Your Story(Data)


All data tells a story. The challenge is to find that story by analyzing business data in dozens of ways, using spreadsheets, applications, desktop tools, long-standing data warehouses, and business intelligence software. That means you are probably managing a variety of different dimensions—specific requirements for accessing various data sources, complexities around understanding visualizations, and of course, the associated costs. At the same time, everyone wants more innovation, faster, without sacrificing correct and consistent results.

Every company has a story to tell with its data. There are customer transactions, marketing measurements, collaboration with partners and suppliers, innovations in business processes, and the enablement of growth and personnel efficiencies. And while the data is abundant, useful insights are sometimes difficult to develop.

Data visualization software helps make these complex ideas engaging, meaningful, and easy to understand. With just a few clicks, business managers can add, analyze, and share new insights. Savvy executives use this technology to improve their strategies with facts and get action from their ideas. The important thing here is that using data visualization can help us see information differently and make better decisions, in a way that spreadsheets or traditional static business intelligence cannot.

Learn from the following industry stories as companies like yours find new ways to visualize their business:

  • Seeing the Whole Picture

  • Leveraging Data Storytelling in the Cloud

  • Managing Talent Through Self-Service

  • Embedding Data Visualization

  • Putting Analytics on Display

Seeing the Whole Picture

Imagine trying to spot trends in your business data when your inventory list is longer than the longest river in the world. That’s what one massive online retailer was faced with. Despite its own capabilities to identify and recommend products to customers, its business managers were looking for ways to visualize their decisions. Attempts to implement internally-designed software or tap into self-service analytics products proved unsuccessful. About two dozen business units including global finance, customer service, and the web services group were already using Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition. Instead of fighting an upstream battle, the company decided to adopt Oracle Data Visualization as part of its skillset. As the company continues to grow its user base and add to its own functionality, Oracle is providing valuable insight through its visualization tools.

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Leveraging Data Storytelling in the Cloud

A Dutch business consultancy that primarily operates in the Netherlands and the Caribbean says it delivers value to its customers with the help of visual analysis. The company’s more than 200 consultants provide data storytelling to show its customers the advantages of optimizing their own companies. One key product that it provides is its human-resource application. Designed to enhance an HR department’s employee lifecycle program, the company says Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) allows customers to identify changes in workforce needs and anticipate milestone choices such as retirement.

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Managing Talent Through Self-Service

Professional consultants must juggle multiple projects with precision and expertise to remain successful. Managers at one international professional services company in the design and consulting industry knew that keeping its staff well managed would require global accessibility. With a workforce of more than 22,000 employees operating out of more than 400 locations in North America and seven locations internationally, managers at the company needed to modernize its workforce planning, utilize its staff, and understand the segmentation of its workforce. The company said it required a talent management system to analyze human resources and other data, alleviate the high pressure on staff utilization, and provide data visualization capabilities for quick self-serve apps and portals.

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Embedding Data Visualization

Integrating analytics software into an organization is not always as easy as it looks. One software maker specializing in internet telephony, wireless data communications and customer relationship management (CRM) faced this exact problem. The company was looking for a way to visualize data for both real-time and historical reporting but its R&D team couldn’t come up with their own solution. The company decided to expand on its current relationship Oracle products. Now the company’s analytics group, independent software vendor division, fusion middleware team, and tech divisions will embed this next-generation analytics platform into several areas. Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, and Oracle Data Visualization software will be integrated into nine existing Oracle products to meet the company’s target product requirements.

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Spotlight on an Oracle customer:

Putting Analytics on Display

Outfront Media

Billboards as a Real Estate Analytics Example

It’s a testament to the product when the CFO walks around the building proudly showing off the company’s new analytics tool. But that’s exactly what Donald R. Shassian did shortly after implementing Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) for his company’s latest purchase of analytics. This recent spinoff from CBS Outdoor manages tens of millions of billboards and other public advertising found on taxis and trains that need site administration.

