Crisis management professionals use database software to assist with their efforts

Recent events in Oklahoma have once again shown the resolve of individuals in the face of a crisis. We are a strong species and when disaster strikes, whether it’s in Oklahoma, Boston, New York or anywhere else in the U.S. or even the world, we come together to find solutions and strategize recovery efforts. Today, much of this initiative is being aided by the use of technology, particularly big data management systems.

A recent Forbes article examined the power big data can have in assisting with humanitarian efforts. Organizations leading the way are able to obtain valuable information, perhaps from a tweet of an eye-witness, and report on it in a way that can map out successful recovery plans.

“Crisis-mapping technology has emerged in the past five years as a tool to help humanitarian organizations deliver assistance to victims of civil conflicts and natural disasters,” the article said. “Crisis-mapping platforms display eyewitness reports submitted via e-mail, text message and social media. The reports are then plotted on interactive maps, creating a geospatial record of events in real time.”

Recovery efforts can not afford to suffer any kind of delay. Organizations must be able to extract pertinent information quickly because time is always of the essence in these types of scenarios. Building a custom database software system can allow users to view the information they need and make proper decisions based on its value. This will expedite a number of processes and allow those assisting with crisis management to get to work right away.

FileMaker is an ideal platform to build this solution on as it allows for developers to create the functions needed to assist with data management of this magnitude.

RadioShack uses data to help implement rebranding strategy

RadioShack is in the midst of a rebranding strategy that it hopes will erase the stigma of the company being out of touch with today's consumers. 

For years, the electronics retailer has suffered from a poor reputation, which ultimately allowed it to be passed by companies like Best Buy or Apple's retail division. But Jennifer Warren, RadioShack's chief marketing officer, hopes that giving the store a facelift will yeild strong results. Warren spoke with the Dallas Business Journal about her company's strategy and suggested that changing the company's customer experience initiative will allow RadioShack to compete with the leaders in consumer electronics retail.

"Right now we're the stop for people to get products so they can go play in life. But with the redesign, in addition to being on the way to play, we'll be a destination for play," she said. "We're going to look to strike the balance between making sure we stay relevant to our current customer base and broadening and becoming relevant to a younger base as well."

A rebranding strategy cannot happen on a whim. It requires a tremendous amount of planning and data analysis. RadioShack executives likely had to examine the behavior of its current customers and compare it with that of those who shop at its competitors. Compiling this information and managing it requires a system that can allow users to properly analyze data. If RadioShack didn't use the right solution, it wouldn't be able to extract the most value from its data, and its rebranding strategy would not live up to its potential.

Implementing a custom database software system can help organizations in a similar area compile data and use it to their advantage, which will help users make smart decisions throughout the rebranding process.

Why big data is changing retail shopping from both sides of the transaction

The era of big data, instant information and communication has changed the way brands interact with consumers, but it has also changed the way individuals interact with businesses.

Gone are the days when consumers had limited resources to assist with their shopping efforts. Shoppers who would simply travel to a store and make choices primarily based on the consumer goods they could see and touch can now go online and access a bevy of data to supplement their decision making. Online reviews, product descriptions and price comparisons can help shoppers determine where and how to buy the products they are looking for.

With the recent advancement of mobile technology, this process is even easier for customers. A shopper can now view a product, pull out his or her mobile device and look that item up to find out how to best obtain that particular item. They can use location services to find the best place to drive in order to purchase it or they can order it online through their phone or tablet’s browser, if that’s the best possible option. Moreover, if the reviews of that particular item are not favorable, consumers can quickly search for competitive product.

Companies can no longer assume shoppers will buy what they need as soon as they find it in a store. They have to understand the way consumers behave and counter with their own big data strategies. Businesses that are cognizant of the options consumers have must collect data pertaining to this fact and use it to their advantage.

Custom application development will likely be necessary. Because businesses cannot afford to fall behind consumer trends, investing in solutions to monitor them is vital. To maintain economic viability, brands and retailers have to be in control of the shopping experience, rather than vice versa. Once customers take the lead in the data game, businesses will be at a significant disadvantage.

