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As we enter into the Independence Holiday weekend, I wanted to drop a quick note. It’s hard to believe three months have passed since my last letter. The world is evolving daily and technology continues to play a critical role in how we all connect, track information and communicate worldwide. Despite the shift toward working remotely, the executive team and I continue to be impressed with the level of productivity, cohesiveness, employee engagement and strength as an organization that we have seen demonstrated by our team. 

Here are a few highlights:

Teamwork. My team has pointed out how their interaction with each other has expanded — collaboratively tackling projects, sharing knowledge to prepare for webinars, and helping clients deal with COVID-19’s impact on their data and business analytics. We’ve hosted weekly Town Hall forums and internal Step competitions that have promoted teamwork company-wide.Under our Strategies for Success free content offerings to our clients, we’ve rallied around our Take30 Series. 

These sessions hosted by Ironside’s Data Science, Data Advisor and Business Intelligence Leads, have made it important for Senior Consultants, Partners and Clients to come together to offer the best of our thinking. The planning and delivery has been mutually beneficial for our team and the ever-growing number of participants who we have shared 30 minutes together, multiple times per week since the start of the pandemic.

Education. This unprecedented time when we are not traveling to clients has offered a time for our consultants to learn additional skill sets and to expand their certifications. One of the greatest values we offer to our clients is understanding best practices related to integration aspects between our key partners: IBM, AWS, Precisely, Microsoft, Trifacta, Tableau, DataRobot, Snowflake, Alteryx, Matillion and Alation. For us, to continue to excel with these partners — cross-training between our Business Intelligence, Information Management and Data Science practices on our most utilized tools — has created many “a-ha” moments toward streamlining our delivery services.

Client Engagements. Despite the sunsetting of “business as usual” for now, Ironside’s business is strong. COVID-19 has impacted businesses in various ways, whether they are operating and accessing data differently or needing to measure the impact of the global environment on their businesses’ analytics. Perhaps now, more than ever, the demand for information and analytics is a “must-have” versus a “nice-to-have.” Some of our clients have found themselves busier than ever and racing to keep up with the demand for new analytics and reports. Other clients are compelled to be more hands-on with analytics that used to be automated by machine learning models that have been rendered invalid. In these cases and beyond, Ironside’s Analytics Assurance Service is here to help. Our team’s expertise is being leveraged for immediate, short term assistance to support organizations running as efficiently as possible, allowing clients to use their own skills for other tasks to avoid stifling tradeoffs. 

Thank you for your continued relationship with our team. From myself and my team to you and yours, we wish you a wonderful Independence Day. Stay safe and remain strong, both in business and in health.

Best,
Tim

The world has changed dramatically over the course of a single month, and companies are struggling even more with things that have historically challenged them:

  • Finding the best people to run, build and innovate on their analytics tools and data
  • Making these environments accessible to employees in a work-at-home model

In this Forbes article, Louis Columbus cites a recent Dresner survey that shows up to 89% of companies are seeing a hit to their BI and Analytics budgets due to COVID-19. The survey includes these two recommendations:

Recommendation #1

Invest in business intelligence (BI) and analytics as a means of understanding and executing with the change landscape.

Recommendation #2

Consider moving BI and analytical applications to third-party cloud infrastructure to accommodate employees working from home.


89% of companies are seeing a hit to their BI and Analytics budgets due to COVID-19.


We’re here to help you explore your options.

Now that the role of analytics is more important than ever to a company’s success, analytics leaders are again being asked to do much more with much less — all while companies are experiencing staff reductions, navigating the complexities of moving to a work-from-home model, and struggling to onboard permanent hires.

To address these short-term shortages (and potentially longer-term budget impacts), companies are naturally evaluating whether leveraging a managed-service approach — wholly or even just in part— can help them fill their skills gap while also reducing their overall spend.

As they weigh this decision, cost, technical expertise, market uncertainty and the effectiveness of going to a remote-work model are all top-of-mind. Here’s how these factors might affect your plans going forward:

Factor 1: Cost

As the Dresner number showed, most analytics teams need to reduce spend. Doing this mid-year is never easy, and usually comes at the expense of delayed or canceled projects, delayed or cancelled hiring, and possibly even staff reductions. All of these decrease a company’s analytics capabilities, which in turn decreases its ability to make the right business decisions at a critical time. A managed services approach to meeting critical analytics needs, even just to address a short-term skills gap, can provide valuable resources in a highly flexible way, while saving companies significant money over hiring staff and traditional consulting models.

