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Ron Powell

Thanks for visiting my blog. As co-founder of the BeyeNETWORK, acquired by TechTarget in 2010, I am privileged to participate in many industry-related activities as a BeyeNETWORK expert covering business intelligence and analytics. These events provide me with a unique insider perspective into the business intelligence ecosystem, its products and the vendors that provide those products. I'll be sharing that invaluable information with you through this blog, which will also be a reflection my business philosophy. And, just to make this interesting, I'll be sure to include my personal point of view on a wide range of topics and share some of the stories of people I meet in my travels.

About the author >

Ron, an independent analyst and consultant, has an extensive technology background in business intelligence, analytics and data warehousing. In 2005, Ron founded the BeyeNETWORK, which was acquired by Tech Target in 2010. Prior to the founding of the BeyeNETWORK, Ron was cofounder, publisher and editorial director of DM Review (now Information Management). Ron also has a wealth of consulting expertise in business intelligence, business management and marketing. He may be contacted by email at rpowell@powellinteractivemedia.com.

More articles and Ron's blog can be found in his BeyeNETWORK expert channel. Be sure to visit today!

Recently in Business Intelligence Category

At the recent Gartner Data & Analytics Summit in Grapevine, Texas, I had the opportunity to speak with Jim Slagle, vice president of Business Intelligence at Apria Healthcare. A leading provider of home respiratory services and medical equipment including oxygen therapy, inhalation therapies, sleep apnea treatment, enteral nutrition and negative pressure wound therapy, Apria Healthcare has 375 branches throughout the United States and employs more than 8,000 people. 


I learned that over the last 10 years, Apria has had various BI initiatives with mixed results. Most recently, Jim and his team implemented a full cloud-based BI solution with Domo, focusing on sales operations. The intent was not to replace their legacy BI, but to take the next step and facilitate specific sales-oriented use cases.  


At Apria, the platform for sales is designed to provide visibility and insights into sales dimensions and manage base KPIs across the sales team. Domo allows each KPI owner to see his or her KPIs in real-time. This enables them to see where they need to course correct, and identify opportunities to step in and provide direction where needed. This capability means a substantial improvement in operational efficiency as the Apria sales team can now be more agile and adapt on the fly instead of waiting until the end of the month or end of the quarter to look at the sales performance in hindsight.


Jim spoke on the importance of governance. Before they put anything into Domo, they are very meticulous about the accuracy and the sourcing of the data, making sure that the functional people who own the data are part of the process. Before the data even gets to Domo, it is governed, federated, and verified as repeatable and accurate. Jim states that data integrity is non-negotiable because if you're second-guessing the data, it is counterproductive. 


With regard to the ROI of their implementation, Jim points to the fact that with Domo, Apria hit their sales goals for 12 straight months - for the first time in Apria's history. Jim says, "With Domo, we can comparatively know how we're doing at any point of time." 


Jim believes Domo has helped them be successful because it has the all the ideal features of a modern BI solution: Domo is aligned to corporate goals, actionable, simple and intuitive.


Domo gives Apria the ability to actively track KPIs and provides the insight to know where to make adjustments to help meet budget forecasts, and this, Jim says, differentiates Apria from many of its peers in the industry. Additionally, executive-level adoption of BI makes the entire sales budgeting process easier and more effective. In short, Jim feels that after many years of searching for the right BI solution, they have found it with Domo.



Posted June 6, 2017 6:00 AM
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Colony American Finance was able to increase profitability by taking their business intelligence (BI) to the cloud. The importance of empowering business users was critical, and my interview with Matthew March, CIO at Colony American Finance, highlights how efficiently he was able to work with his executive team to create an effective BI platform in just two months.

Over the years I have been discussing several keys to effective BI. These include time to market, integration with operational business processes and timely acquisition of data. In my interview with Matthew, which includes several use cases, he shares how he was able to effectively address all of these key areas by creating a BI infrastructure that encompasses the cloud. He can now provide his business users with safe and secure access to 27 different data sources so they can do their own ad hoc analysis without involving IT.

This is one of the best BI implementations I have seen, and it clearly shows how this company has reached the goal that every BI implementation hopes to achieve.  By eliminating stovepipe BI and enabling business users to effectively do ad hoc analysis themselves, Colony American Finance has realized the promise of BI -- to empower users and do it with minimal IT involvement.


Posted November 14, 2016 8:15 AM
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I recently conducted an interview with Michael Corcoran, CMO, and Jake Freivald, VP of Marketing, for Information Builders. Information Builders was one of the early pioneers of BI. We discussed how the major trends around business intelligence, big data and analytics are impacting the operational needs of the end user. In this podcast, they share their insights regarding how their customers are effectively addressing key initiatives around these trends. Information Builders has continued to stay a step ahead with their BI offerings, which has greatly benefited their large customer base. Click here to listen to this podcast now or read it here.

Posted September 19, 2013 2:00 PM
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Actuate presented at the Boulder BI Brain Trust to a large group of analysts and experts. In summary, Actuate continues to focus on customer-facing applications (BIRT & BIRT iHUB), big data business analytics (BIRT Analytics) and output management for customer communications (BIRT for Composition and BIRT iHub Content Services). There are currently over 2.5 million developers using BIRT worldwide, and there are over 106,500 total registrations on BIRT Exchange.

Jeffrey Morris, vice president of product marketing, presented how Actuate is focusing on business analytics. Actuate will focus on a customer-centric strategy that will encompass application areas specific to  customer behavior and customer-centric big data analysis. Areas include customer acquisition, segmentation, retention, loyalty, churn, lifetime value, fraud prevention and analysis, and voice of the customer. Constraints for customers regarding big data and why the need for BIRT analytics include lack of resources, data integration and complexity and costs of change.

BIRT Analytics provides analysts and business users with advanced visual data discovery and predictive analytics to analyze big data. BIRT Analytics is driven by its own columnar database, which was acquired in the Quiterian acquisition. BIRT Analytics applies more rigor in data discovery utilizing assembly and a combination of analytic techniques to solve business problems.

Actuate's goal is to provide insights to operational users  via dashboards, KPIs, interactive and ad hoc reports on web or mobile to immediately impact your business. Mobile strategy provides native access to all the popular mobile devices. If you would like, you can download BIRT mobile to your mobile device and you only have to build it once.


Posted August 26, 2013 11:00 AM
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I recently spoke with Kevin Webster, BI Reporting Manager for Protrans, a third-party logistics provider. Protrans has utilized BI dashboards that have set up the essential KPI metrics to assist each department in meeting their goals. Protrans evaluated over 25 of the top BI companies against 100 individual metrics with customer service and functionality for growth as the most critical. Kevin also talked about how many of the current BI trends are being incorporated into the operational needs of the end user. In this podcast he shares his insights regarding how they are effectively addressing key initiatives around self-service and big data within the transportation industry. Protrans has successfully provided dashboards and reporting to their large network of customers. Click here to listen to this podcast now or read it here.

Posted August 12, 2013 9:00 AM
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