Organisations need to have a holistic view of their business to truly maximise the value of their data and analytics, writes RICHARD MULLINS, Director at Acceleration Middle East and Africa.
Most organisations today are taking a more data-driven approach to everything from sales and marketing to operations and human resources. Yet few of them have the real-time reporting information or the integrated, holistic view of their businesses that they need to truly maximise the value of their data and analytics.
In many organisations, it can take six weeks or more to receive reports in a format that anyone in the business can understand with a glance—based on data that might already be out of date. What’s more, data often sits in siloes scattered across the enterprise; even where consolidated reports are available, they may exclude many parts of the business.
The result is that the sales team may have data on hand about orders placed and fulfilled as well as inventory levels, yet little insight into how marketing has helped to achieve conversions or how many complaints the service team is fielding about a particular product line. Distribution and production might have sales forecasts, but no data about customer satisfaction.
Bringing it all together
The marketing department, meanwhile, may be happy with its brand health tracking, ad reports, social media monitoring and web analytics, yet struggle to accurately attribute the impact of marketing spending on sales. Indeed, few marketing departments can yet model the impact of different channels and touchpoints on customer conversions.
Thus, one of the largest challenges that organisations face in becoming more data-driven is to bring data together from different systems across and within departments to provide the big picture about how customer behaviour, sales, branding and marketing efforts, production, customer service and other facets of the business interact to drive sales and profits.
It is here where the latest data visualisation tools can play an important role, allowing executives to turn the data from different systems, channels and departments into purpose-built dashboards that offer a view of how their business is doing. They provide visual cues of the customer journey that spans from finance to operations to sales and marketing.
New insights unlocked
Suddenly, new insights are unlocked for everyone in the business. Consider a car manufacturer and its dealer network as an example. With access to richer data from production and sales, marketers can begin to really optimise performance. They can see how sales of the new car model are performing by region, perhaps gaining insight into how well regional marketing and advertising activations are working.
It becomes possible to get a view of how online customer engagements are bringing people into the showroom as well as the halo effect traditional branding advertising has on sales. Sales and marketing can correlate a dip in customer satisfaction (reflected in negative social sentiment and complaints to dealers and the call centre) with a drop in sales. They can look into inventory and fulfilment data to see whether a colour or model going out of stock has hurt sales.
Getting to this level of insight demands some level of data consolidation, standardisation of data formats and effort to clean and de-duplicate dirty data. With robust data governance and a sound data architecture, data visualisation tools can provide a common ‘truth’ that can be shared throughout the business—from the marketing team to the CEO.
Visual dashboards and reports can be shared and discussed between various disciplines, enabling better strategies and cross functional collaboration. These tools can automate the process of pulling data from different sources into a single view, allowing different users to customise the dimensions, metrics and segments that matter to them.
A process-driven approach
It takes a process-driven yet agile approach, focusing on answering the right questions with relevant and accurate data. In our experience, when C-suite executives start digging into the wealth of data the rest of the organisation has, they start small but soon find they need more and more data sources to answer the new questions their initial queries raise.
The result is better customer knowledge, engagements and experiences, used to craft strategies that grow the business. The results: a full understanding of the customer journeys, from pre-purchase to post-sales. This can help marketers craft engaging experiences that secure conversions and drive profitable business growth.
Wannacry still alive
One and a half years after its epidemic, WannaCry ransomware tops the list of the most widespread cryptor families and the ransomware has attacked 74,621 unique users worldwide.
These attacks accounted for 28.72% of all users targeted by cryptors in Q3 2018. The percentage has risen over the last year, demonstrating more than two thirds growth against Q3 2017, when its share in cryptor attacks was 16.78%. This is just one of the main findings from Kaspersky Lab’s Q3 IT threat evolution report.
A series of cyberattacks with WannaCry cryptor occurred in May 2017 and is still considered to be one of the biggest ransomware epidemics in history. Even though Windows released a patch for its operating system to close the vulnerability exploited by EternalBlue 2 months prior to the start of the attacks, WannaCry still affected hundreds of thousands devices around the globe. As cryptors do, WannaCry turned files on victims’ computers into encrypted data and demanded ransom for decryption keys (created by threat actors to decipher the files and transform them back into the original data) making it impossible to operate the infected device.
