SWOT Analysis on Core Objectives of Looker Data Sciences

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Looker Data Sciences, founded by Lloyd Tabb (an ex-employ from Netscape and LiveOps) and Ben Porterfield in the year 2012(Looker Data Sciences, 2013c). A Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics based Software Company, formerly known as Llooker, Inc., working towards bringing informative data and analytics readily available to decision makers or business heads or even finance managers without having any prior knowledge on database languages, such as SQL (Structured Query Language), in an organization (Lunden, 2013).

COMPANY OBJECTIVES

Core Objectives

i. Objective 1 – To close the gap between data analysts and business teams, thereby making raw data easily available to every-one, in an organization, to discover and cognize the information derived to make daily decisions (Looker Data Sciences, 2013c).

ii. Objective 2 – Create a new data culture by making the data teams easily build an analytics platform that can be customized by the business teams to create business models or decisions (Swoyer, 2015).

SWOT Analysis on Core Objectives

i. Objective 1 SWOT Analysis

a. Strengths
1. New Product / Service
2. Founders are expertise in the field
3. Discovery-driven business model
4. Can be used by anyone in any department without any prior database experience (Tweney, 2015)
b. Weakness
1. Training data-analyst in the organization
2. New mark-up language means less information found on the internet
3. Data can be perceived by each individuals in an organisation differently, i.e. more time needs to be spend on meetings to discuss and reach a decision or conclusion
4. Browser-based tools can be slow over the internet and are not mobile-friendly hence business people who are constantly travelling cannot use this service with ease
c. Opportunities
1. New Market Segment
2. Service can be used by small start-up companies who cannot afford to keep a data analyst in the team (Lunden, 2013)
3. Most companies are data-driven and have large raw data that’s needs to be analysed (Tweney, 2015)
4. New International Market
d. Threats
1. Large multi-national competitors can easily follow the model
2. Due to large customer base, customer query response can take time, which could lead to unhappy customers
3. Since data can be accessed by anyone in an organisation, sensitive data could be leaked to competitors if not handled in a need to know basis and pay grade access levels
4. Since it’s a new technology, attrition of key team members can create a knowledge gap in the organization

ii. Objective 2 SWOT Analysis

a. Strengths
1. Human readable programming language used (Swoyer, 2015)
2. Database queries takes less time to write
3. Business people now can easily customize their dashboard (Swoyer, 2015)
4. Expertise in new technology
b. Weakness
1. At-least one data-analyst should be present in the organisation to create company specific analytics platform
2. Data-base query language, even though easy, still needs to be learned or familiarised by the user who needs to pull reports or data
3. Always needs access to internet
4. New infrastructure needed to maintain user specific data, such as username, passwords and user settings
c. Opportunities
1. New Market
2. Data driven business companies are large in number
3. International Marketing Options
4. Industry independent platform, meaning any company irrespective of the type of business or size i.e. large or small start-up companies can use this web-based software (Carney, 2013)
d. Threats
1. Risk of leaking sensitive data over the internet
2. Not an open-source software, prone to vulnerabilities in the network
3. Customer support needs to be provided 24 hours
4. Constantly changing market
c. Product / Service developed to attain Core Objectives – MIND MAP

(Looker Data Sciences, 2013a)

STAKEHOLDERS

a. Stakeholders

i. Objective 1 Positive and Negative Stakeholders

a. Positive Stakeholders
1. Investors
2. CEO (Looker Data Sciences, 2013b)
3. Chairman (Looker Data Sciences, 2013b)
4. Vice President of Engineering (Looker Data Sciences, 2013b)
5. Business Team Members
b. Negative Stakeholders
1. Data analysts or Data scientists (Tweney, 2015)
2. Business Intelligence Companies (Tweney, 2015)
3. Data-analysis companies (Tweney, 2015)
4. Competitors
5. Small start-up companies

ii. Objective 2 Positive and Negative Stakeholders

a. Positive Stakeholders
1. Customers of Looker Data Sciences
2. Project Manager (Lewinson, 2011)
3. Project Team Members
4. Vice President of Engineering (Looker Data Sciences, 2013b)
5. Investors
b. Negative Stakeholders
1. Competitors
2. Data Analysts
3. Business Intelligence Companies (Tweney, 2015)
4. Data-analysis companies (Tweney, 2015)
5. Consultants
b. Product / Service developed to successfully touch its objective goals – MIND MAP

