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Analytics, Data Visualization

5 Tips for Finding the Hidden Story in Big Data Through Visualisation

Modern information based economies, enabled by technologies like the Internet, have unleashed a sandstorm of information, also called Big Data.

Information is useful because it aids decision making, but there are many challenges.  How to capture, store, analyse, search, share, and transfer vast amounts of data swirling at high speed?  How can one picture the story that the data is telling, and interpret it in a way that adds business value? Would this be manageable if all the data were neatly organised? It might be manageable but still by no means straightforward. But no such luck!  Big data comes in many forms: structured, unstructured, highly unstructured, and hails in a variety of data: text, images, audio, and video.

Tracking and analysing each grain of sand is impossible and may not even be useful. Instead, snapping some pictures of the overall sandstorm can provide many valuable insights.  In other words, we can benefit from Data Visualization. Data Visualization requires creativity to make large data sets simple, appealing, and digestible for the end user, who can then make decisions by analysing the available data. Visualization helps tell a story about the data that the end user can quickly understand.

Some of the key points to be kept in mind during the data visualization process –

  1. Keep it simple (mostly): Visualisation often involves representing data in charts, but the type of chart you choose completely depends on the use case. Is it better to use a chart that supports the data or the one that helps the audience reveal key insights? You might say that both are important, and that’s exactly why complexity arises. Combining technical and business expertise is crucial: a data and visualization expert who is also a problem solver and a good communicator is what you really need. Simple charts are preferable since they are easily comprehendible. However, an expert in the field is key to understand which chart to use according to the data and the business context. For example, graphs can be as simple as a bar chart, or as complicated as a tree map or sunburst that are used to represent hierarchical and sequential data, respectively.
  2. Define the goal: Defining the intent of the visualization sets the path towards choosing the most appropriate graphs and charts to represent the data. For example, are you trying to explain, explore or exhibit the data? This provides a starting point for choosing the right visuals. Although knowledge of statistics surely helps when trying to derive useful insights from data, visualization can tell a story that makes it easier to identify and interpret those insights.
  3. Aesthetics are important: Do you have too many colours in your graphs? Are the sizes of data points slightly off? Are your graphs too monochromatic? Colours and shapes matter just as much as the data itself because they effect the user’s ability to analyse and understand the data quickly and easily.
  4. Ensure data accuracy: If the data isn’t prepared carefully, visuals might depict insights that are wrong. Taking a bird’s eye view of the data should be the starting point before adding filters to look at the data more deeply.
  5. Tell a story: Can you tell a story about the data after going through the data visualization process? If you can, then you know you have uncovered some useful insights. What is the story in your interpretation of results? Is there one at all? Story and visualization should go hand in hand.

Choosing the right tool for visualization is quite subjective since understanding the pros and cons of various tools and making the right choice depends on various factors such as the size of the organization, the kind of projects they are doing, and so on. Open source tools such as R and Python are very popular, while subscription based tools such as Tableau and Qliksense are powerful too.

Visualize, gain valuable insights, make sound decisions, and you are on the pathway to making sense of the sandstorm!

 

Adopt, Advise, Analytics, Cloud Infrastructure, Collaboration, Manage

Driving Office 365 Adoption

One question we often get from clients who have moved to Office 365 is “We like it, but we’re not sure we’re getting all the value we can from the Suite.  Can you help us understand our usage and drive uptake?”

What a lot of people don’t realise is that Micrososft themselves have released a number of good tools to help you understand usage.  First, there’s the upgraded admin center, released in March last year. Next step is to leverage the reporting portal, also released in March last year.

While this was a good start, we’re very excited about the release of the public preview of the Office 365 “adoption content pack”  in Power BI.

“Office 365 gives users the freedom to work from anywhere and the services they need to be more productive and collaborative. Sometimes, however, people need a helping hand to get started with Office 365. For example, if someone doesn’t use Skype for Business, they might not know how to get started using Skype or understand how they can leverage it to communicate better. In either case, the IT department might want to connect with this person to provide them with more information or training resources.

The new Office 365 adoption content pack gives you a cross-product view of how users communicate and collaborate to help IT admins provide more targeted user communication. When you better understand how employees use the various services within Office 365, it is easy to decide where to prioritize training and communication efforts. The content pack lets admins further visualize and analyze their Office 365 usage data, create custom reports, share insights and understand how specific regions or departments use Office 365.”

