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I bet a lot of you don’t know why we call ourselves 9DOTS. This is especially relevant because we are changing that. 9DOTS is making sure that everyone accesses our website knows who we are and what we do. Additionally, 9DOTS made some changes that started THIS MONTH. As a matter of fact we will continue to make changes going forward because we love to listen to our clients, we think outside the Box, and we solve problems.

Starting June 1st 9DOTS’ social media presence is stronger, customer support improved, and finally a maintenance bulletin is on the website. As a company, we say we are “Decidedly Different.” For example, 9DOTS chooses not to be a vendor but most of all seek partnership. We are always straight forward, yet offer a hint of sarcasm. We are completely transparent in responses and due to our personality. 9DOTS recognized that the website seemed jumbled, blogs posted few and far between, and social media slacked. We are problem solvers, and that means we solve even our OWN problems.

Did you know 9DOTS is named after the answer to a puzzle?  The Nine Dots Puzzle poses the challenge to connect nine dots using four straight lines or less. Don’t lift the pencil from the paper! Challenge yourself and start below.

9DOTS puzzle solve problems9DOTS  encourages unconventional thinking to generate decidedly different business intelligence strategies. We don’t just hand out software and tell companies to be on their way! Yes, 9DOTS uses Business Analytics to solve problems, but it’s the way we think that makes us stand out from the rest. There is a box filled with Business Intelligence companies. Creativity, dedication and 9DOTS sit outside of that box.

Some people start to solve the puzzle by drawing the pencil in a box shape.  If that is you, then you aren’t the only one! The ANSWER though, is to think OUTSIDE of the box shape. Try to solve it! The answer is below. 9DOTS puzzle solution solve problems

 

To know more about how 9DOTS can solve your problems,  contact us  & Follow us below on FB, Twitter or LinkedIN to stay up to date on all of our info!

 

businessman-with-binoculars-44303560-resized-600In blog posts, our LinkedIn Groups, on Facebook, we tend to throw the words “data” & “insight” around like they are one in the same. I know, I know, last week we talked about “Excel” vs. “spreadsheets” this week it’s “data” & “insight.” Has 9DOTS Thinking Outside the Box blog suddenly become a long-winded vocabulary lesson!? I promise you the answer is no, AND I am going to keep it short. The difference between the words “data” and “insight” are just as important as last weeks post (found here), if not more important, because we ALL use the words as synonyms–even previous 9DOTS blogs!

To keep it short & sweet:

  • Data = unprocessed facts, in no organized fashion, from multiple different sources
  • Insight = actionable knowledge that comes from data

This may seem like something small and insignificant, but it is critical to identify the difference. You see, that while it is great to have tons of data, you may not have all of the information or knowledge you really need to gain competitive advantage. How many products did you sell last month? You probably know that number off the top of your head! But why? Why did you sell (or not sell) that amount? What will you accomplish as a business next month, in 6 months, based on the data & numbers you have from last year? Is that change in marketing that you made working positively?

With the right analytics, data can be pulled together from different sources, be organized and help you gain knowledge you didn’t even realize you could have about your organization. Many businesses use data to drive actions and decisions, but if information gives you actionable insight you are much closer to finding value. Turning data into INSIGHT creates the narrative you need to tell your story. As long as you have the correct tools to do so, you will see drastically less unorganized numbers and much more actionable knowledge and information.

2015 is coming to an end, and so has your budgeting season.  If you have been reading along, or even if you haven’t, here are a few facts we learned through different surveys and research throughout the year.

A study by Grant Thorton, LLP shows that only 36% of businesses use scenarios and “what-if” analyses to re-check possible outcomes of a strategy.

A study by F1F showed that, out of 1,200 senior managers surveyed yielded stastics like “17% of large businesses suffered financial loss due to poor spreadsheets, and 78% say that key financial decisions are supported by spreadsheets.”

Companies spend weeks or even months completing the annual budgeting process, because it is so important. But too many companies fail to supplement the annual budget with planning activities that could strengthen performance management, gain competitive advantage, and of course drive profit!

Read our white paper to figure out how NOT to be a statistic in 2016, and instead stay ahead of the competition. 

