At Linium, our goal is to help our customers reduce risk. Disaster recovery plans are a part of our risk reduction solutions. If any aspect of your business or your financial plan fails, do you know what steps to take to ensure a speedy recovery?
Linium thinks all companies should identify business risks and develop solid plans to mitigate losses within an organization. Let us determine how a disaster recovery plan can help companies recover faster.
Benefits of Disaster Recovery Plans Ensures Business Continuity
When business is interrupted, disaster recovery plans should be implemented to prevent substantial financial losses. Business continuity may be resumed quickly if a natural or human-induced disaster occurs. Losses are mitigated by creating back up files for all computer systems and applications. Most disaster recovery plans involve identifying and ranking mission critical applications such as financial planning tools. The ranking process will describe how applications will be restored in the event of a disaster. Disaster recovery plans should include all aspects of business to prevent customers from switching to a competitor's products or services during a time of disaster.
Increases the Company’s Chances of Survival
Most companies will suffer a major loss of business data without proper disaster recovery plans in place. Many companies that experience a loss of business data may never recover from the loss. In fact, 43 percent never reopen for business, and 51 percent close within two years. Only six percent will survive long term. Given these statistics, most enterprises will spend between two percent and four percent of an IT budget on disaster recovery.
Near 100 Percent Availability of Mission Critical Systems
Most organizations can achieve 99.9 percent availability of mission critical financial applications and systems with disaster recovery plans. For instance, the process and application to run payroll may be one the first applications to be restored during a crisis since payroll is critical to the operation of any business. Any call centers will be restored also.
Covers Non-IT Related Disaster Recovery
Also Part of business continuity and disaster recovery includes reputation management for the company should a crisis occur. Key personnel should know their roles and how to respond to all events within an organization. When key personnel have practiced and know their roles, there is less panicking when the event eventually occurs.
Devise a Disaster Recovery Plan Today!
Linium can help businesses with developing a disaster recovery plan. The recovery plan will help businesses resume normal business operations in a short period of time. Business owners should be prepared for the future by anticipating every possible scenario and practicing to mitigate losses during the event.
Consider how a disaster recovery plan can propel your businesses forward.
A couple of weeks ago a client asked for a proof of concept map that would take contact data from Microsoft Active Directory and display the home location and relevant information about those employees on Google Maps. We had done some mapping visualization in Tableau and there are a couple of previous posts on this site, but I decided to check out the latest version of Bing Maps. Visually Bing Maps V7 are stunningly beautiful. So before architecting the above solution for our client I decided to map out a simple, and at the same time, somewhat complex map application using Bing, SQL 2012, PHP, JSON, and Photosynth.
What was interesting in beginning this Proof of Concept was that there was a Virtual Earth Integration Kit for PHPpackage available out on Codeplex. The only downfall was that the integration kit was written for Bing Maps API V6.3. Version 7 of the Bing Maps API is quite different. Borrowing heavily from the following 2 articles:
as well as the Interactive SDK: http://www.bingmapsportal.com/isdk/ajaxv7#CreateMap1 we were able to put together a pretty nice visualization. The coolest part of the whole thing is the ability to clearly see each of the stadiums up close and personal when zooming in, as well as, inside views brought together from a Microsoft Application called Photosynth: http://photosynth.net/.
Click the map to read the full article
Imagine if endless lists of online data was as fun and accessible as online video. While most content types are handled gracefully on the web, data is still lagging. On the web you can create beautiful things with text and fonts and color and layout....
Right now - images can race a page. You can integrate video effortlessly. And yet - data remains cumbersome, and boring - stuck in spreadsheet columns demanding explanation for those AHA moments. What if you could see your data - and even change the way you visualize your data? Yeah - that's right you can actually get your data out of those lists and bring it to life.
Tableau Public is a new alternative. It lets you publish data visualizations to the web that are useful and beautiful. These visualizations answer questions and tell stories. You can publish one in minutes. And - you don't need to be a programmer. It is a great way to share your most recent data discovery.
That's right - you can actually see your Business Intelligence projects and share with thousands of others! See your data in a bold new way and present your findings in a new, more visual way.
How Does It Work?
A Visual Query Language (VizQL). And - even better you don’t need to be a programmer to use Tableau Public. Most everything is done through drop and drag with minor class changes.
Here is some info about why VizQL is so great --- and has many advantages compared to existing methods for visualizing data:
it is computer language specifically designed for describing tables, graphs, charts, maps, time series, tables of visualizations and dashboards. It unifies all of these different visual representations into a simple language.
