How to Lead Innovative Organizations with Data and Analytics

Lead Innovative OrganizationsHow prepared are you to lead your organization to capitalize on the analytics age?

Heather Cole, a thought leader and expert in Business Analytics spoke at the January 2015 meeting of Financial Executives International Tampa Bay Chapter also known as FEI.  She gave an engaging and illuminating presentation to attendees on “How to Lead Innovative Organizations with Data and Analytics”.

The age of analytics is here and Heather Cole from Lodestar Solutions is here to help guide you to be successful.  Digital Disruption is creating new industries faster than ever.  Companies that learn to embrace and leverage the vast amounts of data being collected daily can change the course of their industries.  Only 26% of large companies surveyed believe their teams have the skills needed.  Only 27% thought their companies will put the right resources (people, budget and time) to leveraging data for innovation.
Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation by James McQuivey

For more information on how Heather Cole and Lodestar Solutions can help you and your company, contact us at




Recruiting BI Talent – Business Analytics Internships!

Are you struggling to find time for new IBM Cognos development?  Wanting to implement the new IBM Cognos Business Intelligence functionality but you never seem to get there? What if you had an assistant that could take on some of the smaller projects?  Have you considered getting an intern?  Recruiting BI Talent can  allow you to focus on the new Business Analytics functionality.

Currently, the IT department is short staffed and new initiatives are constantly tying up resources.  Therefore, we are proposing a new Recruiting through Experience Program.  This exciting new program would allow us to not only better leverage resources but allow us to treat the program like a “working interview”. Additionally, the amount of time and money spent on training a new employee is minimized by hiring someone who is already familiar with the business.

10 Benefits of Starting a Program for Business Analytics Internships

  1. Find future employees. An internship program is a year-round recruiting tool. (Fall internships, summer internships, semester internships, and quarterly internships) Implementing an internship program means you have an ongoing pipeline of future fulltime employees.
  2. Limit the drain on resources. For many, the process of recruiting and hiring is a drain on company resources. One solution: Appeal to tomorrow's staff members when they're looking for internships and all you have to do is choose the best of the bunch when it comes time to hire.
  3. College campuses are viral societies. This means if your organization impresses one class of interns, word will quickly spread. You'll soon find the most sought-after student talent is interested in working with you.
  4. Test-drive the talent. It's a human resources reality: A new employee makes a solid impression in the interview, but then just doesn't gel with your current team or your company's way of doing things. Because of this, hiring someone as an intern is the most effective way to evaluate their potential as a fulltime employee. When you “try out” candidates via a semester or summer internship, you make fewer mistakes when it comes to fulltime staffing. You get to avoid the pitfalls of training a new hire possibly saving you from learning they're not a fit for your organization or that the entry-level employee doesn't like the field. Starting an internship program lets you benefit from added manpower while more accurately assessing candidates.
  5. Increase productivity. Speaking of additional manpower, setting up an internship program allows you to take advantage of short-term support. The extra sets of hands help your employees be more productive, prevent them from becoming overburdened by side projects, as well as freeing up your team to accomplish more creative tasks or items where higher-level, strategic thinking or expertise is required.
  6. Increase employee-retention rate. The proof for the test-driving theory is in the positive employee-retention figures: According to NACE's 2009 Experiential Education Survey, almost 40% of employers reported a higher five-year retention rate among employees they'd hired via their internship programs.
  7. Enhance perspective. It's not just the extra sets of hands that make interns advantageous. Especially in an organization or departments of only 12 or 15 employees, new people bring with them novel perspectives, fresh ideas, and specialized strengths and skill sets. These augment the abilities of your professional workforce.
  8. Take advantage of low-cost labor. Interns are an inexpensive resource. Their compensation is significantly lower than staff employees, and you aren't obligated to pay unemployment or a severance package should you not hire them on fulltime. Moreover, while their wage requirements are modest, they're among the most highly motivated members of the workforce.
  9. Find free-of-charge. allows you to post your employer profile completely free of charge. This means you get extensive exposure to the top colleges and candidates without putting a dent in your recruiting budget.
  10. Give back to the community. Creating an internship program is an excellent way to give back. Hiring interns not only helps students in your community get started but it enhances the local workforce as a whole.
  11. Support students. Internships provide students numerous perks. They gain experience, develop skills, make connections, strengthen their resumes, learn about a field, and assess their interest and abilities.  Offering a paid internship is particularly beneficial, because it enables economically disadvantaged youth to participate. Students who have to help fund their own schooling will need a job, regardless. Providing an internship allows that job to facilitate a positive future.
  12. Support Veterans. We may want to leverage this program to help veterans who have served our country return to civilian life.  There are a number of websites that allow for free job postings for organizations recruiting veterans.

Takeaway: In terms of both today's workload and tomorrow's workforce, starting a program for business analytics internships is an excellent way to facilitate success.

How Fast Is Knowledge Doubling?

