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Posts from the ‘Analytics’ Category

Roadmap To Zero Trust For Small Businesses

Bottom Line:  Small businesses don’t need to sacrifice security due to budget constraints or productivity requirements – a Zero Trust roadmap can help them keep growing and stop breaches.

Having worked my way through college in a series of small businesses and having neighbors and friends who operate several today, I see how cloud, databases, and network devices save thousands of dollars, hours of tedious work, and streamline operations. Good friends running an AI startup, whose remarkable ability to turn whiteboard discussions into prototypes in a day, are a case in point. Keeping breach attempts from interrupting their growth needs to start with a roadmap to Zero Trust so these businesses can keep flourishing.

Defining A Zero Trust Roadmap

Most successful small businesses and my friends’ growing startup share the common trait of moving at a quick pace. They’re hiring new employees, contractors and adding new locations in days, not months. The startups and small businesses I work with are adding experts in AI, development, machine learning, sales, and marketing from around the world quickly. Each new employee, contractor, and occasional supplier receives their account login to cloud systems used for running the business, and then they’re given their first assignments.

Small Businesses Don’t Need To Sacrifice Speed For Security

Small businesses and startups run so fast there’s often a perception that achieving greater security will slow them down. In a Zero Trust world, they don’t need to spend a lot of sacrifice speed for security. Following a Zero Trust roadmap can protect their systems, valuable intellectual property, and valuable time by minimizing the risk of falling victim to costly breaches.

Here’s what small businesses and startups need to include on their Zero Trust roadmaps to reduce the potential for time-consuming, costly breaches that could steal not just data but market momentum too:

  • Put Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) into place for every contractor, admin user, and partner account immediately. Implementing MFA is highly recommended as it can reduce the risk of privileged access credential abuse. A recent survey by Centrify found that 74% of all breaches involved privileged access abuse. Centrify also found that 58% of organizations do not use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for privileged administrative access to servers, leaving their IT systems and infrastructure exposed to hacking attempts, including unchallenged privileged access abuse.
  • Get a shared account and password vault to reduce the risk of being breached by privileged access abuse. Password vaults are a must-have for any business that relies on intellectual property (IP), patents, source code under development, and proprietary data that is pivotal to the company’s growth. Vaults make sure only trusted applications can request privileged account credentials by first identifying, then validating system accounts before passwords are retrieved. Another major advantage of vaults is that they minimize attack surfaces for small businesses and startups.
  • Secure Remote Access needs to be in place to ensure employee, contractor, and IT systems contractors are given least privilege access to only the resources they need. Small businesses and startups growing fast often don’t have the expertise on staff to manage their IT systems. It’s cheaper for many to have an IT service manage server maintenance, upgrades, and security. Secure Remote Access is predicated on the “never trust, always verify, enforce least privilege” Zero Trust approach to grant access to specific resources.
  • Implement real-time audit and monitoring to track all privileged sessions and metadata auditing everything across all systems to deliver a comprehensive picture of intentions and outcomes. Creating and adding to an ongoing chronology of login and resource attempts is invaluable for discovering how a security incident first gets started, and for meeting compliance requirements. It’s much easier to identify and thwart privileged credential abuse based on the insights gained from the single system of record a real-time audit and monitoring service creates. As small businesses and startups grow, the data that real-time audits and monitoring generate are invaluable in proving privileged access is controlled and audited to meet the regulatory compliance requirements of SOX, HIPAA, FISMA, NIST, PCI, MAS, and other regulatory standards.
  • Privileged access credentials to network devices need to be part of the Zero Trust Roadmap. Small businesses and startups face a continual time shortage and sometimes forget to change the manufacturer default passwords which are often weak and well known in the hacker community. That’s why it needs to be a priority to include the network device portfolio in A Zero Trust Privilege-based security roadmap and strategy. Security admins need to have these included in the shared account and passwords vault.

Conclusion

The five factors mentioned here are the start of building a scalable, secure Zero Trust roadmap that will help alleviate the leading cause of breaches today, which is privileged access credential abuse. For small businesses who are outsourcing IT and security administration, the core elements of the Zero Trust roadmap provide them the secure login and a “never trust, always verify, enforce least privilege” strategy that can scale with their business. With Zero Trust Privilege, small businesses and startups will be able to grant least privilege access based on verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment

Top 10 IoT Startups Of 2019 According To IoT Analytics

  • IoT startups have received $3.6B in funding this year alone, according to IoT Analytics’ estimates.
  • Manufacturing is attracting the highest percentage of vertically-focused IoT startups at 30%.
  • 43% of all IoT startups are founded in North America, the leading region globally of startup activity.
  • 7 of the top 10 IoT startups primarily focus on AI, Analytics, and Data Science.
  • 46% of all IoT startups tracked by IoT Analytics primarily focus on AI, Analytics, and Data Science.

These and many other fascinating insights are from IoT Analytics’ recently published IoT Startups Report & Database 2019.  IoT Analytics found that there approximately 1,018 startups creating Internet of Things (IoT) products or services today. They have defined one of the most thorough methodologies in IoT research to identify the top 10 IoT analytics startups worldwide. To qualify, startups have to be older than 6 years and fit the definition of the Internet of Things, and methodology and criterion explained at the end of this post.

“The hot IoT startups today have a strong focus on data analytics and AI and are increasingly targeting industrial and manufacturing clients. It remains to be seen how much of the analytics technology that today’s startups are building will be scalable across IoT use cases and industries. For now, most of the IoT startups are adding value in specific industries or for specific use cases,” said Knud Lasse Lueth, Managing Director of IoT Analytics.

The following are the top 10 IoT Startups Of 2019 from IoT Analytics:

  1. Arundo Analytics (IoT Middleware & Software Infrastructure)

Arundo Analytics is a hot IoT Startup that provides analytics software for industrial and energy companies. The company has formed several strategic alliances, e.g., with Dell Technologies and WorleyParsons. Arundo has also formed a joint venture with DNV GL to provide stream data analytics for maritime companies. The board of directors includes Tore Myrholt, Senior Partner at McKinsey and Thomas Malone, the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. Recently, Arundo launched several applications incl. machine monitoring and fuel efficiency.