The consequences of the WannaCry epidemic were devastating: as the victims were mainly organisations with networked systems – the work of businesses, factories and hospitals was paralysed. Even though this case demonstrated the dangers cryptors pose, and most of PCs around the world have been updated to resist the EternalBlue exploit, the statistics show that criminals still try to exploit those computers that weren’t patched and there are still plenty of them around the globe.
Overall, Kaspersky Lab security solution protected 259,867 unique users from cryptors attacks, showing a substantial rise of 39% since Q2 2018, when the figure was 158,921. The growth was rapid yet steady, with a monthly observed increase in the number of users.
“The rising share of WannaCry attacks is another reminder that epidemics don’t end as fast as they start – there are always long-running consequences. In the case of cryptors, attacks can be so severe that it is necessary to take preventive measures and patch the device, rather than deal with encrypted files later,” said Fedor Sinitsyn, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
To reduce the risk of infection by WannaCry and other cryptors, users are advised to:
- Always update your operating system to eliminate recent vulnerabilities and use a robust security solution with updated databases. It is also important to use the security solution that has specialised technologies to protect your data from ransomware, as Kaspersky Lab’s solutions do. Even if the newest yet unknown malware does manage to sneak through, Kaspersky Lab’s System Watcher technology is able to block and roll back all malicious changes made on a device, including the encryption of files.
- If you have bad luck and all your files are encrypted with cryptomalware, it is not recommended to pay cybercriminals, as it encourages them to continue their dirty business and infect more people’s devices. It is better to find a decryptor on the Internet – some of them are available for free here: https://noransom.kaspersky.com/
· It is also important to always have fresh backup copies of your files to be able to replace them in case they are lost (e.g. due to malware or a broken device), and store them not only on the physical object but also in cloud storage for greater reliability (don’t forget to protect your cloud storage with strong hack-proof password!)
· If you’re a business, enhance your preferred third-party security solution with the newest version of the free Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool.
· To protect the corporate environment, educate your employees and IT teams, keep sensitive data separate, restrict access, and always back up everything.
· Use a dedicated security solution, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business that is powered by behaviour detection and able to roll back malicious actions. It should also include Vulnerability and Patch management features that automatically eliminates vulnerabilities and installs updates. This reduces the risk of vulnerabilities in popular software being used by cybercriminals.
· Last, but not least, remember that ransomware is a criminal offence. You shouldn’t pay. If you become a victim, report it to your local law enforcement agency.
Nokia 6.1 gets slice of Pie
HMD Global has announced that the Nokia 6.1 will start receiving Android 9 Pie – the second smartphone in the portfolio to receive the latest version of Android less than a month after the update arrived on the Nokia 7 plus.
Packed with Google’s newest software and building on the features of Android 8.0 Oreo, Android 9 Pie’s focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning gives owners a more customised and tailored experience.
Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform, the Nokia 6.1 is over 60% faster than its predecessor. Also, now offering enhanced Dual-Sight, ZEISS optics, USB-C fast-charging, Nokia spatial audio and pure, secure and up-to-date Android Oreo.
The Nokia 6.1 has been selected by Google to join the Android One family and therefore users get exclusive access to Apps Actions – a feature only available to Android One and Google Pixel devices. App Actions helps users get things done faster by predicting their next move and displaying the right action on right away.
Now with Android 9 Pie, the Nokia 6.1’s already impressive battery life is further complimented with the introduction of Adaptive Battery, an update that uses deep learning to understand usage patterns and prioritise battery power on the most important apps.
Other key features of Android 9
· Slices – Identifies relevant information on favourite apps to make them more easily accessible when needed
· Adaptive Brightness – Automatically adapts phone brightness by learning from interactions with different settings
· New system navigation – Features a single home button that provides intelligent predictions and suggestions (user enabled)