Billboards are essentially real-estate investment trusts. Every day, Outfront manages land ownership and rental fees; coordinates massive social-media campaigns; and mitigates how and how often they get paid by advertisers. Initially, Outfront went looking for KPI reporting tools. So now, Shassian can brag about BICS’s storyboard-dashboard interface and linking from screen to screen to screen without getting lost. Outfront can also now implement changes based on its analysis in just five weeks rather than several months.

One of the benefits of modern business analytics software is that more people can gain a deeper understanding of the problems they are trying to solve without having to be data scientists. Imagine if workers at a manufacturing plant could know when and why a machine would fail before it happened, having a resulting impact on production? Data modeling and predictive analytics programs can help answer these types of questions. Previously, this type of insight could only be delivered by data scientists working with sophisticated algorithms. Now, non-scientific business leaders can easily look at data, ask “what if” questions, identify hidden relationships, and convey these insights to the rest of the business.

Simplifying these forecasting and modeling scenarios enables business users to quickly model complex business questions. Organizations can then define a dimensional view of their business—and provide business users with new levels of self-service to access, navigate, and gain actionable insight into critical business issues. All of this is enabled through cloud-based analytics platforms.

Here are some examples by industry-leading companies showing how adopting these “what if” programs and data modeling completes their business analytics strategy:

  • Mapping Student Success with Analytics

  • Deeper Insight into Customer Satisfaction

  • Faster Time to Innovation

  • Variables Now for the Future

Spotlight on an Oracle customer:

Mapping Student Success
with Analytics

Boise State University

With more than 22,000 students enrolled, Boise State University in Idaho needed a robust program to discover important trends in their students’ academic activities. What milestones did students need to prepare for? How would the university prepare? At what point in the students’ careers should professors and administrators be involved? What opportunities were missing? The university had several offices interested in answering these questions. IT, finance, HR, and the provost’s offices all indicated they needed a replacement for their insufficient analytics software and enterprise data warehouse. They also expressed a need to simplify the user experience with reporting and analytics.

The strategy involved shutting down their own costly data center and moving to a cloud computing platform within three years. University administrators opted to integrate the current Oracle Cloud products with an Oracle Analytics Cloud product strategy and roadmap, which complemented their own goals. The university had an established relationship with Oracle software, and this aided in the transition. The university participated in several workshops for finance and HR, and included the IT technical team to help prove the solution. The integration helped administrators determine the cost of instruction, the cost of graduation, and other items so they could better prepare for student success and outreach.

Deeper Insight into Customer Satisfaction

A leading global health insurance provider to companies and individuals identified the need to improve customer satisfaction because public sentiment about healthcare providers hinges on the perception of personalized care. The company decided that it needed customer and financial KPI reporting that spanned several departments. The insight would be used to provide instant customer feedback to the provider and trigger action items to address customer needs. But which services needed the most help and how much? Using a combination of financial reporting, mobile, and data visualization capabilities, the health insurance provider adopted Oracle Analytics Cloud products. Pharmacy, benefits, finance, and other departments sped up the customer feedback loop and improved patient satisfaction rates by nearly 8 percent. Oracle’s existing relationship with the healthcare provider allowed it to focus on customer service and knowledge of customer requirements.

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Faster Time to Innovation

A contract research organization that tests and brings drugs to market for large pharmaceutical manufacturers was looking for a reporting tool for its customer-facing clinical trial management program. For example, if Pfizer were testing out a new drug, this research organization would be responsible for its reviews, scientific methodologies, testing, and reporting. The solution needed to be processed in real time and it needed to process thousands of variables. After an extensive audit and review of its existing contracts, the research organization chose Oracle Analytics Cloud to help not only with testing, but with other divisions as well.

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Variables Now for the Future

What kinds of services could a university offer if it knew the multiple variables that a student would take on the road to graduation?

One private research university said it wanted to answer such a question and more. Administrators were tasked with transforming its outdated legacy admissions system and meeting CRM needs for other campus programs (such as student life, advising, and scholarship recruitment). Administrators said they needed a comprehensive view of the institution’s admissions and scholarship procedures to accurately assess the strength of the university’s programs and make informed business decisions. Standing in the way were six separate admissions systems that created operational inefficiencies, prevented intercampus collaboration, and increased operating costs.