  1. Bright Machines (IoT Middleware & Software Infrastructure)

Bright Machines is currently the fastest growing IoT Startup, has grown from virtually zero at the beginning of 2018 to almost 200 employees a year later (April 2019). The firm focuses on “micro-factories” made up of its software and robot cells as well as new software tools that make manufacturing more efficient. The leadership team is filled with former executives from Autodesk, Flextronics, and Amazon including Amar Hanspal (CEO), Brian Mathews (CTO), Tzahi Rodrig (COO) and Nick Ciubotariu (SVP, Software Engineering). The company recently entered into a strategic partnership with BMW i Ventures.

  1. Dragos (IoT Middleware & Software Infrastructure)

Dragos is a cybersecurity startup that offers a software-defined security platform for manufacturers. The company has seen a 300%+ growth in headcount the last two years and collaborates with GE, Deloitte, OSIsoft, ThreatConnect, Crowdstrike, and several other companies. The company recently acquired Atlanta-based NexDefense and collaborates with Waterfall Solution for a joint solution.

  1. Element (IoT Middleware & Software Infrastructure)

Element (also known as Element Analytics) is a fascinating IoT Startup that focuses on industrial analytics software such as Digital Twins, particularly in heavy industries. The company counts an impressive list of investors, including Kleiner Perkins, GE, Honeywell, and ABB. Element partners with Microsoft, Uptake, OSIsoft, and Radix (consulting).

  1. FogHorn (IoT Middleware & Software Infrastructure)

In recent years, US-based startup FogHorn has gained an excellent reputation with leading manufacturers and oil and gas organizations around the world for its real-time edge computing and analytics software. The company has seen an 89% employee growth in the past two years and has secured partnerships with 50+ industrial solution providers, OEMs, gateway providers, and consultants/SIs, including AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, NTT Data, and more. FogHorn is also a member of LF Edge, an umbrella organization to drive an open, interoperable framework for edge computing to accelerate deployment among the growing number of edge devices. Investors in FogHorn include The Hive, Bosch, Dell, GE, Honeywell, Intel, Saudi Aramco, and Yokogawa.

  1. Iguazio (IoT Middleware & Software Infrastructure)

Iguazio is a hot startup that provides a state-of-the-art data science platform for various verticals, including Industrial IoT, Smart Mobility, and Telecommunications. The company recently entered into collaborations with NVIDIA, Microsoft, and Google. Iguazio markets its Nuclio platform product as a “serverless” framework for multi-cloud environments and is thus well-positioned for the next wave of cloud computing.

  1. IoTium (IoT Connectivity)

IoTium is a quickly upcoming IoT startup from the Silicon Valley area that focuses on software-defined network infrastructure in manufacturing and related verticals. The company has seen a 100%+ growth in headcount over the last two years and now counts John Chambers, former Cisco CEO, as an investor along with other well-known corporate investors incl. Juniper, Qualcomm, SafeNet, and Wind River. The company is also very active in the EdgeX Foundry and recently joined the Siemens’ MindSphere partner program as a gold member.

  1. Preferred Networks (IoT Middleware & Software Infrastructure)

Preferred Networks is one of Japan’s IoT hotshots, focused on applying real-time machine-learning technologies to new Internet of Things applications. The company has seen a 100%+ employee growth in the last two years and now collaborates with world-leading organizations incl. Toyota Motor Corporation, Fanuc, and the National Cancer Center. The company is also very active in developing the deep-learning framework Chainer™ together with IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia.

  1. READY Robotics (IoT Hardware)

READY Robotics is a rare robotics startup that is looking to benefit from the increasing automation and flexibility of manufacturing processes around the world. The company emerged from the cutting-edge robotics research at Johns Hopkins University to develop its industrial robotic software called Forge.  The company has seen a 150%+ growth in headcount in the last two years and is now producing roughly 15 robot systems per month.

  1. SparkCognition (IoT Middleware & Software Infrastructure)

SparkCognition excels in AI-powered analytics, particularly in manufacturing and related verticals. SparkCognition has seen a 100%+ growth in headcount over the last two years. The company has launched Skygrid, a joint venture with Boeing and it has partnered with Siemens as part of its Mindsphere program. The company is also a Google Cloud Technology Partner and works with IBM as a trusted partner.

The full 62-page report (+ 1,018 line-item database) titled “IoT Startups Report & Database 2019” is available for purchase here.

Customer Experiences Define Success In A Digital-First World

Customer Experiences Define Success In A Digital-First World

  • 91% of enterprises have adopted or have plans to adopt a digital-first strategy. Of these enterprises, 48% already have a digital-first approach in place.
  • Creating better customer experiences (67%), improving process efficiency through automation (53%), and driving new revenue (48%) are the top three digital business strategies enterprises are investing in today.
  • 35% of enterprises have experienced revenue growth due to digital business initiatives over the past 12 months.
  • 5G, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning are the top technologies being researched by enterprises who are defining digital business strategies.
  • Enterprises are planning to spend $15.3M on digital initiatives over the next 12 months. 59% will be allocated to technology, and 41% will be dedicated to people and skills.

These and many other fascinating insights are from the second annual IDG Digital Business study, The State of Digital Business Transformation 2019. You can download a summary of the slides here (7 pp., PDF, opt-in). The survey’s methodology is based on 702 interviews across nine industries with technology, financial services, and business services (consulting, legal and real estate) comprising 43% of all respondents. IDG relied on CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, and Network World visitors as their primary respondent base. For additional details regarding the methodology, please see page 2 of the study.

