Anant Corporation Blog: Our research, knowledge, thoughts, and recommendations about building and managing online business platforms.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for last week’s webinar! The webinar was a continuation of our business software 101 series and focused on available business intelligence (BI) applications for reporting dashboards. With the ever increasing number of online systems and related data, there are troves of information available for managers and executives to pore over when analyzing performance, planning for future opportunities, or identifying inefficiencies. This webinar talked through some of the different challenges decision makers face in this process and low-cost, but powerful, tools that are available to help in dealing with this challenge.
First was Metabase, an open source project with a strong developer community continually working to improve it (see GitHub page here), is one of the easiest BI tools to set up and get started with for non-technical users. This is one of our favorite tools as it doesn’t require users to be versed in SQL and it’s easy to generate automatic reports that can be emailed or integrated with messaging software such as Slack (which we love here at Anant!).
Next, we covered a more technical reporting tool called Redash. Users need to know some SQL or other database query languages to maximize its utility. The reporting tools are robust with the ability to handle and visualize large amounts of data.
We finished with two commercial products, Cyfe and Domo. Cyfe is a lightweight monitoring tool that can be paired with Alexa, Google trends, WordPress and more. Domo, which is widely considered to be one of the most sophisticated data integration and analysis tools, is an expansive platform that anyone interested in BI tools should check out before making a final decision (they have a free one-user demo account that you can sign up for here). We like Domo for its ability to handle queries that rely on millions of rows and its data manipulation features, which help with the process of extracting, transforming, and loading data. This process is commonly referred to as ETL and we have done it for a number of our clients.In short, while Domo is not open source, it provides a breadth of features not found in the other applications and is much more customizable to your needs.
You can find both a recording of the presentation and the accompanying slides below:
If you’re interested in learning more about please reach out to us directly or join us next month. We will look at approaches to managing the information and knowledge inside your company. You will come away with ideas about how to solve the challenge of finding the information you need but seems to be ever more difficult to find.
Business Software 101 Series:
Webinar 3 – Unifying Business Information with Portals and Dashboards (B2B)
Last week we hosted a monthly Strategy Breakfast at the brand new Social Tables office near Metro Center. The group discussed issues that hinder enterprises when they attempt to undertake big data centered solutions, lessons that can be applied from implementation mistakes, and best steps to ensure success in data analysis efforts. A special thank you goes out to Social Tables and its staff for hosting and participating as well as to Mike Seigel (@mikejsiegel) who made this event possible.
Many companies and enterprises are already looking at or understand the importance of harnessing value from their data. A critical point addressed at the breakfast related to determining what types of information you want to extract from your information; and that you may not know what queries to ask when starting out on the implementation of a “big data” analysis or integration endeavor. One attendee suggested listing out questions you believe the project will potentially answer and establish a baseline for success – establish your desired outcome for the project. These questions and the success threshold will vary by company but will help you focus on critical business problems or challenges you are attempting to overcome. Basically, these are questions you want answered and you can clearly explain why you want them answered. For example, will the answers provide a greater understanding of project costs? Ways to improve operational efficiency? Will they better or more quickly inform decision-making? This exercise should initially be done internally by company stakeholders from various departments before engaging an outside firm to help hone the questions and construct the infrastructure for a solution.
Over the course of the discussion, a consensus emerged that most big data projects aren’t really big data projects. Most of these projects are actually business analytics projects with a high level of complexity caused by the integration of both new and legacy systems. Many companies rush towards a “big data” solution without clearly defined business problems they want to address or not identifying benefits they wish to reap from their business information. Essentially, for a project to be successful a company needs to undertake a thorough assessment of its internal processes and desired outcomes to fully realize the benefits of data collection and analysis. Most “big data” projects don’t revolve around the issue of data sets being too big, as much as they do around connecting isolated data troves, appropriately framing the business benefits that will arise from answering data-driven questions, and finding the appropriate talent to build the infrastructure.
Join us later this month as we continue to look at technological issues facing today’s businesses and modern enterprises. The discussion will most likely focus on open-source data analysis tools you can use to help your company become more data-driven without making a significant monetary outlay. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any suggestions!
If you wish to learn more you can attend our webinar on “Unifying Business Information with Portals and Dashboards (B2B)” on October 14, at 10AM.