With more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students to track, the university said it needed a preordered software program instead of building one from scratch. The university decided on Oracle due to the integration features and prebuilt solutions. The justification was validated with the next graduating class, which took advantage of Oracle Analytics Cloud.

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Analytics implementations have matured in uneven ways, making it clear that there’s no single formula for success, especially with hybrid-cloud and on-premises deployments. In some cases, a turnkey cloud service is the right answer; in other cases, a cloud environment where you can turn all the knobs and cranks like you did on-premises is what you need. Either allows you to lift and shift back and forth between on-premises and the cloud. The result is a sense of balance, with organizations working smarter—not harder—to bring these elements together.

The growing tension between governance, risk, and compliance is also relaxed by this flexibility to choose. Financial, operational, and regulatory policies and mandates overwhelm your ability to manage the associated risks. Challenges are compounded by a lack of enterprise-wide visibility. What could go wrong? Have you ever asked yourself what it would take to spend less time worrying about risks so you could focus on pursuing growth opportunities?

The following stories help illustrate the power behind the flexibility to choose:

  • Enabling the Healthcare Revolution in the Cloud

  • Continuing to Support Java

  • Keeping the Business Fluid

  • Keeping the Cloud Together

Spotlight on an Oracle customer:

Enabling the Healthcare
Revolution in the Cloud

Arlington Orthopedic Associates

One of the largest orthopedic care providers in Texas is increasing patient satisfaction and advancing the healthcare revolution with the help of cloudbased analytics.

Arlington Orthopedic Associates treats more than 190,000 patients annually. The organization adopted Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service not only to get its back office organized, but also to help spot trends relating to readmission rates, waiting-room times, and trends of when patients were likely to miss their appointments.

''To see the fear in a mother’s eye when she brings her son in with a broken leg, and then seeing that fear go away as we treat her son is ultimately why we are here,''

said Arlington Orthopedics CEO, Barry Howell.

This helped Arlington schedule appointments in a way that not only increased patients’ satisfaction but also made better use of doctors’ time: mitigating likely no-show appointments by double-booking those slots. Doctors can work faster and more efficiently: all the information they need is now centrally located in one system, with a visual interface that makes it easier for them do their job effectively.

Financially, too, Arlington saw great improvements. A deeper level of detail of its financial data enabled the company to renegotiate its rate with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and refocus the resulting funds on improving patient care—which is ultimately the company’s mission.

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BI Cloud Helped Arlington to Consolidate Data

Barry Howell, CEO of Arlington, speaks of how Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service supports the company’s physicians in delivering worldwide care to patients.

Continuing to Support Java

One leading US cooperative needed to expand its diverse portfolio beyond its core divisions serving global energy, grains, and foods. Additionally, its financial division needed a more modern services platform. The company had spent three years implementing a financial reporting and analytics solution, but the project needed to be flexible enough to support its legacy Java Developer Edition. Managers at the company (owned by farmers, ranchers, and co-ops across the United States) decided to adopt Oracle Analytics Cloud as a key component of their business strategy. Teams from the application and analytics divisions were tasked with implementing more agile and robust software. The result was a platform that offered flexibility and control tailored to what is best for the organization, today and in the future.

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Keeping the Business Fluid

A conglomerate holding company primarily in the industrial manufacturing space (with revenue of about US$8 billion) was looking for a way to support the deployment of Oracle E-Business Suite in its fluids division. The company’s finance office was involved in the evaluation process. After an exhaustive review, it was established that this holding company was a best fit for Oracle Analytics Cloud business intelligence and Oracle Data Visualization products.

Oracle already had an enterprise platform and common semantic model because of the integration points with the other components of the stack from Oracle.

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Keeping the Cloud Together

The former IP and science business unit of a major media firm focused on providing research, trusted insights, and analytics to customers around the world. This enabled them to discover, protect, and commercialize new ideas faster. As an independent business, the fledgling company needed a solution to consolidate its more than 15 billing and revenue systems, and be able to draw reports from the systems’ data. The firm will have several hundred users across finance, marketing, and sales. Business leaders said they wanted an all-cloud solution to allow them to separate themselves from the former media firm. The company decided on Oracle Cloud products (including Oracle Analytics Cloud) because they were easy to use and could integrate into existing software platforms, and because there was a familiarity with Oracle business.