Big data changing the face of emerging market retail

On Monday, an article in the South China Morning Post examined the impact information is having on the way both consumers and businesses interact with one another. In emerging Asian markets, where more users are obtaining an internet connection each day and smartphone adoption is growing faster than anywhere else in the world, companies are working to keep up with this rapidly growing trend.

Li Hong, the author of the article, explained that businesses are taking advantage of every opportunity presented by increased smartphone functionality.

“Data analysis isn’t only about marketing,” Hong wrote. “Geographical data can tell us much about people’s consumption habits. In China, digital and big data can provide a window for brands into third- and fourth-tier cities which were previously out of reach to retailers due to high distribution costs. With the rise in mobile and internet use, e-commerce will add to this new outreach.”

Here in the United States, having the right solutions in place to control pertinent consumer data is crucial. Using FileMaker to develop a custom database software system is an ideal solution because of the strong capabilities of the platform. Businesses that develop these software programs can keep a keen eye on all important pieces information and use it to improve their own efforts.

Big data and custom application development reshape customer interaction

The ability for companies to communicate with customers is crucial, and requires a software system sophisticated enough to manner in which businesses reach their intended target. Organizations use customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to assist with the process, but in the age of big data, new needs are reshaping the basic functionality of these systems.

Custom application development is a high priority for many organizations when it comes to finding solutions to help engage customers. These individuals dictate the success of the business, so it’s crucial to ensure that no shortcomings are experienced throughout the company’s relationship with them. Thankfully, with the help of complex big data strategies, businesses can strategically build systems designed to cater to customers in a way that ensures positive results.

This trend is catching on, according to a report from Gartner. The research firm projects that big data is going to revolutionize the CRM system. In an interview with Computer Weekly, Gartner Research vice president Kimberly Collins said that while data will certainly reshape the way we work with customers, benefits will only be experienced if information is managed properly.

“In many ways there is a huge opportunity,” Collins said. “But if CIOs and business leaders don’t work together and put their arms around it, they will see a lot of renegade, tactical efforts in their organization.”

FileMaker development can help companies obtain the right solutions to manage the data pertaining to their customer interactions. Building a custom database management system will help companies ensure they are using their information to the best of their ability in order to maintain steady relationships with all their customers.

Our FileMaker developer certifications set us apart from the competition

In case you haven’t noticed, we are big fans of FileMaker around here. Not only are the developers on our team certified in numerous versions of the platform, we are always up-to-date on new product releases and strive to become one of the first organizations to receive certification after they launch.

FileMaker Pro 12 was released in April of 2012. Today, Kyo Logic has four FileMaker development professionals certified to work with that platform. Our professionals have a full understanding of its features and our skill and expertise allow us to get the most out of its functionality. Because we were one of the first companies to receive certification in FileMaker Pro 12, our experience sets us apart from the competition.

While we encourage our clients to embrace innovation and stay current with FileMaker platforms, we understand that’s not a practical option for everyone. That’s why we employ a staff who is certified in a number of FileMaker’s older releases. We have five developers certified with FileMaker 11, four with FileMaker 10, three with FileMaker 9, two with FileMaker 8 and one with FileMaker 7, so even if you’re hanging on to an aging system, you can rest assured that we have someone with the ability to work with your platform.

Going forward, we will be on the lookout for future FileMaker releases. When FileMaker 13 becomes available, you can be sure that we’ll be one of the first companies to study its capabilities and become certified developers. FileMaker is always on the cutting edge of developer platform technology, and we are always taking necessary steps to keep up. Regardless of the version we develop in, you can be certain that each solution we create will be done so with the speed, efficiency and precision our clients have come to expect of us.

How big data is affecting the job market

Last week, this blog discussed the ability for organizations to use data and shape their personnel management strategies around the contents of their information. The same can be said about the departments that employees either currently or soon will work in.