The reports are a lot more detailed and insightful – for example:

But we’re particularly excited about how our global clients are going to be able to visualise uptake in their various geographies:

Feel free to contact us for more information on how to deploy this in your environment, and then how to make the most of the learning this data and analysis will give you. [wcp_contactform id=”wcpform_hxgn8u984″]

Adopt, Advise, Analytics, Customer Success, Service Management, Services

The Four Challenges With Most Recruitment Applications

Businesses that use software to help them manage and recruit both fulltime and temporary staff are found to be 40% more productive compared to those without them. However, only 60% of small businesses use some form of recruitment app.  Why?  Our research shows that there are four main challenges.

Challenges:

  1. Wastage of Time: Recruiting without a recruitment application leads to several sourcing issues – mostly because of an overwhelming amount of unorganized paperwork. It’s a challenge to source resumes, to ensure you don’t call the same candidates multiple times, and to consistently capture candidate information. Because this is usually done in spreadsheets or a Word document, it’s difficult to form a strong database. Now extrapolate that to the challenge of contingent staff (temp workers, contractors, freelancers) and your challenge grows exponentially.
  2. Reporting and analytics: Those businesses which are using recruitment software are also facing problems especially relating to reporting and analytics. Reporting is a tool which is used by businesses to measure the performance and effectiveness. But our research shows that many companies struggle to get anything more than simple, out of the box reports. For example, if you wanted reports related to process flow for a particular hiring manager, time to fill, and other key metrics. Speed and accuracy of reporting is often a challenge.
  3. Cost: The integration of recruitment software into the industry was a boon to large companies, but to the small and medium sized firms, the hefty price tags made these systems untenable. Enterprise system can range up to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars per year.
  4. Not Integrated to Internal Systems: Great, we’ve picked a new hire. Now how to bridge that dangerous ground from offer through to them actually joining, and making that a great experience for all?  How can you automate the outreach while we wait for them to join, and ensure that Monday morning they have a desk, email, phone and laptop?

 

How CloudGo’s ServiceNow Recruitment Application helps overcome the above challenges:

  1. Time Saver: Integrating this application will help you capture every detail of the recruitment process in the system, and that record gets saved for the future. So this automatically eliminates your “spreadsheet hell” and reduces the possibility of doubling up work on the same candidates. As a result of which you can build a strong database with no duplicates along with candidate’s status in the process.
  2. Reporting and Analytics: This Recruitment application enables users to get reports of their choice. ServiceNow reports can be lists, charts, or calendar-based views of data in a particular table. We’ve built a range of predefined reports that pertain to applications and features. If none of the predefined reports meet recruiter needs, there’s a simple drag and drop user interface to get the data you need.
  3. Cost Effective: This application can be customized according to the budget of the organization. This product can be easily integrated in Mid-sized organizations making your recruitment process easier and faster.
  4. Onboarding capability: ServiceNow has pre-built capability around onboarding staff, from triggering tasks to ensure the manager is out-reaching to them before they join, to integrating to internal finance and IT systems to set up their payroll, turn on their email and internet access, and other Day 0 activities.

Apart from above there are following:

  1. Mobile & Laptop Version:In this age of technology, one expect and require mobile and laptop functionality and we provide it. So even if you are out of office, or you are not having laptop still you can have an access to this software and thus work can be done.
  2. Cloud Based & SaaS: These days one need to be able to access your entire business from any part of the world. The ServiceNow platform is a powerful cloud application platform that enables you to do that and meet end‑user expectations for a modern, consumerized experience. It empowers requestors and fulfillers of work tasks to achieve greater productivity by linking real‑time data with activities, tasks, and processes to achieve better work outcomes. With Software-as-a-service feature it becomes easy for an organization to implement and adopt this software application at lower cost in which upgrades are much simpler.
  3. Per Hire Visibility: You can have a real-time view of the progress of your candidates all the time. What stage are they at?  Whose approval are we waiting on?  Has the offer been sent?
  4. Improved Security: Every organization needs to know whether their data is secured in the cloud or not. ServiceNow’s security complies to international standards and is regularly independently audited. Your data gets secured by using access controls like by IP address, by User, by Role, and using multi-factor authentication.
  5. Workflows: Need to change how a process works? No problem. Workflows are easy to configure, for example if different level of approvals are required depending on the position hiring for, it just takes a few clicks.
  6. SLA’s and KPI’s: With SLA’s it becomes easy to track KPI’s of an Employee/Department/Organization. This gives exact picture whether KPI’s are being met or not. Also multiple SLA’s can be run simultaneously – for example, one can have SLA running from end to end (creating a requisition till closure) or an SLA only for Sourcing or for Screening or for both. This solves your challenge of calculating how much time it took to fill a particular position.