- its statements define the mapping from records returned from a dataset or database to marks on a visualization (drawing primitives). Some fields in the record are mapped to the geometric properties of the mark, including position, size and orientation; other fields are reflected in visual attributes like color and pattern.
since it is a declarative language - the user describes “what” picture should be created, not “how” to make it. Even better, a declarative approach lets people build up amazing visualizations incrementally, in a process of stepwise refinement.
- it is is high performance and can scale to extremely large datasets.
Want to learn more? check out Tableau Public at http://www.tableausoftware.com/public/.
At Linium - we are dedicated to help organizations understand their data using business intelligence tools like Tableau. Give us a call and let us help you get your data out of spreadsheet columns into dashboards and meaningful displays that work the way you think.
Implementing Sustainable Business Intelligence Wisely
Business intelligence involves the collection of various critical points of data to make business decisions moving forward. In the same way that business intelligence can be used for marketing decision and financial choices, the resource can also be used for sustainability goals and operating towards green objectives.
Hundreds of companies are now shifting their priorities towards showing on a metric basis that they are contributing towards sustainability.
In some cases the push is driven by government regulation tightening output factors such as emissions or by-product waste. In other cases, companies are seeing marketing value in being able to show they run a “greener” operation than their competitors, attracting customers away who are concerned about their environmental impact with products.
In both situations, businesses that have committed themselves to sustainability need resources that provide them ongoing metrics and process information to confirm they are moving in the right direction. This type of internal business intelligence is important to both verify activities as well as validate commitment statements businesses make to external parties regarding their green efforts. Under audits it is also the resource used to independently verify green results.
Tying sustainability initiatives with practice is best done using what are referred to as key performance indicators or KPIs. Two of the most commonly used measurements are carbon footprints and energy usage. However, they are not the only metrics available. Businesses can also utilize raw, natural resource consumption; land use; recycling inventory; and more.
Businesses have two ways of gathering business intelligence: use of automation or using human observation. Where human observation works and may be the cheaper approach, it can also include human error or intentional modifications to “make things look good.” When that sort of behavior occurs, it negates all the hard work of a business when found out, even if it turns out to be a remote action not condoned by management. With automation, clean, objective metrics are what is observed through standardized systems. Error doesn’t happen unless the automation fails or is tampered with.
Taking on the Enterprise Challenge
While the above sounds good, trying to figure out how to modify an enterprise system to tease out sustainability KPIs is another story in practice. Many businesses simply don’t have the skilled staff on hand to understand how to get started. This is where industry expertise like that offered by Linium comes in handy. Our experts can come in and help a company hit the ground running, initiating practical KPI measurements and the systems to track and measure them accurately. This is the fastest, most practical way for a business to get jump-started quickly for a major sustainability changeover from scratch.
Cloud computing services come in many different flavors.
The cloud design model applies to various levels of infrastructure. One of the most confusing aspects about cloud computing is server hosting. All cloud systems that we utilize take advantage of different back-end hosting configurations. For those looking to expand into cloud-based web hosting or use public cloud software and data storage, a clear understanding of the different cloud types is crucial.
So what are they and how can your company use them to the best advantage?
Public Cloud Hosting
The most common commercial cloud solution is the public cloud. By utilizing virtual machines, a large, powerful server creates new machines on the fly to meet the needs of various clients. These clients all share the same physical hardware and storage systems.
What are the advantages of the public cloud? Thecosts of service are usually cheaper than setting up an in-house system to host websites, provide email and other common functionality. Since the costs of the facility, hardware and employees is distributed among many clients, customers get a higher level of services for less money.And we all know how important that is.
The main disadvantage of a public cloud is the fact that data exists on the same physical hardware as other client’s data. This means there is the slight risk that another client might accidentally access your data. Not good. It can also be difficult to leave a public cloud system and take your data with you, since moving data off of cloud storage is sometimes difficult. For static websites or companies with little sensitive data online, the public cloud is a perfect solution.
Private Cloud Hosting
For enterprise level organizations, private cloud hosting offers excellent advantages. A private cloud is like dedicated hosting in the fact that you have dedicated hardware that only your company accesses. You don’t share these resources with other users. And this is really important if you deal with classified, secure information. The difference is that the hardware is running virtual systems, allowing multiple instances of web servers, programming software stacks and other systems to be deployed and utilized at your will.
The advantage here is that a private cloud solution can be used for many initiatives in an organization and even reused as requirements change, which is great. The disadvantages to private cloud hosting is that usually it is much more expensive and requires a higher level of dedicated support. It all comes down to what your company needs and then matching up these needs with the right hosting platform.
