Join me at Live! 360 Orlando to learn more about Applied Business Analytics

I’m delighted to be speaking at Live! 360 Orlando and I’m presenting a workshop on From Business Intelligence to Business Analytics with the Microsoft Data Platform. The conference is held on November 17-22, 2019 at the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando in Florida.

Data becomes relevant for decision making when we start to use it properly, so this workshop will demonstrate the use of analytics for real-life use cases. This means that you can make use of the knowledge you learn from the session when you go back to the office. In this workshop, we will make analytics relevant to your business so your organization will feel the benefit. If you’d like to register, please click here to register and please use code SPKLIVE87 and receive $400 off the standard pricing for both the 6-Day and 5-Day Packages.

Here are the topics we’ll cover:

  • Introduction to Analytics with the Microsoft Data Platform
  • Essential Business Statistics for Analytics Success – the important statistics that business users use often in business spheres, such as marketing and strategy.
  • Business Analytics for your CEO – what information does your CEO really care about, and how can you produce the analytics that she really wants? In this session, we will go through common calculations and discuss how these can be used for business strategy, along with their interpretation.
  • Analytics for Marketing – what numbers do they need, why, and what do they say? In this session, we will look at common marketing scenarios for analytics, and how they can be implemented with the Microsoft Data Platform.
  • Analytics for Sales – what numbers do they need on a sales dashboard, why, and what do they say? In this session, we will look at common sales scenarios for analytics such as forecasting and ‘what if’ scenarios, and how they can be implemented with the Microsoft Data Platform.
  • Analytics with Python – When you really have difficult data to crunch, Python is your secret Power tool.
  • Business Analytics with Big Data – let’s look at Big Data sources and how we can do Big Data Analytics with tools in Microsoft’s Data Platform.

Power BI and Marketing Data

What kind of applicable analytics will we cover? One important area in data is marketing. The primary aim of a Digital Marketing Analytics Report is to provide Digital Marketing Managers, Product Owners, and other relevant teams and stakeholders with a clear and easily-usable overview of the KPIs related to their campaigns. They should be designed in such a way that whoever is looking at them can interact with them in an easy, productive way. A Digital Marketing Analytics Report will generally have a wide range of visuals, of different levels of complexity, that display data in different ways.

The average attention span is only eight seconds. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to gather your data onto one canvas in a visually-compelling way, rather than relying on a lengthy PowerPoint or a cluttered Excel spreadsheet. Power BI is a hugely effective way of gathering and connecting to various data sources and using them to create a more engaging experience. 

When it comes to marketing specifically, there are some major advantages that come with processing your data in Power BI. Visualizing your data in a Power BI report lets you recognise patterns and trends that might have otherwise gone unnoticed if the data was in a text-based format. It is also an effective way to identify and create your company’s own best practices vs the common best practices of the industry; you can estimate traffic by creating a click-through-rate curve for your site, rather than just using the industry average.

Power BI can also make it easier to answer the questions that your clients and other stakeholders ask of you. Being able to explore and interact with live data means that, when you’re asked a question, rather than responding by saying “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you” you can say “Let’s find out”. Not only does this mean that your client doesn’t have to wait for an answer, but it means that you are showing that you’re being honest and transparent about your data and how you analyse it.

You can also interact with your data in other ways — for example, it’s easy to isolate data from a specific time period in one visualization, and have this be reflected in the other visualizations on the Dashboard. You could select the spendings from a particular week, and have the KPIs from this week be highlighted, allowing you to better see the relationship between these two statistics.

Colour can also be used in a Dashboard to have certain effects, such as showcasing relationships clearly and drawing attention to the most important data, either overall or during user interaction. Colour can also be used to illustrate performance — for example, green statistics to represent above target, yellow for on target, and red for below target.

You can use a Power BI Dashboard to give an overview of impressions, campaign clicks, and average spend for a digital campaign. These statistics combined gives an overview of the effectiveness of and costs related to the campaign — seeing these statistics side by side can give a better idea of how they relate to each other.