FINANCIALS

a. Initial Investments received by Looker
Even though funded initially by the founders themselves, in August 2012, Looker Data Sciences received its first seed funding investments of $2 Million from two of the major venture capital investors First Round Capital and PivotNorth Capital (Lunden, 2013)
b. Why Looker needs the money
• Construct or hire an office building with good infrastructure supporting the work
• Hire a CEO
• Hire Employees with experience
• Buy couple of Coffee machines and Dishwashers to create super productive employees
• Marketing Looker’s existence and Looker’s Innovative products
• Research and Development
• Build customer care tools and knowledge databases to help anyone having a bad day with data
• Construct an easy sequel to SQL to ”wow” Oracle (Lunden, 2013)

RISKS

Risks and uncertainties cannot be avoided, they can only be calculated and learned from the past experiences of other companies in Business Intelligence (BI) field and bring its effects to a minimum (William S. Davis, 1998).
I. Tangible and Intangible risks related to Looker products and services
a. Tangible Risks
1. System or Server Failures (Basu)
Any hardware components can fail without warning, can affect customers globally.
2. Cyber Attacks on server network or Databases (Basu)
Attack on networks by hackers, for vulnerabilities, are common and can cost you millions if they succeed.
3. Rising Power Costs (Basu)
Sudden rise in energy costs can make the financial plans tumble.
4. Run out of money
If more money is spend in Research and Development without an end result, chances are company will go out of funds.
5. Hiring of key team members by a competing company
Competitive salaries offered by competing companies always attract employees, unless loyalty stops them (Trunk, 2007).
b. Intangible Risks
1. Evolving new technology (Basu)
A breakthrough in database technology, could make Looker products obsolete.
2. Natural Calamities
Weather could affect working or office hours or even destruction to infrastructure, in-turn affecting product delivery dates and penalisation by the customer.
3. Terrorist Attacks
Create damages to infrastructure and human resources both mentally and physically.
4. Economic Recession (ECON, 2007)
Customers cannot afford the services anymore, failure to pay employees.
5. Change in laws by Government
Economy is unstable, can cause risks in Global operations (Basu).

II. Measurement of risks involved
a. Tangible Risks
1. System or Server Failures
If one server fails, it will take a minimum of 12 hours (approx.) to setup a new server in its place and fire it up. Investing on storing data on redundant or multiple drives could solve this issue.
2. Cyber Attacks
Damage done due to hacking can of two types corrupt data thus affect services or steal sensitive information which could possess a threat to client companies by exposing their trade secrets (Condit, 2014).
Network security can be protected by using high level encryptions and virtual private networks (VPN) (Condit, 2014).
3. Rising Power Costs
Since servers and computers need be ON 24 hours, a large amount of power is consumed daily, an increment in the power prices can make a large difference and could hinder new hardware expansions.
Switching to renewable resources such as solar power for powering up lights and other electrical appliances could take the load off the main power. Also, buying new hardware which are eco-friendly can make a significant difference.
4. Run out of funds
Use of funds in Research and Development does not guarantee a successful product output. If a product fails to sell in the market, the entire pressure will be on the research and development department to find an alternate or innovative product. Hence, there is always a risk of company going bankrupt.
Limiting funds available to Research and Development department and running parallel experimental projects could help reduce risks.
5. Attrition Rate of Employees
Unexpected death or resigning of core members of the team can create knowledge gaps and can be a risk to the achievement of business goals.
Use the method of pair programming can be a good idea to start with to aid reduce knowledge gap risks (Villela, 2015).
b. Intangible Risks
1. New Technology
This could make the products and services offered worthless and customers could go to other service providers.
Research and Development team must keep their technology up to date and must be able to foresee such technologies coming up (Basu).
2. Natural Calamities
Unpredictable and could cause heavy damages on both buildings and humans, services can be affected for days.
Having multiple office locations could help in supporting renewal of services in a much faster pace.
3. Terrorists Attacks
Damages occurred can take days to fix, physiological rejuvenation could take months.
4. Economic Recession
Result in firing experienced employees, which could impact company’s expertise tag on the field. Restoring such gaps left by the dispersal of employees could take months (ECON, 2007).
Time and money could be spend on documenting each key actions and knowledge could help in a faster restoration process.
5. Change in Laws and Regulations
Government laws cannot be ignored, Ignorance can result in high fines and sanctions imposed by law makers (Basu). This can heavily affect company reputation in the market, causing investors to withdraw their investments.
Creating new practices and consulting business lawyers to cope with the passed laws and regulations are the only solutions.

REFERENCES
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