Cost Driver’s Dashboard for a Supply Chain Executive:

Supply Chain Cost Drivers Profitability Dashboard
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Summary:

Profitability equals revenue minus costs – To that end, A supply chain executive is mostly focused on optimizing cost elements to drive profitability. Here’s a mock up of a dashboard created for an executive to help him keep an eye on the overall health while making sure he gets alerted for key cost categories.

The Dashboard was created using profitability data-set & also had drill down capabilities to analyze numbers for cost buckets like Raw materials, manufacturing & logistics.

Mockup:

Supply Chain Cost Drivers Profitability Dashboard

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PASS Business Analytics VC: 7 Ideas on Encouraging Advanced Analytics by Mark Tabladillo #sqlpass

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Thu, Jul 17, 2014 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT


Abstract:
Many companies are starting or expanding their use of data mining and machine learning. This presentation covers seven practical ideas for encouraging advanced analytics in your organization.

Bio:
Mark Tabladillo is a Microsoft MVP and SAS expert based in Atlanta, GA. His Industrial Engineering doctorate (including applied statistics) is from Georgia Tech. Today, he helps teams become more confident in making actionable business decisions through the use of data mining and analytics. Mark provides training and consulting for companies in the US and around the world. He has spoken at major conferences including Microsoft TechEd, PASS Summit, PASS Business Analytics Conference, Predictive Analytics World, and SAS Global Forum. He tweets @marktabnet and blogs at http://marktab.net.

REGISTER HERE: bit.ly/PASSBAVC071714

hope to see you there!

Paras Doshi
Business Analytics Virtual Chapter’s Co-Leader

PASS Business Analytics Conference – Day #2 Keynote

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what an inspiring keynote by David McCandless! Here are some the things that I noted:

1. Play with your data, get your hands dirty

“Data is the new Soil” – David McCandless

2. set the context while communicating what data is trying to tell.
Example: China has the largest army but compared it to their population they are 120ish! So measuring just the army size does not give you necessary context & sometimes it can meaningless

3. Data visualizations help you combine the language of the mind (numbers) with language of the eye (visuals)! Humans are better at processing visuals.

4. Make sure your data is true & keep your personal bias out of analysis.

5. Other than making sure that the data integrity is achieved in visuals, they should be interesting and functional.

6. Design is about removing unwanted things & distilling the visual to it’s functional essence.

You can check out David’s work at http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/
Information is beautiful

PASS Business Analytics Conference – Live Blogging: Day #1

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I’m at the Business Analytics conference and I thought of sharing the news that I get to listen here!

On day #1, Kamal Hathi & Amri Netz are keynote speakers today.

They started with progress made during past few months (Power Query, Power BI, Power Map, SQL server 2014, Azure HDInsight….)

Then they shared some user adoption data…

Power Pivot & Power Query:

They also shared  user adoption data about Power BI:

They use Power BI to track user adoption of Power BI.

Power BI demo contest: if you’ve not seen some of the amazing demo’s that were submitted during the Power BI demo’s then you can read them here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powerbi/archive/2014/02/15/give-a-high-five-to-the-top-five-finalists-in-the-power-bi-demo-contest.aspx

Mobile BI:

Microsoft is committed to having Power BI native apps on different platforms and enable BI on any device

SSRS with Power BI:

BI for the masses

It’s great to see Microsoft committed to create easy to use tools!
The Age of Classic BI -> The Age of Self Service BI -> The Age of Data.
In the new age, everyone in the organization who is curious will have tools that they can use to get to the answers!

Amir’s Demo:

Analysis of Tourism in Hawaii. It was really entertaining :)

New features in Power BI:

create dashboards using natural language (KPI editor)

Forecasting in Power View:

Tree maps in Power View

And I just saw a Tree maps in Power View!

Drag items from one chart to another!

you should now be able to drag items from one chart to another chart!

Combine two charts into one!

Nice interactivity feature

 

The journey to DATA CULTURE begins today…

How to train your users to create their own Business Intelligence reports? #5 of 5: Post Training

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In part #1, I wrote about why is it important to enable business users to create their own BI reports.

In part #2, I wrote about three pre-training preparations – 1. Data 2. Tool 3. Understanding Culture.

In part #3, I wrote about 1. User Experience 2. Trainer 3. Training Content.

In part #4, I wrote about Sample Business Intelligence Training content.

