Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Data analysis findings in insurance fraud

It has been just over six months since we began providing on-line analytical services to one of our customers.  Their business focuses on insurance fraud detection, and through the use of Bimotics, exceptional cost-savings have been achieved and valuable lessons have been learned.  This project continues to be a success, with high customer satisfaction and glowing feedback from our customer. We have been able to demonstrate such great benefits in such a short time that considerations are being made to expand our reach into other types of insurance plans and other insurance providers.

For this project, Bimotics built a product for processing, storing and analyzing a huge amount of insurance claims data (millions of rows and data fields), allowing for auditors to find trends, patterns, outliers and further detailed analysis of the individual transactions. Basically, we allowed them to cull through an ocean of data and raise red flags, pinpointing where potential fraud was taking place.  We leveraged our proprietary Data Mart model which allowed us to analyze multiple insurance companies within a single data model.  This significantly smoothed the learning curve for auditors allowing them to focus on the analysis and not on the different data nuances of each company. Finally, our HIPAA compliant system (medical record integrity certification) allowed auditors to securely analyze millions of records within seconds.

The results so far have beat expectations:
  • Around $10 million in recognized savings after identifying the impact of claims for procedures that have limited medical value in unique scenarios.
  • 1,000s of claims were wrongly adjudicated.
  • Data Analysis can be used instead of on-site auditing because of greater efficiency with more results.
  • Less than 5% of identified providers in the sample represented more than 80% of the total amount of auditable claims. This analysis allowed our customer to focus on personal audits with the most potential impact, reducing time and high cost audit resources. In this scenario, the audits were performed on less than 1% of the total providers list and maximized results.

Lessons learned from this Customer:

  • The software-as-service business model made this project possible because capital investments were unnecessary, start up costs were low, and the customer could hit the ground running. The SaaS model plus consulting services allows business to start within days without the need for high initial cost and IT headaches.
  • Automating the data cleansing process after identifying each new need had the greatest impact on decreasing turnaround time. Millions of records were imported, standardized and analyze within minutes, not hours or days.
  • Collaboration is key, especially when the team of analysts are global or not in the same location. Secure web dashboards allow us to efficiently share and consistently communicate our findings.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bimotics – What’s In a Name?

On a recent trip to Silicon Valley, we got to have an interesting conversation with a so-called “cloud evangelist”, a charismatic character who preached the good word of all things tech and cloud solutions in particular. During the course of our discussion, he was interested in how we became so passionate about building Bimotics and how our unusual name came to be.  After hearing our answer, he encouraged us to share it with our customers.

Our Name

Bimotics stands for business intelligence automation. We got the name by taking the abbreviation for business intelligence, “B.I.”, and merging it with the word “domotics” which is the word for home automation.  We chose this name because it embodies what we set out to achieve -- automating the  processes required to bring fresh, easily identifiable, and actionable insights to companies. Efficiencies gained from this automation allow Bimotics to provide powerful yet affordable solutions to small and medium sized businesses. The same principle applies to our developer tools which automate the steps needed to build big data solutions.

Our Logo

The concept behind our logo is pretty cool, if not slightly nerdy.  As an analytics company, we wanted to show something of a bar chart, incorporating colors often used to denote visualizations like green, yellow, and red.  At the same time, we wanted to capture the heart of Bimotics analytics by depicting various data sources, represented by colored boxes, knit together. That’s our logo on the surface. 
Looking under the hood however, reveals our inner geekiness.  Embedded in the logo is the binary code for “B.I.”. The yellow box is in the 2nd position representing “B” and the red and green are in 1st and 8th position which stands for “I” (the 9th letter in the alphabet).  

We are a technology company through and through, and it is reflected in our name, our icon, and everything we do!

Monday, March 31, 2014

4 ways to getting Sales Analytics through The Trough of Disillusionment

One of Gartner’s proprietary research methodologies is the so called “Hype Cycle”, which attempts to measure on a curve, where a technology or technological term is in its popularity maturity cycle.  The main components as you would expect are 1) the sharp rise as visibility increases and the technology is the talk of the town, 2) the peak, 3) the trough of disillusionment where the technology’s value delivered does not exceed the early excitement generated, 4) climbing the slope back upward as the hype wears off and the technology proves its worth, and 5) finally the plateau where the technology has matured and is in better line with consumer expectation.

Late last year, there was a lot of buzz about how Big Data is hitting its peak where its benefits and value are near-term overstated and expectations are highest.  After its rapid uphill climb, Big Data is for the first time looking down the other side of the slope and now it will have to prove value against dissenters and trek to the other side of the valley.  Information Week, had a pretty interesting article about it here.

