Be sure to attend the following sessions:
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Be sure to attend the following sessions:
Thursday, September 25, 2014
That was the task my wife gave me and it appeared within my abilities. Surely, I could be done within an hour.
My wife had already spent thirty dollars on a brushed metal doorbell that looked nice during the day with a back-lit button you could see at night.
On Saturday, I jumped into action and removed the old buzzer button, a simple twenty-year old plastic box. I pulled the doorbell away from the door frame and undid the twisted wires. Quite brittle, they broke easily. To get more length, I tried to pull the wires out farther, but they would not budge. If I was not careful, I would have to instead buy a wireless doorbell.
I examined the new doorbell as I took it out of the package. While the old one had just laid on top of the wood, this one had an inch-long metal piece that was supposed to fit inside a 5/8-inch wide hole. A search of my tool box came up empty for that particular drill bit. Plus, I didn't really believe the doorframe was deep enough.
"Look," I explained to my wife, "this isn't going to work" and presented various reasons to discard her plan.
With open disappointment, she agreed; I put the old button back in place. Ding dong, it still worked.
At the home improvement store, we bought a different thirty-dollar brushed-metal doorbell button; this one could lay flat against the door frame but did not have a light, a compromise.
On the next Saturday, I went back to work. How hard could this be?
I once again removed the old doorbell button. This new one had two pieces: a back that attached to the door frame with screws, and a front that snapped onto the back. The wires gave me grief, but I was finally able to attach the new doorbell button.
This one would not lay flat; some type of plastic protrusion on the back always got in the way. The last doorbell ringer needed a hole, so I considered that as a potential solution for this situation. I got out a power drill and started poking little holes in the door frame.
Ultimately, I was able to get the button to lay flat. When I tried to snap on the front, however, it would not close; something was preventing the snap from catching. I completely removed the doorbell, busted some more holes behind it, hooked it up again, took it off, and repeated several times.
By now I was frustrated. It wouldn't snap close, so I decided to try to keep it shut with some Gorilla Glue.
No luck. With brown glue spots all over the door frame and a ruined doorbell, I had failed. Trying to remove the Gorilla Glue mess, I scrubbed off patches of door frame paint. I tossed the thirty-dollar buzzer in the trash and once again returned the old plastic one to its proper place. Ding dong, it still worked.
Okay, I needed to stop and think about this. What approach was best? I still had the original back-lit doorbell buzzer that my wife wanted. I needed the right tools to do the job.
I made another trip to the home improvement store and bought a 5/8-inch hole drill bit with diamond grit (coincidentally, another thirty dollars). While there, I picked up white paint to cover the Gorilla Glue fiasco.
On the third Saturday, I removed the old doorbell buzzer, drilled the hole, and put in the new buzzer; it just barely fit. With some silicon chalking around the button and some white paint to cover mistakes, all was good. Ding dong!
After replacing this legacy piece of hardware, here are some of my personal insights:
- I started without assessing the situation
- I never had a proper plan
- Having never done this before, I did not have the proper know-how, expertise, or skills
- I did not have the proper tools to do the job
- It took longer than expected (especially without plan, skills, or tools)
- It cost more than expected
- I could have saved by hiring a professional
My personal experience with a doorbell buzzer is similar to companies replacing their legacy business systems. How hard could it be, for example, to get rid of old reporting applications and convert all of the existing procedures to newer technology?
Upper management already bought the new BI product, so you just assign the conversion effort to the college intern. How hard could it be? Surely, she can knock it out quickly.
Ding dong: no up-front assessment, no planning, no accurate expectations as to time and cost, no specialized skills or tools, minimal progress every Saturday.
You may consider a legacy system modernization initiative as a one-off project your team can just fumble through and then forget about. That can be the painful approach and you may have to cover up mistakes afterwards. Before you do that, consider there are professionals who have done modernizations before and who have developed methodologies and automated software to reduce the time, cost, and risk.
Don't be a ding dong.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
IB wrote this about Wendy's enterprise dashboard:
At the beginning, the idea was for an "above-the-store" executive portal where a few individuals could see all of the company's KPIs related to revenue, speed of service, costs, and customer satisfaction. However, it did not take long before thousands of decision makers at different levels of the QSR organization asked for access to that valuable information.
For more information, see IB's press release.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
WebFOCUS for BI/BA Application DevelopmentWebFOCUS is a powerful enterprise Business Intelligence and Analytics platform well-suited for today's complex and rapidly-changing environment. The software is produced by privately-held American software vendor, Information Builders.
As part of WebFOCUS, Information Builders provides two BI/BA application development tools, one for business developers and another for IT technical developers:
- BI Portal and InfoAssist for business developers (web-based and mobile)
- Windows-based Developer Studio for IT technical developers
With WebFOCUS, companies can provide business users with self-service intelligence and analytics:
- Dashboards and scorecards
- Self-service guided ad-hoc data exploration
- Mobile BI with right-time data on any device
- InfoApps to easily analyze and manipulate information
- Deep integration with desktop products such as Microsoft Excel and Adobe PDF
- Integration with open-source software such as R statistical programming language and Python
- Dynamic report scheduling and distribution, with real-time alerts
- Integration with enterprise data and information management
Note: Within the next month or two, Information Builders will release the next generation of Developer Studio which will be called the Application Studio. The new product’s “look and feel” will be consistent with that of InfoAssist. For example, Application Studio will also have a ribbon-based user interface.
BI Portal and InfoAssistThe WebFOCUS BI Portal enables business users to easily create and share sophisticated portals, launch pages, reports, and graphs hosted within the corporate WebFOCUS environment or in the cloud. The users have no software to install.
