What is Full Life Cycle Business Intelligence?

·        What is full life cycle Business Intelligence?
o   Source Data --> Scrub Data --> Business Rules --> Report --> QA --> Insight
·        Traditional Reporting
o   Static Reports with Parameters
§  State / Federal Reporting
o   Report Developer
§  SQL
§  Domain Knowledge
o   Reporting Tools
§  Crystal Reports
§  SQL Server Reporting Services
§  Actuate
o   Relational OLTP Databases
§  Oracle
§  Microsoft SQL-Server
§  Sybase
§  MySQL
§  Microsoft Access
·        Data Warehousing
o   Single version of the Truth
§  Join desperate data sources
o   Established Architecture
§  Kimball Methodology
·        Star Schema
·        Snow Flake Schema
§  Data Modeling
·        Dim Tables
·        Fact Tables
·        De-normalize Data
§  Cubes
·        Multi-Dimensional
·        Tabular Model
o   Data Warehouse Developer / Architect
o   Tools
§  SQL Server Data Tools
§  Universe Designer
o   OLAP Databases
§  Cognos
§  SQL Server Analysis Services
§  SAP Universes
o   Costly
§  Build
§  Maintain
§  Enhance
·        Self Service Reporting
o   Teach users to fish
§  Supply Data sets
§  Data Discovery
o   Tools
§  Tableau
§  Qlkview
§  Microsoft Excel / Power BI
·        Projects
o   What questions try to answer?
§  Who
§  What
§  Where
§  When
o   Scope
§  Define requirements
§  Report Specifications
o   Data Sources
§  Leads
§  Salesforce
§  Financial
§  Phone
o   Business Rules
§  Processes
§  Data Flow
§  Exceptions
o   Infrastructure
§  Applications
§  Databases
§  Tools
§  Servers
§  Source Control
o   Staff
§  Domain Experts
·        Company History
·        Product Experts
·        Information Experts
§  Project Sponsors
·        Funding Project
o   Data
§  Sources
§  Staging
§  Raw
§  Data Warehouse
§  OLAP Cube
§  Data Governance
·        Data Quality
o   Standardize Fields (St. Pete, Saint Petersburg, Saint Pete.)
·        Data Cleansing
o   Remove Duplicates
§  Master Data Services
·        Single location specific data
o   Maintained by Business
§  Credentials
·        Access to Databases
·        Servers
·        OLAP
·        Schedule Jobs
·        Services
·        Certificates
§  Security
·        Active Directory
·        Report / Group Level Security
·        Application Security
o   SharePoint
o   Reporting Services
o   Business Objects
§  Backups
·        Data Warehouse
·        OLAP Cubes
§  Source Code Repository
·        Administrator
·        Project Hierarchy
·        Users
·        Permissions
·        Delete vs. Destroy
§  Testing
·        Unit Testing (Developer)
·        User Acceptance Testing (Business)
·        Pass Criteria
§  Additional Requests
·        Out of scope?
·        Add to project
·        Add Developer
·        Remove other Functionality
·        Extend Deadline
·        Move request to next phase
·        Charge for additional time / work?
o   Deployment
§  Who deploys code to production?
§  Off Hours
§  Outage
·        Project
o   Project Manager
§  Spokesperson between Business and Development
·        Provides meetings based on frequency
·        Progress Reports
o   Estimates
§  Hours presented to Sponsor for approval
o   Project Schedule
§  Deliverables
§  Who does what when listed?
·        By Task Item
·        By Priority
·        By Constraints?

#SSRS Export NAV to Excel Currency

Ran into a bug when exporting SQL Server Reporting Services to Excel.  The field which contained a Currency in SSRS exported to Excel as a Text.

So one option was to multiply the SSRS formula by 1.000

=Fields!Retailer_Amount.Value* 1.000

By doing this, the field successfully converts to a number in Excel.  However, there is no currency symbol $.

So in order to keep the Currency symbol $, you have to set the property called "Format" to "C":

And this solved the problem.  Hope that helps.