The study’s primary goal was to gain a better understanding of where organizations are in their approaches to becoming digital-first businesses. The study captures the strategies and technologies businesses are adopting to ensure digitally-driven growth with customer experience improvements being proven as a growth catalyst. Key insights from the survey include the following:

  • 52% of enterprises define digital business as meeting customer experience expectations, jumping to 65% for financial services enterprises. Customer expectations rule all other categories of how an enterprise defines a digital business. 49% define digital business as enabling worker productivity with mobile apps, data access, and AI-assisted automation. The following graphic compares how enterprises define their digital business. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

Customer Experiences Define Success In A Digital-First World

  • Mobile devices and apps are enterprises’ platform of choice for launching digital-first strategies in 2019. Mobile apps and the platforms supporting them provide the needed scale, speed-to-market, and performance gains through application-level improvements that all businesses need to gain initial adoption and growth with their digital-first strategies. IDG found that private cloud and business process management are the second- and third-most used technologies to drive digital-first initiatives. Enterprises also have a considerable lead when it comes to mobile app availability: 74% have mobile apps today compared to 51% of SMBs.

  • Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are the leading three initiatives enterprises have in pilot today as part of their digital-first initiatives. 21% of all organizations surveyed are in one or more IoT pilots, and 20% of organizations are piloting AI and machine learning projects today. Nearly a third of all organizations (29%) have multi-cloud configurations in production today, and 25% have software-defined Wide Area Networks (WANs).

  • 57% of enterprises (companies with over 1K employees) say improving new product and service offerings by digitally enabling operations is the single greatest source of revenue growth. Digitally enabling or streamlining new product and development processes and the systems supporting them also improve the ability to innovate and size new opportunities (49%). It makes sense that once the new product development process is more digitally enabled, an organization will be able to more efficiently launch new capabilities (47% in enterprises) and improve sales capacity including upsell and cross-sell (41% overall).

  • Creating better customer experiences (67%), improving process efficiency through automation (53%), and driving new revenue (48%) are the top three digital business strategies enterprises are investing in today. Business Management, including General Managers with P&L responsibility, are placing a high priority on creating a better customer experience, far above all else. They’re the revenue drivers of businesses adopting a digital-first strategy today as well, over 10% higher than IT Management and 12% higher than IT executives.

  • In the most successful digital-first businesses, the CIO the most visible, vocal, and successful in leading change management initiatives. Six of the nine core dimensions of a successful digital enablement strategy are dominated by CIOs. Technology Needs Assessment (48%), IT Skills Assessment (48%) and Change Management (33%) are the three areas CIOs are making the greatest contribution to digital-first strategies on the part of their businesses. It’s important to note that CIOs are far and away, the champion and leader of data management strategies as well.

  • Enterprises are placing a high priority on data security and protection as part of the digital-first initiatives, with 27% having cybersecurity systems in place. It’s encouraging to see business and IT leaders making data and system security their highest priority, getting results quickly in this area. Technology needs assessment, and IT skills assessment (both 24%) are also areas where enterprises are making strong progress. As the CIO owns these areas and is also the person most likely to be owning change management, it’s understandable how advanced digital-first businesses are on these two dimensions. The following graphic compares the progress enterprises are making in becoming a digitally-driven business.

What Matters Most In Business Intelligence, 2019

  • Improving revenues using BI is now the most popular objective enterprises are pursuing in 2019.
  • Reporting, dashboards, data integration, advanced visualization, and end-user self-service are the most strategic BI initiatives underway in enterprises today.
  • Operations, Executive Management, Finance, and Sales are primarily driving Business Intelligence (BI) adoption throughout enterprises today.
  • Tech companies’ Operations & Sales teams are the most effective at driving BI adoption across industries surveyed, with Advertising driving BI adoption across Marketing.

These and many other fascinating insights are from Dresner Advisory Associates’ 10th edition of its popular Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study. The study is noteworthy in that it provides insights into how enterprises are expanding their adoption of Business Intelligence (BI) from centralized strategies to tactical ones that seek to improve daily operations. The Dresner research teams’ broad assessment of the BI market makes this report unique, including their use visualizations that provide a strategic view of market trends. The study is based on interviews with respondents from the firms’ research community of over 5,000 organizations as well as vendors’ customers and qualified crowdsourced respondents recruited over social media. Please see pages 13 – 16 for the methodology.

Key insights from the study include the following:

  • Operations, Executive Management, Finance, and Sales are primarily driving Business Intelligence (BI) adoption throughout their enterprises today. More than half of the enterprises surveyed see these four departments as the primary initiators or drivers of BI initiatives. Over the last seven years, Operations departments have most increased their influence over BI adoption, more than any other department included in the current and previous survey. Marketing and Strategic Planning are also the most likely to be sponsoring BI pilots and looking for new ways to introduce BI applications and platforms into use daily.

  • Tech companies’ Operations & Sales teams are the most effective at driving BI adoption across industries surveyed, with Advertising driving BI adoption across Marketing. Retail/Wholesale and Tech companies’ sales leadership is primarily driving BI adoption in their respective industries. It’s not surprising to see the leading influencer among Healthcare respondents is resource-intensive HR. The study found that Executive Management is most likely to drive business intelligence in consulting practices most often.

  • Reporting, dashboards, data integration, advanced visualization, and end-user self-service are the most strategic BI initiatives underway in enterprises today. Second-tier initiatives include data discovery, data warehousing, data discovery, data mining/advanced algorithms, and data storytelling. Comparing the last four years of survey data, Dresner’s research team found reporting retains all-time high scores as the top priority, and data storytelling, governance, and data catalog hold momentum. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • BI software providers most commonly rely on executive-level personas to design their applications and add new features. Dresner’s research team found all vertical industries except Business Services target business executives first in their product design and messaging. Given the customer-centric nature of advertising and consulting services business models, it is understandable why the primary focus BI vendors rely on in selling to them are customer personas. The following graphic compares targeted users for BI by industry.