By evaluating the operations of various departments, businesses can determine exactly what they need to do to improve their productivity. The answer may be as simple as minor operational changes, or it may result in the need to bring in new workers. The truth typically lies in the information. Building a custom database software system designed to analyze the productivity of each department will ultimately help organizations determine whether or not they need to bring in new employees or let current ones go.

This can give insights into which areas of business have the most pressing need. For example, if a company is relatively successful but ends up lagging behind in one or more areas, it might be determined that a specific area needs more people in order to hold up its end of the bargain. In today's uncertain economic landscape, companies cannot afford to make hiring mistakes, but using big data to analyze both positions and applicants can help ensure that each hire is the right fit.

Big Data shaping enterprise IT hiring

Not only is big data dictating the way companies manage employees, the entity itself is having a major impact on IT departments. The growth of big data is expected to create 4 million new jobs globally by 2015, according to a report from icrunchdata. Roughly half of them are in the United States alone. IT departments across the country are shifting their focus on developing solutions designed to better track information, so bringing in individuals who focus on the practice will go a long way toward ensuring the success of a big data strategy.

This trend is being fueled by IT departments that understand hiring analytical minds is just as important as hiring those with experience managing high-tech systems. Todd Nevins, a spokesman from icrunchdata, said in a statement that he isn't sure where this trend is ultimately going, but as long as companies are finding the value in hiring personnel with analytical skills, he doesn't believe it will die down.

"The hype is through the roof, but I'm not sure when it will turn," he said. "We aren't seeing any signs of a slow down on our side from companies recruiting big data talent due to the massive opportunities in their data. We don't expect to see any pull back in the foreseeable future as long as the ROI continues to exceed the expense of finding, recruiting and retaining big data talent."

Of course, even though businesses are hiring professionals with an understanding of big data, they still must possess the solutions needed to ensure their analytics strategies yield the best results. FileMaker development can help create the applications needed to examine information, process it and generate effective reports quickly and effectively. A combination of this system with highly skilled IT professionals will help ensure companies have the ability to maximize the value of their data.

People analytics can help build a more productive workforce

Proper analytics can offer businesses a myriad of advantages and, as big data continues to grow, the number of business components that can be analyzed is seemingly endless. While information has been used to gain new insights about the sales and marketing side of business, the people behind a company's actions can also be viewed, and their behavior can be analyzed to help executives manage them. 

An article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek refers to people analytics as the "next big thing in big data." Using information to help understand the way workers interact with each other, how they operate, when they are most productive and so on and so forth can allow organizations to effectively manage a number of key areas of business, including scheduling and task assignments.

For example, if one individual is more productive in the afternoon and the data supports this, companies can change the way they manage that worker after lunch. The insights gained from people analytics can design a more efficient and productive workforce.

This strategy is already in place in some areas, according to Ben Waber, the article's author.

"Some companies are using this approach to boost productivity," Waber wrote. "Bank of America analyzed their call center operation to change how their employees took breaks, reducing turnover and increasing performance dramatically. Cubist Pharmaceuticals found that it had too many coffee machines. By introducing centralized coffee areas it was able to increase serendipitous interactions and sales."

To assist with this process, it's important to be equipped with the proper software. FileMaker development will help create a custom database software system designed to track employees, monitor activity and help make smart personnel decisions. 

Retailers struggling to manage their data

In the highly competitive retail industry, organizations are always looking for ways to improve their position in the market. In the big data era, many key competitive advantages are coming from gathering and analyzing information, but several retailers are having a hard time optimizing their data management strategies. 

Retailers across the globe seem to be struggling with information. In Australia, this issue was the theme of a recent conference held to share ideas about data management. At the Australian Information Industry Association event, held earlier this month, consumer strategist Diane Shelton offered a sentiment shared by business executives all over the world.

Shelton, who has worked in the grocery and broadband industries in Australia, told the audience that as information grows, it's becoming harder to make sense of it all.