What struck me the most was the steep descent of Sales Analytics and Gartner’s expectation that it will be mired in the trough of disillusionment for the next 5 years . I find this to be a shame as so much work and investment is going into sales analytics, and results thus far are not living up to the hype.  

Having worked in enterprise business analysis, I have seen firsthand the behavior, characteristics, and technological limitations of sales users -- and it drove the vision to start Bimotics.  With that, I have gathered insight about the subject of Sales Analytics and sales dashboards and have listed a few suggestions that may save the subject and get the group as a whole over to the slope of enlightenment!

  1. Speed things up! - With the volume of relevant data and analytics, it is easy to make users wait for the information to load. Sales people are stereotypically impatient with shorter attention spans, so if you want them too look at analytics don’t make them wait.
  2. Clean it up! - Sales dashboards and analytics should look as polished as the sales materials that sales reps give to to their customers. I found usability is profoundly important with this user group.  Do not expect them to click around to look for something.
  3. Show the money! - Sales dashboards and analytics that don’t show the monetary impact are just not interesting to sales representatives who are generally incentivised by commissions and making a revenue quota. Blending information on commissions, pipeline value, opportunity size and bookings will certaining make the analytics more interesting and valuable.
  4. Encourage sharing and collaboration!: When planning a sale to a Sales Executive, a rule of them is to highlight how easy it is to share and communicate. This is because being able to work as a team and communicate to others is very important to sales.  Analytics and insights from a sales metric should be captured in the tool itself and sharable with a team.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our 7 Whys

I am an avid follower of David Cumming’s Blog on Startups. Any entrepreneur with a technology startup can benefit from a quick read of his posts, especially if you have a SaaS.   The content that posts each week is both easy to read and often timely. Recently, there was a post on the questions entrepreneurs should ask themselves frequently. This is how Bimotics answered:

  1. Why are we doing this?
@Bimotics our mantra is shine a light on the path that leads to that “Good to know!” moment.  We truly believe that we can strengthen and improve small and medium sized businesses by giving them real-time analytics and information about their activities and operations. Our developer tools enable big data analysis as well.
  1. Why is now the right time to do this?
The time is now for Bimotics because non-technical people have begun accepting and using cloud technology in their daily lives. Cloud technology has finally evolved to the point where thousands of people can access extremely vast amounts of data at lightning fast speeds. These two conditions make it the right time.
  1. Why are we going to win?
We built a solution that seasoned developers said was impossible.  We now have a track record of proving our naysayers wrong.  We have a growing list of businesses that are signing up for our service even when others said that it would never happen. We are listening to these customers and steadily improving our product line. With our persistence and support from a highly qualified team, we are going to win.
  1. Why aren't we doing even better?
Fund raising has been slow; and we need to sharpen the way we communicate our offering. We are improving how we reach the right people but we can do it better.
  1. Why do employees want to work here?
Our team is excited about our position on the leading edge of innovation. They are also good people who believe that a robust and profitable business can flourish while maintaining a positive mission statement and the highest standards of ethics.
  1. Why is this the right product?
From the very beginning, our analytics software has been tailored for the small and medium sized business specifically. We didn’t simplify a product that was built for enterprise needs.
  1. Why do customers love us?
Our customers have said that Bimotics has become an invaluable tool to them in their day to day business. That’s “Good to know!”, and we couldn’t be happier!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Google Cloud Platform Training at Google HQ

What A Week It Was…Google Cloud Platform Training @Google HQ

Hello!  Roberto here, stepping in to write a quick note and give you an update on the trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.  I had a great time, and after an intense week and a series of grueling exams, I am happy to say that we are now an official Partner on the Google Cloud Platform Program!

Here we are, with our Bimotics name in lights: Google Technology Partner 

Google’s Cloud Platform Training for Partners is by invite only and allows cutting edge technology companies like Bimotics to train and receive education on the best practices of the Cloud platform.  Google’s training was not limited to Partners only, but to Googlers that use their own Cloud platform to manage internal products. I mingled with Googlers (Google employees) from the Cloud Platform solution as well, toured the campus, and even dined at the famous Charlie’s CafĂ© (chef of the Grateful Dead band).

