Practical Analysis: Understanding Visualization Concepts

We humans like pictures. We’re wired to process images quickly and effectively.

The evolution of those capabilities over thousands of years has allowed us to survive by detecting and evading predators, finding forage, and excelling as predators ourselves. To support these activities and others, the image processing capabilities of our brains have become especially adept at distinguishing basic shapes, such as lines, circles and various polygons, as a precursor to fully comprehending what the actual imagery represents.

We are also capable of understanding complex concepts, abstractions and relationships. But not all of us are created equal in that respect – at least judging from the distribution of scores on the math component of college prep exams! But even the savants among us reach a limit as the volume of data and complexity of problems become intractable to the human mind.

And though we may differ in our analytical abilities, we do seem to share one thing: our ability to reason visually plays an important role in our problem solving. Let’s examine this in the latest “Practical Analysis” blog post. (more…)

Move Over Tequila: Agave Spirits are the Latest Trend

George Clooney has a strong allure with many Americans, but the latest fascination they have with him is what he’s drinking.

Celebrities and consumers are taking an interest in agave-based spirits since Diageo’s $1 billion takeover of George Clooney’s top-end tequila brand, Casamigos. Diageo reported that tequila sales rose 37% last year, thanks to the rising popularity of its Don Julio label.

Agave spirits have been growing in popularity, but in 2019 they’re finally getting their time in the spotlight. Let’s examine this trend and how distilleries can capitalize on it.

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3 Projects that Deliver Healthcare Analytics ROI

Healthcare organizations know there’s value in data and value in analyzing it. But many times, they don’t know how to practically implement analytics in their organizations to make real change.

Here’s proof: while two-thirds of organizations have an executive dashboard to support strategic decision-making, only one-third of those that have a dashboard use it on a daily basis to make decisions. That means that in aggregate, less than 1 in 4 healthcare organizations leverages its data at an executive level daily.

So how do you move from theory to practice when it comes to analytics? It can be a journey, so it’s important to take it one step at a time. Here are 3 projects that delivered healthcare analytics ROI that you can emulate at your organization. (more…)

Meet the Dimensional Insight Team: Alison Nicoli

If you have ever attended one of our Dimensional Insight booths at a tradeshow or joined us at the annual Dimensional Insight Users Conference (DIUC), you probably had the chance to speak with our Events Manager, Alison Nicoli. Ally is 100% committed to ensuring all of our events go as smoothly as possible. From scheduling, to setting up monitors for presentations, to speaking to clients, to traveling, and more, Ally’s dedication has become the heart of our successful events.

In today’s employee spotlight, we give you an inside look at what it’s like to be an events manager. With memories of how she first began her career here, Ally shares her experience working at Dimensional Insight and what you can find her doing when she’s not in the office.

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Dimensional Insight Sponsoring St. Jude Walk/Run Boston

One of the core values of Dimensional Insight is that the company at its foundation is committed to first serving its customers and its employees. Our founders, Fred Powers and Stan Zanarotti, believe that happy customers and happy employees are key to success.

Part of that belief system also includes supporting the missions of the industries we serve – which in healthcare, one of the key industries that uses Dimensional Insight technology, means a focus on improving patient care and saving lives.

That belief in supporting the central mission of healthcare organizations is why Dimensional Insight this year has decided to partner with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to sponsor its annual walk/run event in Boston on September 28th. We couldn’t be more excited to participate in this great fundraiser for St. Jude and raise funds for the patients it serves. (more…)

Vodka is King: How Brands are Revamping Vodka to Appeal to Millennial Drinkers

When vodka comes to mind, it’s easy to think basic and mainstream — not refined and classy.

But if spirits snobs think “flavorless” vodka doesn’t have a place in the craft cocktail era of 2019, they’re very wrong.

Spirits sales are rising, with millennials driving the uptick. Even with this group’s desire to experiment and try new things, vodka remains the king of the spirits. Let’s examine this drink’s staying power and how spirits suppliers and distributors can capitalize on it.

