Cost Driver’s Dashboard for a Supply Chain Executive:

Cost Driver’s Dashboard for a Supply Chain Executive:

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

PASS September 2014 Outstanding Volunteer

Paras Doshi:

Dan English and I got the “PASS Outstanding Award” for our work with Business Analytics Virtual Chapter. Thanks & Congrats Dan, It’s great to have you on the virtual chapter’s leadership team :)

Originally posted on Dan English's BI Blog:

Just a couple of weeks ago I received an email notifying me that I had been nominated as one of the PASS Outstanding Volunteers for September 2014! The official email stated that Paras Doshi, the PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter co-lead were selected for our excellent work with the Business Analytics Virtual Chapter.image

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The official list for the PASS Outstanding Volunteer nominations is listed here –> Outstanding Volunteers

Dan English and Paras Doshi – Dan and Paras are model Virtual Chapter leaders. They have taken the BA VC to a new level in terms of activity and audience and have done wonderful, innovative work when it comes to posting session recordings on YouTube. Through their efforts they promote growth for PASS in terms of audience and the range of content offered – not just SQL server, but the holistic data platform. They have gone from being completely new VC…

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Business Metric #5 of N: “Conversion rate” (online marketing)

Summary:

In this post, we will see an important metric in online marketing called “conversion rate”.

Description:

so, what is conversion rate?

Conversion rate = (Number of Goals Achieved)/(Total Visitors)

why is this important to track?

In my previous blog on leads (marketing), I mentioned it’s important to track number of people interested in your products/services but along with that it’s important to provide context while reporting on Leads – this is where conversion rate comes into picture and provides the necessary context. Conversion rate can tell us the Quality of the leads & visitors that you get from your online marketing efforts.

Let’s take an example of an e-commerce site:

An e-commerce site decides to increase their monthly online marketing budget and they see a spike in the number of visitors – so that’s great, right? They should continue to increase their marketing budget, right? Well – that might not be true. While the number of visitors may have increased how do we know that increased number of visitors results in increased revenue? It all depends on the quality of the visitors that’s being generated – so how do you quantify the quality of the visitors? That’s right – conversion rate with the goal: number of visitors clicking “buy” button. So you want to make sure that with increased online marketing budget 1) Conversion rate is good or better 2) Number of visitors/leads have grown.

This was a basic scenario helping you appreciate the power of tracking the conversion rate for your online marketing efforts.

Now, If your marketing funnel is more complex then you might also create multiple conversion rate metrics to track conversions at each stage of a marketing funnel. This is VERY powerful. Here’s an Example:

Conversion Rate #1: (Number of Leads)/(Number of Total Visitors)

Note: your marketing team would define a “lead” based on their criteria(s) like downloads a newsletter, submits a contact us form, favorites a product, etc.

Conversion Rate #2: (Number of Actual Customers)/(Number of Leads)

Note: Conversion Rate #1 is great to evaluate effectiveness of marketing campaigns and conversion rate #2 is great to evaluate sales effectiveness.

How can you capture this data?

A good web analytics tool (like Google analytics) should help you track your conversion rates.

Conclusion:

In this post, we saw that tracking conversion rate is very important metric to track your online marketing efforts.

Business Metric #4 of N: “Leads” (marketing)

Summary:

In this post, we will discuss about a common metric used by Sales & Marketing teams called “leads”.

Description:

In simple terms,

Leads = number of individuals (or companies) that have expressed an interest in your goods or services.

why do we want to measure this?

For a business to grow, it’s important that the sales & marketing department work to make sure that there is a growing interest in company’s goods or services. It’s important to track this metric to make sure that it’s a positive upward trend!

Word of caution: It’s important to also note that this metric on its own can be misleading. It might be a good idea to also track “conversion ratios” (converting leads or potential customers into actual customers) to make sure that high-quality leads are being generated.

where can you get this data?

Depending on the channel that you use to capture potential customer’s information & the technology maturity of the company, it varies. I’ve seen CRM systems used to report “leads” data and I’ve also seen manual excel files that are used to generate leads report.

Are there any sub-categories?

Yes, it’s usually subdivided into 1) Marketing Qualified Leads and 2) Sales Marketing Leads.

usually, Marketing Qualified lead (MQL) is someone who has shown interest in your product or service but you don’t know if they fulfill your qualifications to buy your products or services. out of all MQL’s, those leads that qualify your criteria and are identified are someone who is ready to buy your products or services becomes your Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and sales department get’s ready to engage with these leads to make them an actual customer.

Marketing Funnel Sales Qualified Lead

Conclusion:

In this post, we saw a high level overview of a business metric used in marketing and sales called “leads”.  As mentioned earlier, don’t report on just “leads” – it can be misleading for marketing & sales executives since upward trend in number of leads doesn’t necessarily result in increased sales unless the quality of new leads is same or better. Marketing and sales executives would really appreciate any context  (example: conversions) that you can provide to their “leads” report. I hope that helps!

Time Intelligence in MDX: last N days

it’s a common requirement to create a report that shows last N days of a business metric – so I thought I’ll post a template here for SQL server analysis server’s MDX query:


WITH
  MEMBER [Measures].[Sales_last_15_days] AS
    Sum
    (
      {
          [Calendar].[Date YYYYMMDD].CurrentMember.Lag(14)
        :
          [Calendar].[Date YYYYMMDD].CurrentMember
      }
     ,[Measures].[Sales]
    )

   MEMBER [Measures].[CurrDate] as
      "[Calendar].[Date YYYYMMDD].[" + Cstr(Year(Now())*10000+month(now())*100+day(now()))  +"]"

SELECT
  {
     [Measures].[Sales_last_15_days]
  } ON COLUMNS
FROM 
[CubeName]
WHERE
STRTOMEMBER([Measures].[CurrDate])

Here are things that you’ll need to adjust to make it work for your scenario:

1. Date Dimension Attribute & it’s format. The example shows yyyymmdd but you could have different format of the date.

2. Measure name. Instead of [Measures].[Sales] you’ll have to replace it with your business metric. Also, make sure you are using the right aggregate function, in the example above I have used SUM but you’ll have to change this based on your requirement.

