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BI_Jan27_CThere are many important components of a business, and data is definitely among the most popular. Pause and think for a moment how much of your business relies on it. It would be a challenge for a business to function without it. For business owners that look into data, many will have heard the term ‘business analytics’ before. However, this term can be a bit ambiguous and confusing.

In this article we will take a brief look at business analytics and why it is so important to businesses of all sizes.

Business analytics defined

When experts talk about analytics most audiences will agree that it is the analysis of data and statistics. The vast majority of business owners have some experience with analytics, with some having even taken courses on it at University. This being said, the idea of business analytics is often hard to pin down – ask 10 people and you will likely get 10 different answers defining what exactly it is.

We like to define business analytics as a process rather than a science. This process uses skills, business experience, technology, applications, and common business practices, to enable business owners, managers, and employees to explore past performance. Simply put, it’s the study of the past performance of a business.

With most businesses, the goal of business analytics is to gain insights into the state of the company, and even drive future decisions based on existing data. If you can successfully implement a business analytics process, you and your employees will gain a higher understanding of your business which will lead to better decision making abilities and even higher growth and profits.

What makes up business analytics

As we noted above, this is a process that involves a number of separate components. Four to be exact:

  • Analytics – Using modern data mining and predictive tools to identify patterns that can help make better business decisions and give managers foresight into potential future trends. Usually the questions answered include, “What is the best outcome?”, “Why did this work?”, etc.
  • Data management – This covers the collection and storage of data. Concepts include how and where the data is stored, who has access to it, how it is accessed, and even when it can be accessed. Some examples of this include using cloud-based storage or even a storage server that is hosted in the office. When looking at data management in terms of analytics, most managers will concentrate on what has worked in the past, why it worked, and what will work in the future.
  • Business Intelligence – This is the use of reporting tools and dashboards to gain an understanding of largely event-based questions like, “How many?”, etc. When you implement business intelligence operations you will normally gain better insights into current events and what happened in the past to influence them.
  • Performance Management – This broad term covers actions and tools that are used to track and manage business performance. This includes tasks such a financial reporting and budget forecasting.

The main reason businesses implement the components of business analytics is so that they have a way to not only harness the data their business generates, but to also leverage it in a constructive way so that their business can make better decisions. If used properly, it really helps businesses answer two of the hardest questions to answer: “What do I need to know?” and “What do I need to do?”

If you are looking to learn more about using business analytics or the components that make up this process, contact us today to see how our solutions can help.

iPad_Jan27_CThe iPad is often touted as being one of the most easy to use devices. Watch someone who has never held or used a tablet before pick one up and they will instinctively know what to do with it. With the release of the iPad Air, many users who have previously been holding back from purchasing a tablet have taken the plunge. If you have recently purchased an iPad Air there are many nifty features you may not know about.

About the iPad Air

The iPad Air is a thinner, lighter and more powerful iPad which comes with a 64-bit A7 chip, the latest processor Apple offers. But with the overhaul of its hardware and design, what new tricks does Apple have in store for its users?

Here are seven of the most incredible iPad Air features:

There is more to triple-click

With every iPad Air, you can still use a single click that will lead you back to the homescreen, and a double-click that will let you view the apps running on your device. Unlike its predecessors though, the new iPad Air comes with a triple-click feature.

But, what does this new triple-clicking feature offer?

When you triple-click the device’s home button, you get to choose any of these six functional options:

  1. Off
  2. Toggle Voiceover
  3. Toggle White on Black
  4. Toggle Zoom
  5. Toggle Assistive Touch
  6. Ask

Self-destruct your iPad Air

This doesn’t mean blowing up your expensive Apple device. What we’re trying to say is that if your iPad gets lost, you can protect all the files and data stored on its system.

To enjoy this new feature, you will need to sign up with iCloud. As soon as you have done so, all of your data will be far more secure. If your iPad somehow gets lost you can remotely wipe-out all the data stored on your iPad Air using your iCloud account. This can be done by going to the iCloud website and logging in. You can then manage your device from there, and remotely wipe it if needs be.

Two keyboards are better than one

While most iPad users are already familiar with this feature, we still think it is worth mentioning. The iPad Air is basically a 9-inch tablet display. As such, typing on this device using your two thumbs with a single keyboard can become rather difficult for even the most dexterous.

When you split the keyboards you get a slightly different keyboard style that allows you to type on your iPad device in a more comfortable fashion. You can split your keyboard by opening any app that brings up the keyboard e.g., an email message, and pressing the keyboard button at the bottom of the keyboard. Selecting Split will break apart your keyboard.

Furthermore, you have the option to shrink down or move the keyboard slightly upwards. With iPad Air, typing using both thumbs has been made much more possible.

Isn’t that great?

Yes, but it does not end there. Some iOS tweakers have discovered that when you split the keyboards you can actually type the letter that comes to either the left or right of where it is split. For example, the keyboard is split with the letters T, G, V being on the left and Y, H, B on the right. When you tap the empty space beside T, for instance, the letter Y will appear automatically.

Instant dictionary

Have you ever found yourself opening the Dictionary app because you don’t know the meaning of some words? We’ve all done this at least once and it definitely is time-consuming.

So, the next time you need to look up a word, take advantage of iPad Air’s Define option. In order to do this, tap and hold a word to select it, and then tap on Define Options. A speech balloon will appear containing the definition of the highlighted word.

In-app purchase solution

If you are sharing an iPad Air with the office, you probably don’t want people to be able to purchase something while using an app. You can avoid this problem by following these simple steps:

  1. Open the Settings icon.
  2. Click General.
  3. Disable the option for automatic downloads and updates.

Ending a sentence with a bang

The new iPad Air allows users to be more efficient than ever. To those who frequently type using the iPad, you can easily end sentences by double tapping the spacebar. A double tap will add a period to finish a sentence, before you carry on typing the next sentence.

Keyboard coding

The term is actually keyboard shortcuts. It is now possible to use keyboard shortcuts for phrases that you always use. This trick can definitely save you a great deal of time, and here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings icon.
  2. Go to General.
  3. Click Keyboard.
  4. Select Add New Shortcut and start defining your own shortcuts.

If you’re hoping to know more about iPad Air do give us a call. We’d love to help you with it.

Published on 17th December 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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