Marketers are already learning how to use better tools for bigger datasets, and the environment is quickly evolving. Digital marketers working in eCommerce are experiencing over 45% increases year-on-year (1). People are becoming more digitally literate, and are learning how to search more effectively across more devices — often even beginning a purchase on one device and completing it on a different one. There are more search engines, more sites, and overall more options for users, and many users are responding to this by becoming better, more specific searchers. This means that, as marketers, instead of worrying about 1,000 keywords, you need to worry about 1,000,000. You need to have a much better idea of your marketing initiatives, click-throughs and engagements, and you need to convey this in a way that will be both understandable and engaging. 

If there are larger initiatives or recurring marketing programs that you need to track, it may be beneficial to setup specific reports, but in general, a Power BI dashboard is a great way to share your insights in a way that doesn’t end at a basic display of your data, but allows the data to be further investigated on-the-spot and when needed.

Join me in Live! 360 Orlando to learn more about Power BI and marketing, along with other topics.

Connecting #Azure WordPress, #HubSpot data for analyzing data in #PowerBI for a small business #CRM

I got to the end of the free WordPress account for my small business account and I wanted to analyse my CRM and sales data better. I wanted to dial up my sales and marketing, and, of course, use data to understand my audience better. With the free WordPress edition, I could not do some of the things that I wanted, such as HubSpot integration and advanced analytics.

Why CRM?

As a small business, I rely on a lot of word of mouth business. When business leads come in, I need to track them properly. I have not always been very good at following-up in the past, and I am learning to get better at actioning and following-up.

 

I love the HubSpot CRM solution, and I decided I’d take it a step further by integrating HubSpot with my WordPress website, which is hosted in Azure and you can see my Data Relish company site here, with the final result. HubSpot have got great help files here, and I am referring you to them.

What technology did I use?

Microsoft Azure WordPress  – Azure met my needs since it could give me the opportunities for integration, plus additional space for storing resources such as downloads or videos.

Power BI – great way to create dashboards

HubSpot – CRM marketing and sales for small business

I found that using Microsoft Azure was a great way to make the jump from free WordPress to a hosted solution. Now, I am not a web developer and I do not intend to become one. However, I do want to use technology to meet my small business needs, and to do so in a way that is secure. I’m going to write up some posts on how to get started.

To get started with a website in Azure, you can follow the instructions here or watch the Channel 9 video for instructions.

Now, I needed a way of working with the HubSpot data in Power BI, and this is where the CData PowerBI and HubSpot connector comes in.
In running a small business, you need to be super-precious with your time. I could spend ages trying to create my own connector, or I could use a robust, off-the-counter connector that would do it for me.

In a small business, spending your time badly is still a cost.

In a business, you have to decide between spending money or spending time on an activity. If something is taking too long to do by yourself and someone/something could do it better but you have to pay for it, then it’s a false economy and a bad decision to do it by yourself. You’ve got a choice between expending time and effort, or a choice between spending money. Experience will tell you when to do what, but wasting time is difficult to measure.

There aren’t many options for Power BI and HubSpot, but I was pleased to find the CData connector.

Disclaimer: I didn’t tell HubSpot or CData that I was writing this blog so it isn’t endorsed by either of them.

What does CData look like?

You can download the CData ODBC Driver, which connects Power BI to HubSpot. Here’s a snip of their site:

CData PowerBI ODBC Driver

I downloaded the trial, and then went through the install. It was easy and ‘next next next’. When it is installed, it launches a browser to ask you to log into HubSpot, which I did. Then, quickly, I got the following screen – yay, I am in business!

CData Authorization Successful

Then, off to Power BI to download the latest edition of Power BI Desktop. It’s easy to install, and I could get cracking very quickly.

How do we get access to the HubSpot data?

In Power BI Desktop, click on the Get Data icon in the Home tab, and then choose the ODBC option.