In this post, part #5, I am going to write about check list that you need that complement your training efforts. And the list is:

  • Survey
  • User Support System
  • Monitor usage
  • Demo user-created BI reports

Here are more details about each topic:

Survey

Send out a simple survey at the end of the training session. Here’s a sample survey:

Please rate the training based on following criteria’s:
1.Overall
2.Content
3.Trainer
4.Easy of use (BI System)
5.Comments?
______________

User Support System & Documentation

As users use the BI system, they would have questions that need timely response. So IT managers need to think about setting up a user support system. Someone from the BI team could take on the responsibility answering user’s question. They also need to think about how to integrate corporate IT support system with the user support for the BI system. if need be, a dedicated user support & documentation site can also be created. Note that resolving user queries is as important as giving them training!

Also necessary documents (/videos) need to be provided to user for their future reference.

Monitor Usage

BI system logs (Analysis services Trace/reporting services logs) can be used to monitor usage. It’s important to use data to track the usage of the system to see the return of investment for training efforts.

Demo user-created BI reports

recognizing your followers who do great job is a great tactic to attract more followers!

Demo user-created BI reports in trainings, meetings with project sponsors, team meetings and recognize the effort of the user. In some cases, you could invite the creator to demo their report in a training session – and you got one more trainer to teach your users!

Conclusion:

here’s the complete checklist for “How to Train your Business users to Business Intelligence reports?”

  • Data
  • Business Value of analyzing data
  • Tools & User Experience
  • Trainer
  • Training Content
  • Documentation
  • User Support specialists
  • Usage monitoring system

And here’s a slide-deck that shares the same information:  bit.ly/trainbusinessusers

I hope this series gave you a framework to train your business users to create their Business Intelligence reports.

Presented at #SQLSat 305 Dallas BA edition!

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I got an opportunity to speak at SQL Saturday 305 Dallas BA Edition on 5/3/14! It was a great opportunity to network, share & learn!

if you are interested in “How to Train your business users to create their own BI reports” slides then they are posted here: http://bit.ly/TrainBusinessUsers

Here’s couple of generous session evaluations I got:

Paras Doshi Speaking SQL Sat 305 feedback Train Business Intelligence UsersParas Doshi Speaking SQL Sat 305 feedback

 

How to train your users to create their own Business Intelligence reports. #1 of 5: Why do it?

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Introduction:

Business Intelligence (BI) helps an organization make faster & smarter decisions – There’s no doubt or debate over that! But every organization needs to go through the process of driving Business Intelligence adoption before they start seeing the Return on Investment for a BI solution. One of the form of BI which has been really successful at being adopted by business community is called “self-service BI” and the idea is to enable business users to create their own reports – in other words, “self-serve” their data needs. In this blog series, I would share the best practices that I’ve picked up while leading up an effort to train 200+ business users with the goal of enabling them to create their own BI reports.

In this post, let’s step back and talk about why is it important to enable business users to create their own reports?

#1: Information Technology’s Time & Budget.

The demand for “data” by business users is a great thing! But IT would need to dedicate resources to make it happen. usually, IT teams can be constrained due to budgetary reasons or due to other higher priority items on their radar. So what happens? Business community do not receive the data that they asked for in a timely fashion. And if you cannot offer data when they need it then it might not be as useful. So what’s the solution? One solution is to have “BI platforms” where data assets are readily available for business users to consume. So once they are build, IT would no longer have to dedicate development resources on them. And since IT is no longer a bottleneck, business users can get the data when they want it and however way they want to see it.

Time is money Information Technology Budget

#2: World changes. Business Changes.

World Changes and so does Business. If Business doesn’t adapt to change then they will die! And if Business changes, the data needs would change too. How many times does IT get “change requests” to their production reports? All of these requests would require IT’s intervention to accommodate change requests and what is the average turn around time in your organization for that? How about publishing data assets that businesses can readily access that let’s them see same data from varying perspectives? Of course, they might ask for data that’s not available yet but then IT can spend some time on bringing those data assets into the BI platforms rather than spending resources on “change requests”.

World Changes Business Changes Data Business Analytics Changes

#3: It’s great for BI adoption!

With the flexibility of Self Service BI solution, the control is in the hands of the users (again!). Without having to wait on IT, they can get to the data instantaneously and so faster and there’s a greater chance that they would use “data” in the decision making process. Isn’t it great?

Also, business users who would have created their own reports would share it with others, won’t they? And that would spark collaboration among business users. This is great because the recipients of the reports would start wanting to analyze the data too. And with time, the trust for the data assets would grow among the business community. This is really important for BI adoption.

