Please, Please, Please, consider InfoSec and Privacy when implementing Business Analytics

info sec

by: Carlos Chalico

Do you remember what happens when Tom Cruise’s character gets into a GAP store in the film “Minority Report”? If you don’t, you can get your memory refreshed by following this link to a video of that specific scene.

The constant generation of data is creating a complex profile of each one of us and also of the way we live. Business Analytics tools are very valuable when thinking about how to better use data for decision making, but serious risks related to information security and privacy surround these initiatives (as it happens with many others).

Considering this, when a Business Analytics project is going to be implemented, information security and privacy have to be seriously considered. In this regard, CSA and ISACA have released documents like the following, which include advice on how to properly manage these considerations.

1. Top Ten Big Data Security & Privacy Challenges.

2. Privacy and Big Data.

In this article I wrote for Nearshore Americas I include specific recommendations for how to deal with information security and privacy issues in every single phase of an implementation project for Business Analytics. Please take a look at it and share your thoughts.

Remember, if there is data, there is risk. If data is sensitive, the risk is higher. If data is big, the risk is bigger.

What do you think?

NHL and SAP – Could it fit?

by: Ben Chen

 When you think of NHL and SAP, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the SAP Center. In the past month, SAP AG struck a $3.35 Million-a-year deal with the city of San Jose and Sharks Sports & Entertainment to receive the naming rights for the San Jose Sharks stadium. However it brings to question whether there’s more room for SAP and the National Hockey League than a stadium deal.

SAP’s involvement in other Major League Sports has already been exponentially growing. In the NFL, SAP partnered with the San Francisco 49ers on a custom software joint venture and then partnered with the NFL to power their Fantasy Football using cloud solutions. Even the NBA announced earlier this year that NBA.com/stats would be running SAP HANA. When Sr. Vice President of SAP Cloud Mike Morini was asked about SAP’s recent expansion into the sports and entertainment market he replied, “We spent forty years going business to business. Now, we want to go to customers and customers’ customers.”

The real question lies in how SAP could fit in with the National Hockey League. The simple answer?

Big. Data.

As with any of the other Major League Sports, the NHL has a bevy of data to work with. Moneyball references aside, a lot of the statistics could be used to build the fan experience. Here are a few ideas of how SAP could get involved:

NHL.com/Stats – similarly to how the NBA.com/stats was improved by SAP HANA, the NHL Stats could also do with a larger, faster, and more flexible database. With important stats like Goals, Assists, Plus/Minus, and Save Percentage constantly being looked at by fans, the system has to be able to run fast and be easy to navigate by all users. NHL.com/stats is also missing a large history of their team statistics which only go as far as the 1997/98 season.

Real-time – With the growth of Second-Screen experiences, being able to track real-time statistics can be a crucial part of building the hockey-consumer’s experience. Imagine being able to see exactly where the action happens on the ice when it happens, similar to EA’s NHL 13 Action Tracker mode below.

blog ben

*NOTE: The NHL offers NHL Gamecenter Live which offers similar real-time stats but for paid subscription.

Milestone Breaker – A potential system that could be built is an upcoming Milestone Breaker for NHL players and teams. This would be a system that could inform NHL fans of the records or milestones that could be broken within the next couple of days. For example, imagine being able to see that Henrik Sedin could be the Canucks all-time leading scorer within the next few games. The information alone would give fans the added incentive to watch the next few Canucks games in anticipation of the event.

In-house Fantasy Hockey – Similar to how SAP has worked with the NBA to bolster their Fantasy Football, it could work with the NHL as well. The NHL.com Fantasy could rival other competitors Yahoo! Hockey and ESPN and potentially include bonus statistics that NHL enthusiasts use such as a Salary Cap or a Team Lineup system.

There are limitless possibilities to a potential team-up with SAP and the NHL. Could this be a foreseeable fit for both parties? Yes. Here’s hoping that we see it!

Big Data Visualization: the simpler, the better

by: Daniel Duran

BIG DATA

Are you suffering from information overload? Don’t you know how to show your big data in a simpler and more attractive way? The good news is that there might exist an easy solution for processing and converting a lot of numbers into something fascinating and understandable. But, let’s start answering what big data is: it is the collection of large and complex datasets; so the storage, management, processing, analysis and visualization of data become difficult for the traditional relational database systems.