Get Data ODBC

Click on the Connect button

Look for the HubSpot ODBC connector in the drop-down list. It should appear something like this:

ODBC Hubspot Power BI

Then, you will be asked for your name and password, and then click Connect:

ODBC HubSpot Username password

Once you have connected, you will be presented with a list of HubSpot tables

Hubspot Tables

Click the tables that you want, and the data will be loaded into Power BI.

If you don’t know which table you want, load in the tables starting with Deals first, then then compare it with the HubSpot screen. This will help you to understand better how the columns relate to your HubSpot data on your screen.

I’ll add more about HubSpot analysis in the future, but for now, happy PowerBI-ing!

Past and Future of Self-Service Business Intelligence

I was very pleased to appear on the Izenda website along with five other Business Intelligence experts, discussing the past, present and future of self-service Business Intelligence. I was delighted and honoured to appear with luminaries such as Wayne Eckerson, John Myers, Kevin Smith, Rich Ghiossi, and Ron Powell.

 

 

Self-service Business Intelligence is a much larger topic than you might think, and it’s clear that some organizations who market themselves as ‘self-service’ aren’t really meeting the criteria. I recommend that you head over to the post in order to read it all.  I’m interested in the idea of self-service analytics as well as self-service business intelligence, and I do think that will become increasingly relevant as the industry matures.

Thank you to Izenda for having me along. Please let me know what you think; I look forward to your comments.

 

 

Doing the Do: the best resource for learning new Business Intelligence and Data Science technology

As a consultant, I get parachuted into difficult problems every day. Often, I figure it out because I have to, and I want to. Usually, nobody else can do it other than me – they are all keeping the fires lit. I get to do the thorny problems that get left burning quietly. I love the challenge of these successes!

How do you get started? The online and offline courses, books, MOOCs, papers, blogs and the forums help, of course. I regularly use several resources for learning but my number one source of learning is:

Doing the ‘do’ – working on practical projects, professional or private

Nothing beats hands-on experience. 

How do you get on the project ladder? Without experience, you can’t get started. So you end up in this difficult situation where you can’t get started, without experience.

Volunteer your time in the workplace – or out of it. It could be a professional project or your ‘data science citizen’ project that you care about. Your boss wants her data? Define the business need, and identify what she actually wants. If it helps, prototype to elicit the real need. Volunteer to try and get the data for her. Take a sample and just get started with descriptive statistics. Look at the simple things first.

Not sure of the business question? Try the AzureML Cheat Sheet for help.

machine-learning-algorithm-cheat-sheet-small_v_0_6-01

Working with dat means that you will be challenged with real situations and you will read and learn more, because you have to do it in order to deliver.

In my latest AzureML course with Opsgility, I take this practical, business-centred approach for AzureML. I show you how to take data, difficult business questions and practical problems, and I show you how to create a successful outcome; even if that outcome is a failed model, it still makes you revise the fundamental business question. It’s a safe environment to get experience.

So, if this is you – what’s the sequence? There are a few sequences or frameworks to try:

  • TDSP (Microsoft)
  • KDD
  • CRISP-DM
  • SEMMA

The ‘headline’ of each framework is given below, as a reference point, so you can see for yourself that they are very different. The main thing is to simply get started.

Team Data Science Process (Microsoft)

tdsp-lifecycle

 

KDD

kdd

 

CRISP-DM

330px-crisp-dm_process_diagram

 

SEMMA

metodo-semma

It’s important not to get too wrapped up on comparing models; this could be analysis paralysis, and that’s not going to help.

I’d suggest you start with the TDSP because of the fine resources, and take it from there.

I’d be interested in your approaches, so please do leave comments below.

Good  luck!

Data Acumen – Analytics Literacy in a Data-Driven world

I am sharing this blog by Richard Lee The video of his interview is below. I agree that data literacy has to be part of any leadership conversation.

We talk about data in terms of technology, and this is usually how customers approach me. I agree with Richard’s insight that it has to be recast as a business problem solving venture with an emphasis on data acumen as well as business acumen.

