Posted: Apr 24, 2013Around Mariner, Customer Relationship Management, Executive
Mariner Consultant & Trainer
In my many interactions with PowerPivot clients, there always seems to be excitement around self-service BI because of the ability to access and manipulate data faster. Those who attend training quickly recognize their new ability to produce their reports faster and with more bells and whistles than before. But what is missing, too often, is the connection to real analysis.One client told me the Finance Director at his firm didn’t see the need for a corporate BI solution. He said that his pitch to the Finance Director was that a well-structured BI solution would allow people to get better data and get it faster. The Finance Director replied that he has never had a problem getting data. He just asks for it and he gets it within a few hours. At first glance, it appears that the Finance Director does not understand the difficulty encountered by those who provide data to him or the risk of poor data quality resulting from this approach. But a deeper look reveals something more interesting.
My client’s pitch for a corporate BI solution was based on his personal pain point, the difficulties in getting data. What he missed is the real value of a corporate BI solution with a well-designed data warehouse and delivery tools, which is analysis.
Too often the emphasis is on “data” when the value is in “analysis.” Legacy tools used by most corporate analysts have created a culture of reporting – delivering data as quickly and accurately as possible. This approach leads to tunnel-vision, providing business leaders with the same data or same report they’ve been getting.
A better approach is to develop a culture of analysis by asking, “What can I do differently with the data?” Ask new questions. Try to find something you don’t already know about your business. This can only be done if you have data that is readily accessible, accurate, and trusted. This is when corporate BI solution becomes valuable. Instead of spending time accessing data, explore relationships and interdependencies that can lead to profit-enhancing surprises about your business.
When speaking to business leaders about the need for a corporate BI solution (data warehouse, data mart, dashboards, scorecards, etc.) don’t talk about data. Don’t talk about reports, or even dashboards and scorecards. Talk about the real benefit of BI – Intelligence about the Business. Sell your Finance Director on the ability to make more informed decisions about forecasts and performance. Sell your VP of Marketing on the ability to target specific customers with promotions based on their known preferences. It’s not just about the data. It is what you do with the data.
How are you tackling these cultural shifts? Send me an email and we can share notes.
– Joe Shrewsbury
Posted: Mar 27, 2013Around Mariner
We’ve been Tableau partners for a few years. We were first drawn to the best-practice visualizations, but as our partnership matured, we began to see the value it brough to our customers. Now that Tableau 8 has been released, we are more fired up than ever. “Tableau 8 desktop improvements are noteworthy, but that’s not what caught my attention,” commented Shash Hegde, Mariner’s Tableau Evangelist. “The BIG changes are on Tableau server. Improvements in speed, scalability, programmability, and mobility put Tableau 8’s server capabilities in the same league as the “big stack” vendors,” he added.
That’s why we will be sponsoring 3 of Tableau’s roadshow events in Atlanta, April 2, Raleigh, April 3 and Charlotte, April 4.
So come by our exhibit area and meet our team:
Posted: Feb 22, 2013Events, Executive
Last year, Forbes magazine quoted Doug Leland, general manager in the server and tools business at Microsoft, saying that Excel is the number 1 business intelligence tool on the planet. (Forbes, “Microsoft Does Big Data” June 5, 2012). And our own experiences confirm this. It seems that whatever tools people use to get data, invariably they want to manipulate and analyze the data in Excel. But as we become more sophisticated in our analytic skills and the business world becomes more complex, analyzing data from a single source just isn’t enough.
Go Beyond Excel This is where PowerPivot comes in. You want to go beyond understanding sales. You need to understand product margins, existing and prospective customers, profit margins and regional product preferences. You need a more holistic view – and that means mashing up multiple data sets from a variety of data sources. You need Excel on steroids and that is what PowerPivot delivers.
Analyze Millions of Rows of Data With PowerPivot, all of that is possible and it’s fast – like blow-your-socks-off fast, even when sorting and sifting through millions of rows of data. In addition, it’s updated every time you open the workbook so you are always using the most up-to-date data for your analyses.
Share Your Ahas! Once you are able to analyze millions of rows of data, you are ready to uncover trends, identify profitable customers and products, and make changes in your organization. But you can’t go it alone. That’s why sharing your PowerPivot “Aha! moments” through SharePoint becomes even more important. You can easily share your ground-breaking insights with your colleagues and get everyone on the same page in a jiffy.
Learn More about Excel-based Analytics You can learn more about PowerPivot by watching the PowerPivot demos from Microsoft or check out a recent webinar hosted by Mariner’s Senior Consultant and self-service analytics expert, Javier Guillen.
Ready to get started? Attend one of our upcoming PowerPivot workshops this spring:
March 5-7, 2013
Microsoft – Highlands Conference Room
1125 Sanctuary Parkway, Suite 300
Alpharetta, GA 30004Click to register
March 12-14, 2013
13139 Ballantyne Corporate Place
Charlotte, NC 28277Click to register
March 19-21, 2013
Courtyard by Marriott Greenville Downtown
50 West Broad Street
Greenville, SC 29601Click to register
April 9-11, 2013
8050 Microsoft Way
Mount Everest Room
Charlotte, NC 28273Click to register
Each 3-day workshop includes labs, enabling you to gain experience using the tool with your data. The cost is $1,300 per student which includes the workshop and training manual.
Download PowerPivot here
Posted: Jan 30, 2013Around Mariner, Latest News
Every year, make sure we have all of our ducks in a row to renew our Microsoft Gold competency in Business Intelligence and our Silver competency in Data Platform. There are certifications to earn, references to document, revenue quotas to meet, high customer satisfaction ratings to maintain . . . . you get the picture. It’s hard work being part of the 1 percent among more than 640,000 partner organizations worldwide.
But what you don’t know is why we do this year after year.
So, we’ve compiled our top 3 reasons why we go for the Gold every year. (Drum roll please . . .)
- The Benefits – By being a Gold partner, we gain access to a host of Microsoft resources, including product teams, pre-release products, and advanced training, to name a few.
- Our Crew – We want to attract the best business intelligence talent out there. Being a leader and a Gold partner makes us a logical home for top talent in analytic solution architecture, design, development and delivery.
- The Customers - We actually have two customer reasons:
- We want to be at the top of our game for our customers, able to apply the latest Microsoft technology when building their BI solutions.
- We want to have credibility in the marketplace and start customer relationships from a place of trust. Instead of vetting our technical skills, we can dive directly into their challenges and how we can solve them with the Microsoft BI platform.
Where there’s Microsoft Gold, there’s Mariner, for 2013 and beyond. (You can read the entire press release here.)
Posted: Jan 16, 2013Human Resources, Latest News
Wayne Snyder, Newly Minted SSAS Maestro
We are pleased to announce that Mariner’s Distinguished Architect, Wayne Snyder has been named a SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) Maestro. He joins just 35 SSAS Maestros globally.The road to becoming a Maestro is rigorous. Wayne completed advanced training and extensive SSAS lab work. In addition, he, produced a case study and took a certification exam.
Check out the press release here.
Connect directly with Wayne on LinkedIn and read his blog.