Sunday, January 27, 2013

Difference between ETL and ELT

When interviewing for a BI job, you may get asked the tricky question, "What is the difference between ETL and ELT?"

Both are acronyms for a process that leads to the same result. ETL stands for Extract/Transform/Load while ELT is Extract/Load/Transform. You accomplish the same thing but do activities in a slightly different sequence. Your interviewer is going to want you to explain WHY.

For a nice explanation, see this Data Academy white paper.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Designated the International Year of Statistics

In an earlier blog posting, I stated (tongue in check, of course) that 2013 was the Year of Legacy Application Modernization.

Actually, somebody beat me to the punch and already designated 2013 as the International Year of Statistics.

Before you smirk, remember that Harvard Business Review called the Data Scientist "the sexiest job in the world" and that Gartner predicted Big Data will generate 4 million worldwide jobs by 2015.

I'm going to participate in this global event by signing up for a free Coursera class on Data Analysis using the R programming language! Jeff Leek at John Hopkins University will teach the online class starting on 2013 January 22nd.

The Coursera website says this is a first-year course and requires no investments other than three to five hours each of the eight weeks. It does help before the class to already have the open-source R software installed and have a basic familiarity of the statistical programming language.

See the Simply Statistics blog for more details on the International Year of Statistics. 

2013 Resolution: Modernize Legacy Applications

Happy New Year! In case your calendar does not state it, 2013 is the year of legacy software application modernization.

Momentum has been building for over a decade and several factors are now coming together to force the issue for many organizations.

It is retirement time for the Baby Boomer generation who were supporting these legacy applications. The COBOL, PL/1, and 4GL developers are no longer available to handle the workload. The new kids coming into the IT shop to replace the outgoing retirees have no knowledge of nor any desire to shoulder the burden of these legacy technologies.

The legacy software vendors are not making life easy for their customers either. Instead, it seems to be time to milk those licenses before those inevitable product end-of-life events happen.

A major emerging option is the Cloud. As more software gets hosted as a Cloud solution, more companies will dismiss their major hardware investments.

Many legacy applications are blocking the move from the expensive legacy platforms to more affordable solutions by being too difficult to port. That is why many different companies have jumped in to help.

In particular, the non-mainframe hardware vendors want to help mainframe customers move to their platforms. Here are some examples (with links to help you contact these firms).

Hardware/Software Vendors with Modernization Groups

Hardward/Software Vendor
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Plano, Texas, USA
Armonk, New York, USA
Newbury, Berkshire, England
Redmond, Washington, USA
Redwood Shores, California, USA

There are also pure-play modernization firms offering assistance in the form of both software products and services.

Modernization Vendor
Dallas, Texas, USA
Herzlia, Israel
Budapest, Hungary
Austin, Texas, USA
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Marietta, Georgia, USA
Kirkland, Washington, USA

The big player of these vendors appears to be BluePhoenix Solutions, a 20-year old Israeli firm with about $20 million in annual revenue. Info-Tech Research did a white paper on these vendors and had this to say about BluePhoenix:
"Of the vendors evaluated, Blue Phoenix was the vendor all other vendors agreed was the competition; as well, they offered the most complete service associated with legacy modernization, including testing and training of the client development resource pool on the newly transformed system."

While these firms focus on the platform, database, and transaction systems, we at Partner Intelligence specialize in modernizing just the Business Intelligence applications. We have partnered with several of these companies and participated in their modernization projects. 

If you are interested in modernizing your legacy reporting applications, see these previous articles:

About Me

My photo

I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.