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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!

 

Recently in General Interest Category

I attended a breakfast forum this morning sponsored be Vista Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm here in Boulder, CO. The speaker was Ike Nassi, EVP for SAP Research. During his talk, Ike discussed "Green IT". He kicked off a whole series of thoughts in my head about how we can use BI to reduce our carbon footprints. So here goes:

We have seen any number of articles, ads, vendor write ups, etc., touting how we can make IT more green. Well, according to a number of reports, IT creates only about 2% of the overall carbon footprint of enterprises. So even if we made massive changes to IT and reduced the carbon footprint by 50% (nearly impossible), it would reduce the overall footprint by a measly 1%...

How about doing something radically different -- how about using all our vast BI resources to analyze our processes and procedures to determine where we can truly make a difference? Gee, how about if we used our analytics to:

1. Analyze transportation routes -- couldn't we reduce our CO2 emissions more by analyzing our transportation routes, determining which routes would be the shortest, which ones could be consolidated, which ones could be eliminated? Seems like that would go a long way toward reducing the giant CO2 paw prints our enterprises make.

2. Analyze supply chain logistics -- how about analyzing suppliers for proximity to inventory depots, efficiency in shipping, consolidation of supplier routes, etc.? Maybe we can really get a handle on our supply chain management and eliminate unnecessary shipments (e.g., "emergency" and inefficient shipments because we did not manage the inventory correctly). Seems like this is an area that is rife with potential green savings.

3. Analyze employee travel -- I believe we could greatly reduce the carbon footprint of many enterprises by eliminating a lot of unnecessary travel. We should be able to determine the effectiveness of virtual technologies over the more expensive and environmentally unfriendly physical events. Do employees have to fly to meetings are could they attend via video conferencing? Perhaps conference providers should offer virtual attendance in addition to physical attendance. Not only will these actions reduce an enormous amount of CO2 from all the transportation devices involved (cars, airplanes, etc.), it cuts down on lost resource time due to travel, minimizes the waste that occurs (missed airplanes, lost baggage, etc.), and ultimately, saves money for the enterprise.

OK -- rant over. Now it is your turn. Please enter your suggestions for how a company can use its BI prowess to really make a dent in its carbon footprint. Not only will the environment benefit but, in these troubling financial times, these efforts can reduce costs, improve overall corporate efficiencies, and ultimately contribute beneficially to the corporation's bottom line. What do ya know, a win-win...

Yours in BI (and CO2 reduction) success.

Claudia

Technorati Tags: Green IT, BI, carbon footprint, Business Intelligence,

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Posted October 31, 2008 12:47 PM
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Every now and then, I use my blog for something that has nothing to do with BI. Sometimes I use it for humor, sometimes a rant against a pet peeve, and sometimes -- like this time -- for something that I found astonishing.

I recently received something from a friend of mine -- the email from the friend was ordinary enough -- the link in the email to a website was ordinary enough -- the site content was far from ordinary. I leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions...

Click here and view Running the Numbers if interested. I think it will be worth your time.

Claudia


Posted March 2, 2008 10:19 AM
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We communicate mainly by words -- whether spoken or written. Everyone slips up occasionally when speaking but to do so in written form is a major negative. I admit it -- reading poorly written or misworded documents just makes me crazy... (It comes from my childhood -- my Mom always corrected my grammar)

So to save my sanity and to perhaps improve overall communications between people, I offer up this blog based on Jody Gilbert's two articles on the topics of grammatical and wording mistakes "that make you look stupid."

Last year, Jody Gilbert wrote an excellent article titled "10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid." If you don't know when to use one word or the other, then read the article:

1. Loose versus lose -- Loose change versus lose my mind (a short trip sometimes).
2. It's for its -- think apostrophe for missing letter (It is to It's).
3. They're for their -- I admit it -- this one seems hard to mix up but I guess people do.
4. i.e. for e.g. -- These two are mixed up all the time. These are Latin terms -- i.e. means "that is" and e.g. means "for example."
5. Effect for affect -- another common error -- effect is a noun; affect is a transitive verb unless you are talking about someone's belongings (their affects).
6. You're for your -- see number 3
7. Different than for different from -- This one is easy -- never use different than.
8. Lay for lie -- Lay is to place something; lie is to recline. You don't lay down and you don't lie a book on the table...
9. Then for than -- Then refers to a time frame; than is a comparative word.
10. Could of, would of, should of for could have, would have, should have -- Bottom line, you never put of after these verbs.

Now on to this year's entry. Jody Gilbert struck again with "10 wording blunders that make you look stupid".