The training focused on 5 cloud platform products and services:
  1. Google App Engine is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering that lets you build and run applications on Google’s infrastructure.
  2. Google BigQuery solves the problem of querying massive datasets by enabling super-fast, SQL-like queries against append-only tables, using the processing power of Google's infrastructure.
  3. Google Cloud Storage allows world-wide storing and retrieval of any amount of data and at any time.
  4. Google Cloud SQL is a MySQL database that lives in Google's cloud.
  5. Google Compute Engine is a service that provides virtual machines that run on Google infrastructure.
It was a busy week, but a wonderful and rewarding experience.  We are sure to build on the success of been now a Qualified Partner as this raises our profile and gives us great exposure on a global level.  More notes to follow in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

5 things we are looking for in our next employees

Since the beginning of the year, Bimotics has made significant progress towards catching the attention of people from different backgrounds and skills who would like to join our startup.  This is in stark contrast to just a year ago, when we were greeted with encouragement but far more skepticism. Since we are growing, we are looking for team members both on the business and marketing side as well as the technical developer side. Aside from the specific expertise desired, here five common themes we will be looking for in our next employees.

  1. Passionate about innovation: our team members need to have a burning desire to learn new ways of doing things or new technologies that can propel Bimotics forward.
  2. Good natured: we want teammates that are are not “jerks”.  We want people who are both nice and respectful inside the office and out.
  3. Self-propelled: startup culture requires people to be extremely self-motivated while working to create something as a team that the world has never seen before.  Our new hires will always find active ways to be helpful and productive.

Do you have these traits?  How would you apply them to our team?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Defining culture

There has been a lot of literature lately about creating and defining startup culture from the beginning.

Many seasoned entrepreneurs and famous founders talk of regret for not cultivating an organizational personna from the outset of the endeavor. As a startup, Bimotics is currently a handful of people that enjoying working together. As we grow, we are bound to face challenges to maintaining the productive and enjoyable atmosphere that we cherish.
What do you think?  I’m excited to find out and equally excited to be a part of a culture like this!
Looking ahead, Roberto and I set out to define the core principles and values that are the cornerstone of Bimotics. The following is our first attempt at a cultural policy.

0. Have fun!  You should enjoy doing your job!
1. No jerks allowed, be humble
2. Do no evil, business decisions should not bite us back
3. Don't spend money if there is a similar service for free
4. Teamwork, no decisions are made in a vacuum
5. Innovation, automation and ease of use are a priority
6. Business processes should not interfere with policy #2
7. Explore new concepts and actively share them
8. Bring your personal passions and interests, what drives you?
9. Don't be afraid to fail, take educated risks and learn from mistakes
10. Speak up!

What do you think?  I’m excited to find out and equally excited to be a part of a culture like this.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Small business Buying Behavior: Evaluating the Total Cost of Ownership vs ROI

Expanding on the insights garnered from our target customers at the expos earlier this month, I learned that total cost of ownership (TCO) could be the differentiating factor when small businesses consider Bimotics alongside other analytics software, especially among business owners.  TCO is a financial estimate intended to help determine the direct and indirect costs of a product or system.  For analytical solutions, cost to a business often includes software, hardware, and the IT resources need to implement and maintain them.  For a typical business intelligence system, the TCO can run easily in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Bimotics understands that TCO is actually a barrier to adoption for small business.  That is why we are focused on an affordable subscription model where we take on the cost of IT resources and the maintenance of it, and offer our package at a substantially lower cost.  Our TCO as well as purchase price is considerably lower compared to enterprise level technology providers while providing the essential analytics that businesses demand.  In the future, we are looking to run several experiments in order to further characterize price sensitivity.  

We recognize that measuring TCO is a very important conversation to have since analytics software in general is faced with a return on investment (ROI) dilemma, i.e. “is the software we are purchasing worth the cost?”. You see, the benefits of analytics, metrics, charts and business intelligence are not always easily measurable.  Indeed, agreement regarding the dollars saved can be disputed and debated depending on who is doing the measuring.  

For those stuck in the middle of an ROI debate, price, operational efficiency, and TCO play a critical role in the decision making process.  Affordable solutions like Bimotics virtually end this debate.  We firmly believe that the long-touted value of business analytics is nearly indisputable, with proven benefits and insights which can in turn improve everything from revenue growth to sales force development, from marketing to supply chain.  Finding an analytics package that does grow your business with minimal TCO is a key to success.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Notes From the Road -- What We Learned at the Miami Small Business Expo

