Big Data 101: How to Manage Data

Written by Garrett Carey

Are you new to “Big Data” and the ways it affects how you manage data sets?  If so, here’s a brief primer.

Manage-DataIn the simplest of terms, the phrase “Big Data” refers to the tools, processes and procedures allowing an organization to create, manipulate, and manage very large data sets and storage facilities.  While “Big Data” doesn’t refer to any defined quantity, the term is often associated with petabytes and exabytes of data.  Another way to describe “Big Data” is datasets that grow so large that they become awkward or uneconomical when using traditional database management and business intelligence tools.

“Big Data” usually has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Very large data volumes measured in terabytes or petabytes.
  • Variety of structured, unstructured and semi-structured data.
  • High velocity, rapidly changing data.

As you would imagine, the buzzword “Big Data” draws a lot of attention, but behind the hype there’s a simple story.  For decades, organizations have been making business decisions based on transactional data stored in relational databases.  Beyond that critical data, however, is a potential gold mine of less structured data: clickstream weblogs, social media, email, sensors, call detail records, and photographs that can be mined for useful information.

The ability to store, manage, aggregate, and combine huge amounts of data, and perform insightful analytics on the results, has finally become more accessible and cost-effective (i.e. the technical and economic barriers are falling fast).  Companies that use “Big Data” technologies to gain business insight and take action will outperform their peers.  Analyzing this data allows analysts and business users to make better decisions using information that was previously inaccessible to them.

Through inventive technologies and design approaches, computing workloads within the enterprise are finding better and even the best platforms for executing their mission. Big data is more than a challenge; it is an opportunity to find insight in new and emerging types of data, to make your business more agile, and to answer questions that, in the past, were beyond reach.

There are a number of vendors that offer a variety of Big Data Management solutions.  eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive data management and business intelligence experience.  For more information about how to manage data, or information about Oracle’s Big Data portfolio and our business solutions, please contact eVerge Group on our website.

About the author: Garrett Carey is a Senior BI/EPM Solution Architect who has worked with eVerge Group since 2005.

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CRM Integration for Financial Institutions Drives Improved Customer Service and Sales


eVerge Group has developed a CRM On Demand solution specifically designed to address the unique needs of financial institutions.  One example of a bank deploying this CRM integration is MidSouth Bank, a super-community bank, with branches throughout Louisiana and Texas.  eVerge Group implemented a customer centric sales, service and analytics platform to all 500 customer-facing employees at MidSouth.

See MidSouth’s feedback on how this implementation impacted its business in the video above or here:
http://medianetwork.oracle.com/video/player/1412231355001

To learn more about eVerge Group’s accelerated solution for financial institutions, click the Contact tab or call (888) 889-8017.

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eVerge Group’s Mentoring Program

Written by John McClaran

Mentoring-ProgramUsing mentoring, eVerge Group links employees with experienced professionals for career development in their consulting jobs. An eVerge Group mentor facilitates a consultant’s personal and professional growth by sharing knowledge and insights that have been learned through years of experience.

The two main goals of the eVerge Group mentoring program are to improve connectivity and to increase an employee’s speed to competence. Employees of the eVerge Group work at diverse locations around the world and are largely reliant on technology to connect with staff and fellow employees at headquarters. Mentoring puts a human face on technology. Mentors are used to facilitate greater connectivity between our consultants and headquarters staff as well as between remotely-located consultants who because of geographic differences may otherwise never get the opportunity to collaborate. Mentors are the” linking pins” in the organization. They facilitate connections and communication up and down the chain, and work to knit together an efficient, homogenous corporate culture despite the distributed nature of the enterprise.

The second goal is to increase an employee’s speed to competence.  This means that an employee is not needlessly  struggling in any endeavor; be it new consultants trying to orient themselves to the company, a consultant needing specialized training and instruction, or a junior consultant looking for career guidance. A mentor is assigned to each employee to ensure that they can fulfill their career development needs in the most efficient manner possible. Our mentoring network is designed to facilitate our consultants’ success by improving connectivity and ensuring that no one struggles to fulfill their career aspirations.

The mentoring program consists of three basic components designed to support the two primary goals of the program. A 90-day structured mentoring program, a long-term individual self-development program and a social networking component.

The 90-day structured mentoring program is designed for new hires or those seeking to master a specific skill or training program in a relatively short period of time. The key to this program is the Individual Development Plan (IDP), which is essentially a contract between the mentor and mentee centered on specific learning objectives and desired outcomes.  Through a series of regularly scheduled meetings over 90 days the employee works with the mentor toward successful fulfillment of the goals and objectives agreed to in the IDP.

The next component is individual self-development. This involves an ongoing relationship between a mentor and mentee related to longer-term career goals and individual development of the competencies needed to be successful in consulting jobs at eVerge Group. The IDP is used to track and record an employee’s self-development activities and as a means for the mentor to stay in touch with an employee’s development efforts over time.  Meetings between the mentor and mentee in this program are less frequent and formal but nonetheless for the mentee, it means an ongoing relationship with a person who is genuinely interested in facilitating his or her personal and professional development.