  • Improving revenues using BI is now the most popular objective in 2019, despite BI initially being positioned as a solution for compliance and risk management. Executive Management, Marketing/Sales, and Operations are driving the focus on improving revenues this year. Nearly 50% of enterprises now expect BI to deliver better decision making, making the areas of reporting, and dashboards must-have features. Interestingly, enterprises aren’t looking to BI as much for improving operational efficiencies and cost reductions or competitive advantages. Over the last 12 to 18 months, more tech manufacturing companies have initiated new business models that require their operations teams to support a shift from products to services revenues. An example of this shift is the introduction of smart, connected products that provide real-time data that serves as the foundation for future services strategies. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • In aggregate, BI is achieving its highest levels of adoption in R&D, Executive Management, and Operations departments today. The growing complexity of products and business models in tech companies, increasing reliance on analytics and BI in retail/wholesale to streamline supply chains and improve buying experiences are contributing factors to the increasing levels of BI adoption in these three departments. The following graphic compares BI’s level of adoption by function today.

  • Enterprises with the largest BI budgets this year are investing more heavily into dashboards, reporting, and data integration. Conversely, those with smaller budgets are placing a higher priority on open source-based big data projects, end-user data preparation, collaborative support for group-based decision-making, and enterprise planning. The following graphic provides insights into technologies and initiatives strategic to BI at an enterprise level by budget plans.

  • Marketing/Sales and Operations are using the greatest variety of BI tools today. The survey shows how conversant Operations professionals are with the BI tools in use throughout their departments. Every one of them knows how many and most likely which types of BI tools are deployed in their departments. Across all industries, Research & Development (R&D), Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC), and IT respondents are most likely to report they have multiple tools in use.

How To Get Your Data Scientist Career Started

The most common request from this blogs’ readers is how to further their careers in analytics, cloud computing, data science, and machine learning. I’ve invited Alyssa Columbus, a Data Scientist at Pacific Life, to share her insights and lessons learned on breaking into the field of data science and launching a career there. The following guest post is authored by her.

Earning a job in data science, especially your first job in data science, isn’t easy, especially given the surplus of analytics job-seekers to analytics jobs.

Many people are looking to break into data science, from undergraduates to career changers, have asked me how I’ve attained my current data science position at Pacific Life. I’ve referred them to many different resources, including discussions I’ve had on the Dataquest.io blog and the Scatter Podcast. In the interest of providing job seekers with a comprehensive view of what I’ve learned that works, I’ve put together the five most valuable lessons learned. I’ve written this article to make your data science job hunt easier and as efficient as possible.

  • Continuously build your statistical literacy and programming skills. Currently, there are 24,697 open Data Scientist positions on LinkedIn in the United States alone. Using data mining techniques to analyze all open positions in the U.S., the following list of the top 10 data science skills was created today. As of April 14, the top 3 most common skills requested in LinkedIn data scientist job postings are Python, R, and SQL, closely followed by Jupyter Notebooks, Unix Shell/Awk, AWS, and Tensorflow. The following graphic provides a prioritized list of the most in-demand data science skills mentioned in LinkedIn job postings today. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier viewing.

Hands-on training is the best way to develop and continually improve statistical and programming skills, especially with the languages and technologies LinkedIn’s job postings prioritize.  Getting your hands dirty with a dataset is often much better than reading through abstract concepts and not applying what you’ve learned to real problems. Your applied experience is just as important as your academic experience, and taking statistics, and computer science classes help to translate theoretical concepts into practical results. The toughest thing to learn (and also to teach) about statistical analysis is the intuition for what the big questions to ask of your dataset are. Statistical literacy, or “how” to find the answers to your questions, come with education and practice. Strengthening your intellectual curiosity or insight into asking the right questions comes through experience.

  • Continually be creating your own, unique portfolio of analytics and machine learning projects. Having a good portfolio is essential to be hired as a data scientist, especially if you don’t come from a quantitative background or have experience in data science before. Think of your portfolio as proof to potential employers that you are capable of excelling in the role of a data scientist with both the passion and skills to do the job. When building your data science portfolio, select and complete projects that qualify you for the data science jobs, you’re the most interested in. Use your portfolio to promote your strengths and innate abilities by sharing projects you’ve completed on your own. Some skills I’d recommend you highlight in your portfolio include:
    • Your programming language of choice (e.g., Python, R, Julia, etc.).
    • The ability to interact with databases (e.g., your ability to use SQL).
    • Visualization of data (static or interactive).
    • Storytelling with data. This is a critical skill. In essence, can someone with no background in whatever area your project is in look at your project and gain some new understandings from it?
    • Deployment of an application or API. This can be done with small sample projects (e.g., a REST API for an ML model you trained or a nice Tableau or R Shiny dashboard).

Julia Silge and Amber Thomas both have excellent examples of portfolios that you can be inspired by. Julia’s portfolio is shown below.

  • Get (or git!) yourself a website. If you want to stand out, along with a portfolio, create and continually build a strong online presence in the form of a website.  Be sure to create and continually add to your GitHub and Kaggle profiles to showcase your passion and proficiency in data science. Making your website with GitHub Pages creates a profile for you at the same time, and best of all it’s free to do. A strong online presence will not only help you in applying for jobs, but organizations may also reach out to you with freelance projects, interviews, and other opportunities.
  • Be confident in your skills and apply for any job you’re interested in, starting with opportunities available in your network.  If you don’t meet all of a job’s requirements, apply anyway. You don’t have to know every skill (e.g., programming languages) on a job description, especially if there are more than ten listed. If you’re a great fit for the main requirements of the job’s description, you need to apply. A good general rule is that if you have at least half of the skills requested on a job posting, go for it. When you’re hunting for jobs, it may be tempting to look for work on company websites or tech-specific job boards. I’ve found, as have many others, that these are among the least helpful ways to find work. Instead, contact recruiters specializing in data science and build up your network to break into the field. I recommend looking for a data science job via the following sources, with the most time devoted to recruiters and your network:
    • Recruiters
    • Friends, family, and colleagues
    • Career fairs and recruiting events
    • General job boards
    • Company websites
    • Tech job boards.