According to IDC, the amount of data stored is doubling every 18 months. We are facing to a major problem each day to store and to manage all data in a better and a simpler way, because the volume and detail of information is growing exponentially. Reuters Research predicts that big data market is estimated to grow 45% annually, so by year 2020 the growth of global data will be more than 30 zettabytes (1 Zettabyte = 1 million petabytes, 1 Petabyte = 1 million gigabytes), according to the graphic below.

big data

For that reason, it’s necessary to evolve to new technologies that take command for catching all data and provide new insights to the companies leading to faster, simpler, better decisions and quicker responses.

The need for data visualization for any organization is becoming more vital for the future. The importance of historical or trend reporting is decreasing, while data visualization (predictable data) continues to increase in importance.

intelligence

Thereby, data visualization helps us to contextualize numbers, statistics, datasets; it means accessibility and good look to all levels of your organization. The success of data visualization is based, among other variables, in the understanding of our data requiring a multidisciplinary profile, because it needs the skills combination of analysis, statistics and experience in data cleansing. Therefore, we can get the best presentation that meets what we want to visualize in a simple way to read and, as a consequence, better presented.

In the market, there are a lot of providers that are related to the concept of big data and data visualization. But, there are only a few of them moving strongly to the world of big data because they are in a good position for both terms: database (hardware) and, analytical and reporting tools (software). These companies are SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Teradata, and EMC.

SAP HANA

Our focus will be SAP, which offers an in-memory solution for big data capable of holding all your data fully in-memory. This solution is feasible due to advances in hardware technology, making the impossible…possible. SAP called this solution HANA and it is optimized to take advantage of these technology advances.

SAP describes HANA as a flexible data source toolset that allows you to hold and analyze large (massive) volumes of data in real time, without the need to aggregate or create highly complex physical data models. The SAP HANA in-memory database solution is a combination of hardware and software that optimizes row-based, column-based, and object-based database technologies to exploit parallel processing capabilities.

SAP is working to make SAP HANA a better tool for the future, because it is thinking in giving more support to third-party applications and also it has a Business Suite working on HANA. Also, SAP has a wonderful data visualization toolset that you can combine with HANA technology that enables better business performance with high impact dashboards, rapid insights through agile visualization and self-service data exploration.

“This is the future of SAP. This was one of the best ideas in the last 10 years”, said Prof. Dr. h.c. Hasso Plattner placing SAP HANA as one of the biggest solutions for the future. Today, there are a lot of applications with the tag “powered by HANA”, that certificates the correct use of HANA. Therefore, from today to the future will be using more applications and services based in SAP HANA, giving us a new way to do a better interaction with our customers and providers in the market.

This is something we are now facing, because more SAP applications are being integrated with SAP HANA and they’ll be more in the next years. Recently SAP has announced the integration of SAP HANA with SAP Business ByDesign: an on-demand solution developed for small and midsize companies that require a full complete business management solution without a large infrastructure; moving this complete application to a new faster, simpler and better solution on the market.

Among the SAP tools that we can use for data visualization purposes in this new age of technology, we can talk about SAP BusinessObjects toolset and SAP Lumira.

SAP BUSINESS OBJECTS

SAP BusinessObjects is a full business solution designed for helping you to optimize your business performance with high impact dashboards tools, agile visualization applications and business analysis reporting that allow you to make better business decisions and based in business data. This solution is designed for the casual user instead for the business user.

Some characteristics of this solution include data exploration with beautiful visualizations, reporting of multiple data sources in friendly formats and templates and, also, you can develop data visualizations and mobile reporting from your SAP BW and SAP HANA data.

Some of the tools that are part of BusinessObjects portfolio are:

  • SAP BusinessObjects Explorer
  • SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio

Below, some pictures of how Business Objects tools look.

BO1

B01

SAP LUMIRA

SAP Lumira is a solution for data visualization oriented for business analyst instead of BusinessObjects casual user. This solution offers predictive reporting features such as segmentation, clustering, time series; all these known as predictive functions making an important difference with BusinessObjects.

SAP Lumira (called before SAP Visual Intelligence) is the next generation solution of big data, self-service and visual analytics tools that could be used in conjunction with SAP HANA making a powerful tool for visualizing a huge amount of data in real time with low time responses.

Also, you can modify any data structure without the help of the IT area, because it grows in a more basic way than other tools (e.g. BusinessObjects). In fact, you can increase the self-service data usage maximizing your business knowledge and accelerating the decision-making; so, you can answer complex business questions with business data.

Below, some pictures of how SAP Lumira looks.

Lumira

With this kind of SAP tools you can see your business with more clarity than ever, thanks to the global visualizations of your information and key measures, allowing the end-users to interact with visual representations of business process and data.

Introduce yourself in the beauty of data visualization, let us help you with this and remember that “the simpler, the better” could be the difference to have the key of success.