What a great week at Bimotics! The entire team got to update their pitching skills, but more importantly put faces and names to the businesses we work to serve each day. We spent two days traveling to small business exhibitions, talking to dozens of local and regional potential customers and fine-tuning our sense of what small businesses need.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • People who understand the benefits of business metrics and analysis but “are not there yet” are great for validating our explanation of the value Bimotics brings, but most likely will not fit into the sales cycle we are targeting because it takes a while to set up and use standard business practices.
  • Technology providers that cater to small business are asked quite often where to get analytics and business intelligence systems that fit a tight budget. Possible partnerships and cohort awareness will definitely help us generate leads and grow our business.
  • Demand for business intelligence solutions significantly drops off when solutions reach the $10,000 price point.  Those with higher price tolerance tend to be service-type companies who use analysis as part of their main offering. Bimotics is pricing our service in line with other small business applications.  We also know that we can tap greater demand at a much lower price point.
  • Although technical startups are interested in our analytical software, they tend to fall into the “innovator” rather than the “early adopter” bucket.  What this means is that if we focus on selling just to technical startups, we may not be able to get the critical mass of small businesses we need.  Our goal is to serve all businesses but word of mouth and trust will come easier from non-technical startups, or businesses that are slightly farther along in their development.

Ultimately we left the events with even greater focus on what we need to do to cater to different customer bases and understand how their needs differ.  Our first and immediate post-conventions actions are to schedule product demos with the businesses that expressed interest and continue building local relationships.

Of the dozens of people that we spoke with, all were inspiring.  They were happy to share their stories of success in surmounting challenges in their businesses. They did not complain about budget or about having assembled the perfect team before they figured out a solution.  We were left with a renewed sense of persistence and optimism towards entrepreneurship and providing analytics services that businesses will find invaluable.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

SMB behaviors toward Analytics

This week, the Bimotics team is headed to the annual Small Business Expo in Miami, one of the largest of its kind in South Florida, where hundreds will be in attendance. While we are using this opportunity to network and learn more about a wide range of small businesses and their reporting and analytical needs, we will be listening specifically for feedback as to why small businesses feel challenged when using data and analytical information. We will also be listening for reasons that prevent them from investing in metrics/analytics in the first place.

As our products continue to gain traction in the marketplace, it is critical to us to understand what makes businesses continue to use metrics and what causes businesses to stop using them once they have been established and measured. We are advocates on the subject and firm believers in the need for ongoing diligence in monitoring the health of a business through metrics.  
Bimotics has always assumed that the SMB would not adopt and continue to use analytical dashboards as long as they remained complex and expensive.  This is why Bimotics has been so meticulous in our efforts to make sure our designs are easy to use, intuitive and plug and play, and affordable. Our solution hits the sweet spot where specialized (and previously unaffordable) IT is made economical and easy, thereby solving the total cost of ownership challenges most small businesses run into.
We want to ensure that businesses continue to use, enjoy, and profit from business analytics, and we look forward to further validation and feedback at the expo.  In an effort to gain a holistic look at SMBs attitudes toward analytics we will be taking notes on the following:
  • Relevancy of analytics day-to-day operations and long term objectives
  • Sophistication of the organization and the desire for convergence of data across people and teams
  • Financial acumen and overall knowledge of metrics and their uses
  • Preferences for the graphical representation of data
  • Technical skill and quality of in-house data
  • Time and staff devoted to financial and business analysis
We are looking forward to it and we will keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The true bottom line

What is your bottom line?  
That is the question most everyone running a business is asked. But the exact meaning is often misunderstood as gross profit. Indeed the bottom line is actually net profit or net profit on sales. It is the company's reported income after everything is taken into consideration- taxes, normal operating revenues and expenses, extraordinary charges, and  financial income. Owner value increases as net profit increases by adding to the company’s retained earnings.  At the end of the day net profit is the key metric to answering the question “what’s in it for me”?.
Because net profit represents the bottom line, all business factors drive this number. When analyzing your operations, it is essential to figure out what is impacting your bottom line. Experts have actually recommended that incentives not be based on the net profit metric because they say the average employee (not the CEO) cannot easily tie their day to day tasks to impact on net profit. Since it is an aggregate it blurs individual contributions, it is not meaningful in explaining what one task needs to be done better and thus doesn’t seem controllable. The bottom line should always be reviewed as the roll up of what it happening.
How Bimotics can help:  Your company’s bottom line is easily accessible through Bimotics if you use Quickbooks accounting software. Since we connect directly to the application, bringing in this metric to your dashboard is as simple as selecting it from the Bimotics analytics gallery.  As a summary or roll up metric, you need to look at this metric quarterly.  Analyzing trends your net profit and profit margin on a quarterly basis will give you and your shareholders a good idea on how well you are paying out.