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Journey to Business Insights


Hello. Thank you for joining me for this video about a journey from data to business insights.

Back offices contain data that can improve business. In the previous video, we showed the power of images for gaining insights. When looking at numbers, it is difficult, if not impossible to see relationships. With images, relationships are visible instantly.

The opportunity for business insights is created when you begin to see and understand these relationships.

In this video I will talk about a journey from data to business improvement, and I will share with you a useful method to gain business insights. This journey, when repeated frequently, is a key element to constantly improving your business.

Journey to business insights (1:20)
There are five steps in the journey.
Step one: gather and organize recent, preferably real time, numbers that represent a business area with all the dimensions of that area.
Step two: convert these numbers to images, particularly dynamic images that allow you to quickly, intuitively, easily change parameters and see the results of those changes.
Step three: gain insights through exploring these relationships by the tools of zooming, filtering, and examining details. This exploration develops understanding, which provides insights into your business.
Step four: take action - use these insights to make changes to your business.
Step five: measure the results of the changes. If the results are positive, keep the change. If negative, discard the change. In either case, the change is a learning experience.

When this five step journey is repeated frequently, it becomes a key element in continuously improving your business.

Here at HTM, it's our job to gather and organize the numbers, and to convert the numbers to dynamic images, so our clients can focus on gaining insights, taking actions and measuring the results.

Now, I will demonstrate a tool our clients use to gain business insights - a set of dynamic images that follow the Overview, Zoom and Filter, Details when needed method.

HTM's data visualization tool (3:13)
To view all their data, our clients access the HTM Business Information Portal.

Clients use the portal to get standard reports for their corporate and regulatory filings, and to get dynamic views for analyzing their business. For many clients, employee expenses are important to manage, as they are the single largest variable business expense. Let's look at employee expense data from a sample client.

The view you see here is based on thousands of expense records over several years. At the top is an overview of expenses by month.

To see what makes up these expenses, you can look at the graphs below. They show the amount by Employee, By Expense Area, Cost center, Project group, and Project name. As you see, under Project, our client is working on several projects, such as project A, project D.

To zoom in on a period of time, use the slider on the timeline. For example, twelve months. As you move the slider, notice that all the graphs change. Any expense not made in the zoomed period is filtered out. As you can see, in 2016, the biggest expenses were for project B. How about in 2020? As you move the slider to 2020, in the Project graph, the biggest expenses are now for project A. To see how money was spent on project A, click on project A.

Here, the employees, expense area and the cost center graphs are filtered to only show project A. Clicking on project A again removes the filter. Let's put on the filter again. That's graphical filtering. Clicking on graphical elements to filter the data. Unlike entering numbers, using graphical filtering is quick, intuitive, easy. Let's get back to project A.

Below, you'll see details of every single expense.

Let's look at an another example of the Overview , Zoom and Filter, Details when needed method. This time, we take a closer look at the details when needed. First, I will reset the view.

Here, you see the overview of expenses by month in the month graph. Notice that March's expenses were high. To see why, click on the March bar. All the other graphs are filtered to show only the March expenses, and you see that Takeo Suzuki is the big spender. Clicking on Mr.Suzuki shows a large transportation amount, so let's click on transportation. Now you can see each individual expense. Notice here a large amount, an international flight. You now know that Mr.Suzuki flew back to the home office in March. One more click and you can see the scanned image of the airline ticket.

You just went from thousands of records over several years to one single expense in just three clicks.

What you saw is a process of asking questions - getting answers - gaining insights.

When numbers are converted to images, you immediately see the relationships between numbers. Seeing relationships prompts a question, the answer to which often produces an insight, which triggers a new question. This continuous process of asking questions - getting answers - gaining insights can produce insights you would not otherwise have, insights that inspire actions. This process is the core of step three in the journey - gaining insights. This is why dynamic images are powerful: changing the parameters of the dimensions allows you to continuously and easily ask questions, get answers, gain insights.

Conclusion (9:13)
For gaining business insights, quickly seeing relationships between your numbers is crucial. You need numbers that quantify the dimensions of your business, and you need to convert these numbers to dynamic images with graphical filtering. With the ability to quickly see relationships,
 • Relationships can be explored
 • Insights can be gained
 • Actions can be taken
 • Results can be measured
 • Business improves.

To learn more about how HTM Business Information Portal helps our clients improve their business, please contact us. Thank you for watching.

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