1. All intensive purposes -- yikes! Do people really use this term instead of "for all intents and purposes"?
2. Comprise -- nothing is comprised of something. For example, a correct sentence is "the team comprised seven people". Comprise is misused so much that we have actually come to think that "comprised of" is correct. Use "consisted of" if you must use the "of".
3. Heighth -- There is no such word. The word is height not heighth -- unlike its sister words, width or length. Don't you just love English?
4. Supposably -- yes, this one gets me going. The correct term is "supposedly".
5. One of my favorites -- irregardless -- is this a double negative meaning to regard something?
6. Infer or imply -- When do you infer something versus imply something? The rule of thumb is that imply means you are suggesting something and infer means you are interpreting something. That sure clears it up -- not.
7. Momento -- this is a Spanish word for moment not a word for something you bring back from your trip. The correct term is memento -- as in, "I brought my daughter a memento from the conference I attended".
8. Anticlimatic -- The correct term is anticlimactic -- as in a letdown. The other term means you are against the climate...
9. Tenant versus tenet -- One is a renter; the other is a principle as in a list of ethical tenets. But then again, maybe you have ethical renters...
10. Moot versus mute -- You may argue a moot point (meaning it is abstract or irrelevant) or you may remain mute on the subject meaning you have nothing to say.

So there you have the quick lesson for the day. Now here is a list of words that I would really like to see stricken from our vocabulary (most come from my teenage daughter).

1. Like -- as in, "I am, like, really tired of, like, having my teacher's assign, like, all this homework".
2. Whatever -- Example -- Mom: "You can't go out until you finish your homework'. Daughter: "Whatever..."
3. ad hoc -- We use it a lot in BI conversations and rarely get it right. The definition of "ad hoc" is done for particular purpose: done or set up solely in response to a specific situation or problem, without considering wider or longer-term issues (from Microsoft® Encarta® 2007). For example, an ad hoc meeting.
4 "It is what it is" -- what the heck does that mean, anyway? My contractor used it many times during our renovation. It was followed by a statement that we were either going to have to redo something or live with it...

So there are my pet peeves. I can't wait to read your favorites. Just list them in the comments and you will feel much better, I promise.

Yours in BI success.

Claudia

Technorati Tags: Correct Grammar, word errors, Pet Peeves, communication


Posted August 1, 2007 9:48 AM
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It's official -- the Dog Days of summer are here. It is hotter than blazes here in Colorado (and I imagine just about everywhere else). So I thought a bit of cool trivia was needed. Who knows the origin of Dog Days? If you do, post a comment with the information. If no one posts a definition, I'll post an "official" one in a few days -- after I recover from heat stroke.

Here are some things to know about Dog Days though...

Dog Days are thought to be times of great evil - stuff rotted, everyone became listless or crazy, animals got nutty or sick, and so on... The time frame consists of the 40 days from July 3 to August 11.

So -- what does this have to do with BI? Well... How about the following:

1. Probably is a bad time to start a project
2. Explains why your team/users/sponsors/vendors are at each other's throats
3. Explains the sudden dip in utilization of your environment
4. Should be avoided for your performance evaluation
5. Can have negative effects on user acceptance
6. Stops requirements gathering because no one shows up to meetings
7. Features for the next release should not be determined by vendors during this period
8. Confrontations with your (fill in the blank -- boss, spouse, user community, co-worker, neighbor, etc.) are likely.

Yes -- all sorts of bad things happen until August 11. So my advice to you is to go on an extended vacation for the next three and a half weeks. You can tell your boss that it is mandatory or else you run the high risk of catastrophic failure. That should get his/her attention and permission! (Right...) I plan to have a low profile until August 12...

By the way, this does not apply to those of you living in the Southern Hemisphere. When you know the answer to what the Dog Days are, you will understand why it doesn't work in Australia. Sorry, mates.

Yours in BI success

Claudia

Technorati Tags: Dog Days of Summer, BI, evil time


Posted July 18, 2007 2:54 PM
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OK -- So MANY of you enjoyed the "Snake Eats Alligator and Explodes" blog that I just couldn't resist another one of these... My husband sent me this gem and it just made my day. The comments by the videographer are priceless!

Here is a video of a killer bunny going after a snake again and again... The bunny is one determined critter eventually driving the snake to actually climb a tree to get away from the rabbit. I am not making this up...

Kind of reminds me of all the bright new BI technology start-ups out there taking on their more established competitors. You have be a quick, fast, and agile rabbit to avoid getting eaten or driven off by these big companies.

Could this be another analogy for the -- um -- uber-snake company and all of its recently "meals"?

But -- then again, maybe it is a warning to another large reptilian-like company to watch out for all those open source rabbits who who won't be trampled!

Yours in BI success --

Claudia


Posted May 17, 2007 9:37 AM
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