InfoAssist, the report and graph layout tool, is appropriate for business users as well as for light-weight IT development. Information Builders will license BI Portal/InfoAssist based on a certain number of users (e.g., one hundred) or on an unlimited basis.
WebFOCUS 8 comes with sophisticated multi-tenant security enabling companies to open up web and mobile BI to not only their internal employees, but also to external partners and customers.
Picture: BI Portal with InfoAssist
Windows-based Developer Studio (IDE)
Picture: Developer Studio IDE
Developer Studio Features
- Metadata Management: tool for generating and maintaining the metadata layer
- HTML Composer: layout tool for designing and creating web launch pages
- Procedure Viewer: layout tool to visually display multiple-step procedural logic
- Report Painter: layout tool for designing and creating interactive and dynamic reports
- SQL Report Wizard: tool for building reports using SQL requests
- Define Dialog: tool for creating virtual columns using business rules
- Join Painter: tool for logically connecting tables across the enterprise
- HTMLForm: tool for embedding HTML commands inside WebFOCUS procedures
- Match Wizard: tool for logically matching tables across the enterprise for either join-like functionality or exceptions
- For creating graphs, Developer Studio utilizes the InfoAssist product
Developer Studio Editions
- Report Developer Edition
- Full Edition: includes MAINTAIN development and full personal WebFOCUS image
Report Developer Edition
Full Developer Studio Edition
GUI Code Generators
- InfoAssist: generates the FOCUS 4GL
- Developer Studio’s Report Painter: generates the FOCUS 4GL
Should You Use WebFOCUS?
Saturday, March 1, 2014
- Search the archives of the forum to which you plan to post
- Search the web
- Read the manual
- Read a FAQ
- Inspect or experiment
- Ask a skilled friend
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Using the job market as an indicator shows that demand for Tableau is growing much faster than that for the other two.
Picture (2014 February 16)
Do you agree with this simple assessment? Post your comments here if you have insight into the Data Visualization software market.
For more information on these three software products and some additional details on Tableau, see my earlier blog article.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
I want a data structure called "keywords" to hold my WebFOCUS file. The read command has a variety of options; I am using the "table" option to read a simple tabular structure. My table has a row identifying the column headers, so I inform read of that with a parameter called header. My table values are separated by commas, so I tell read about that using the sep parameter.
I do that with the R png command (PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics). Here is a sample:
The three types of graphs used above are all standard R features. Some, however, require that an add-on "package" to be installed and referenced. You can read about this on the CRAN website.
For example, I might want WebFOCUS to create a file of keyword counts and then produce a word cloud. Within R, I would need to install the package containing that feature. Once installed, WebFOCUS needs to reference that package with the "library" function.
Here is an example of WebFOCUS generating a word cloud R script:
If you do have R scripts that use a package, you must have WebFOCUS start R using the R_LIBS parameter to identify where you installed the package. See an earlier article on how that works.
Do You Have WebFOCUS and R?
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
You may be interested in seeing several of them, including:
- Eric's Keynote The Prediction Effect, the Data Effect, and the Persuasion Effect
- KeyBank's Making Key Business Decisions with Analytics to Better Serve Customers
- Dean Abbott's My Five Predictive Analytics Pet Peeves
- AutoNation's How Predictive Analytics Can Drive Marketing Strategy
- Paychex's Shaping Sales Strategy with Predictive Analytics
- Subaru of America's Uplift Modeling and Beyond
- Obama for America's Pinpointing the Persuadables: Convincing the Right Voters to Support Barack Obama
Check this link on a regular basis as Eric is adding more.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
When automatically determining the complexity of any particular reporting procedure, I give the user an option of seeing the results--in addition to the tabular data--graphically. The user can select BoxPlot, Histogram, Plot, or none of the above.
- Where to find the input file (stored in a WebFOCUS Reporting Server folder called "r_data")
- Which R script to run (stored in a WebFOCUS Reporting Server folder called "r_scripts")
- Where to store the output graph (we'll use the same "r_data" folder for input and output)
Click here to go to Part IV, where we can take a closer look at the R scripts.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
- &R_BINARY variable tells WebFOCUS where the R executable is stored
- &R_LIBS variable tells WebFOCUS where R packages are stored
- &R_HOME variable tells WebFOCUS where the R scripts are stored
The WebFOCUS SYSTEM function takes three parameters:
With over 20 years of industry experience, Doug Lautzenheiser has provided business intelligence services for well-known organizations such as Procter & Gamble, JPMorgan Chase, Omnicare, Wendy’s International, the State of Indiana, and the State of Oklahoma. ComputerWorld recognized one of Doug's projects with honors for innovative use of technology. Doug is a featured blogger on BI software at Smart Data Collective.
With his broad knowledge of technologies, business processes, and industry best practices, Doug provides client value by performing strategic advisory services; leading tactical BI application development projects; and enabling dramatic reductions in time, cost, and risks through his unique automated BI consolidation application.
Doug has hands-on experience with a variety of enterprise applications. He is degreed summa cum laude in Information Systems from the University of Cincinnati. An experienced trainer and mentor, Doug has provided educational services to organizations such as National Semiconductor, Ford Motor Company, Northwest Airlines, Principal Financial Group, and Target Stores. Doug is the owner of Kencura Systems.
Talk to Doug before manually performing a large BI initiative. Doug will show you how other smart companies saved time and money by following proven methodologies and automating BI processes instead of letting somebody "wing it" with a manual approach.
B2B software vendor leadership. BI implementations, standardization, and consolidation; data warehousing; WebFOCUS; iWay; BI vendors (Cognos, SAP Business Objects/Crystal Reports, Microstrategy, Actuate, Hyperion/Brio, SAS, Tableau Software); ERP; and full SDLC.