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Hot Topic: How Technology Is Changing Nursing

Quick question: what skills are required to be successful in the nursing field today? If you were to say compassion, good bedside manner, quick thinking, or good time management, of course you’d be right. But increasingly these days, a facility with technology is just as important.

With EHRs now mandated in hospital environments, data input is now a critical – and time-consuming – part of a nurse’s job. And while technology can certainly improve aspects of nursing, it’s also distracting many nurses from a critical part of their job – patient care. Let’s examine in today’s “Hot Topic” blog post. (more…)

The Role of Data Quality in Higher Education Analytics

Technology can only do so much. It can provide incredible insights that organizations might not have imagined possible…but only if the people putting it together do it the right way. Take, for example, the recent story about a start-up that used artificial intelligence to help improve disaster response. The company used census information to predict where people would need the most help in case of, for example, an earthquake to help emergency responders quickly get to the people who needed help.

Among other problems, the start-up was mostly using residential census data, so stores where a large number of people might be trapped in a disaster would be ignored if rescuers relied solely on the information the start-up was providing. The lesson? The data is only as good as the people entering the information.

For many higher education organizations, so much emphasis is placed on analyzing data that it almost seems too obvious to point out: that data needs to be reliable. But how often are organizations stopping to look at data quality? (more…)

There’s a New Wine Trend, and It’s Orange: Here’s How to Take Advantage of It

First it was rosé, now it’s orange wine? 

Maybe you’ve walked by a restaurant and saw diners drinking what looks like a Fanta orange soda from a wine glass. But it’s not soda, it’s orange wine. 

It may seem like a new fad, but this “trend” is actually 8,000 years old.  Orange wines primarily come from the country of Georgia (not the state – that’s peach), and exports have risen 54% in the last year. 

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3 Takeaways from the HIMSS Southern New England Conference

For healthcare to deliver meaningful results, it will have to adapt to new ways of thinking and adopt new technologies to reach patients. It will also need to make sure that its technology infrastructure is protected from threats – especially those from within the organization itself.

Those were some of the key messages from the HIMSS Southern New England conference, held by New England HIMSS in Newport, Rhode Island on August 22nd, which focused on telehealth and cybersecurity. Here are some of the main takeaways from the event. (more…)

Champagne or Prosecco? Here’s What Wine Suppliers and Distributors Need to Consider

Perhaps most drinkers can’t tell the difference between a glass of prosecco and Champagne, but nevertheless they are buying more bubbly — and it’s not just to celebrate. 

In social circles, drinkers may interchange “Champagne,” “sparkling wine,” and “prosecco,” but there are distinct differences in where it’s made, how it’s made, and what grapes are used to make it. Let’s look at some of the trends in Champagne vs. prosecco, and what wine suppliers and distributors need to consider in their sales process. (more…)

Reflections on DIUC19

This year’s Dimensional Insight Users Conference (DIUC) is in the books – what a whirlwind week for Dimensional Insight and our customers!

DIUC19 was held over four days at the Boston Marriott Copley Place in downtown Boston. Our agenda included on-site training, customer case studies, and technology sessions. Now that I’ve had a chance to decompress after the event and think about the week, here are my reflections on DIUC19. (more…)

How the Wine Industry Can Use Technology to Respond to Climate Change

climate change, cluster of black and green wine grapes hanging in withered vine branch of vineyard, in winter or autumn season, in Castile, Spain, EuropeToo many hot, red flames have burned through California wine country destroying vines and potential delicious vintages. Temperatures during harvest season in the mountains of Spain are not the same as last year. Wine makers are not trying to get political — but climate change is affecting their crops and the wines you’re drinking.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that temperatures will increase between 3.6 and 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, and this is affecting how wine grapes grow. How can those in the wine industry react to this change? Technology can help. Let’s examine. (more…)

Under the Influence: Vineyards are Turning to Social Media Stars to Increase Sales

Social media influencer Social media influencers encourage their followers to buy clothes, beauty products, and now wine.

