Data/BI/Analytics 101 [Knowledge Series]

Our new Knowledge Series brings together a group of previous posts for easier access to learning on relevant IT topics. First off is Data, BI and Analytics.

MIT Cosmologist, Max Tegmark, has formulated the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH) that is a highly speculative but very interesting theory about everything - our universe and all others. He suggests that the universe is not merely described by mathematics but is mathematics. The physical universe or external physical reality is a mathematical structure and some of the mathematical substructures that have self awareness (i.e. us) perceive themselves as physical reality.

That seems far fetched and probably a bit nuts to most non-Physicists, but then again, our digital universe is exactly that. This digital universe is growing and merging with our "physical" universe leading to data about everything and anything somewhere out there. Opportunities abound to benefit from the data via analytics. This year we have written several posts which provide an introduction or an awareness about Data and Analytics that can provide a spark for you to learn more. 

General/Overview

Data Everywhere explores the growth of data driven decision making starting with it's popularized growth in Sports, i.e. MoneyBall and transitioning into all industries, highlighting some impressive examples.

Data is like fuel, on it's own it's not very useful but only when it's fed through the engine of Analytics done the right way do you get positive results. Are We Turning Data into Knowledge? looks at how impressive technology, dashboards and reports may be less important then getting people to interact with data. The post looks at how the counter intuitive use of cognitive disfluency can be a catalyst to help us better understand and use data.

Analytics in Business

So you made the investment in technology such as Business Intelligence Software. Now what? You have to build the engine of Analytics into your organization. Building a Data-Driven Organization with BI and Analytics tries to answer questions like: What is Analytics?; How does Analytics and BI fit together?; Is their a difference between Data Science and Decision Science?; and "What are the keys to building an Analytics organization?.

5 Steps to Go from Data to Decisions goes a few layers lower and outlines the critical process steps for Analytics that will make your investment in the technology pay off. Skipping or short changing any of these lead to the unfounded belief that Data-Driven Decisions do not work.

With the incredible growth in this area, business leaders are challenged by the high demand and low supply of the needed skills to put Data and Analytics to work.  This infographic post highlights some of the needed skillsets to build a Big Data Dream Team.

The Business Intelligence Software You Didn't Know You Had is about our own experience in helping some clients use a BI software (PowerPivot/Power BI) that most company's using MS Excel have access to and can implement quickly without too much cost to begin their analytics journey.

Crazy Max Tegmark

Just kidding. Max Tegmark is not crazy. He is a highly respected and talented Physicist, who tends to be interested in the unconventional. Max provided my segway into the ubiquity of data and numbers in our lives but if you happend to be more interested in the multiverse than Analytics I thought I should mention a bit more. Those of you, like me, who grew up being bored by physics taught as simply calculating how high a ball goes up before falling back down, can be transformed by reading his book. The book,tailored towards "layman", tells us that physics is also about parallel universes where each of our possible decisions play out where in some other universe we may live a far different life from this one. In fact, there would be a parallel universe for every option we could have taken. And, while his theories are all grounded in math and known scientific principles, their very nature makes them virtually impossible to prove... at least currently.  Nevertheless, his book, Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, is a fun and fascinating read I highly recommend. If our high school teachers had started with parallel universe theory and then went to calculating how high a ball goes up before falling we may have paid more attention.

Hopefully I'm in the parallel universe where you have decided to read this post.

 

BIaaS & Microsoft BI Case Study