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New Year, New You.

December 31, 2012 by Jason Andrukaitis

Earn What You're Really WorthWith the new year right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to rethink one’s personal and career goals. Many of us may have been planning on going back to school, asking for a raise, changing careers, or simply doing better at our current job, and now is the time to solidify those goals and achieve them in the new year.

In Earn What You’re Really Worth, Brian Tracy argues that by using care, planning, and written exercises, people can better achieve their goals. He believes people must continually examine their work lives and continually update their skills and knowledge, and insists that people should always aim high and treat life as a continuing process of education and reinvention. Tracy aims to break down some of life’s most formidable goals into a concise, easy-to-understand plan.

Tracy shares the following advice with readers:

  1. Success is a personal decision that every individual makes, no matter how tough or expansive the job market.
  2. People must work harder and smarter today because the age of affluence has ended, replaced by an age of turbulence.
  3. Everyone, ultimately, works for themselves, and must continually upgrade their skills and knowledge.
  4. A successful career requires frequent reassessment–often, done in writing.
  5. Identify the key result areas of every job, and master them all–weakness in even one can sabotage an entire career.
  6. Everyone should be prepared to sell themselves.
  7. “Live” by lists–because writing down goals focuses on setting priorities, and on planning and scheduling the best ways to achieve them.
  8. A person’s character and reputation are among their most crucial assets.
  9. Never be afraid to ask at work–for an increase in responsibilities, a higher salary, or another request.
  10. People must be in the right job for the right company to earn what they’re really worth.

With firm goals in mind and the willpower and tools to achieve them, anyone can become more personally and professionally successful in 2013.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Top 10 BI Predictions for 2013 and beyond

According for Boris Evelson from Forrester Research, one of the most popular BI trends in 2013 will be embracing agile BI tools that are based on flexible in-memory models. And the biggest challenge IT will have to face is controlling and managing these departmental data discovery tools in addition to the corporate BI platform and standards.

“BI has traditionally been ruled by over insistence on enterprise wide standards and a single version of the truth. These will continue to be important, but they won’t be the Holy Grail. A purely standards-based approach to addressing most current business requirements is neither flexible nor agile enough to react and adapt to ever-changing information requirements.”

“BI tools that support the right amount of managed end user self-service will become popular.”

Read full article to learn more about this trend and other predictions for BI:

Top 10 BI Predictions for 2013 and beyond

Big Data Analytics: Your Company’s Secret Sauce

As the big data evolution continues to drive industry trends and demand, many user organizations are turning their attention to advanced analytics as a way to gain deeper, more relevant insight from their ever-growing data sets. 

Many of these businesses are deploying teams and tools for big data analytics in silos that are disconnected, partially or wholly, from the rest of their enterprise. Unfortunately, organizations in this situation aren’t getting the full business value of their new insights because they are rarely shared throughout the company.

One solution to this common problem is to operationalize big data analytics. In this Webinar, industry expert Philip Russom shares why analysts must take their insights to the business intelligence (BI) team and not just their immediate management—and why doing so can benefit the entire organization.

You will learn about:

  • The importance of turning isolated, ad hoc analytic insights into repeatable BI solutions consumed by a broad range of users
  • Technologies and best practices that help you operationalize one-off analytic epiphanies based on big data and other data sets
  • How establishing this analytic culture can become your organization’s competitive “secret sauce”

Register Now: Operationalizing Big Data Analytics
When: Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 9:00 a.m. PT 
Speaker: Philip Russom

Stay Current and Connected: Register for multiple upcoming Webinars

Can data warehousing speed up with the advent of Big Data?

Posted on January 16th, 2013 at 2:38 pm by Paul van der Linden   |  Link   |  Comments (0) 
Theme: AnalyticsLatest Post  |  Tags: 


The majority of the data warehouses in the Netherlands is between eight and twelve years old.  During that period of time data warehousing has become accepted as the main architecture for providing information for reporting and analysis in support of decision makers. Unfortunately, the data warehouse was never designed to integrate the growing amounts of unstructured data, commonly referred to as “Big Data”.

But not only the data structure versus the setup of the data warehouse constitutes a problem. Big Data also challenges data warehouses as to the speed with which data becomes available, which is many times greater than data warehouses were supposed to handle. The question that therefore arises is: “Will data warehouse survive the Big Data challenges?”

Big Data
The business case for the data warehouse is that it acts as a ‘’single version of the truth”. A single logical store collecting and reconciling data from multiple systems, providing information and results in a unified manner to the business. An almost infinite source to extract valuable business insights from. In practice, however, as the volumes of data increases, the data warehouse becomes “obese”.  Data comes in at regular times, with the ‘exercise’ done on the data warehouse limited almost exclusively to standard reporting and some analysis. Perhaps even more important, with the rise of Big Data, data is coming faster and in greater volumes, while there is a smaller time window to collect, combine, and transform this into actionable information.

