Achievement Unlocked: Tableau Desktop 8 Qualified Associate!

To test my Tableau knowledge, I attempted the Tableau product certification and got the “Tableau Desktop 8 Qualified Associate” certificate.

Tableau 8 Qualified associate Certificate paras doshi

 

Back to basics: continuous Vs. Discrete variables and their importance in Data Visualization.

Take a look at the following chart, do you see any issues with it?

month trend chart line chart string to date

Notice that the month values are shown as “distinct” values instead of shown as a “continuous” values and it misleads the person looking at the chart.  Agree? Great! You already know based on your instincts what continuous and discrete values are, it’s just that we will need to label what you already know.

In the example used above, the “Date & Time” shown as a “Sales Date” is a continuous value since you can’t never say the “Exact” time that the event occurred…1/1/2008 22 hours, 15 minutes, 7 seconds, 5 milliseconds…and it goes on…it’s continuous.

But let’s say you wanted to see Number of Units Sold Vs Product Name. now that’s countable, isn’t it? You can say that we sold 150 units of Product X and 250 units of product Y. In this case, Units sold becomes discrete value.

The chart shown above was treating Sales Date as discrete values and hence causing confusion…let’s fix it since now you the difference between continuous and discrete variables:

Statistics Discrete Continuos Variable Data Visualization

Conclusion:

To develop effective data visualizations, it’s important to understand the data types of your data. In this post, you saw the difference between continuous and discrete variables and their importance in data visualization.

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

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

SQL server analysis services MDX: Current Fiscal Period vs Previous year same Fiscal Period Query

Problem:

Comparing data current fiscal period vs previous year same fiscal period query is a very common problem. Here’s a sample query.

Solution:

Please use the query as a staring point for current fiscal period vs previous year same fiscal period. I used the Contoso Cube to come with the query. The key part is to use the PARALLELPERIOD function.


with member [Sales Amount Previous Year Fiscal Month] as
SUM(ParallelPeriod([Date].[Fiscal Month].[Fiscal Month],12,[Date].[Fiscal Month].CurrentMember ),[Measures].[Sales Amount] )

select
{[Measures].[Sales Amount],[Sales Amount Previous Year Fiscal Month]} on 0,
NON EMPTY {[Date].[Fiscal Month].[Fiscal Month]} on 1
from
[Sales]

where
[Date].[Fiscal Year].&[2008]

MDX current year vs previous year same fiscal periodConclusion:
In this post, I shared a MDX query that you can use for current fiscal period vs previous year same fiscal period.

Business Metrics #3 of N: Inventory Turnover

Summary:

In this post, we will a common metric used in inventory management called Inventory Turnover

Description:

In simple terms,

Inventory Turnover = Sales / Inventory

why do we want to measure this?

A business manager can analyze this metric to figure out the efficiency of sales and efficiency of buying.

A high over turnover equals strong/efficient sales OR inefficient buying process. It can also show loss in business due to lack of goods supply.

A Low turnover equals inefficient sales or marketing efforts and excess inventory.

How do you benchmark inventory turnover?

usually, it’s bench-marked against Industry average. You don’t want to benchmark a company selling Auto Spare Rates versus a company selling dairy products because company selling dairy products (perishable goods) would have a high turnover ratio since they move inventory fast.

Conclusion:

This was a high level discussion of a business metric “Inventory Turnover” commonly analyzed by business managers to keep an eye on their sales and buying efficiencies. of course, the use of the formula would involve interviewing business managers to understand how they measure inventory turnover but whatever the formula may be it should ideally be consistent across the organizations.

Here are some links if you want to research further:

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/inventoryturnover.asp

http://www.accounting-basics-for-students.com/cost-of-goods-sold.html

http://accountingexplained.com/financial/ratios/inventory-turnover

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inventory_turnover

SQL Server reporting services: How to Add Trademark special symbol in Text?

Problem Statement:

The goal of this blog post is to share a quick tip on SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS): How to add Trademark TM special symbol in Text?

Solution:

In SSRS, you can put following code in the Expressions:


="Text"& ChrW(8482) &" Dashboard"

Output:
SQL Server Reporting Services SSRS Trademark special symbol

PASS Business Analytics Conference – Day #2 Keynote

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

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

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.

How to train your users to create their own Business Intelligence reports? #4 of 5: Sample Training Content

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 this post, I am going share sample training content that uses Excel 2010. Before I share sample content, here are some tips

1. use YOUR data!

2. Show them the end goal & then walk through the steps to get there

 

Here’s a sample training content for a 4 hour-long excel training session (divided into basics & advanced) including hands on lab time.

Here you go:

GOAL:

Excel analysis services business intelligence dashboardBASIC-I

  1. Open the Template
  2. Explore the Field List
  3. Explain the concept of “dimensions” & “measures”
  4. Create a Simple Pivot Table – Row Labels & Measures
  5. Add column labels & report filters

Excel Pivot Table SSAS Step 1

Basic-II

  1. Sorting
  2. Turning off grant totals
  3. Creating a hierarchy
  4. Changing the Pivot Table Design

Excel analysis services business intelligence dashboard step 2

 

Advanced-I

  1. Remove fields from Pivot Table
  2. Add more than one pivot table
  3. Add slicer
  4. Connect slicer with every pivot table

Excel analysis services business intelligence dashboard step 3

Advanced-II:

  1. Add Pivot Chart
  2. Add one more slicer
  3. Add hierarchy structure to pivot tables
  4. Add conditional formatting
  5. Format chart

Excel analysis services business intelligence dashboard step 4

Conclusion:

In this post, I shared a sample training content that uses Excel 2010.