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  • How much data is enough?

    While I don't feel an urge to argue the "should we use data or use our gut to make decisions" question nearly as much as I used to, I am noticing that there is the "data is good, data is great, more must be better" camp that is starting to occasionally make me think. The […]

  • Finding balance in your ETL strategy

    Organizations large and small can experience ETL (Extract Transform Load) bottlenecks in one way or another. The task is complex and significant damage to your business can occur due to inadequate ETL strategy (or lack thereof). In general, companies approach solving ETL needs in three different ways. ETL empires These are companies that have a […]

  • The top 3 reasons to automate your data preparation

    Almost everyone has "that data crunching" that they do once a month, or once a quarter or (these are often the really brutal ones) once a year. You go get the raw data, then you painfully, step by step, work your way through it- copy paste, cut and move, formula after formula in your spreadsheet […]

  • Avoid the Spaghetti

    Has this ever happened to you? You have built some fantastic analytics- you are the Business Intelligence hero, the fixer of data, the creator of reports. They ask you for something, you fix it. Data quality issue? No problem, you add filters, views, and report edits that hide the dirt. Its fast, its easy. You […]

  • Set up a test then check the data then decide

    How often do you argue to someone making a gut call the importance of being "Data driven"? In the business intelligence business, we've been talking about this for more than 20 years. I was very pleased to see that the City of Toronto, Canada (our home town) is doing some driving with data, and it […]

  • Putting data analysis into the hands of the business user

    Having too many people involved can slow down the entire analytics process- by using tools that are designed to be accessible by business users, huge gains can be made. However a challenge faced by all companies is connecting the business knowledge and data manipulation knowledge in a way that the data can be used. As […]

  • Small data in the age of Big Data

    Just a quick thought on the subject of small data. Don't hear much about that in the press these days- everything is BIG BIG BIG. But small- (and remember, small is still hundreds of thousands or millions of rows) is still critically important. I hope I'm stating the obvious here- but with some of the […]

  • Exact isn’t everything- Surf your data!

    Sometimes an analyst needs to take off the accountants hat, forget the urge to chase down every last penny, and instead put on their surfing gear, grab the data surf board (i.e. their set of prefered data tools), and just surf some data. There are some cases were "Exact" is the only acceptable level of […]

  • Data quality monitoring and reporting

    In the vast majority of cases, useful data sets are not static, but are being updated, added to and purged constantly. Data quality monitoring aims to provide data quality information that is also being constantly updated, and can be used to detect issues quickly, before the bad data piles up. Don't let those bad records […]

  • Automating data update for Tableau Server using Tabcmd and Datamartist

    Tableau is a wonderful, powerful visualization tool. If you have the data, it will generate insightful, powerful dashboards and reports. But actually getting the data is often the tricky bit. And having it appear in your dashboards and reports without having to press lots of buttons is the goal. (No one likes to have to […]