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AnalyticsAnalytics can challenge your organization. Data is so abundant that the complexity and confusion of it all can be overwhelming. When you sit down and try to analyze everything, you just don’t know where to start, or where to go. But Narendra Mulani, the senior managing director at Accenture Analytics has some sage advice: recognize what is important & what your analytics should be doing for every aspect of your organization.

If even that seems overwhelming, there’s one more step—simplify. “Pursue a simpler path to uncovering insight:”

1. Accelerate the Data: “Fast data = fast insight = fast outcomes.” When an environment is created that accelerates your data, your organization can manage that data much quicker. Getting the data you need in real-time improves many aspects of your business.

2. Delegate the work to your analytics technologies with

  • Next generation Business Intelligence & Data Visualization
  • Data discovery
  • Analytics applications
  • Machine learning and cognitive computing

3. Recognize that each path to data insight is unique. With data, elements are always changing and new obstacles come into play that challenge your data. There will always be new questions, and different answers that solve the dilemma of each question. “No matter what combination of culture and technology exists for a business, each path to analytics insight should be individually paved with an outcome-driven mindset.”

By taking these three steps, your analytics strategy will be simplified and so will the way your organization is run. It’s rare that simplicity can seem like it is enough, but with your big data and analytics processes, simple is beneficial.

why-excel-kills-your-schedulingSometimes it can feel like you are swimming in a sea of spreadsheets. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem, if spreadsheets didn’t cause so many of their own. Using Excel spreadsheets limits the ability to perform high-value, forward-looking analysis. They are prone to data errors. Errors in data will cause many more days of diving back into that sea of spreadsheets to try to fix the problem. Knowing all of this—that spreadsheets lack supportive features such as work flow and metadata management, that they can’t handle the complicated processes of business modeling, and that they are potentially making your organization less profitable than they can be, why are so many businesses still using them?

In 2014, Grant Thorton, LLP conducted a study of 130 finance executives from companies of $1 billion in annual revenue. The findings showed that nearly 39% use spreadsheets only. The people of Grant Thorton, LLP believe that the annual budgeting process alongside planning tools will create the most efficient, accurate and profitable organization—but this can’t happen with the use of spreadsheets:

“Companies spend weeks or even months completing the annual budgeting process, which is not surprising given that the budget serves a variety of high-level, table-setting purposes in most organizations. But too many companies fail to supplement the annual budget with planning activities that could make performance management more agile.”

  • A little less than half of all surveyed currently practice continuous planning and adjust resource allocations in response to changing conditions.
  • Only 36% use scenarios and “what-if” analyses to re-check possible outcomes of a strategy.
  • When asked why no one has improved the Financial Planning and Analysis aspect of the business to add value, 62% (nearly two-thirds of participants) stated that they were too buried in basic financial management duties.

Read more about this study here. There are a large number of organizations that could benefit from using a business intelligence tool and jumping out of that sea of spreadsheets. Companies that have been using business intelligence tools don’t feel behind. Instead, they find that theirs is the organization that is competing and still growing.

self-service-bi“The term self-service might imply that business users can do everything themselves and don’t need help from IT and BI teams to gain valuable insights from business information.”

The world of big data has not always been for everyone. Viewing and analyzing data could require extensive, expert consultation or scripting. Jumbled, confusing data means relying on other people in your organization in order to complete a task and get the job done. With intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces, “Advances in hardware sped processing and lowered costs, enabling the development of software that supported more complex analytics and ever richer visualizations.” Even the less savvy business users can take advantage of what smart analytics have to offer.

Business users can begin to use predictive analytics without complicated procedures. That being said, this article from techtarget.com shows us that IT is not pushed to the sidelines with self-service analytics and that the definition of “self-service” only extends so far. “Users of self-service BI tools should think not about gaining independence from IT and BI teams, but about developing a better working relationship that will make it easier to analyze data faster and more accurately.” Smart Analytics provide organizations with a lot of benefits. Without having to rely on IT to complete tasks, business users are more efficient. IT is able to strengthen their position and develop and enhance your organization’s team as a whole.