In summary, the four challenges that most businesses face in recruiting aren’t that challenging at all with the right systems in place.  What challenges are you facing in recruiting permanent and temporary staff?

Adopt, Advise, Analytics, Customer Success, Service Management, Services

How to save between $60,000 to $400,000 by moving to the cloud

Many Singaporean entities are struggling with the same questions.  How do I innovate in difficult economic conditions?  How do I improve my business productivity, so I keep profit margins stable even while revenue is under pressure?

It surprises us that many Singaporean entities don’t know about the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme run by IRAS.  “Under the PIC Scheme, businesses can enjoy 400% tax deductions/allowances and/or 60% cash payout for investments made in any of the Six Qualifying Activities from the Years of Assessment (YAs) 2013 to 2018.”

There are six “qualifying activities” under the PIC scheme, the first of which is “Acquisition and Leasing of PIC IT and Automation Equipment”.  Items in the list include:

“Information technology software including office system software and software used in connection with provision of any office automation service, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management such as reservations, registration, queue management, ordering, billings and collections, inventory management, record management, knowledge management, human resource and payroll management, financial information and business management such as accounting and assets management, and personnel business travel request, information and management.”

The bold highlighting is ours – we are focussed on service management and customer success, after all – but also note you are entitled to a “100% accelerated writeoff for capital allowances” on these items.

So where does the $60,000 come from?  Simple.  There are two ways to claim PIC deductions:

  1. You take the “cashback” option and get back 60% of a $100k investment, so $60k in straight cash. OR:
  2. You take the “tax deduction” option. The Tax Deduction option lets you claim up to 400% of appropriate spend (max $600k) per year.  So you can claim up $600k x 400% = $2.4m, and at the company tax rate of 17% that’s $408,000.  So your $600k investment is actually only costing you $192,000 – an effective 68% discount!

Please note – CloudGo is not a financial services firm, this is advice only and conditions apply.  Please check with IRAS, your accountant or specialised firms like GAC Group who can help you make any claim.

So what does this mean to you?

CloudGo can help you pull together a first project around customer success or service management, and your investment in software like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Devicedesk or DocuSign can be offset.  Hence, your project doesn’t have to jump as many hurdles to show a successful ROI.

We’ll be running a webinar on this in late March.  To register for it, or for more information, please contact us.

 

Adopt, Advise, Analytics, Customer Success, Enhance, Manage, Service Management, Services

Welcome to CloudGo

CloudGo started as an idea first: that we could grow and have fun while solving interesting problems for people.  That we could create a business that the best in our niche in the market would want to join, and that we could invest in relationships with our customers.  Somewhere that was big enough to handle tough problems, but small enough to look after the people involved.

We’ve had plenty of comments about our startup, and thankfully all of it positive: the two most widely used comments “adventure” and “exciting”. And that’s what it feels like to us: an exciting adventure, where we might be able to do interesting things for and with our customers, partners and team.  Now, we’re not Scorpion who can deliver “any funded need” (Podcast from Tim Ferriss here)– we’re very specific about what we do.

We deliver digital projects with a speciality in service management, customer success and analytics. That’s it.  And we are very focussed on the PaaS/SaaS technology platforms that we use to deliver these outcomes.  We’ve leveraged our experience in these spaces to select the leading solutions, and then we’ve doubled down on those.  Although we’re still working through the official paperwork to be able to call ourselves “authorised partners” of ServiceNow, Salesforce, Devicedesk and DocuSign (plus hopefully one or two more in the BI/big data space), we have the skills now to deliver outcomes. Through partnerships, we have access to 250+ certified Salesforce developers and architects, 20+ certified ServiceNow resources, and many more Mobile/UX/custom coders.  That means two things for you: first, that we can scale to larger projects, and secondly, that we can provide offshore rates to reduce your cost.

With the backing of systemsGo, we have the APAC reach and financial backing to be able to focus on delivering projects for you, and not be distracted by the noise that other startups have to deal with.

Thanks for reading this – we’ll have our first technical blogs out next week.  In case it’s not obvious, as a startup, we’re looking for foundation customers and our first success stories.  I make an offer at the bottom of our about page – feel free to contact me to discuss what that could mean for you!

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