Factor 2: Technical Expertise

A decade ago, your options for analytics tools and platforms were limited to a handful of popular technologies. Today even small departments use many different tools. We have seen organizations utilizing AWS, Azure, and private datacenters. Oracle, SQL Server, Redshift all at the same company? Yes, we have seen that as well. Some of our customers maintain more than five BI tools. At some point you have to ask: Can we hire and support the expertise necessary to run all these tools effectively? Can we find and hire a jack-of-all trades?

In a managed services model, companies can leverage true experts across a wide range of technology while varying the extent to which they use those resources at any particular time. As a result, companies get the benefit of a pool of resources in a way that a traditional hiring approach simply cannot practically provide.

Factor 3: Effectiveness of Remote Work Engagement

If you weren’t working remotely before, you probably are now. Companies are working to rapidly improve their processes and technologies to adjust to a new normal while maintaining productivity.

Managed service resourcing models have been delivering value remotely for years, using tools and processes that ensure productivity. Current events have not affected these models, therefore making them an ideal solution for companies  trying to figure out the best way to work at home.

Times are changing. We’re ready!

Ironside has traditionally offered Managed Services, to care for and maintain customer platforms and applications, and consulting services, to assist in BI and Analytics development.

Companies can leverage our Analytics Assurance Services temporarily, for a longer period of time to address specific skills gaps, or to establish a cloud environment to support remote analytic processes.

With Ironside, you can improve your data analytics within your new constraints, while reducing your costs. We’d love to show you how.

Contact us today at: Here2Help@IronsideGroup.com

Any journey requires a few things before getting started. Wandering through the forest can be a very pleasant experience, but if you don’t plan ahead and bring your compass and map, what happens if you get lost? (I know, you probably brought your smart phone, which has GPS. But then you find there is no signal, way out here in the forest…). Before starting an adventure like this, you need to prepare and make sure you are ready for any obstacles or unknowns that could occur.

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LEXINGTON, MA, May 10, 2019 – Ironside, an enterprise data and analytics firm, was featured in a Wall Street Journal article about AI consultants that enable their clients to be self-sufficient with AI and not have to rely on their consulting counterparts to manage the model.

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LEXINGTON, MA, May 3, 2019 – Ironside, an enterprise data and analytics firm, was recognized in the Wall Street Journal this morning for AI work being done at one of our clients, Coverys, a Boston-based provider of medical professional liability insurance.

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In the first installment of this series, we discussed the origins of Mode 2 Analytics, and in the second installment we focused on how to enable this capability in your organization using Cognos. Now that we’ve learned all about how Mode 2 works, let’s walk through a sample use case that highlights the Bimodal Analytics Lifecycle as well as the technical capabilities of Cognos Analytics and how they fit together.

In this example, you are the manager of a Healthcare Call Center system that is comprised of seven (7) regional centers across the country. Each call center handles contact (phone calls and online chats) from the customers that are located within the states that make up those regions.

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When you think about the different ways that data gets used in your company, what comes to mind?

You surely have some executive dashboards, and some quarterly reports. There might be a reporting portal containing everything that IT created for anyone within the past decade.

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When defining or assessing a Data & Analytics Strategy, Ironside leverages a proven framework of understanding the current state and comparing it to a desirable future state with a focus on six key areas, or pillars.

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What is the most common, most vital need of any business? Speed.

Speed to adapt, to respond, to evolve. It is important, not just at the big picture level, but on a daily basis as well. If you’re constantly waiting for information, then you’re spending less time analyzing data and making decisions that help the organization. Speed has been vitally important in the acceptance of Mode 2 style content such as Dashboards and Stories. Response time is key when viewing daily high-level metrics or when creating that “single use” asset to analyze a potential issue.

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Last spring, I had the opportunity to attend a local analytics conference with Dr. Claudia Imhoff as the keynote speaker. As she got on stage to begin her presentation, she started out by making a statement along the lines of “For every time the phrase ‘Big Data’ is mentioned today, we will all take a shot during happy hour.” 

(Tip: Don’t try that for this article.)

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