Top News – Data, Data Warehousing, Analytics & BI

November 15th, 2013
Stephen McDaniel
Chief Data Officer Advisor at Freakalytics, LLC

Finding it hard to make time to keep up with the rapidly changing world of data, data warehousing, analytics, data science, business intelligence and visual analytics?  We understand! Here’s our curated summary of relevant news that could help with your future data and analytic projects. We also add commentary on the topic, a summary of the article and the link to read the full article.

There are five articles in this update:
     Rapid-I data mining now RapidMiner, the Redhat of data mining?
     Integrating data and mobile trumps big data for many CFOs
     Bipartisan DATA Act unanimously approved by Senate Committee
     Can SAS Visual Analytics replace PowerPoint?
     Big data sources to consider for your company

Missed our last issue of Top News, November 11th? Stories included Big Data and Society, Data Mining Blues, 2014 INFORMS Conference, Facebook's Free Big Data System for Analysts, Adaptive Data Preparation, How Trust Affects the Use of Analytics and Meeting a VAST Challenge
2Rapid-I data mining now RapidMiner,
the Redhat of data mining?

German predictive analytics, data mining and text mining company receives $5M in funding and announces a planned move of their headquarters to Boston from Dortmund, Germany. I would liken it to the Redhat of data mining, with a free community edition and paid corporate editions that adds support, more data sources and more capabilities. With over 3 million downloads, 20,000 deployments and 400 paid customers including eBay, Intel, PepsiCo and Kraft you may want to consider RapidMiner for your advanced analytics projects. The 2013 KDNuggets poll showed RapidMiner’s free edition ahead of every other advanced analytics choice including R.

Rapid-I — a German specialist in analytics tools that wants to become the industry standard for how enterprises predict the future — is today announcing its first round of funding, a rebrand to RapidMiner, and a new HQ in Boston … also adding Yahoo’s former chief data officer, Usama Fayyad, to its board, and is starting to hire in the U.S.
4Integrating data in existing systems and mobile trumps big data for many CFOs

In a classic case of differences in Silicon Valley chatter versus traditional business environment realities, CFOs soundly stated that big data analytics is just a supplement to their current annual plans. While there is no doubt in our minds that value can be obtained across nearly every business from use of big data technologies, the massive potential remaining in structured data improvements, enhancements and simply growing use amongst wider swaths of companies employees in every-day decision-making is a much smarter area to invest in.

Mobile data technologies easily trumped big data investments, with 76% of CFO’s selecting mobile as a key area of emphasis. This includes wider data usage, enhanced sharing of insights and more timely data access.

Also of interest, 96% of CFOs agree that they need to obtain much greater value from their financial and operational data. We found it quite interesting they were split evenly between cost-cutting and innovation on the primary purpose of these efforts.

… only a quarter (23%) of respondents say that making better use of big data analytics will be among their companies’ priorities in 2014. And while 51% of the executives surveyed see opportunities to gain competitive advantage using big data analytics, a surprising 40% do not plan to increase spending in this area over the next year. For now, many finance executives are concentrating on improvements to current platforms and integration with existing tools before taking larger, calculated leaps. In fact, more than half (59%) of respondents say they still consider big data analytics to be a supplementary form of analysis, and that companies should develop their core analytical capabilities first.
3Bipartisan DATA Act unanimously approved by Senate Committee

Data hobbyists, political analysts, concerned citizens, watchdogs and lobbyists are behind this act. It would require the release of data linking federal spending to the programs of government agencies AND an expansion of to provide consistent, reliable, and searchable Government-wide spending data that is displayed accurately for taxpayers and policy makers. Notably, it would also put further accountability for the quality of this data on agency leaders, “improve the quality of data submitted to by holding Federal agencies accountable for the completeness and accuracy of the data submitted.”

“DATA will establish an open and accountable system for tracking every dollar spent by the federal government.” Sen. Warner said. “It is incredibly important in this budget environment to have reliable financial data to support the tough spending decisions that Congress will have to make in the coming years. Today’s vote is an important step to keeping policymakers and taxpayers better informed.”
5Can SAS Visual Analytics replace PowerPoint? (at least for data presentations)

Can visual analytics packages like SAS Visual Analytics reduce the time-consuming usage of PowerPoint among mid-level managers and executives? I can relate to the examples in this article and find it a good question to ask. My experience is it can become a good supplement, greatly reducing time on creating presentation, thereby allowing more time for the presenter to review the data and highlight key findings and speak more authoritatively on the topics at hand.


The same manager said the organization’s prior process was quite broken when he thinks about it now. Each department manager created a weekly PowerPoint package that would take at least an entire day to prepare and review. After they centralized their data with SAS Visual Analytics, the time dropped to an hour a week. The better outcome is that the vice president now trusts the data and thus the managers more.
1Big data sources to consider for your company

An infographic about a wide range of data sources that can enhance your business data warehouse efforts. Skipping to the bottom half of this infographic, you’ll find an extensive list of ideas including archival records, corporate documents, media content, data stores, business applications, public data sources, social media feeds, machine log data and sensor data. I have yet to work with a business that couldn’t find a few new ideas here that would benefit their analytic efforts.

Using Big Data, organizations can generate actionable insights that enable them to drive their business forward. Rapid integration of ever-expanding pool of data sources and types is opening a whole new world of possibilities. Learn where innovative companies are leveraging critical data from a wide variety disparate internal and external sources to meet business objectives.

- Kapow Software
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About the editor
Stephen McDaniel, Chief Data Officer AdvisoryStephen McDaniel is Chief Data Officer Advisor at Freakalytics, LLC. He advises Chief Data Officers, CIOs, CEOs and CFOs on how to develop and implement successful strategies for all aspects of data utilization, from collection to integration to storage to effective analytics that lead to higher profits and happier customers. Stephen also is an experienced educator, teaching thousands of students around the world how to leverage valuable insights from their data, offering public and on-site training workshops. With 25 years of experience, he has led and provided vision for data warehousing, business intelligence and advanced analytic teams at over two hundred companies including Loudcloud, Tableau Software, SAS Institute, Brio Technology and Netflix. Stephen is co-author of The Accidental Analyst, SAS for Dummies, Rapid Graphs with Tableau, and the Rapid Dashboards Reference Card.

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