Hidden in plain sight

Little secrets Hidden in Plain Sight

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Erwin Versleijen
Executive Search | Management Consulting

This morning I watched a webcast called “Hidden in Plain Sight” that triggered me to write my first post.

Over the last few months I have been working with a number of senior managers across a range of industries here in New Zealand on improving the outcome of decisions they make. Some organisations have thousands of projects in flight or planned, ranging from strategic changes to capital expenditures and from selecting suppliers to complex investment choices. We use technology that we have developed on top of existing platforms and the results are very positive.

Another technology we use is IBM Watson that helps organisations to explore, analyse and interpret both structured and unstructured data. It is a very powerful technology based on cognitive machine learning, it understand the meaning of words and images just like the human brain.

At this morning’s webcast it was revealed that on average 88% of data available to an organisation is unstructured (or dark) data. Think about all the internal files on your servers containing daily, weekly or monthly reports; external sources such as journals, research and industry reports; the amount of social media data available to you; data from production systems, sensors (IoT), or enterprise systems.

Traditional analytics only look at WHAT happened when analysing data. In order to understand WHY something happened, you need content analytics that are able to read dark data. IBM Watson unlocks insights and drive revenues from unstructured content.

So, what little secrets can I share with you that are free? I am using on a daily basis some of these tools:

  • Personality Insights – a great tool to better understand people. You can use it when you hire new employees, when you select a project team, or when you meet a new potential customer and want to know how they are likely to think and act. You can copy/paste their LinkedIn profile, cover letters, resumes and other text that they have written. Have a look at the profile below.


  • News Explorer – a fantastic tool if you want to know everything about a certain company you are doing (or planning to do) business with, what the competition is up to, or what the link is between two different companies. A great gadget for business development, journalists, and negotiators. Have a look at the image at the top of this post which links all relevant articles about New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in one single view.  (see image at top)


  • Watson Analytics – this tool is probably the one you will use most in a business setting. It has amazing capabilities as it answers business questions, gives you insights, and analysis your trusted data. People who are familiar with SPSS or Cognos will love it. You can add data from twitter and other boards. Imagine Super Tuesday were the US elections. Can you predict the winner?




Try the tools yourself and discover how it can help your organisation. If you want to unlock insights and drive revenue from unstructured data, let's start the the cognitive journey and get in touch with CBA Strategic IT to learn more about Watson or our iVis decision making support tools.


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