarity. Good or bad – we are no longer alone.

The other interesting thing about the Google service is that it has spawned all sorts of new services by clever people making use of the Google capabilities. Innovative creatures, aren't we?

Posted May 18, 2005 3:22 AM
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Apparently you don't want to disagree with Tom Siebel. It'll cost you your job -- so says Michael Lawrie in a recent Business Week article. Michael was the CEO for Sieble for less than one year and says he was shocked when he was fired.

According to the article, Lawrie's main problem was that he just couldn't "connect" with Tom Sieble. While they met frequently, it appears that Tom just didn't like the fact that his new CEO was actually changing the direction of his company. But isn't that why you bring in a new person?

But then again, Tom Sieble has been pretty quick to fire his top executives when the company's performance did not live up to expectations. Unfortunately that kind of behavior has not improved the company's faltering sales -- Siebel, the company, has seen its revenues decline for the past 2 years with no end in sight.

Looking back, Lawrie says that maybe he should have focused more on expenses rather than trying to improve the growth of the company. Sounds like a good idea for a company whose revenues are slipping badly. Maybe the next CEO will take his advice and have better luck. And just maybe Tom will relinquish a little of the $2.2 billion the company has in cash to its shareholders. It might just make them a bit happier.

Posted May 12, 2005 12:24 PM
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Every now and then, I read or hear about decisions made by COOs, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, etc., that just buffalo me. I scratch my head in wonderment, questioning why no one said anything to these people? It is then that I realize that perhaps these underlings were too afraid for their jobs, their future with the company, or maybe their lives? Or maybe they just didn't care enough to say anything.

That's when I realize that what these executives need is a jokester to keep them grounded -- a Mis-Chief Officer, if you will, similar to the court jester of old...

You know what I am talking about? Every King in days of yore had a jester to make fun of him. The jester pointed out the things that were obvious, that would otherwise get a King's advisors' heads cut off. Done with humor, the jester could get away with pointing out that the King was only human after all, that he was fallible and was capable of making a bad decision. The key to this arrangement, of course, was that the jester could do this with impunity! Many a foible was nipped in the bud by having such a person around to point out faulty thinking.

OK -- on to modern day corporate executives. I believe that much of the fraud and disreputable business practices that occur in our enterprises stems from the fact that corporate executives have not had a jester, a conscience to poke fun at their obvious errors in judgement, someone to point out that the corporate king is making a dreadful mistake.

Therefore, I propose that every CEO in Global 2000 companies today hire their own personal jesters and give them the same role of former jesters. They can even have a mandate that the jesters must wear costumes with pointy hats with bells on them if they like. However, the CEO must also sign a contract stating that the jester can do what ever he or she likes -- that nothing is sacred -- as long as it is done with tasteful humor...

Sounds like a great idea to me. I may even apply for the job. Can't wait to read your comments on this idea.

Yours in Mis-Chief Officer success,


Posted May 10, 2005 1:46 PM
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Yeah -- when donkeys fly. At least that is the sentiment among the analyst community. Apparently the rumors were flying about a potential sale to Oracle because Sieble reported pretty puny quarterly earnings. On the surface, these talks may seem plausible but there may be reasons why this is not such a good idea.

According to an article written by John Pallatto, columnist for eWeek, there are several reasons why this marriage would not be viable:

1. Such a buy-out would create tension between Oracle and some other big names in the CRM space -- like SAP, IBM, and even arch nemesis, Microsoft. Somehow, I don't think that would bother Larry Ellison.
2. Why would Oracle want MORE CRM software? That is perhaps the better question. Oracle is still digesting PeopleSoft and all of its CRM capabilities and they have their own homegrown CRM products. All need to be integrated. Siebel's products are fairly redundant with what Oracle already has.
3. Then there is the question of whether Tom Siebel, whose ego is no small thing, could swallow his pride and do what is best for his shareholders before the prospects for the company dim even further.
4. Of course, you have to question whether or not another multibillion dollar deal would strain Oracle's financial position too much. They have been busy little beavers buying up a number of companies so their financial position is not to be taken lightly.

Finally, how would Sieble's customers react to such a deal? Probably not with great cheers and sighs of relief, huh?

Maybe we should rekindle the rumor that Carl Icahn is buying the company? That would keep everyone talking for at least a day.

Yours in BI success,


Posted May 5, 2005 2:35 PM
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