The total amount of information in the world is increasing. Simple enough concept to grasp, right?  Obviously, we would then conclude that human knowledge is increasing as well. (*Enter your own joke if you care to do so.) I don’t think you need a degree in rocket science to reason that one out either. However, have you truly considered what the rate of increase really is on each of these and how the future will look concerning analytics and technology?

I was watching a program not too long ago and the host said something that really caught my attention. He said that human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. That’s when I lifted my head out of the bowl of SpaghettiO’s and started really paying attention to what he was saying.

From an article on Industry Tap written by David Schilling, the host went on to say that not only is human knowledge, on average, doubling every 13 months, we are quickly on our way, with the help of the Internet, to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.  To put it into context, in 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every 100 years. By the end of 1945, the rate was every 25 years. The “Knowledge Doubling Curve”, as it’s commonly known, was created by Buckminster Fuller in 1982. If you want to take this even further down the preverbal road, you combine this with Ray Kurzweil’s (Head of Google Artificial Intelligence) “singularity” theory and Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s ideas which are discussed in their book, “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business” and you have some serious changes to technology, human intelligence and business coming down the pike whether you like it or not.

Here are some numbers which can put the below chart into context but just keep in mind that whole “doubling every 12 hours” statistic:

Human Brain = several billion petabytes to index
The Internet = 5 million terabytes
Amount of Internet indexed by Google = 200 terabytes or .004% of the total Internet

I’m not saying that the mapping of the human brain is planned for next Thursday, but it should open your eyes to what lies ahead of all of us. Will you be able to keep up with all the technology and information and human knowledge or will you get left in the rearview mirror using an abacus? It’s just some food (maybe SpaghettiO’s) for thought.

Knowledge Doubling

Our BI Survey – What’s Important to BI Professionals?

We recently put out a Bi survey and what we learned was pretty eye opening…. Our survey of our internal Sales and BA coaches, as well as our clients, and asked them to rank 25 potential audio programs for Business Analytics professionals.  These potential programs ranged from the software selection processes to end user training, and everything in between.

First, I’m going to talk about the programs that both sides of the survey had ranked in the top 5.

Program NameLodestar RankClient Rank
How to Inspire Executives with Business Intelligence and Analytics31
Step by Step Guide on Creating Your Business Intelligence and Analytics   Roadmap14

No I didn’t forget to add any… only 2 out of 25 we ranked were within the top 5 by both clients and the Lodestar team…two very important programs in this writer’s opinion. What does this say?  Before we answer that, let’s continue to look at the programs that both sides of the survey had ranked in the bottom 5.

Program NameLodestar RankClient Rank
How to Negotiate Software Contracts2525
How to Run a Software Selection Process2024
How to Minimize your Reliance and Costs on Consultants2122
How to Leverage Videos for Training2420

We are a little more in line with the bottom five matching up four in the bottom five.    One justification for the low rating on these items may be that the clients who responded already own software, and have implemented using Lodestar services where we teach clients to be self-sufficient and how to leverage videos. I wonder, if more people completed the survey that were in the process of reviewing software, would the results be different?   I’m sure there are some who would argue that these could be in the top 10.

Now I want to highlight some of the major differences in Lodestar’s ranking and our clients’ ranking.

Program NameLodestar RankClient Rank
How to Build Cost Justification / ROI for Business Intelligence and   Analytics213
How to be an IT and Business Language Translator318
How to lead a Business Intelligence and Analytics team179
How to be a Business    Intelligence and Analytics Ambassador235
How to Promote yourself and a Business Intelligence and Analytics expert163

While Lodestar ranked building a team with IT and Business high, our clients are more concerned with leading a team and promoting BA throughout the organization.  Again, this may reflect that Lodestar clients have learned to build that bridge to the IT team and the business and now it is time to “wow” the organization with the power of Business Analytics?   Earlier, I showed the two topics that Lodestar team members and our clients ranked in the top 5; Creating a Business Analytics Roadmap and Inspiring Executives.   It could be argued that these topics are directly related to leading a Business Analytics team and becoming a Business Analytics ambassador; both of which would help promote someone as a Business Analytics expert.  Interesting correlation in thought process, if you ask me.

Tools like IBM Cognos have been around for a long time and many organization use them daily and “get by”.  It sounds like our clients want to become Business Analytics “Rock Stars” by using the power of Business Analytics and Predictive Analytics.  They accomplished the basics of providing static reports or simple list reports.  They want to provide highly interactive dashboards or interactive reports that supply actionable items that either save the company money or make the company money.  Lodestar Solutions’ goal is to help you become the “Rock Star” in Business Analytics that you are asking to be.

So stay tuned…. exciting new programs are being created!

If you haven’t responded to our Business Analytics survey, we would love to get your feedback. Please follow this link to our brief Survey Monkey site and take our survey.  We will post another blog in the near future with a full result of this survey.

We would also love to hear any additional thoughts or ideas you might have.  Please email them to