Alyssa Columbus is a Data Scientist at Pacific Life and member of the Spring 2018 class of NASA Datanauts. Previously, she was a computational statistics and machine learning researcher at the UC Irvine Department of Epidemiology and has built robust predictive models and applications for a diverse set of industries spanning retail to biologics. Alyssa holds a degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics from the University of California, Irvine and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She is a strong proponent of reproducible methods, open source technologies, and diversity in analytics and is the founder of R-Ladies Irvine. You can reach her at her website: alyssacolumbus.com.

The State Of Cloud Business Intelligence, 2019

  • An all-time high 48% of organizations say cloud BI is either “critical” or “very important” to their operations in 2019.
  • Marketing & Sales place the greatest importance on cloud BI in 2019.
  • Small organizations of 100 employees or less are the most enthusiastic, perennial adopters and supporters of cloud BI.
  • The most preferred cloud BI providers are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

These and other insights are from Dresner Advisory Services’ 2019 Cloud Computing and Business Intelligence Market Study. The 8th annual report focuses on end-user deployment trends and attitudes toward cloud computing and business intelligence (BI), defined as the technologies, tools, and solutions that rely on one or more cloud deployment models. What makes the study noteworthy is the depth of focus around the perceived benefits and barriers for cloud BI, the importance of cloud BI, and current and planned usage.

“We began tracking and analyzing the cloud BI market dynamic in 2012 when adoption was nascent. Since that time, deployments of public cloud BI applications are increasing, with organizations citing substantial benefits versus traditional on-premises implementations,” said Howard Dresner, founder, and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services. Please see page 10 of the study for specifics on the methodology.

Key insights gained from the report include the following:

  • An all-time high 48% of organizations say cloud BI is either “critical” or “very important” to their operations in 2019. Organizations have more confidence in cloud BI than ever before, according to the study’s results. 2019 is seeing a sharp upturn in cloud BI’s importance, driven by the trust and credibility organizations have for accessing, analyzing and storing sensitive company data on cloud platforms running BI applications.

  • Marketing & Sales place the greatest importance on cloud BI in 2019. Business Intelligence Competency Centers (BICC) and IT departments have an above-average interest in cloud BI as well, with their combined critical and very important scores being over 50%. Dresner’s research team found that Operations had the greatest duality of scores, with critical and not important being reported at comparable levels for this functional area. Dresner’s analysis indicates Operations departments often rely on cloud BI to benchmark and improve existing processes while re-engineering legacy process areas.

  • Small organizations of 100 employees or less are the most enthusiastic, perennial adopters and supporters of cloud BI. As has been the case in previous years’ studies, small organizations are leading all others in adopting cloud BI systems and platforms.  Perceived importance declines only slightly in mid-sized organizations (101-1,000 employees) and some large organizations (1,001-5,000 employees), where minimum scores of important offset declines in critical.

  • The retail/wholesale industry considers cloud BI the most important, followed by technology and advertising industries. Organizations competing in the retail/wholesale industry see the greatest value in adopting cloud BI to gain insights into improving their customer experiences and streamlining supply chains. Technology and advertising industries are industries that also see cloud BI as very important to their operations. Just over 30% of respondents in the education industry see cloud BI as very important.

  • R&D departments are the most prolific users of cloud BI systems today, followed by Marketing & Sales. The study highlights that R&D leading all other departments in existing cloud BI use reflects broader potential use cases being evaluated in 2019. Marketing & Sales is the next most prolific department using cloud BI systems.

  • Finance leads all others in their adoption of private cloud BI platforms, rivaling IT in their lack of adoption for public clouds. R&D departments are the next most likely to be relying on private clouds currently. Marketing and Sales are the most likely to take a balanced approach to private and public cloud adoption, equally adopting private and public cloud BI.

  • Advanced visualization, support for ad-hoc queries, personalized dashboards, and data integration/data quality tools/ETL tools are the four most popular cloud BI requirements in 2019. Dresner’s research team found the lowest-ranked cloud BI feature priorities in 2019 are social media analysis, complex event processing, big data, text analytics, and natural language analytics. This years’ analysis of most and least popular cloud BI requirements closely mirror traditional BI feature requirements.

  • Marketing and Sales have the greatest interest in several of the most-required features including personalized dashboards, data discovery, data catalog, collaborative support, and natural language analytics. Marketing & Sales also have the highest level of interest in the ability to write to transactional applications. R&D leads interest in ad-hoc query, big data, text analytics, and social media analytics.

  • The Retail/Wholesale industry leads interest in several features including ad-hoc query, dashboards, data integration, data discovery, production reporting, search interface, data catalog, and ability to write to transactional systems. Technology organizations give the highest score to advanced visualization and end-user self-service. Healthcare respondents prioritize data mining, end-user data blending, and location analytics, the latter likely for asset tracking purposes. In-memory support scores highest with Financial Services respondent organizations.

  • Marketing & Sales rely on a broader base of third party data connectors to get greater value from their cloud BI systems than their peers. The greater the scale, scope and depth of third-party connectors and integrations, the more valuable marketing and sales data becomes. Relying on connectors for greater insights into sales productivity & performance, social media, online marketing, online data storage, and simple productivity improvements are common in Marketing & Sales. Finance requiring integration to Salesforce reflects the CRM applications’ success transcending customer relationships into advanced accounting and financial reporting.

  • Subscription models are now the most preferred licensing strategy for cloud BI and have progressed over the last several years due to lower risk, lower entry costs, and lower carrying costs. Dresner’s research team found that subscription license and free trial (including trial and buy, which may also lead to subscription) are the two most preferred licensing strategies by cloud BI customers in 2019. Dresner Advisory Services predicts new engagements will be earned using subscription models, which is now seen as, at a minimum, important to approximately 90% of the base of respondents.

  • 60% of organizations adopting cloud BI rank Amazon Web Services first, and 85% rank AWS first or second. 43% choose Microsoft Azure first and 69% pick Azure first or second. Google Cloud closely trails Azure as the first choice among users but trails more widely after that. IBM Bluemix is the first choice of 12% of organizations responding in 2019.

