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Blog: Claudia Imhoff Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

Claudia Imhoff

Welcome to my blog.

This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

So...check it out every week to see what is new and exciting in our ever changing BI world.

About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!


November 2005 Archives

I read an article recently titled "Dashboards: The Key to Breaking the Dependency on BI" by Steve Ricketts. In it, he claims that you don't need to build data warehouses -- they are complex and hard to implement. All you really need is a dashboard to present "vital information in an at-a-glance graphical format..."

Oh puleeeeaaassse - spare me from this overly naive, simplistic and unfortunately erroneous piffle.

First off, let me state that Mr. Ricketts is the VP of Marketing for Bowstreet, a dashboard vendor. That should be enough to cast doubt on his article but I will continue...

While I certainly see a role for dashboards in today's BI environment -- they make very good presentation tools -- they do not solve the myriad of problems with the data they present. He compounds his errors by stating that dashboards solve the problem of IT stovepipes by using their standardization of the underlying application and portal server architecture as well as the dashboard user's interface. No argument there but this assumes that the data is already in a form that is integrated, cleaned up, and easily accessible. In my years of working with all sorts of industries, governments, non-profits, etc., I have NEVER seen one that had its data in such pristine shape. Mr. Ricketts must live in a world that is foreign to me -- and most other organizations.

What the article promotes is nothing short of putting lipstick on a pig. It annoys the pig and doesn't make it prettier. By simply throwing a dashboard on top of disintegrated, unimproved data, you are giving everyone a quick way to view chaos. And chaos is not good for decision making.

To get the most out of your dashboard technology, you must have the data integrated and of good quality. This is not easy. It is not simple. It is not quick. Nothing worth anything really is. But you also have something that is useful. Put your dashboard on top of that, Mr. Ricketts, and you really have something.

Yours in BI success,


Posted November 29, 2005 9:20 AM
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Here it is -- the long awaited weird news stories for November (OK I do have too much time on my hands). And there are some doozies in here. I hope you enjoy them...

Have a good Thanksgiving Holiday! I will be back blogging the week of November 28th.

1. First up -- "IT Firm Bans Whinging" I believe the word "whinging" is a British one -- pronounced with a soft "G". According to my dictionary, it means to complain peevishly, annoyingly or continuously about something relatively unimportant. In a German company, whinging about the food in the cafeteria or the broken printer can get you fired... Apparently employees at Nutswerk LTD, in Leipzig have to agree to be in a good mood as part of their employment contract -- or stay home. According to a manager there, "We made the ban on moaning and grumpiness at work official after one female employee refused to subscribe to the company's philosophy of always smiling." Maybe they should just hire Barbie dolls -- they have the ever lasting smile painted on their faces...

2. Then there is the story about a Tarzan wannabe - A Romanian man ended up in the hospital after he tried to swing from tree to tree to escape his wife and go drinking. The man, age 66, had been locked in the bedroom by his wife when she got sick of his drinking with his buddies. He tried the vine swinging routine but slipped, falling 15 ft to the ground. He broke his arm, an ankle and a leg. Sing it with me now: I wanna D-I-V-O-R-C-E...

3. Pilfered Parrot Used to Pad Bra" Talk about animal cruelty. A woman was arrested for padding her bra with a stolen rare parrot. She hid the Greenwing parrot in her bra after taking it from her employer, a pet store, police said. When the woman tried to trade the bird for a vintage car, she told the car’s owner how she got the animal, according to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Unfortunately for the "thief", the car’s owner is friends with the man who owns the $2,000 bird. Help me out here -- wouldn't you think the bird would have been kicking and screaming to get out...

4. And, sadly, one that is local to my part of the world "A big ‘but’ arises in toilet-seat story" A man who sued Home Depot last month claiming a prank left him glued to a toilet seat made a similar allegation about another restroom more than a year ago, an official told a newspaper. Bob Dougherty’s lawsuit alleges employees at the local Home Depot store ignored his pleas for help on the day before Halloween because they thought he was kidding.

But a former director of operations for the town of Nederland (just west of my home town), told the local newspaper that Dougherty told him in the summer of 2004 he was glued to a toilet seat in the town’s visitor center but pulled himself free. That's gotta hurt!

Dougherty’s lawsuit said officials at the store near my home called for an ambulance after he had been stuck for about 15 minutes. Paramedics unbolted the toilet seat, which separated from his skin, leaving abrasions, according to the suit. I don't know about you but I can usually tell when I sit on something not quite right...

5. "Dog Shoots Hunter" - A 35-year old man was hunting quail in Bulgaria when his dog, who had retrieved a bird, refused to drop it. When the hunter tried to dislodge the dead bird from the pointer's mouth with the butt of his rifle, the dog jumped on him, jarring the trigger and filling the guy's chest with bird shot. Guess that will teach you to be nice to Fido...