In this era of ‘alternate facts’, ‘post-truth’ our need for data acumen will become a necessary part of business acumen.

Enough of my thoughts; I will let Richard speak, and you can read his insightful blog post below.

Preface: I did not write a formal posting on the Data for Policy confab this past September, but wanted to at least share the materials that I presented and discussed during the conference. Abstract: The notion of Data-driven Policy making and its associated Governance, is often challenged by the fact that the vast majority of Politicians, […]

via You can’t have Data-driven Policy if your Leaders are Analytics Illiterate” — infomgmtexec

PASS Business Analytics Day, Jan 11, Chicago

pass-ba-day

PASS’ first Business Analytics Day, which will be held in Chicago on January 11, 2017. You can choose one of two full-day, in-depth sessions for $595: In-Database Analytics with R and SQL Server 2016 and Mastering Power BI Solutions.

These are unique learning opportunities to get more advanced in R or data visualization with Power BI. And as with other PASS events, the goal is to allow you to walk away with real-world analytics knowledge that you can use immediately!

PASS Business Analytics Day

You have two great choices: In-Database Analytics with R and SQL Server 2016 and Mastering Power BI Solutions.

In-Database Analytics with R and SQL Server 2016

With Microsoft SQL Server 2016, data scientists can run in-database analytics using R. This is a “best of both worlds” scenario: delegate database management to SQL Server whilst you create analytics and visualisations in R and Power BI. In this session, we will cover the overall architecture of SQL R Services and go over some best practices. We will look at best practices in analytics and visualisations with a focus on R, and then we delve more in-depth into some practical common use-cases.

Speakers:
David Smith, R Community Lead at Revolution Analytics, a Microsoft Company
Seth Mottaghinejad, Data Scientist, Microsoft

Mastering Power BI Solutions

In this Power BI hands-on Workshop, you will master the “power” of Power BI. Learn to use self-service and enterprise-scale Power BI capabilities; gain valuable skills to integrate, wrangle, shape and visualize data for analysis. Beginning and intermediate level users will learn to address data and reporting challenges with advanced design techniques.

Speaker:
Paul Turley, Mentor with SolidQ, BI Architect, and Microsoft Data Platform MVP

Date: January 11, 2017

Location: Microsoft Technology Center, #200 – 200 East Randolph Drive, Chicago, IL.

We hope you’ll join us!

Business Analytics Webinar Marathon announced!

31060117291_46e25da6d4_kJoin PASS on 14th December for our next bumper edition of the Business Analytics (BA) Marathon on Wednesday, December 14. We have six back-to-back sessions, all about analytics. Why not challenge yourself to attend all six?

If you want to learn R, predictive analytics, or learn about business analytics generally, then join our industry experts for six back-to-back webinars.

Each webinar lasts for an hour, and they start at 17:00 GMT. Check the time in your own timezone here

Webinar Date: Wed December 14, 2016

Start time: 17:00 GMT ¦ Check the time in your own timezone here

Session 1: Analyzing Healthcare Open Data with Power BI
Dan English, Senior Data Warehouse Architect, Constellation

Session 2: Big Data Analytics with SparkR
Jen Underwood, Founder of Impact Analytix, LLC

Session 3: Disrupt the Static Nature of BI with Predictive Anomaly Detection
Uri Maoz, Vice President of US business, Anodot

Session 4: Using R to Clean and Transform Small Data
Mark Wilcock, Technical Delivery Manager, ‎Credit Suisse

Session 5: Visualizing Multiple Time Series with R in Power BI
Bill McLellan, BI Team Lead and Sr. BI Solutions Specialist, TKC Holdings

Session 6: Real-World Predictive Analytics
Miguel Molina-Cosculluela, Managing Partner & Analytics Evangelist, Analytikus
Diwakar Rajagopal, Senior Director of Partnerships, Pyramid Analytics

See you there!