The Most Innovative Companies of 2019 According to BCG

Google Press

Alphabet/Google is now the most innovative company in the world according to BCG, unseating Apple’s 13-year dominance of their annual rankings.

  • Alphabet/Google is now the most innovative company in the world according to BCG, unseating Apple’s 13-year dominance of their annual rankings.
  • Strong AI innovators are over three times more likely to have deep expertise in Big Data Analytics.
  • The ten most innovative companies in the world extensively use AI and platforms today to grow faster than competitors and markets.
  • T-MobileDow DuPontValeStryker, and Rio Tonto join the list of the top 50 most innovative companies for the first time this year.
  • Fastest movers include Adidas, who jumped from 35th to 10thSAP who increased from 42nd to 28th and Phillips who improved from 49th to 29th.

These and many other insights are from the Boston Consulting Group’s 13th annual report defining the world’s most innovative companies in 2019. The Most Innovative Companies 2019: The Rise of AI, Platforms, and Ecosystems is a fascinating glimpse into the rising importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and of platforms that support innovation. What makes this survey noteworthy is how it captures how AI’s use is rapidly expanding and how enterprises are relying on platforms to scale their efforts in this area. BCG is providing an Interactive Guide that compares the 50 most innovative companies in the world, sortable by industry, company and year. There’s also interactive analysis of Steady Innovators or those companies who’ve appeared on the list every year since 2005. There are breakouts of New Entrants, Returnees, and Movers for easier analysis. The report is available for download here (28 pp., PDF, free). Forbes also has an annual list of the world’s most innovative companies you can find here. The methodology Forbes uses is explained in the post, How We Rank The Most Innovative Companies 2018. Key insights from BCGs’ most innovative companies of 2019 include the following:

  • What differentiates the world’s most innovative companies are their creation and use of AI and platforms with Alphabet/GoogleAmazonApple, and Microsoft leading all others. Each of them is actively creating and providing AI-based applications, platforms and ecosystems that enable enterprises to improve customer experiences, creating entirely new revenue streams, business models and competitive advantages. Alphabet/Google has defined its direction as an “AI first” company, intentionally creating a culture of AI-driven innovation. The following is BCG’s list of the most innovative companies of 2019:

  • Enterprises who rate themselves strongest at innovation and better than average at AI base their self-evaluations on successfully changing customer experiences. BCG found that the most advanced enterprises using AI today are succeeding at changing customer experiences, creating new business models and measuring AI’s contribution to streamlining internal processes. 19.2% of all enterprises interviewed perceive themselves as being better than average at AI and strong innovators. The following graphic compares how enterprises rate themselves at AI versus their strength at innovation:

  • Strong AI innovators are over three times more likely to have deep expertise in Big Data Analytics. Enterprises who perceive themselves as strong AI innovators based on their success using AI to improve customer experiences, create new business models and streamline operations are two times as likely to be faster at adopting new technologies. They’re also 65% more likely to be actively targeting technology platforms to scale their AI initiatives and strategies further. The following graphic compares strong and weak innovators’ relative levels of adoption across 15 different innovation and product development categories:

  • Big Data Analytics, the speed of adopting tech, digital design, and technology platforms are the four areas enterprises who consider themselves strong innovators have the widest perceived advantage over weak innovators. When enterprises were asked which of the following 15 areas of innovation and product development will be the most impactful over the next 3 to 5 years, Big Data Analytics was far and away the most valued by strong versus weak innovators. Digital Design and Speed of Adopting Tech are two additional areas of innovation and product development that most differentiate the most and least innovative companies.

 

The Best Cloud Computing Companies And CEOs To Work For In 2019 Based On Glassdoor

  • SysdigFivetranNuxeoCloudianMendixStreamSetsZscalerZohoSAPOutSystemsKony, and Netskope are the most likely to be recommended by their employees to friends looking for a cloud computing company to work for in 2019.
  • Cloud platform and development companies dominate the highest rated cloud businesses when indexed by the percent of employees who would recommend their company to a friend.
  • Taken together, the 12 CEOs leading the top-rated cloud computing companies are approved by 98% of employees as of March 3, 2019, on Glassdoor. CEOs in this group include Thomas Hogan of Kony, Paulo Rosado of OutSystems, Bill McDermott of SAP, and Sridhar Vembu of Zoho.

These and many other insights are from an analysis completed today comparing Computer Reseller News’ 100 Coolest Cloud Computing Vendors of 2019 by their respective Glassdoor scores. The Computer Reseller News annual list of the 100 coolest cloud computing vendors is an impartial, 3rd party benchmark of the fastest-growing and most likely to hire cloud businesses expanding today.  By far the most common request from Forbes readers is which cloud computing companies are the best to work for. The goal of this analysis is to provide readers with insights into which cloud computing companies best fit their skills and at the same time have a strong reputation based on feedback from existing employees.

Indexing the most interesting and fastest growing cloud computing companies by their Glassdoor scores and reputations is a great way to begin defining a long-term career growth strategy. One factor not quantified is how well of a fit an applicant is to company culture. Take every opportunity for in-person interviews, read Glassdoor ratings often and observe as much as possible about daily life in companies of interest to see if they are a good fit for your skills and strengths.

Using the 2019 CRN list as a baseline to compare the Glassdoor scores of the (%) of employees who would recommend this company to a friend and (%) of employees who approve of the CEO, the table below is provided. You can find the original dataset here. There are 15 companies on the CRN list that don’t have that many or any entries on Glassdoor, and they are excluded from the rankings shown below. You can find their mention in the original dataset. If the image below is not visible in your browser, you can view the rankings here.

The highest rated CEOs on Glassdoor as of March 3, 2019, include the following. Please click on the graphic and dataset to expand for easier reading.