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Take a moment to think about all the data generated during a single business day. New customer profiles. Sales logs. Marketing touches. Payroll allotments. Service records. Inventory rolls. No doubt, in a single 24-hour period, a business retains specific details of a massive number of transactions. But what does it all mean?

Simpler big data discovery tools will let business analysts shop for datasets in enterprise Hadoop clusters, reshape them into new mashup combinations, and even analyze them with exploratory machine-learning techniques. Extending this kind of exploration to a broader audience will improve self-service access to large data repositories, and provide richer hypotheses and experiments that drive the next level of innovation.

Many successful companies have already adopted a data-driven approach to innovation. They connect their data, automate their processes, understand the business drivers, align corporate finance planning with operations planning, and build their team’s analytics expertise.

Wherever there is data, analytics should never be far behind. Here are some examples of how organizations achieved data-driven innovation:

  • Driving a Modern Business with Data

  • Using Analytics to Harvest Company Data

  • IT Transformation Requires Analytics

Driving a Modern Business with Data

This multimedia conglomerate needed to modernize its finance, procurement, and HR divisions by moving them to the cloud. Analytics played an important part of that modernization. Business leaders said that a common innovation platform based on data analytics would accelerate the conglomerate’s business growth and global expansion. With Oracle Cloud, the organization streamlined, simplified, and standardized business processes across finance, procurement, and HR, and provided an intuitive, insightful, and engaging experience to its employees.

The focus on data innovation allowed the company to manage finances with a consolidated view into business operations. Powerful visualizations and reporting analytics enabled insightful decision-making, and integrated planning and budgeting.

HR process integration drove complete and impactful reporting and analytics on the company’s diverse employee base. New employees will enjoy a superior onboarding experience, while everyone will get access to a simple, scalable, and intuitive user experience with mobile and selfservice capabilities.

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Using Analytics to Harvest Company Data

The world’s largest fertilizer company by capacity, produces potash, nitrogen, and phosphate. These primary crop nutrients are vital to maintaining healthy and productive soils. The company’s Canadian potash operations—the primary focus of the company—represent one-fifth of global capacity.

The company has a continuous improvement program, focused on strategic sourcing and driving down costs. It uses Oracle Business Intelligence Applications to provide visibility into the procure-to-pay process and specifically spend, down to site-manager or analyst level. Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service provides the platform to quickly deploy custom BI applications—since the company does not want to be dependent on IT. The next phase is to introduce data visualization capabilities, which the company feels will be widely adopted.

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IT Transformation Requires Analytics

A management company that stewards one of the tallest historical buildings is also a leading global advisory, broking, and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, the company has 40,000 employees serving more than 140 countries.

Executives report that they are transforming their business and moving all IT operations to the cloud over the next five years. As a longtime customer of Oracle products, the choice to run all the analytics and data visualizations on Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service was not that much of a stretch. However, managers could demonstrate a positive business case by moving to the cloud: They can focus on their key business and not IT projects.

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What if businesses gained the power to identify your needs and fulfill them long before you even thought of them?

Oh, sure, websites already track our browsing patterns and make suggestions, but what we’re talking about here is something much deeper. Business intelligence is evolving into adaptive intelligence.

A branch of artificial intelligence (AI), adaptive intelligence addresses how we interact with information and transform how we work and live. For example, businesses are preventing and detecting credit card fraud, automating supply chains through checks and balances, optimizing supply chain finance based on market swings, and boosting data center efficiency. These abilities are at the intersection of people judgment and machine automation, and advanced intelligence makes them possible.

What could be possible in your organization if insights came to you when you needed them most? What might happen if half the content for your next operations review were generated by machines? How prepared would you be for your next meeting if you were notified of changes based on your location?