The newest cloud hosting solution combines the features of dedicated hosting with the public cloud, which is a pretty cool way to go. For companies that have hosting needs that are mostly consistent but occasionally have spikes in traffic that can overwhelm dedicated resources, the hybrid cloud is the perfect solution. Customers utilize traditional, dedicated resources for their day-to-day traffic needs. When a sudden spike occurs, new virtual instances of their servers are initialized in the cloud and traffic is direct there. This solution is perfect for organizations that have unpredictable usage patterns.
Finding The Right Solution
Cloud hosting has a lot to offer every organization. However, it is not the solution to every infrastructure need. Wise organizations will look at their long-term needs and decide which cloud systems will meet the requirements of the organization. Utilizing the cloud in this manner will prime companies for long-term success.
Need assistance in determining the type of cloud hosting your company needs? Linium is here to help.
Used a smartphone lately? Ever used your personal phone for work? We all have.
Because of this, employees with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have pressured businesses to adopt policies that accommodate the use of these devices in the workplace. Bring your own device rules help businesses save money because they can utilize the collective computing power of mobile devices without spending any money on hardware. And this just makes a lot of sense. About three-quarters of all enterprises now have BYOD (Bring your own device) programs in place, suggesting that the era of restrictive IT platform and infrastructure practices has drawn to a close. And it’s about time, after all, just about everybody handles some personal issues at work and work projects at home. The time of a complete embrace of work-life balance is finally here.
So, why have companies have acquiesced to BYOD? Its simple: because of its potential cost savings. Companies can enjoy improved communications and productivity with employees without spending a lot of money. In many cases, employees assume the cost of their devices and service plans without expecting any compensation. The economic benefits of BYOD has enticed companies to accept it as reality and formulate guidelines that promote the use of employee-owned devices in the workplace. The modern company realizes that if the employee is going to help out the company, the company should in turn help out the employee. BYOD is really just an extension of the new approach to doing business. We all wear business casual, we all take time off during the day to play foosball or shoot hoops with colleagues and yes, we use our personal devices for work related stuff.
Much to the chagrin of many IT directors, companies have found themselves unable to dictate standardized equipment to their employees. In the past, technical departments have had the luxury of standardizing desktop and laptop computers throughout the enterprise. Now, experts must maintain networks and software with compatibility with almost any computing platform. Although some IT professionals have found adapting to BYOD difficult, the process has resulted in a streamlined and integrated workforce that can adapt to almost any contingency. The bottom line is this: Its more important for your employees to be happy and comfortable than it is for the IT department to enforce a standardized approach to computer resources.
BYOD ultimately challenges IT workers to use potent software and hardware tools to manage modern networks. These tools should enforce the use of strong and secure passwords and have the ability to wipe sensitive material from lost and stolen devices. Company security still remains an important asset. Management support often comes from device manufacturers and with enterprise management servers. Now, a variety of third-party apps have entered the market that support BYOD and all the other challenges of mobile, remote and hybrid workforces. These apps are typically cheaper than what existed before, so hey, its just one more way BYOD is saving companies money. Made by well-known security firms, special software can unify devices made by different manufacturers that run different operating systems.
Enterprise software developers have committed themselves to producing mobile interfaces, but work has slowly progressed. Many businesses still have applications that do not work well on mobile platforms. Clearly, this needs to change. In-house IT departments who rely on custom software can develop mobile apps for each major mobile operating system. Such projects take time and labor and often lose priority in busy workplaces. But, it’s a project that needs to be done for sure. Creating browser-based interfaces for workers has become a fast, cheap and popular way to bridge the gap between the old and the new. Unfortunately, different mobile browsers present different levels of compatibility, meaning some BOYD employers cannot function as well as other workers can. The best thing to do when faced with this issue is to get all the employees together, talk about it and agree on a plan that will work for everyone. Having all the stakeholders together to make the decision is the best course of action.
Linium is Here to Help!
Companies of every size have turned to Linium for help implementing successful BYOD strategies. Linium specializes in enterprise performance management, product installation and configuration, budget planning, business intelligence and other important business tasks. So what are your challenges? Linium has the experience, analytical capabilities, mindset and technologies needed to solve complex challenges for businesses in almost any industry. Linium helps businesses enjoy the benefits of BYOD and other opportunities while minimizing risk. Find out more today!
Want to Reduce Time and Cost Resources for your Data Storage? Move to the Cloud.
In today's demanding business climate leveraging the cloud for data storage is a wise decision. Cloud storage is proven safe, cost-effective, easy to maintain and ready to expand when necessary.