Wine labels are moving beyond traditional Facebook and Instagram pages and are now reaching out to influencers. The social-media stars look like they live an envious life, and sipping some sauvignon blanc by the pool adds to that allure.

Three out of four businesses are on social media — causing customers to expect an online presence rather than appreciate it as an added bonus.

Social media is allowing customers to have conversations around wines and helps the brand project the lifestyle you could have by drinking their product. Let’s examine the impact social media is having on the wine industry and how suppliers can use influencers to increase sales.

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DIUC19 Day 4: Final Training and Farewell

All good things must come to an end. These past few days have been so special for our team, allowing us to reflect on where Dimensional Insight began, where it is now, and where it is headed. It is because of your loyalty throughout the years, that we are able to come together as one big family and celebrate 30 years of customer success. For that, we are truly grateful.

Now that it is officially day four of the event, we’re packing up our bags and saying our final goodbyes. What does day four of DIUC19 look like?

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DIUC19 Day 1: Welcome to Boston!

DIUC19 Day OneToday we kick off our Dimensional Insight Users Conference (DIUC) in Boston. And this year is a very special one for our company – it marks 30 years that we’ve been in business!

If you’re here in Boston for the conference (or even if you just want to follow along from wherever you are), here’s what you can expect at DIUC today. I’ve also provided some ideas for excursions if you have some free time.

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How Exploratory Data Analysis Helps You Generate Meaningful Insights

Practical analysis

Too much data and not enough useful information is one of the great paradoxes of the era of large scale, pervasive computing. Improving that balance is a key challenge for the modern-day analyst. That requires becoming familiar with the most appropriate tools for generating meaningful insights. And there are some fairly basic yet extremely powerful ones that you need to know about.

This next chapter of the Practical Analysis blog series, beginning with this post, is dedicated to endowing you with that knowledge.

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It’s Rosé All the Way: Here’s How to Profit from This Trend

Rosé Wine TrendAs hot as summer is, rosé is even hotter as the summer drink of choice.

Rosé saw a 48% growth in the last year to $466 million in sales, according to Nielsen.

Customers are consuming rosé any way they can: rosé by the glass, sparkling rosé, frozen rosé, rosé wine gummy bears and lollipops, and rosé beauty products all captured the fancy of consumers of both genders eager to enjoy the playful side of this classic drink.

While peak rosé was definitely the summer of 2017, the wine is still winning summer. Let’s take a look and examine how wine suppliers can best capitalize on this pink trend.

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How Technology Can Improve Physician Performance Measurement

It would seem logical that newly-minted physicians entering the medical workplace would expect that some level of performance monitoring would apply. However, this complex and ever-changing world of hospital and physician performance measurement often makes the young medical practitioner apprehensive and questioning.

Are such measurements in the context of pay-for-performance (or non-performance), or in a quality improvement and educational context? How are physicians being measured? And is the data that is being used for measurement trustworthy? Let’s examine some of the issues surrounding physician performance measurement and how technology can help create a more trustworthy measurement environment.

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4 Ways to Sabotage a Data Analytics Project

If we were to treat data analytics projects in the same way a physician would treat his or her patient, we would come to the realization that customized care is key. Every project is its own living being, with its own unique challenges and needs. It is for this reason why it is only natural that a solution should be custom as well.

However, despite the differences among various projects, there are a few symptoms of declining health that are more universal. If you find your data analytics project showing the following symptoms, allow yourself to take a step back and reevaluate the prognosis.

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3 Ways Analytics Can Make Higher Ed More Efficient

It is a term thrown around every time a school mentions its use of data – analytics will make the institution more “efficient.” But what does that mean when it comes to the world of higher education?

Does a particular process become more efficient? Does the school run more smoothly overall? Is it saving time or is it saving money? The answer can include all of those things. Here are some specific ways analytics can make an institution of higher education more efficient, and how sometimes efficiency can mean thinking outside the box…or outside the mailbox, as the case may be.