The third component is social networking. As an organization of geographically dispersed teams, eVerge Group believes that the power of social networking in the workplace will greatly enhance our ability to handle any challenge. It improves our ability to organize and empower each individual in the company to collaborate across the enterprise faster, farther, and deeper than ever. At eVerge Group, we have embraced this technology as a perfect complement to our organizational structure.  We have an active group site on LinkedIn where employees from across the company collaborate and share ideas.  With the coming implementation of our new Fusion Human Capital Management application, we will be taking workplace social networking to the next level.   Fusion provides us with an in-house social networking application that will greatly enhance our ability to facilitate our employee’s personal and professional development and their ability to contribute to the company’s continued success.

Taken as a whole the mentoring program is designed to foster a culture of continuous learning, where every employee is supported and encouraged to become their very best. It is also representative of the recognition and value placed by the company on its employees and its commitment to ensure that we train and retain the most highly skilled consultants in the industry.

About the author: John McClaran has been involved in employee training and development for over twenty years. He is currently working for eVerge Group on a variety of initiatives and projects in support of the Human Resources and Marketing Departments.

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eVerge Group Selects Oracle Fusion HCM for Internal Human Resources and Payroll Applications

Internal Implementation Enhances Oracle Fusion HCM Insights and Expertise

Plano, Texas (January 12, 2012) – eVerge Group, a Platinum level member of Oracle
PartnerNetwork (OPN) with nearly 20 years experience implementing HCM applications, has selected Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management (HCM) to manage its own human resources and payroll activities. According to eVerge Group president, Esteban Neely, “We are deploying Oracle Fusion HCM as a hosted, SaaS-based application and believe it will provide the functionality and flexibility we are looking for at a reasonable cost.”
By implementing Oracle Fusion HCM within the company, eVerge Group will gain an in-depth understanding of Oracle Fusion HCM capabilities, interfaces and reporting/analytics from both an implementer and customer perspective. As a result, eVerge Group will be one of the first to offer a rapid-deployment “Express” Oracle Fusion HCM solution that will enable customers to go live anywhere from eight to 26 weeks depending on the number of components implemented.

According to Neely, “We are very excited about Oracle Fusion HCM applications and believe our customers will be extremely impressed with the intuitive user interface, embedded analytics, integrated social capabilities and ability of Oracle Fusion HCM to co-exist with other Oracle ERP applications. With eVerge Group’s ‘Express’ solution, customers will be able to implement Oracle Fusion HCM in weeks.”

About eVerge Group
Founded in 1993, eVerge Group is a leading integrator of business applications software, focused on delivering Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Business Intelligence (OBIEE), Master Data Management (MDM) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solutions. With longevity and focused expertise in both commercial and public sector markets, eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner and implements software solutions in leading organizations throughout the Americas. For more information on eVerge Group, visit www.evergegroup.com.

About Oracle PartnerNetwork
Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized is the latest version of Oracle’s partner program that provides partners with tools to better develop, sell and implement Oracle solutions. OPN Specialized offers resources to train and support specialized knowledge of Oracle’s products and solutions and has evolved to recognize Oracle’s growing product portfolio, partner base and business opportunity. Key to the latest enhancements to OPN is the ability for partners to differentiate through Specializations. Specializations are achieved through competency development, business results, expertise and proven success. To find out more visit www.oracle.com/partners.

Trademarks
Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates.

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eVerge Group Adopted Families Through Second Wind Dallas

Based on an employee’s suggestion, for this year’s holiday charitable event eVerge Group adopted several families through a program called Second Wind Dallas. Second Wind is a faith-centered group that helps needy families with elementary school age children. They contact local school administrators who identify families within their schools who are in need of assistance during the holiday season and then pair the families with local companies such as eVerge who want to help out.

eVerge was able to adopt five families this year, each ranging from three to five family members of all ages and different needs and wants. From the generous donations of eVerge employees, we were able to fulfill the needs of all five families. We had our big shopping and gift wrapping day on December 9th. Be sure to check out the rest of our photos from that Friday in our Facebook album.

eVerge Group would like to extend our sincere appreciation to all those who helped in making this event a success. Whether you donated time or money, thank you and happy holidays!

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Formulating a Business Intelligence Assessment

An end-of-the-year business intelligence assessment is a great way to take stock of how things are going, and this assessment can also be used to create a plan for the upcoming year. A BI assessment can help you determine the ROI on the data warehouse you’ve implemented during this past year, as well as discover potential expansion areas. If launching a new business intelligence project with a solution like Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition is in the works for next year, doing an assessment now can help you determine if you even need a BI solution.

business-intelligence

Regardless of what’s on the agenda in the near future, doing an assessment now is a great way to look at how current projects are progressing, and can also be used to direct failing or struggling projects back on track. It can help ensure that your BI solution is able to evolve and adapt as the landscape of technology, organizational structure, business priorities, and marketplace realities change over time.