6. Ever been caught by those speed cameras? Here's what not to do. A Swiss driver flew by a speed camera and was captured on film for his offense. He decided to take matters into his own hands and attacked the camera with an ax. Then he ran over it and finally threw it off a cliff. It would have worked too -- the camera was definitely destroyed -- but unfortunately, the driver was spotted by police as he threw the camera off the cliff. He was arrested and faces a hefty fine of $22,300! The speeding ticket was a lot cheaper...

7. And the last one for November and so timely with the upcoming release of the latest Harry Potter movie. Currency experts have determined the value of galleons in JK Rowling's books. In case you ever wondered, they figure that each gold galleon is worth about $8.60, which makes an education at Hogwart's rather pricey. Harry Nimbus 2000 would set you back about $2,580 and a magic wand about $60.20! And I am not making this up -- the currency experts claim, "Magic money is a very study currency that could assert itself on the international money market". Yeah -- I can't wait to get my paycheck in galleons.

Well, there you go -- this month's strange and wacko stories. Sometimes it is good to just be a normal, boring person... If you have any you would like to share, feel free to post them in the comments section. I can't wait to see what we get...

Yours in BI success,


Posted November 17, 2005 11:25 AM
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Ford Motor Company recently announced that it will soon offer a complete wireless office in its F-series pickup truck. I am not kidding...

And what does this baby come with? Read on.

A Ford F-250 Super Duty truck with a mobile office installed was shown at a car show in Las Vegas last week. It contained:

-- a wireless-equipped computer containing a full suite of Office products (e.g., Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.)
-- a printer
-- a global positioning system (in case you run off the road while fiddling with your mobile office)
-- and add-ons like a digital camera and credit card scanner

The system uses a flat Stargate Mobile computer, powered off the truck's battery and mounted on a stand between the driver's and passenger's seat. It has a touch-screen option eliminating the need for a keyboard or mouse - oh thank God for small favors -- and stays connected to the Internet via broadband wireless cellular technology. The cost? A measly $3,000.

And here's an interesting snippet. According to Patty Dilger, Director at Microsoft (they are working with Ford to develop the mobile office), "It's super rugged. You can drop it in the dirt, pick it up, brush it off and you're good to go." Man, I wish my laptop could do that. One little fall from the airport security table and it's a goner!

Just think -- now you can create that all important PPT presentation your boss just asked you for, bring up your email AND answer it, and take pictures of the car you just rear-ended, all with ease!

I guess the only question left is -- Why a truck? Would not have been my first choice...

Yours in BI success,


Posted November 16, 2005 9:42 AM
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Computer Associates has had a very troubled year - an accounting scandal that took out most of the company's management team as a starter. I guess they believe that the new name will help them get over the past...

CA's CEO must believe that people will forget what happened in the past and that the new name and updated logo will push the company out of its doldrums. He used his keynote address at CA World (their user conference) last night to introduce the new name and his list of priorities for the company -- top items on that list were rebuilding damaged customer relationships and expanding CA's partner network -- both badly in need of repair (IMHO).

The new slogan for CA is "Believe Again" -- OK, that may be a bit of hokey but with the introduction of 24 new products this week -- supposedly built on an integrated technology platform -- perhaps they can restore everyone's confidence over time. It will not be easy. One customer, Scott Bradshaw who was attending the conference, put succinctly what the new CEO wanted to accomplish with the new messaging -- to completely disavow CA's history. "It's really evident CA's new management is trying to distance itself from the old company..." said Scott. And rightfully so.

Good luck to CA. I will be interested to hear from you -- their customers and partners -- as to whether the old tiger does indeed have new stripes.

Yours in BI success,


Posted November 15, 2005 2:58 PM
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Last September 1, Pitney Bowes announced that it would acquire the remaining 95% of FirstLogic for $50 million. If you recall, I wrote in my blog that I thought it was not a particularly good deal for FirstLogic. Perhaps they agreed since the acquisition is now officially called off.

Here's the exclusive news...

A press release from Scott Humphrey will be aired today stating that FirstLogic and Pitney Bowes have verbally agreed NOT to extend their merger agreement when it expires November 15.

Eric Lieberman, the President of FirstLogic says, "After reviewing the second request for information issued by the Federal Trade Commission, we mutually decided that it was in the best interest of all involved not to proceed further with the acquisition."

I am sure that there is disappointment on both sides of the deal but I also think that FirstLogic is better off either on its own or looking for a better deal with another company. Good luck to FirstLogic with its new legs!

Yours in BI success,


Posted November 14, 2005 12:59 PM
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