"We have an enormous difficulty in the short amount of time we've got to look at data and really take out the key points," she said. "Our data colleagues who are working with it all day are just swamped with information, so there's a lot of noise, and online gives you more noise than you ever wanted."

She added that many organizations are procuring massive, complex systems designed to manage data, but they are essentially too big for their own good and are more cumbersome than helpful. For retailers across the planet and here in the United States, the key is to find solutions to simplify the display of information, which can be accomplished with FileMaker development. By creating a custom database software system, organizations can effectively track data and manage it in a way that allows them to obtain key insights and improve their operations.

Why data management can ensure marketers target everyone

Traditional sentiment has always indicated that marketers can use big data management to specifically focus on key demographics. While the benefits of doing so are evident, it should be noted that negating those who fall outside of target groups is an ill-advised strategy.

In reality, data should be used to target everyone, not just those who fit the parameters of an ideal customer. According to a study conducted by Catalina researchers, 53 percent of sales are conducted with individuals outside of the target demographic. This means that if marketers simply increase their efforts to lock onto a specific group, they could be preventing their respective companies from bringing in half of their potential revenue.

As a result, marketers have to expand the use of their data to ensure they are reaching all potential parties. An article in Forbes suggests that big marketing data isn't big enough yet.

"We need to stop thinking about target consumers and start thinking in terms of consumer networks," writes Greg Satell, the article's author. "Just because the daughter buys it, doesn't mean the mother (or father or brother) won't and beyond consumers themselves, there are advocates and detractors that can affect a purchase as well. They all matter."

This ties into the point this blog made about how information can be used to break down demographics into individual targets. Using FileMaker development to build a custom database software system will go a long way toward giving marketers the ability to mix-and-match groups to develop ideal campaigns for each potential customer.

Big data management can help individualize healthcare

Data has always held an important position in the organizational structure of the healthcare industry. Organizations have used information to fuel innovation and find new ways to enhance their patient care efforts, but before medical institutions can move forward, they have to develop a solid base of quality care and patient experience initiatives that they can build off of. 

When patients check into a hospital or doctor's office, they have a number of unique qualities that ultimately distinguish themselves from every other individual who walks into the front door of that facility. The more the organization knows about the specific patient ahead of time, the better they can treat them. This is similar to the way businesses use data to cater their product development and marketing to each individual.  

When data isn't properly managed to help cater services to the individual, the results can lead to poor service and dissatisfied patients and family members. A May 13 article in The Boston Globe features the story of Calvin Hill, a man who went to great lengths to help his father Foster Hill, after he was diagnosed with later-stage prostate cancer. While the younger Hill was doing everything he could to ensure his father's recovery, he admitted it didn't feel as if those tasked with helping him expressed the same level of concern.

Hill explained the frustrating ordeal of trying and failing to receive treatment specifically catered to his father's needs. While he didn't want special service, he felt as if taking each relevant factor into consideration during the treatment process would have gone a long way toward improving the level of care his father received.

"You show up to the hospital, and it's like Groundhog Day," Hill told the Globe, explaining that there were few discernable differences between the way each patient was cared for. "It's this outdated standard of care created for this hypothetical average patient. But no one's an average patient." 

However, Hill has the resources to do something about this. His company, GNS Healthcare, processes big data and uses pertinent information about each patient to help generate a specific care plan designed to address certain variables, such as medication allergies and unique symptoms, in conjunction with basic identifiers like age and gender. Couple this concept with the innovative medical practices found throughout Boston and the surrounding area, it's likely that patients will soon enjoy a level of personalized care they never knew.

While this concept has many in the industry very excited, it's important to understand that it all begins with the ability to view and manage information quickly and efficiently. FileMaker development can help organizations build a custom database software system designed to process information and design specific strategies based on that data. By using FileMaker, users can ensure their solutions are created properly, which can alleviate the risk of inaccurate information processing. Nothing would be more damaging than creating a system to organize specific care strategies based off of inaccurate information.

Working with a FileMaker development specialist can help guarantee the quality of a data management solution.