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The Hot Trend for a New Generation of Drinkers: Super-Premium Spirits

Millennial Drinking Premium Spirits Discount liquor is falling out of fashion.

Millennials are now reaching up when shopping for at the liquor store and grabbing high-end, super-premium spirits as their drink of choice.

Sales of super-premium spirits and high-end premium spirits has grown in volume between 6 and 7% each year from 2012 to 2017. This significantly out-paced the premium and value segments of the market.

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New Survey: Only 1 in 5 Healthcare Orgs. Use Analytics for Population Health

Population HealthToday, HIMSS Analytics and Dimensional Insight released some surprising new survey results about the state of clinical analytics at healthcare organizations. While most organizations say they are using analytics in clinical areas, reality shows that purely clinical projects are not a top focus area for most hospitals and health systems.

In fact, the survey revealed that only 1 in 5 healthcare organizations (21.6%) is using analytics for population health. What else did the survey reveal? Let’s take a look. (more…)

Practical Analysis – The Foundation of Analytics Knowledge

The original idea for the “Practical Analysis” blog series came from a seemingly simple question: “What is analysis?” Answering that question took me on a fascinating journey from Florence Nightingale’s work to improve public health in the mid-19th century to the most recent developments in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Though I’d found some interesting anecdotes and instructive examples, it felt that something was still missing. Like the answer to the original question. Maybe I needed to ask some different questions that would yield more useful answers such as: What are the essential tools that 21st century analysts should have in their toolbox? Where did they come from? What was the thinking behind them? And ultimately, why do they matter — today?

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3 Critical Metrics for Distributors

3 Critical Metrics for Wine & Spirits DistributorsThere’s no shortage of data and information. It’s everywhere. But how can you make data useful in order to make better decisions? That’s the hard part.

There are several key metrics that distributors should track in order to improve their businesses. Following are three of these metrics, with examples of reports that Dimensional Insight has developed for our wine and spirits distributors so that they can be easily accessed and analyzed. (more…)

How Wineries Can Take Advantage of What’s Hot on the Oregon (Wine) Trail

With wildfires, climate change and overcrowding in California, Oregon — and most notably Pinot Noir — is having a moment.

Oregon ranks third as the largest wine producer in the United States, behind California and Washington.

From 2016 to 2017, Oregon added 88 vineyards, totaling 1,144 wineries. The total planted acres of grapes for wine increased by 3,000, or 10.5%, from 30,435 to 33,361.

California, of course, will always remain the dominant wine producer, but with its wildfires putting some wineries out of production for five years or more, Oregon is having its chance to shine.

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Hot Topic: Skyrocketing Pharmaceutical Prices

Skyrocketing Pharmaceutical PricesHealthcare spending in the United States is now $3.5 trillion, or nearly $11,000 per person. While hospital care and physician services comprise the bulk of that cost, pharmaceutical prices are responsible for 10% of the total cost – to the tune of $333.4 billion or more than $1,000 per capita.

When we talk about ways to reduce healthcare spending, finding ways to reduce pharmaceutical prices is always a top priority. Why is this such a hot button issue? What steps are being taken? How can data and analytics help? Let’s examine in this week’s “Hot Topic” blog post.

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Finding Higher Ed Success with Data through Dashboard Visualization

Higher ed dashboard

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Sound advice for socialization, sure, but it can also apply to the world of higher ed. (Beyond the chats at the water cooler, that is.) It is advice that might be heeded during a professor’s first class of the semester…or maybe even the first few minutes of every lesson that professor is teaching.

But it can also be applicable to the technology an institution of higher education is using. Many colleges and universities are increasingly using data for a number of purposes – to increase retention, to identify and help struggling students, or to make processes more efficient, to name just a few. A data dashboard can help or hinder the analytics process. It is the first impression a user gets with the data, and if it is too clumsy to navigate, a user might not come back to work with the data in a meaningful way. If it is easy to use, it could benefit everyone in the community. Here is some advice about how to find success with dashboards, and what makes a good dashboard in the first place. (more…)