Monday, April 21, 2008

DIG Bits & Bytes

I had a couple of interesting articles come across the “ether” that I felt were newsworthy enough to post and comment on. They each hit on the themes of DIG: Data IN, Information OUT and Knowledge AROUND (The articles are not listed in that order):

Outsourcing your data warehouse

In this article
on TWeb by Jannie Strydom, the idea of outsourcing an organization’s data warehouse is proposed. The primary drivers are around lack of skills to properly maintain and keep the warehouse relevant to the business. As much as I agree with outsourcing the components of a warehouse that are repetitive and process oriented (loading data, maintaining production processes, fixing errors), it is a slippery slope to outsource aspects that are critical to meet the business needs. A strong understanding of an organization’s business model and needs should be weighed heavily against the value gained (typically cost savings) by outsourcing certain aspects of a data warehouse, especially those that can help facilitate better management of performance.

More on Enterprise Mashups

I made a post a few weeks back on BI and enterprise mashups. This news story
came out of the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo that caught my eye because of the mention of integration with Excel. In particular, the article discusses going beyond the geographic mashups being done with Google Maps and starts “mashing” multiple external data sources for enhanced analytics inside of Excel. For example, pulling competitor data directly into your own organization’s performance (I am working at a client where modeling this in their data mart has become a bit of a challenge). Two software companies that are mentioned in the article that are providing these type of mashup services and software are Kapow Technologies and JackBe Corporation. I have not kicked the tires on these two products but they sound extremely valuable to a business user trying to consume multiple and different types of data sources into a single “view”. I would like to understand how these products might fit into an overall information architecture from a consistency and “one version of the truth” perspective.

Business Intelligence and My Carbon Footprint

This one builds on the “everything must be environmental” and “green movement”. At the WTTC Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Dubai, Travelport announced their new Carbon Tracker reporting tool. It is designed for travel agencies and corporations to track their carbon footprint when it comes to corporate travel. It provides different analytic views using standard environmental calculations. The reporting tool includes travel budget and environmental impact analysis and comparison to other modes of travel (car, bus, train, flying). There is a slick product overview
with screenshots on the Travelport website. I am considering using this tool to calculate the carbon footprint of DIG in Las Vegas versus another location in the US. I may need to recommend that the speakers ride bicycles to the event to reduce our environmental impact. I know Mark Lorence would be up for it (Mark is an avid bicyclist enthusiast that continues to educate me on the nuances of professional cycling…we have a prediction market already established on his first post that links Lance Armstrong to Business Intelligence). I may need to start referring to the first theme of DIG as "An Incovenient One Version of the Truth".

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