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Dan Linstedt

Bill Inmon has given me this wonderful opportunity to blog on his behalf. I like to cover everything from DW2.0 to integration to data modeling, including ETL/ELT, SOA, Master Data Management, Unstructured Data, DW and BI. Currently I am working on ways to create dynamic data warehouses, push-button architectures, and automated generation of common data models. You can find me at Denver University where I participate on an academic advisory board for Masters Students in I.T. I can't wait to hear from you in the comments of my blog entries. Thank-you, and all the best; Dan Linstedt http://www.COBICC.com, danL@danLinstedt.com

About the author >

Cofounder of Genesee Academy, RapidACE, and BetterDataModel.com, Daniel Linstedt is an internationally known expert in data warehousing, business intelligence, analytics, very large data warehousing (VLDW), OLTP and performance and tuning. He has been the lead technical architect on enterprise-wide data warehouse projects and refinements for many Fortune 500 companies. Linstedt is an instructor of The Data Warehousing Institute and a featured speaker at industry events. He is a Certified DW2.0 Architect. He has worked with companies including: IBM, Informatica, Ipedo, X-Aware, Netezza, Microsoft, Oracle, Silver Creek Systems, and Teradata.  He is trained in SEI / CMMi Level 5, and is the inventor of The Matrix Methodology, and the Data Vault Data modeling architecture. He has built expert training courses, and trained hundreds of industry professionals, and is the voice of Bill Inmons' Blog on http://www.b-eye-network.com/blogs/linstedt/.

Let's cut right to the chase, I've been blogging on how data modeling affects our abilities to actively "execute" on data - in other words, how well we can interpret or interpolate the results from on-screen information to actionable business decisions.

I've found a software company in the Nanotech side of molecular modeling and 3D visualization that specializes in "bringing data to life". Talk about drill-down, and simulation! These guys appear to have it together. Read on to find out why I believe these types of advancements are needed to light a fire under our BI systems.

On another note: Tiny droplet of water moved up a slope using "nanomachines". Very short article, really cool technology!

Ok, back to the 3D visualization. I received some comments about data visualization and how it can be extremely complex to try and map business data to 3 dimensional models. Lets step back and take a slightly different tack.

A completely different field (nanotech) is way out front in this area. Read a COOL article here, see the models they offer. Their business users: scientists, chemists, physicists, and so on are all required to utilize simulation and modeling software in real-time and 3D space. They are working in a virtual world. Their business users have complete control over "what-if" analysis, storing and saving simulations, replaying, intersecting the simulations, and building new representative models of the information displayed within. Granted - they work in a 3D world, where molecules have a basic shape and can be defined with motion vectors.

However this is where I get off the bus and look around to ask: where are the BI vendors that are "striving" to break the curve, push the paradigm, and blow our socks off with a new paradigm? Why aren't the BI vendors partnering up with data mining vendors, and data visualization specialists? Why can't the BI vendors bring in animation specialists? It's not just the nanotech sector!!

Take a look around, the industry of BI is evolving, and the BI vendors appear to have been "left on the shore." I got news: The BOAT HAS LEFT THE DOCK and is already 10 miles out to sea. Just look around at the education industry, the internet, or the gaming industry. When was the last time you said: "this game is cool with it's bar charts and pie graphs, I think I'll play that one non-stop!"

Or how about this: "Wow! Look at this web-site! It's got a title, and static text! I think I'll create my corporate portal this way!"

Ok - here's one more: When was the last time you took a class that consisted of the ever-fun and addicting "read this word document" - then we'll test you on it, on line.

No!! You want to hear the instructor, see animation, watch the components in action, replay the learning pieces. You want to see the web-site updated, graphics and sound, flashy movement - spiffy looking and functional. What about games? Why was DOOM or Descent so popular? 1. Addictive interactive play, 2. The sequences were varied every time it was played 3. Intensive graphics and incredible "experiences".

You know, our BI vendors could take some lessons on this - it's time they brought their visualization interfaces into the 21st century. I'm tired of hearing "turn this (picture of spreadsheet) into this... (picture of red-green-yellow speed dials and bar charts)."

Here's my AD draft for the next big BI visualization tool:

"Interact with this, develop visualization scenarios, view your data across multiple axis (dimensions), swap your dimensional points in and out of your graph to change the landscape, walk around the graph, give motion to your graph in real time - backed with the latest in data mining and visualization technology, we BLOW the covers off the other BI vendors in presentation, style, and interactivity.

That's right! PLAY with your data in a way that is educational, have FUN in a 3D virtual world, see connections across data relationships like you've never seen before!"

Ok - so I'm not a sales man, but I want a FUN tool with hot graphics and the option of time-lining data (like a video editor in playback mode) over a 3D landscape. If I could adapt the Nanotech visualization and modeling tool to the BI world, I would. The next BI vendor to overcome this paradigm shift could be rich, really really fast.

A couple of questions for the readers:
If you had to suggest HOW to make this happen to a BI vendor, what would you say?
Would you want a system like this? How would it impact your business and business decisions?

See you soon, Dan L

Posted September 16, 2005 9:49 AM
Permalink | 3 Comments |


The best data visualization tool is one that is based on a new paradigm (GIFIC - Graphical Interface for Information Cognition).

It makes all the other solutions obsolete as it's extensible, can be applied to all knowledge domains, and effectively deals with all forms of information (bounded numeric, multistate, and image).

As implemented in FYI Visual, it easily capable of monitoring 10000+ real time data elements on a single screen from multiple different data sources.

It makes dashboards look like silly solutions. I've seen Hyperions stuff. It's inferior.

The best data visualization tool is the one that meets the end-user's business requirements. FYI Visual seems like an intriguing product and probably has a niche that it excels in, although its hard to tell since there are two screenshots of the product on the entire website. However, to say that it makes dashboards look like silly solutions is a ridiculous statement that belittles end-users' own say in the matter. To say that it makes all the other solutions obsolete is simply indefensible. Obsolete on what grounds? Aesthetics? Technological Elegance? It appears you've been drinking a few too many of your own KEGS. Just because one can derive a method of generating an audible indication of data stored in a database does not suddenly render all previous audio and database technology obsolete, regardless of how wealthy it may make a patent lawyer.

The vast majority of business users are quite happy with Excel and are comfortable with the visual metaphors of bar charts, pie charts, line graphs, etc. Advanced visualization provided by any vendor is a niche market and will likely remain so for the next decade and may not take off regardless of their promise and innovative nature, which I applaud. However, "new paradigms" rarely can be monetized and leveraged, and there is certainly a lot of competition already in this area. Customers would be more comfortable working with vendors with reasonable self-assessments of their technologies importance and maturity, not to mention vendors that have proven financial viability.

Virtual World technology DOES revolutionize data visualization. Have a look at Green Phosphor.

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