The original dataset is shown below:

Vodafone’s 2019 IoT Barometer Reflects Robust Growth In The Enterprise

  • 85% of enterprises who develop deep expertise with IoT succeed at driving revenue faster than competitors.
  • 81% of enterprises say Artificial Intelligence streamlines interpreting and taking action on data insights gained from IoT systems and sensors.
  • 68% of enterprises are using IoT to track the security of physical assets, making this use case the most common across enterprises today.
  • Transport & Logistics and Manufacturing & Industrials saw the most significant increase in adoption between 2018 and 2019.

These and many other fascinating insights are from the 6th annual Vodafone IoT Barometer, 2019.  The entire report can be downloaded here (PDF, 32 pp., e-mail opt-in). The methodology is based on 1,758 interviews distributed across the Americas (22%), EMEA (49%) and Asia-Pacific (29%). Eight vertical markets were included with manufacturing (22%), healthcare and wellness (14%) and retail, leisure, and hospitality (14%) being the three most represented markets.  Vodaphone is making an interactive tool available here for exploring the results.

Key insights from Vodafone’s 2019 IoT Barometer include the following:

  • 34% of global businesses are now using IoT in daily operations, up from 29% in 2018, with 95% of IoT adopters are already seeing measurable benefits. 81% of IoT adopters say their reliance on IoT has grown, and 76% of adopters say IoT is mission-critical to them. 58% are using analytics platforms to get more insights from their IoT data to improve decision making. 71% of enterprises who have adopted IoT expect their company and others like them will start listing data resources on their balance sheets as assets within five years.

  • 95% of enterprises adopting IoT are achieving tangible benefits and positive ROI. 52% of enterprises report significant returns on their IoT investments. 79% say IoT is enabling positive outcomes that would have been impossible without it, further reflecting robust growth in the enterprise. Across all eight vertical markets reducing operating costs (53%) and gaining more accurate data and insights (48%) are the most common benefits. Transitioning an IoT pilot to production based on cost reduction and improved visibility creates a compelling ROI for many enterprises. The following graphic compares IoT’s benefits to enterprises. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • Transport & Logistics and Manufacturing & Industrials saw the greatest increase in adoption between 2018 and 2019. Transport and Logistics had the highest IoT adoption rate at 42% followed by Manufacturing and Industrials at 39%. Manufacturers are facing the challenges of improving production efficiency and product quality while accelerating time-to-market for next-generation smart, connected products. IoT contributes to productivity improvements and creates opportunities for services-based business models, two high priorities for manufacturers in 2019 and beyond.  The following graphic from the interactive tool compares IoT adoption by industry based on Vodaphone’s IoT barometer data over the last six years:

  • 89% of most sophisticated enterprises have multiple full-scale projects in production, orchestrating IoT with analytics, AI and cloud, creating a technology stack that delivers real-time insights. Enterprises who lead IoT adoption in their industries rely on integration to gain scale and speed advantages quickly over competitors. The greater the real-time integration, the greater the potential to digitally transform an enterprise and remove roadblocks that get in the way of growing. 95% of adopters where IoT is fully integrated say it’s enabling their digital transformation, compared with 55% that haven’t started integration. The following graphics reflect how integrated enterprises’ IoT projects are with existing business systems and processes and the extent to which enterprises agree that IoT is enabling digital transformation.

  • 68% of enterprises are using IoT to track the security of physical assets, making this use case the most common across enterprises today. 57% of all enterprises are using IoT to manage risk and compliance. 53% are using it to increase revenue and cut costs, with 82% of high performing enterprises rely on IoT to manage risk and compliance. The following graphic compares the types of variables enterprises are using IoT to track today and plan to in the future.

  • IoT adoption is soaring in Americas-based enterprises, jumping from 27% in 2018 to 40% in 2019. The Americas region leads the world in terms of IoT usage assessed by strategy, integration, and implementation of IoT deployments. 73% of Americas-based enterprises are the most likely to report significant returns from their IoT investments compared to 47% for Asia-Pacific (APAC) and 45% for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
  • 52% of IoT-enabled enterprises plan to use 5G when it becomes available. Enterprises are looking forward to 5G’s many advantages including improved security via stronger encryption, more credentialing options, greater quality of service management, more specialized services and near-zero latency. Vodafone predicts 5G will be a strong catalyst of growth for emerging IoT applications including connected cars, smart cities, eHealth and industrial automation.

 

10 Ways AI & Machine Learning Are Revolutionizing Omnichannel

Disney, Oasis, REI, Starbucks, Virgin Atlantic, and others excel at delivering omnichannel experiences using AI and machine learning to fine-tune their selling and service strategies. Source: iStock

Bottom Line: AI and machine learning are enabling omnichannel strategies to scale by providing insights into the changing needs and preferences of customers, creating customer journeys that scale, delivering consistent experiences.

For any omnichannel strategy to succeed, each customer touchpoint needs to be orchestrated as part of an overarching customer journey. That’s the only way to reduce and eventually eliminate customers’ perceptions of using one channel versus another. What makes omnichannel so challenging to excel at is the need to scale a variety of customer journeys in real-time as customers are also changing.

89% of customers used at least one digital channel to interact with their favorite brands and just 13% found the digital-physical experiences well aligned according to Accenture’s omnichannel study. AI and machine learning are being used to close these gaps with greater intelligence and knowledge. Omnichannel strategists are fine-tuning customer personas, measuring how customer journeys change over time, and more precisely define service strategies using AI and machine learning. Disney, Oasis, REI, Starbucks, Virgin Atlantic, and others excel at delivering omnichannel experiences using AI and machine learning for example.

Omnichannel leaders including Amazon use AI and machine learning to anticipate which customer personas prefer to speak with a live agent versus using self-service for example. McKinsey also found omnichannel customer care expectations fall into the three categories of speed and flexibility, reliability and transparency, and interaction and care. Omnichannel customer journeys designed deliver on each of these three categories excel and scale between automated systems and live agents as the following example from the McKinsey article, How to capture what the customer wants illustrate:

The foundation all great omnichannel strategies are based on precise customer personas, insight into how they are changing, and how supply chains and IT need to flex and change too. AI and machine learning are revolutionizing omnichannel on these three core dimensions with greater insight and contextual intelligence than ever before.

