March 1, 2016

Data and Business Intelligence Services

Data is everywhere and available to your business from a variety of useful, structured and formatted sources as well as from unstructured and rogue sources at times. For data to be useful and valuable it needs to be transformed into information your business can use for accurate, relevant, and timely insights. Those insights can then be turned into actions. Brainspire helps unlock the data available to your business and provides business intelligence services with a measurable return on investment.

Let Us Help You Harness Your Business Data to Make More Informed Decisions

We hear it all the time – “I know the data is in there, but we just don’t have access to it in a way we can make sense of it.” Most organizations collect and store significant amounts of data, usually more than they know what to do with. Both your internal applications and external sources of information hold key insights regarding:

  • customer trends
  • product information
  • operational inefficiencies and waste
  • marketing effectiveness
  • countless other metrics

Your employees could be using these things to improve your bottom line. Your stakeholders know your business best and which information that is most helpful. Brainspire’ s expertise helps you get this data, no matter where it comes from and present it in meaningful ways for your business to act on. From creating simple reports from a database to crafting advanced real-time dashboards from a variety of sources, we can provide measurable results that will drive your business.

Business Intelligence (BI) Can Assist with Better and Faster Decisions

Clearly, having fresh and accurate information helps business leaders and all employees make better, faster decisions. Sharing this information with others in a secure way is just as important. Too many organizations still rely on the “We Did This Last Month / Last Quarter / Last Year” report. Financial or operational period reporting is important, but is usually too late to be effective in identifying changing market conditions, spotting trends or addressing critical issues. Brainspire works with our clients to create solutions using analytics, reports and dashboards to monitor key metrics in real-time, helping businesses to spot critical areas of concern. Further, we create solutions designed to provide detailed answers to your most critical business questions through slicing, dicing and drilling into the data. With the right technology, there’s no reason decisions makers shouldn’t have the right information at the right time to make critical decisions.

The First Step Is To Make Sure You Are Collecting and Storing Your Data Effectively

Data within organizations is everywhere and owned by many. What starts out as a local MS Excel spreadsheet on someone’s computer or a SharePoint List grows quickly and soon becomes the most accurate source of truth within an organization. As others collaborate on this data, they begin to store local copies posing risks to accuracy, accessibility, consistency and security. In another typical case, data is imported from a 3rd party source and stored “somewhere” in the organization for application usage or reporting. As this data is combined with other sources, it’s challenging to manage and maintain the integrations and data sources.

As organizations grow and rely on data, these scenarios become costly and inefficient to manage and produce data integrity issues. Brainspire drives solutions to properly collect and store your organization’s critical data, ensuring both people and applications have the most up to date and accurate information available. This can be as simple as designing a new database solution secured “in the cloud” or on site; we also “wrangle data” and information from a variety of sources into a data warehouse to serve multiple applications or reporting solutions.

We Can Build or Support Your Database

  • What is a database? A database stores information in a collection of tables to represent logical organization and processing of information. Simply put, it creates organized data. The design can be “as simple” or “as dimensional” as your organization needs; it can be as secure or freely available as necessary, but the database solution should be logically organized to store data to meet the current and future needs of the organization.
  • Why is a properly designed database important? Storing data in consistent ways allows an organization to examine, analyze and present information in logical ways. Further, combining known information with other new sources of data allows an organization to gain new insights into their business. Most organization have “siloed” information – by department for instance. Consider this example of supply and demand: a retail manufacturing company wants to analyze specific information about “inventory” in the warehouse compared with current “customer demand” from the sales department. The warehouse department has the inventory numbers and counts, while the sales department has the items shipped and sales made. With the isolated information and lacking an appropriate database design, it would be challenging for the company to accurately compare inventory to demand. It’s a simple example, but imagine if this information was never shared across the organization. This is critically important as businesses expand into new markets, try to reach new customers or expand into new product lines. It’s also important to recognize that as most organizations expand, the information grows significantly and performance decreases across systems with a poorly designed data structure. A properly designed database will enable growth, meaning application and reporting queries perform at consistently high speeds, avoiding random searches for the information requested.
  • We can design and build data solutions to meet your needs. As a full stack, custom development firm, Brainspire designs, builds and enhances high performing data solutions to meet your company’s current and future needs. We are experts in data collection, transformation, storage and queries to serve both human and application interfaces.