But, how does a transformation to the cloud actually save you money? Usually it works something like this. You engage a cloud service provider to become responsible for storing your data and maintaining your servers. This frees up valuable resources in your own technology department to really focus its energy on innovative tech issues that can directly advance your company's technology and provide a more competitive edge for your all important customer service.
In addition, the cloud service company ensures the safety and availability of data stored on the cloud, making it accessible from anywhere. The cloud helps to save money because your cloud service provider can take charge of server maintenance and data storage, so you never have to worry about maximizing your data storage. And how about storage availability? Cloud companies operate as many servers as necessary, so this is never an issue. Their experts are readily available for assistance as well, so if you ever have questions or problems with your cloud storage, they are there to help you resolve them as quickly as possible to maintain regular business operations.
And then there is the issue of security. The cloud transformation is a very secure way to store data. Nowadays, with many companies growing at a rapid rate and expanding to global markets, the question of data security always comes up. The cloud transformation ensures that your company's data is protected at all times, regardless of natural or man-made disasters or a breach of security at the company's physical locations. In the event of a disaster, the data stored on the cloud is accessible to you through data sharing and on- and off-line storage. This is a great reason for supporting the idea that cloud transformation can help you maintain peace of mind as your company expands around the globe.
Finally, by storing all of your company's data on the cloud, everything is accessible from one location. How great is that? This helps save both time and money by allowing updates and changes to occur at one time and in one location. You can save a tremendous amount of money by only updating the information on one server instead of individually updating each server in your company. This one advantage alone can make it a really cool way to get more done.
Take full advantage of the cloud transformation and revolutionize the way you do business! By simplifying data storage and maintaining a low-cost, energy-efficient system for running updates and information integration on a company-wide scale, you can benefit significantly.
Linium is here to help!
While not doing a ton of work with Google Applications, the opportunity to plot Geo location data within Google Maps is both powerful from a data visualization standpoint, as well as, intriguing to users of the application. We all relate to where we are from and what potentially sets our area apart from other locations in the world. I stumbled upon a LinkedIn post of Google's Fusion Tables (http://www.google.com/fusiontables) application and decided to take my Business Intelligence Jobs data and see what it could do.
Taking only about an hour to work on the application, what I was able to create was less then compelling than my previous post where I used Tableau Public, but I guess somewhat better when it came to the mapping of the locations of the jobs. The application was able to automatically take the city and state data that was part of my data extract and automatically add the Geocodes based upon that data. That took about 20 minutes of my allotted 60 that I could work on this thing. One note: some of the Geocodes are off. There are some points that are off...a job in Vermont appears in North Dakota. One area that would make this better would be to color code the map points with different colors for the different Business Intelligence Applications (Orange for Oracle OBIEE, Blue for Cognos, etc.) but there are only 5 colors to choose from and we have 17 were are plotting so maybe I am missing something there on my first initial glance but that seems like it would cause the "visual" capabilities or the application.
The famous "Information Window" callout that Google Maps is famous for is perfect and the Fusion Tables Application makes the ability to configure the data and how it is displayed is very nice.
I do plan to use this going forward and can definitely see where some clients would benefit from creating some Google Visualizations.
Business Intelligence is hot...if there was a way to stick a "cloud" reference in there it would be on the evening news. It is almost funny how marketing shapes what we think is hot at any given moment. Business Intelligence has been around since computers started. Heck, computers were made to crunch numbers initially, it's what the can do far better than us. That being said, there are many ways to gather the data, format the data so that it makes sense, and most importantly display and disseminate that data so that ACTION can be taken against those numbers and information. In today's age, with Social Media tools, Mobile devices, and "need it now" end users, Business Intelligence tools are proliferating everyday. In doing some research for my company, I decided to turn to really what matters. Let's see what companies in the United States are hiring for at the moment and that should give us a good understanding as to the BI Tools that organizations have invested in. Over time we can spot some trends.
So, last night I mined some data from some global job sites to get an understanding of what the state of the Business Intelligence Tools are. To narrow down my mining criteria, I decided to initially focus on the BI Tools that Gartner included in their Gartner 2012 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms published in February 2012. While my mining routines were not stellar, it took me about 4 hours to get just under 4000 job listings for the 21 Business Intelligence vendors included on this list. I was really hoping to get the opportunity to post salary information along with the data but only about 10% of the listings included a minimum and maximum salary. (As a follow up, I will create a Data Intelligence Vizual that will include just the salaries that were posted. I think there are enough to get an idea of what is available). Anyways, after some scrubbing of the data, we were able to put together a viz to get started...
Message me on Twitter if you would like us to create something for you: @howieatlinium
MORE TO COME ON THIS - Look for an update next month.