Adaptive intelligence applications are a new category of continuously adapting, self-learning applications powered by enterprise data from transactional business apps (such as customer experience, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, and human resources). These are microsolutions that operate without human bias and deliver a very high degree of confidence—on a very large scale.

Adaptive intelligence is an evolution of business analytics, and the two are complementary. Read further to see how leading organizations are carving out the future with adaptive intelligence.

  • Adaptive Intelligence Lifts Airport City

  • Unlocking Secrets of the Universe Using Data Discovery

  • Adaptive Intelligence for the Win

  • Flexing Data for Customer Service

Adaptive Intelligence Lifts Airport City

At one European airport, technology is at the heart of nearly all operations: from the runway lines, to taxi lines, to its financial bottom lines.

As the fifth busiest airport in Europe, the company was looking to expand its nearly 10-year-old business intelligence capabilities. The group, which owns and runs the airport, operates under a concept it developed called Airport City, which encompasses four lines of business: aviation, real estate, logistics, and consumer. The concept, established in the 1930s, asserts that airports need revenue sources that are not connected to airport activities to compete and better serve traditional airport functions. Because the circle of business development, along with passengers and cargo traffic, is not static, the airport’s measurement of multiple levels of data—and the rate and range of decision-making—needed an advanced business intelligence system in place.

By adopting Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service, the airport transformed and became more agile in several new departments. What started in the airport’s assets department was extended to the purchase department, security planning and “Premium” customer insight department.

While the Airport City concept does not address the aesthetics of the buildings specifically, its integrated logistics and functional support make it a standard for other airports’ construction.

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Spotlight on an Oracle customer:

Using Data Discovery to help Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

CERN openlab

When you are smashing particles at the speed of light, you are bound to crunch a lot of data. But being able to precisely predict the outcomes of your machinery with analytics may help uncover the secrets of the universe faster.

Located on the Franco-Swiss border, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. The accelerator complex at CERN has a lot of subsystems that collect data from millions of sensors, control devices, and equipment. Scientists monitor temperatures, magnetic field strengths, beam intensities, and more, building predictive models to determine whether the control equipment is operating correctly.

Researchers wanted to combine large volumes of data and apply predictive techniques to reduce faults. The subsystems within CERN’s accelerator complex have their own expertise and data sources. The challenge was to combine all these data sources in a highly scalable format and explore hidden patterns in them.

CERN is using Oracle Big Data Discovery (BDD) to set up an architecture for the reliability and availability analysis of the systems within a proposed extension to CERN’s accelerator complex. Of course, these were scientists who employed BDD, so there was no learning curve for the researchers. However, because thousands of researchers depend on the accelerator being operational, ensuring that the equipment worked seamlessly was of galactic importance.

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Adaptive Intelligence for the Win

A metropolitan sports and entertainment conglomerate was looking to migrate its data to the cloud. The company’s human resources and IT departments were both very interested in using advanced analytics to determine the significance of multiple layers of data from disparate sources.

With three basketball and two hockey teams under their management, as well as dozens of live events held every year, ensuring all levels of employees and staff were served whenever they logged into a computer was of primary importance.

Previously, the firm had employed on-premises products, which were fragmented and nearly 10 years old. The senior management decided to use Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) to bolster their current HCM platforms. The migration allows for further understanding of the financial reporting and procurement opportunities.

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Flexing Data for Customer Service

One of the largest natural gas and electric utilities in the US was looking to build a customer data warehouse that would help them better understand their customer base. They also plan to utilize this system to replace a legacy application still in use today to complete critical revenue tasks and processes.

With more than 16 million customers spread over a 70,000-square-mile service area, the utility knew it needed to dive deeper into customer data and external data sources to enable new innovations such as mobile apps, just-in-time provisioning, and converting the raw data into billable usage and generating bills based on each customer’s selected rate option/program.

By working together on its needs and integration, the utility could transform the way customer data was accessed and utilized across the enterprise. Oracle worked closely within the utility’s more than 12 lines of businesses to build alliances and see the project all the way to success. The utility chose to use Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite (BIFS), Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS), Oracle Data Integrator, and Oracle Utilities Analytics Cloud Service.

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