Breaking BAD

Susan Andre Articles

Breaking Bad (to raise hell) means to cause a considerable disturbance. Breaking down existing data silos may initially evoke substantial disturbance too. In the American crime drama TV series Breaking Bad, a struggling high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turned to a life of crime in order to secure his family’s financial future before he dies. He …

The Data Warehouse is Dead

Susan Andre Articles

Whether you choose organized processing over chaotic collection, clean data over dirty data, structured over unstructured data, well assembled over disjointed information depends on the information strategy of a business. Monstrous amounts of data may be in the order of the day but somewhere along the line we do need to make sense of it all. Before we declare the …

Are you holding back your Data Warehouse?

Susan Andre Articles

Or is your Data Warehouse holding you back… Data professionals demand swift access to data in order to perform their analytical duties.  To meet these demands the Information Services Department have to be agile in providing the most appropriate data platform. Despite having to operate at disadvantages ranging between lack of skills, badly designed and poorly maintained analytical solutions through …

Selfish for Self-Service

Susan Andre Articles

Self-service analytics has a propensity towards selfishness – every party involved in the information value chain has their own agenda. Business information users are often guilty of bypassing their Information Service departments for reasons such as “IS/IT takes too long to produce data in a usable format”,  “data is there but it is difficult to access and use”, “we are …

Data Warehouse Fantasies vs Realities

Susan Andre Articles

All too frequently, we are lured into the fantasy that technology will solve the seemingly intractable data problems business are experiencing.  Rash promises are made that we can expect data related challenges to vanish when we acquire and implement the latest and greatest tools. Yet our confidence in the silver bullet is often shattered when it becomes obvious that in …

Data like Lakes, Swamps or Graveyards

Susan Andre Articles

Data like Lakes, Swamps or Graveyards – which will it be? Very seldom do our data lakes get filled in a well-planned, organized and consistent manner.  Gathering, storing and analyzing all sorts of data (for example: raw customer data, customer behavior data, location data, website clickstreams, images, social media trails, video and audio files plus regular structured data); requires intensive …

Ditching the Database

Susan Andre Articles

Each introduction of the grandest, biggest and latest database comes with a promise in the line of “this database will make all the data available to all your users in a flash”. Brilliant advances in technology ranging from in-memory, ACID-compliant databases, HADOOP, Hana, super-fast, petabyte-handling databases do provide grounds for database administrators becoming hugely excited. Yet in the BI world, …

Time to Expel Excel

Susan Andre Articles

Does your business show symptoms of spreadsheet abuse? On the one hand you may shudder at the thought of “expelling” Excel because you find it difficult to imagine how else to delve into your business data. On the other hand you may be experiencing the side effects of long term over-use of this tool but you dread ditching those formidable …

Toss the technology Part 2

Susan Andre Articles

It is crucial to first bed down the methodology, concepts and techniques before implementing a Data Warehouse / Business Intelligence solution using software tools.  Software should not govern the design of a BI / DW solution. It should not matter which platform and software is used.  Following suitable and trusted principles together with a tried and tested methodology is the …

Toss the technology Part 1

Susan Andre Articles

Technology should not be the prevailing factor when designing a Business Intelligence or Data Warehousing solution. The Alicornio Africa team understands the intricacies of designing these types of initiatives. Such projects typically involve in-depth requirements analysis that will form the cornerstone of the design. Careful planning, project managing, specialized design techniques plus orchestration of a potentially complex implementation necessitate thorough …