If you’ve never considered performing a business intelligence assessment, we are ready to help you every step of the way. Here is what you can expect from the process. Our assessments typically begin with a BI workshop that highlights recent developments in BI, looks at best practices, and uncovers the major challenges within your organization. After this, we begin a three-week guided learning session that involves your subject matter experts and IT staff. Together we review your current situation and strategize the best approach for BI development during the upcoming year. This evaluation takes a detailed look at the key elements of your BI strategy, which helps you achieve proper alignment of business and technology objectives, including Business Requirements Analysis, Organizational Analysis, Build vs. Buy Assessment, Infrastructure Software, Hardware and Technology, and Information Architecture.

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive BI experience. For more information about Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition or our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

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Oracle ePerformance Builds a Better Workforce

Employee performance evaluation software like Oracle ePeformance helps organizations build a better workforce by aligning organizational goals and driving employee development. As part of Oracle’s PeopleSoft HCM, ePerformance offers strategic workforce insight, fosters engagement, and integrates performance ratings with salary, skill levels, and job profiles.

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive Oracle PeopleSoft experience. For more information about our business solutions, contact us at our website. http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

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Why a Strategic CRM Means Better Business

Most CRM applications provide a tactical system with basic management tools, but fail to over a strategic CRM solution that offers a complete picture of customers. eVerge Group reviews the benefits of implementing a strategic CRM that answers key questions about a company’s target audience, addresses every aspect of customer interaction, and goes beyond simple sales tactics to deliver value.

For more information about Oracle On Demand CRM, contact eVerge Group:
http://www.evergegroup.com

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Essbase Primer: What is Essbase?

Written by Garrett Carey

What is EssbaseWhat is Essbase?  This is a question that I have been asked by clients, prospects, and aspiring Essbase learners over the years.  Here is my first attempt (albeit brief) at explaining Essbase, its power, and the value it provides to business users.

Oracle’s Hyperion Essbase is an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) server that provides an environment for rapidly developing custom multidimensional analytic and enterprise performance management applications.  Essbase allows users to model, analyze, and interpret complex business problems and scenarios.

An Essbase database is often called a “Cube” and is defined by dimensions. Dimensions are hierarchical representations of descriptors that business users are familiar with, such as a product hierarchy, chart of accounts, department, or period of time.  Business users can be presented with the data values instantly by simply choosing any point in the various dimension hierarchy intersections.  Furthermore, users can drill up or down across hierarchies or pivot different dimensions to form new cross-sectional analyses.

From a technical perspective, Essbase provides:

  • Highly efficient data storage.
  • Very fast data access and retrieval,
  • Multiuser access to analytic information,
  • Ad hoc analysis of multidimensional data,
  • Data organized in a dimensional model, which is easy for business users to understand.
  • Ease of access with no query or programming language knowledge required.
  • A powerful dimensional calculation engine.
  • Easy integration to multiple sources of information.
  • Centralized data storage.

From a business user perspective, Essbase provides the following benefits:

  • Ability to model the business in real time.
  • Multidimensional analysis.
  • A platform that is intuitive, interactive, and informative.
  • Powerful querying and reporting.
  • Reusability of data models.
  • Powerful read / write-back capability.
  • What-if scenario modeling (i.e.: create scenarios to model future outcomes).
  • The functionality to perform complex calculations.
  • Ability to drill up and drill down for additional information.
  • Provides one version of the truth.
  • Easy sharing of data and analysis across functions.
  • Microsoft Office and Oracle Business Intelligence 11g integration.

In summary, Oracle’s Hyperion Essbase provides a best-in-class solution that offers a broad range of capabilities and is easy to use.  In the coming posts, we’ll take a deeper dive into specific Essbase features, industries, and ideal solutions for Essbase applications.  If you want to learn more about Oracle’s Hyperion Essbase immediately, please contact eVerge Group on our website.

About the author: Garrett Carey is a Senior BI/EPM Solution Architect who has worked with eVerge Group since 2005.

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Free Webinar: Becoming a Data Driven School District

Data Driven SchoolPlan to join eVerge Group for a free webinar to see how school districts across the country are utilizing state-of-the-art business intelligence tools to help improve student and school performance. The free webinar on becoming a will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2011 from 11:00 am until noon (Central Time).
Webinar RSVP

eVerge Group has developed an Oracle-based reporting and analytics solution designed specifically to enable school districts to better report and analyze data critical to improving student and school performance, as well as adhere to state and federal reporting requirements. With eVerge Group’s School Performance Analytics (SPA), your organization can move beyond reporting data to an information-rich system that provides:

  • Proactive monitoring of Key Performance Indicators
  • Analysis of trends across diverse subject areas
  • Better Insight into student profiles and performance
  • Continuous monitoring of attendance and interventions
  • Faster compliance reporting

eVerge Group’s SPA solution was the winner of Oracle’s 2011 Titan Award for an Education Industry Solution.  Click here to learn more about the solution and hear first-hand how principals are utilizing the system to improve their effectiveness.

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