For more information, go to Database Design & Development.

We Can Improve Your Existing Data Quality and Integrity

As companies grow, they collect and store significant amounts of data including 3rd party information. What begins as a clean system with proper data governance may fall apart over time as data integration increases. If your organization has acquired other companies or been acquired, merging data from multiple companies can create all kinds of data quality and consistency issues.

Data quality and consistency (or Data Management) is a challenging issue and includes:

  • Accuracy
  • Completeness
  • Data Update Status / Time Considerations
  • Relevance
  • Data Consistency Across Platforms and Sources
  • Reliability
  • Access to Data
  • Appropriate Visualization and Presentation of Data

It’s important to put data management in perspective. Quite honestly, it’s not realistic or cost effective to be 100% accurate with most systems, although it may be critically important to have the highest of standards when it comes to other systems (accurate data when calculating the re-entry angle when returning from space for instance).

Brainspire can help you solve your data quality and consistency issues and help ensure your data management going forward. Each client has unique challenges and will likely require some different approaches. However, there are some common approaches we recommend including eliminating multiple manual data entry by capturing data one time at the source, using drop downs for data collection, using required fields when collecting data and using proven ETL best practices when integrating data sources. We can even find and clean data through custom software and off the shelf solutions in most cases.

Let us know your challenges by submitting your information in the form to the left. We’ll be in touch shortly and you can learn a little more about us by visiting Data Cleansing & Integration.

We Deliver Reports, Dashboards and Real-Time Data

Quality Reports and Dashboards provide high-value and actionable information to the right people at the right time – if they are done well and tell a relevant story. Historically, many reports have done nothing more than clutter the inbox or waste paper because the data on the page didn’t provide the insights or information into the business that really mattered. As one of our customers once put it, “I’m sick of the useless ‘We Sucked Yesterday’ report.” He was clearly frustrated before we provided a new real-time dashboard for him to monitor his shop floor productivity.

Reports and dashboards (including dashboards that can be displayed on a mobile device) need to provide useful information from the data. It should tell a quick and compelling story about the business. Visualization tells a story by using grids, charts, graphs, colors, and trend lines to allow users to quickly assess the health of the business or emerging issues. The benefit of online and real-time dashboards is that users can click and drill into the details of the trends to gain deeper insights. Depending on your business, the “Internet of Things” and endpoint sensors now allows for real-time monitoring. This information can easily be incorporated into dashboards and business intelligence solutions for holistic insights and trends.

Check out one of our recent blog articles or Data Reporting & Dashboards for more information. Let us know your thoughts on what information you really need from your business by filling out the Contact Us form on the left.

Big Data Solutions

Much like “in the cloud,” Big Data is continuously mentioned in technology media and trend reporting. Yet for most business and many technology decision makers it remains an abstract concept when it comes to implementation and the business value it offers. At a high level, Big Data is a term used to describe data sets that are so large and complex that traditional data processing techniques are inadequate. When trying to capture, store, query, share, analyze, and visualize vast amounts of unrelated and unstructured data, new technologies, techniques and methods must be used. Advances in Predictive Analytics, Data Science and Machine Learning (admittedly also other buzzwords) are contributing to the concept of Big Data.

Most organizations don’t have a solid business case to make an investment in Big Data solutions at this point. However, some of the more compelling solutions involve genetic mapping, analytics for processing medical information, detecting vast amounts of financial data for fraud, or studying patterns in the spread of disease. The investments and successes of Big Data will become more mainstream as advances are made and resources become more available.

At Brainspire, we are continually investigating, researching and learning new ways to solve problems. This is what fascinates our people. Sometimes there are incremental gains in technology that are built upon a foundation, and other times there are big leaps that require solving problems in creative ways with new ways of thinking. If you have a business problem that may require a Big Data solution, we’d love to hear about it. We are actively looking for new pilot projects with our clients.