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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

Last week at Analytics University, IBM formally announced the release of the next major version of Cognos Analytics, v11.1.

IBM has hinted at the inclusion of “smarts” for “augmented analytics” and improvements in the usability of this new version over the past year. Our expectation was that these improvements would continue to “modernize” Cognos and help address some of the competitive pressures that organizations with legacy investments have been encountering in recent years. Read more

When configuring an OpenID namespace, some information is required in order to complete. For this article, I will be utilizing the OKTA OpenID Connect namespace as an example, but other configurations are fairly similar. I will also show some typical errors encountered and how to resolve them. Read more

When looking at authentication options for applications, integration and single sign on – especially for different web-based apps in an organization – there are a few standards to be considered. Initially, there was SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) which is an open standard for authorization and authentication and primarily used for single sign on (SSO) for enterprise apps. Next was OAuth2, or open standard for authorization, which was used for API Authorization. And finally, OpenID Connect, which is a combination of SAML and OAuth2. It’s an open standard for authentication, whose primary use is SSO for consumer apps. Read more

When dealing with a Cognos environment there are a lot of moving parts, especially in a multi-server environment. For instance, there is the Application server, the Dispatcher, the Gateway, the Database server, and so on. This isn’t even including the general IT infrastructure components like the network, VPN and firewall. One component that tends to get overlooked is the Web Server. Read more

IBM recently rolled out Watson Analytics Pro, a more feature-rich, subscription-based version of their free Watson Analytics platform. This new option adds some powerful new functionality to the already excellent base product, enabling subscribers to be more connected to their existing data sources and analyses, providing more storage space, and allowing for easy administration of Professional licenses and users. The best part? IBM has announced to existing Cognos BI, TM1 and Sales Performance Management customers a program that allows free subscriptions to Watson Analytics Professional Edition. This is a limited time offer. Read more

As a follow-up to the TM1 Performance Modeler Webinar that we hosted on April 15th, Ironside presented an advanced version for more experienced users on June 10th . This webinar focused on some of the additional advanced new features in TM1 Performance Modeler. These exciting new features require more business knowledge than technical ability and can be performed by TM1 administrators at any technical level. Read more

We’re excited to announce that beginning in July 2014, the Ironside Education Services division will offer a series of IBM Business Analytics public training classes in both New York City and New Jersey! Course offerings will include a variety of IBM Cognos, TM1, and SPSS training taught by some of the top instructors in the industry.

Ironside education programs provide customers with a complete and relevant education experience, incorporating instructor-led material, student-focused workshops, and hands-on demos. Ironside’s training offerings lay a solid foundation for future development in all aspects of IBM Business Analytics.

If you are interested in attending an IBM Business Analytics training course in New York, you can sign up for one of the following training sessions:

  • 7/14/2014- IBM Cognos Report Studio Fundamentals and Advanced Training
  • 7/28/2014- IBM Cognos Framework Manager Fundamentals & Advanced
  • 8/11/2014- IBM Cognos Report Studio Fundamentals and Advanced Training
  • 8/18/2014- IBM TM1 Data Modeling Course
  • 8/25/2014- IBM Cognos Administration Training
  • 8/28/2014- IBM Cognos Workspace & Cognos Workspace Advanced
  • 9/8/2014- IBM Cognos Report Studio Fundamentals and Advanced Training
  • 9/2/2014- IBM Cognos Multidimensional Report Authoring
  • 9/4/2014- IBM Cognos Workspace & Cognos Workspace Advanced

If you want to see more of Ironside’s business analytics training offerings, feel free to take a look at our full public training schedule. We also offer private courses and custom courses.

Synopsis

Define the technique behind and benefits of standardizing prompt conventions in Report Studio.

Overview

Report authors can easily create automatically generated prompt page prompts for data items in a report using the question mark syntax, as shown below: Read more

Due to the rapid pace of today’s business world, new strategies, products, projects, and tools are being introduced on a constant basis. This means that the speed of business often does not match the speed at which IT departments, which tend to have to follow rigorous testing and governance policies, can provide ways to measure the success of the given implementation. With tools like social media and Google at our fingertips to provide constant and immediate information at our every whim, the ability to get answers to business questions with the same deftness as we can in our personal lives becomes expected by BI end users. That’s why accounting for self-service options is essential. Read more

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