Conclusion:

In this post, we saw why is it important to train your business users to create their own BI reports using a Self Service BI Platform. In next posts, we’ll get into strategies & tactics to enable users to create their own reports.

Questions Power Users Ask about Excel: #4 of N

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In this series, I intend to document common questions asked by Power users about Excel connected to SSAS cubes (or data warehouse) after they go beyond the basic stage of understanding & using Row labels, column labels, report filter & values in Pivot Tables. This post is #4 of N:

a. How to Filter Measure Values?

Report Filters are a great way to put constraints on the data that is displayed. So once a user gets the concept of selecting dimensions as report filters & slicers, they might start wondering how to filter measure values? How do they show a list of customers that have ordered less than $100,000 worth of products? They might try to drag a measure to the report filter section but that won’t work & Excel will throw an error. So how can users filter measure values? it’s a feature of Pivot Table called “Value Filters” and that would be helpful here. Here are the steps:

1. Select the Pivot Table.

2. click on a drop down menu besides “row labels”

Excel Pivot Table Value Filter3. After that, go to Value Filters. You can see that you can filter by applying different rules like Top 10, less than, greater than, etc. Let me demo “Less than or equal to”

Pivot Table Excel SSAS cube filter values measure4. On the next dialog box, you can select the measure, rule & the filter value:

Pivot Table excel ssas cubeAfter you’ve set them up, click on ok and the Pivot Table will filter by measure values.

Note: Be careful when sharing the files that have value filters with other users, let them know that you’ve value filters set on the report as the value filters are not clearly visible if you’re looking at the file for first time.

b. How to move a Pivot Table?

If a user is trying to create a dashboard using excel, they’ll have more than one Pivot Table in a sheet. In that case, they’ll need to move the Pivot Tables around. here are the steps:

1. select the Pivot Table.

2. In the menu bar, go to Pivot table Tools > Move Pivot Table:

Pivot Table options Excel Move

3. select your NEW destination and click on OK.

Move Excel Pivot Table 2010That’s it!

Conclusion:

In this post, we saw how to filter measure values & how to move Pivot Tables.

In earlier articles we saw:

#1: How to sort data? How to add slicers? How to change Pivot table Layout

#2: How to add calculated measures?

#3: how to remove grand totals & subtotals and, how to configure the automatic data refresh.

PASS Business Analytics VC’s Online Event: “Power BI Info Management and Data Stewardship”

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Power BI is an exciting new technology in the business analytics space from Microsoft. I’ve played with its current preview version & attended couple of sessions on Power BI at PASS Summit 2013. Based on my first impression, I noted down Problems that Power BI solves. Note that as of today, it’s in preview & so information around cost is not availale yet but I try to learn and understand as much as I can Today about how Power BI is going to help business users & power users in the future. As a part of that, I’m attending Business Analytics VC’s session on “Power BI Info Management and Data Stewardship” by Matthew Roche & Ofer Ashkenazi on Nov 7th 12 PM EST.

Topic: Power BI Info Management and Data Stewardship

Date & Time: Nov 7th 12 PM EST

Here’s the Link to register: http://bit.ly/PASSBAVC

Topic Abstract:

“Business intelligence tools continue to improve, letting users shorten their time to insight and take that insight to more devices in more places. But this evolution of BI doesn’t change one fundamental fact of information management: You can’t gain insight from data you can’t access.

In this session, Matthew Roche and Ofer Ashkenazi will introduce the role of the data steward and the self-service information management capabilities included in Power Query and Power BI for Office 365, focusing on how Power BI empowers business users to add value to the organization.”

Closing note:

I recently volunteered at Business Analytics VC as VP of Marketing, so it’s in my interest to spread word about the event but I would not spread word about something unless it gets me personally excited about it! :)

I hope to see you at the session and for some reason if you can not make it, we usually record sessions & so you can check out the meeting archives section of the PASS BA VC site after the event.

Business Analytics project is like an iceberg:

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Business persons may not realize that Business Analytics project may involve significant efforts for the under the hood technical tasks like Data Cleaning, Data Integration, Building-a-data-warehouse, creating ETL processes, gathering business requirements among other tasks. And that explains the title of this blog: Business Analytics project is like an iceberg. It’s because, a business person may just see the tool used to visualize data but may not realize the work that went into making it “analytics-ready”. From a project management standpoint – before a project is initiated, the discussion about this different aspects of the project need to communicated to the business stakeholders so that they are in the know of efforts involved in building an analytics solution. And with that, Here’s the summary of this discussion in form of an Image:

iceberg business analytics data cleaning business intelligence data warehouse

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