Top 5 Stories Worth Reading in Data, Data Warehousing, Analytics & BI

February 23rd, 2014
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! Each week, I read through hundreds of stories in this space and share the five (okay, this week I couldn’t stop and chose six) most worthwhile articles with you. Each article includes a summary and link to the full story. Please note that inclusion of an article does not indicate that I agree with every point in the article, but I at least find it thought-provoking and useful for informed debate.



Recruit Better Data Analysts

In the big data talent wars, most companies feel they’re losing. Marketing leaders are finding it difficult to acquire the right analytical talent. In the latest CMO Survey, only 3.4% senior marketers believe they have the right talent. Business-to-business companies have a bigger gap than business-to-consumer companies, as do companies with a lower percentage of their sales coming from the internet.  And yet analytic skill is a must for effective marketing.

Results indicate that companies with above-average marketing analytics talent experienced significantly greater rates of marketing return on investment (MROI) than companies with below average analytics talent…


Big Data doesn’t lie. Or does it?

If you’ve seen any indication that humans are getting smarter and more sophisticated, please inform me, and you don’t have to read what follows. For everyone else, who sees no lack of stupidity and misinformation in both business and public life, read on about the joys big data will bring.

The insights offered by analysis of big data are only as good as the human beings that create the data, gather and assemble it, decide what questions should be asked and how the data is presented. And interpreted, especially that.

I am very concerned that big data, misapplied and misunderstood, will create big lies. Or more likely a combination of lies and truths that prove very difficult to sort out.


What is Data Mining?

One way businesses can turn the information into something useful is through data mining. Data mining is a process used to analyze raw information to try and find useful patterns and trends in it.

“Data mining applications help users discover correlations and connections within large data sets,” Software Advice writes on its website. “These might have gone unnoticed without these algorithms.”


Scientific dashboard with periodic table of elements
Includes history, photos, great filters, discoverers and more

There is nothing we love more than sharing great examples of what is possible with visual analytics and dashboards. It’s one of the best ways to inspire new analysts and expand people’s horizons of the nearly infinite number of ways that visual analytics tools like Tibco Spotfire can be used.

This example was developed by Perkins Elmer Informatics using Tibco Spotfire. They really did their homework, creating a dashboard that explores many facets of the chemical elements with the periodic table as a familiar “menu” of the information presented.


The myth of the “Grand Unifying Dashboard” (GUD)
Can marketing investment be understood in one place?

Many providers of pay-per-click (PPC) search campaign management solutions – as well as analytics providers – are evolving their reporting and dashboards in a quest to give you a more complete picture of your marketing efforts. How actionable the information in those reports is depends on the accuracy of the data, as well as the willingness of marketing departments to move toward a more holistic way of managing resources.

A Mythic Vision

For years academics, deep thinkers, and even shallow thinkers in the marketing ecosystem have pondered the value and inevitability of the “unified marketing dashboard.” This mythic dashboard would not only contain big data on every touch point delivered to the consumer via paid, owned, earned, or shared media rolled up into an aggregate view, but also calculate the interaction effects among these touch points.


9 Key Big Data Developments at Strata
SAS, Hortonworks, MetaScale, HP Vertica and Autonomy,
Alpine Data Labs, Datastax and GoGrid

O’Reilly’s Strata 2014 conference is in full swing in Santa Clara, Calif., this week, and show organizers are turning a page with the conspicuous absence of the term “big data” from the major themes and conference tracks. It’s another sign that people are ready to go beyond the comic book version of what’s happening with data.

Many vendors making announcements at Strata have yet to pick up on the emphasis on productivity over hyperbole. The big-data buzz talk seems to be ladled into press releases in inverse proportion to what can be stated about specific capabilities and, more importantly, named customers citing real-world business benefits.

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