Organizations need to understand that Big Data is not only about bigger quantities of data, it’s also the fact that it’s mostly unstructured. Data warehouses are built on relational data models that are very well suited to support transactional systems and the structured data used. An important part of Big Data however is unstructured (or semi-structured) data -for example audio, video and e-mails-. Not something the data warehouse was ever expected or designed to handle.

Big data giving (re)birth to data warehouse
For now it seems that the data warehouse is still here to stay, representing the most cost effective way to streamline and unify structured data in support of business needs. Organizations with a data warehouse wanting to make use of Big Data currently have two options: combining or fusing Big Data with their data warehouse. By combining traditional data warehouses with emerging Big Data technologies organizations can gain insights from both structured and unstructured data. Another option is to fuse Big Data technologies into existing data warehouse products. An example of this approach is Microsoft PDW (Parallel Data Warehouse) appliance which has Hadoop-technology embedded.

With Big Data requiring new approaches and tools to deal with this overwhelming amount of unstructured data in an efficient manner, the death of data warehousing is far from reality. In fact, data warehouses are combining and/or fusing with Big Data technologies in order to take advantage of Big Data. Business value coming from Big Data is derived from advanced analytics based on the combination of both traditional enterprise data and new data sources. With the advent of Big Data, it seems like Big Data is giving rebirth to the data warehouse.


It Used to Take Three Highly-Trained Professionals to Make a Presentation

September 2, 2009    |    Nancy Duarte

The opening line in my new MOST favorite book is, “The response to a visual presentation will determine its value.” No, this is not a newfangled book on presentations written this year, it’s the book “Practical Charting Techniques” written in 1969 by Mary Eleanor Spear, the statistician of governments and Presidents. My good friend Glenn Hughes at Hues Works turned me on to this book and it’s a gem.

Apparently in the “olden days” when I was 7 years old, presentations were made with careful planning and close collaboration between the communicator, the graphic analyst a, and the draftsman because that would yield the best results. These three roles would collaborate to ensure that the presentation has only ONE interpretation.


I love the above graphic because it depicts exactly why presentations are broken today. There used to be three significant roles played in the development of a presentation and each role was done by a highly trained specialist. Today, anyone who builds presentation has all three of these roles folded into one eliminating collaboration all together, yet we’re not officially trained in any of these skills.

By collaborating around the chart, it ensures that each chart makes:

  1. A statistical fact more graphically explicit
  2. A point of view more significantly emphasized
  3. An economic situation more clearly visualized.

The viewer’s first impression upon seeing a chart is vital. Attract him, and you can hold him if your message is clear and concise. Do not clutter up the chart. Trying to tell too much will only confuse the story.

Next time you have an important presentation that uses charts or data of any kind, at least meet with someone else to get another perspective on whether you’re using the data in the most effective way


Cheating by Charting. An excerpt from Spear’s Practical Charting Techniques

September 18, 2009    |    Nancy Duarte

There are few of us who, at at one time or another, have either exaggerated or shaded the truth by either bragging or playing down a story. What we say may not be an untruth, but we want to emphasize one fact to a certain party, and a different fact to another.

The same bragging or playing down can appear artfully in many types of charts. When and how do these distortions occur? They may be cleverly planned or happen unwittingly during the production of the visual.

Two distortions of the grid that occur most commonly:

1. The flexible grid: One of the easiest ways to give more or less movement to the trend of a curve is to expand or contract the horizontal or vertical axis of the chart. The chart below shows a correctly scaled trend and six ways the visual image changes by expanding or contracting the grid layout.

visual image charts_slide1

2. Skipping the grid: A familiar layout in reports and advertisements is seen here:


In order to dramatize the story, a little fudging is done with the time scale. It’s not noticeable at a glance that the time sequence is not uniform. It seems to be a neat, clean-cut, see-how-we’ve-grown story. Also, the dates being aligned parallel to the base line make the irregular date plotting less noticeable.

If you look at the chart below, it shows what the trend looks like when laid out with the correct grid spacing for each year. Amounts plotted for the given years are the same as in the chart above. Spread out this way is not as dramatic, but is the true story.



BIRT Roadshow Tampa, FL. and Oakland, CA


Dear Actuate BIRT Group Members,

We’re kicking off the 2013 BIRT Roadshows in Tampa, FL and Oakland, CA the beginning of February. Don’t miss your chance to learn how to use cutting-edge Rich Internet Application development technologies to empower your users with interactive, compelling data visualizations. 

Attend the event and you will receive:
– An afternoon of interactive, hands-on training valued at $600
– A solid foundation of Actuate’s BIRT technology
– FREE software evaluation licenses: Actuate BIRT Designer Pro and BIRT iServer

To register, or for more information, visit:
Tampa, February 6th – http://bit.ly/U5d3Qd 
Oakland, February 7th- http://bit.ly/X74uVC 

Actuate BIRT Group Administrators