3. Create a parameter and use it in index for the Lag function.

4. change [cubename] to your cube name.

I hope this gives you a good starting point to create last N days for your business metric.

SQL Server Reporting Services Tip: How to capitalize just the first letter of text?

Attention to detail is a key in creating SSRS reports/dashboards that look like a work of a professional; To that end, here’s a tip: How to capitalize the first letter in your string? In other words, how to Camel Case the Text?

Here’s the function that you can use in your SSRS Expressions:


StrConv("hello world",3)

OR

StrConv("hello world",vbProperCase)
Input Function Output
hello world StrConv(“hello world”,3) Hello World

I hope that helps!

Back to basics: Design your Business Intelligence system to have lowest level data even if it’s not asked!

Here’s a scenario:

A Business Intelligence (BI) system for Sales is being developed at a company. Here are the events that occur:

1) Based on the requirements, It is documented that the Business needs to analyze Sales numbers by product, month, customer & employee

2) While designing the system IT learns that the data is stored at each Invoice Level but since the requirements document doesn’t say anything about having details down to invoice level, they decide to aggregate data before bringing in their system.

3) They develop the BI system within the time frame and sends it to business for data validation.

4) Business Analysts starts looking at the BI system and finds some numbers that don’t look right for a few products and need to see Invoices for those products to make sure that the data is right so they ask IT to give them invoice level data.

5) IT realizes that even though business had not requested Invoice Level data explicitly but they do NEED the lowest level data! They realize it’s crucial to pass data validation. Also, they talk with their business analysts and found out that they may  sometimes need to drill down to lowest level data to find insights that may be hidden at the aggregate level.

6) so IT decides to re-work on their solution. This increases the timeline & budget set for the project. Not only that they have lost the opportunity to gain the confidence of business by missing the budget and timeline.

7) They learn to “Design BI system to have the lowest level data even if it’s not asked!” and decides to never make this mistake again in the future!

This concludes the post and it’s important to include lowest level data in your BI system even if it’s not explicitly requested – this will save you time & build your credibility as a Business Intelligence developer/architect.

Business Intelligence system for Inventory management for a manufacturing organization:

Business Intelligence system for Inventory management for a manufacturing organization:

Business Goal:

Need to answer following questions: 1) How much is the Inventory? 2) What products makes up the Inventory? 3) How old is the Inventory? 4) Where is Inventory?

Summary:

- Extract data from five data source systems. (Before the system, analysts had to manually extract data from five systems to get a full picture of inventory & It took them 2+ hours to develop reports using tools like excel. Due to this, executives & Sr. Managers didn’t have a (near) real-time view of the inventory and there was a huge opportunity to help them monitor inventory levels & trends to help them make better operational decisions)

- Used Microsoft BI stack to create cubes & dashboard.

Mockup:

BI system allows the analysts & operational specialists to drill down to the lowest data available but here’s a dashboard for executives & Sr. managers:

Inventory Management Business Intelligence Manufacturing

How does Internet of Things (#IoT) impact data professionals?

Internet enabled computers to be connected with each other.

Internet enabled Mobile Devices to be connected with each other.

Now, Internet will be used to enable physical things to be connected with each other. This is what is called “Internet of things” (IoT).

So what happens?

since more devices are connected with internet – we will able to generate more data! This is usually good if there’s a business vision around how to make sense of data to increase efficiency of all these things.

Here’s a nice case study from Microsoft (focus on the business case – the things in this case is “elevator” to drive reliability)

 

This is all good news for data professionals! There will be increased demand for professionals who can help businesses make sense of data generated via IoT.

Also beware of the “hype” around this technology. It’s important to take incremental steps to achieve the vision – Instead of trying to analyze data from ALL devices in your organization, start with one physical thing that matter the most for your organization or start with data that you have and take incremental steps to spread data culture in your organization!

Now that Big Data has become a mainstream word in IT and business, we have a new buzzword to learn/talk about IoT – but remember it’s all about making sense of data and your skills would be more valuable than ever!

PASS Business Analytics VC: Insider’s Introduction to Microsoft Azure Machine Learning (#AzureML). #sqlpass

RSVP: http://bit.ly/PASSBAVC091814


Session Abstract:
Microsoft has introduced a new technology for developing analytics applications in the cloud. The presenter has an insider’s perspective, having actively provided feedback to the Microsoft team which has been developing this technology over the past 2 years. This session will 1) provide an introduction to the Azure technology including licensing, 2) provide demos of using R version 3 with AzureML, and 3) provide best practices for developing applications with Azure Machine Learning.
Speaker BIO:
Mark is a consultant who provides enterprise data science analytics advice and solutions. He uses Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft SQL Server Data Mining, SAS, SPSS, R, and Hadoop (among other tools). He works with Microsoft Business Intelligence (SSAS, SSIS, SSRS, SharePoint, Power BI, .NET). He is a SQL Server MVP and has a research doctorate (PhD) from Georgia Tech.

RSVP: http://bit.ly/PASSBAVC091814

Hope to see you there!

Paras Doshi
Business Analytics Virtual Chapter’s Co-Leader