10 Ways AI & Machine Learning Are Revolutionizing Omnichannel

The following are 10 ways AI & machine learning are revolutionizing omnichannel strategies starting with customer personas, their expectations, and how customer care, IT infrastructure and supply chains need to stay responsive to grow.

  1. AI and machine learning are enabling brands, retailers and manufacturers to more precisely define customer personas, their buying preferences, and journeys. Leading omnichannel retailers are successfully using AI and machine learning today to personalize customer experiences to the persona level. They’re combining brand, event and product preferences, location data, content viewed, transaction histories and most of all, channel and communication preferences to create precise personas of each of their key customer segments.
  2. Achieving price optimization by persona is now possible using AI and machine learning, factoring in brand and channel preferences, previous purchase history, and price sensitivity. Brands, retailers, and manufacturers are saying that cloud-based price optimization and management apps are easier to use and more powerful based on rapid advances in AI and machine learning algorithms than ever before. The combination of easier to use, more powerful apps and the need to better manage and optimize omnichannel pricing is fueling rapid innovation in this area. The following example is from Microsoft Azure’s Interactive Pricing Analytics Pre-Configured Solution (PCS). Source: Azure Cortana Interactive Pricing Analytics Pre-Configured Solution.

  1. Capitalizing on insights gained from AI and machine learning, omnichannel leaders are redesigning IT infrastructure and integration so they can scale customer experiences. Succeeding with omnichannel takes an IT infrastructure capable of flexing quickly in response to change in customers’ preferences while providing scale to grow. Every area of a brand, retailer or manufacturer’s supply chain from their supplier onboarding, quality management and strategic sourcing to yard management, dock scheduling, manufacturing, and fulfillment need to be orchestrated around customers. Leaders include C3 Solutions who offers a web-based Yard Management System (YMS) and Dock Scheduling System that can integrate with ERP, Supply Chain Management (SCM), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and many others via APIs. The following graphic illustrates how omnichannel leaders orchestrate IT infrastructure to achieve greater growth. Source: Cognizant, The 2020 Customer Experience.

  1. Omnichannel leaders are relying on AI and machine learning to digitize their supply chains, enabling on-time performance, fueling faster revenue growth. For any omnichannel strategy to succeed, supply chains need to be designed to excel at time-to-market and time-to-customer performance at scale. 54% of retailers pursuing omnichannel strategies say that their main goal in digitizing their supply chains was to deliver greater customer experiences. 45% say faster speed to market is their primary goal in digitizing their supply chain by adding in AI and machine learning-driven intelligence. Source: Digitize Today To Future-Proof Tomorrow (PDF, 16 pp., opt-in).

  1. AI and machine learning algorithms are making it possible to create propensity models by persona, and they are invaluable for predicting which customers will act on a bundling or pricing offer. By definition propensity models rely on predictive analytics including machine learning to predict the probability a given customer will act on a bundling or pricing offer, e-mail campaign or other call-to-action leading to a purchase, upsell or cross-sell. Propensity models have proven to be very effective at increasing customer retention and reducing churn. Every business excelling at omnichannel today rely on propensity models to better predict how customers’ preferences and past behavior will lead to future purchases. The following is a dashboard that shows how propensity models work. Source: customer propensities dashboard is from TIBCO.

  1. Combining machine learning-based pattern matching with a product-based recommendation engine is leading to the development of mobile-based apps where shoppers can virtually try on garments they’re interested in buying. Machine learning excels at pattern recognition, and AI is well-suited for creating recommendation engines, which are together leading to a new generation of shopping apps where customers can virtually try on any garment. The app learns what shoppers most prefer and also evaluates image quality in real-time, and then recommends either purchase online or in a store. Source: Capgemini, Building The Retail Superstar: How unleashing AI across functions offers a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

  1. 56% of brands and retailers say that order track-and-traceability strengthened with AI and machine learning is essential to delivering excellent customer experiences. Order tracking across each channel combined with predictions of allocation and out-of-stock conditions using AI and machine learning is reducing operating risks today. AI-driven track-and-trace is invaluable in finding where there are process inefficiencies that slow down time-to-market and time-to-customer. Source: Digitize Today To Future-Proof Tomorrow (PDF, 16 pp., opt-in).
  2. Gartner predicts that by 2025, customer service organizations who embed AI in their customer engagement center platforms will increase operational efficiencies by 25%, revolutionizing customer care in the process. Customer service is often where omnichannel strategies fail due to lack of real-time contextual data and insight. There’s an abundance of use cases in customer service where AI and machine learning can improve overall omnichannel performance. Amazon has taken the lead on using AI and machine learning to decide when a given customer persona needs to speak with a live agent. Comparable strategies can also be created for improving Intelligent Agents, Virtual Personal Assistants, Chatbot and Natural Language (NLP) performance.  There’s also the opportunity to improve knowledge management, content discovery and improve field service routing and support.
  3. AI and machine learning are improving marketing and selling effectiveness by being able to track purchase decisions back to campaigns by channel and understand why specific personas purchased while others didn’t. Marketing is already analytically driven, and with the rapid advances in AI and machine learning, markets will for the first time be able to isolate why and where their omnichannel strategies are succeeding or failing. By using machine learning to qualify the further customer and prospect lists using relevant data from the web, predictive models including machine learning can better predict ideal customer profiles. Each omnichannel sales lead’s predictive score becomes a better predictor of potential new sales, helping sales prioritize time, sales efforts and selling strategies.
  4. Predictive content analytics powered by AI and machine learning are improving sales close rates by predicting which content will lead a customer to buy. Analyzing previous prospect and buyer behavior by persona using machine learning provides insights into which content needs to be personalized and presented when to get a sale. Predictive content analytics is proving to be very effective in B2B selling scenarios, and are scaling into consumer products as well
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