Laying Bricks

Life is like sports.  You try your best to succeed.  Some days you win.  Other days you lose.

Either way, you wake up the next day ready to try again.

I learned from an old boss.  He said you could have had your best day yesterday, but that doesn't matter today.  Today you have to produce.

We all have bad days.  You have to pick yourself up.  Start again.

Work is like sports.  You try to bring your A game each and every day.  Even on days when you don't feel like it.

You can go for periods of stagnation.  A plateau.  And one day you look back to see how far you've traveled.

Each day you lay a brick for the foundation of your career.  And your life.  Become a mason.


Mindless Ramblings

I've been blogging for a few years now.  At first it was a venue to write about technology that interested me.  And write about events going on in life.  Some stories about real world experiences.  There's been some days with 5 posts.  And some weeks without a post.

I've spoken with some people who I didn't know read my blog.  Interesting, the public domain, anyone can find and read these things.

For a while I posted on Hadoop.  I kept current on everything there was to know.  Over time, not sure when, I found myself spending less time reading, practicing and staying current.  I suppose the newness wore off.  There's tons of people with years of experience now, I kind of missed the boat.

But I keep busy with Business Intelligence specifically the Microsoft stack and soon to be Business Objects.  Next project is lining up and it involves Crystal Reports.  So that should be fun.  I still don't see much Hadoop in my future, but that's okay.  Looking forward to working with Universes, Webi and all the SAP offerings for a while.

All I know is Saturday we're heading out of state for a few days and I'm going to relax, hike and smoke a box of cigars.  And lately I've been riding the bicycle up to the tennis courts and been practicing against the wall.  Feels good to smash the ball repeatedly.  I prefer the wall to opponents as the wall is unbeatable.  Even still, I can keep the ball going for quite a long time and get a good workout.  I sometimes forget how much I enjoy physical exercise and tennis seems to be a good outlet to get rid of some steam.  I broke a string yesterday which I haven't done in a while, which happens from too much wear on the strings.  Even with a few years layoff, I can probably beat most people left handed (I'm ambidextrous).  Maybe I can find a life balance to incorporate tennis back into the schedule.  Not sure I'd try for another national ranking, just for fun this time.

And so it goes~!


Next Speaking Event

My next speaking event will be the IT Pro Camp in Tampa:


I spoke there last year and enjoyed the event.

This year the topic will be Intro to Business Intelligence:


Should be fun~!


Consulting vs Full Time

Working a full time job, you're kind of required to be on site every day all day.  And as you sit there, sleep staring at the monitor, dozing off into numbness land, pretending to work, you dream of working from home.  How awesome to have the freedom to work at your own pace in a relaxed environment with no restrictions.

Well, I would say that's partially true.  There is more freedom working from home.  Less supervision.  Less structured time.  But the work still has to get done.

I've spoken with other consultants who work from home.  They mention the isolation of having nobody to talk to.  By not having a specific start time and end time, you quite possibly could be working longer hours.  There's really a lot of noise around the house with trucks speeding by, landscapers, city workers, delivery people, it's not always quiet.  And there are tons of distractions.  The dogs need to be walked.  The visits to the refrigerator to see what's quick to eat or just stand there with the door open, looking in.  There's the swimming pool.  And of course the occasional cigar break.  I don't watch television but I'm sure many work from home consultants partake.  And there's a lack of camaraderie that office's provide, you don't know the latest scoop on what's going on, don't go out for lunch everyday with the same people and lack of occasional visits to coworkers desks to shoot the bs.

And the work deadlines are real.  You have to produce on a daily basis.  There's more pressure to get things done on time.  And just because you work from home doesn't mean you don't attend meetings, fill out time sheets and have conference calls.

And the variety of work is always changing.  You never know where you'll be working or what type of technology you'll be working.  I really like the variety, constant challenge and meeting new clients.

Personally, I like working from home for the freedom.  But I also like going to the office to talk with people and eat lunch at a restaurant and interact socially.  I don't miss the scheduled 7-4 or 8-5 or 9-6 set hours.

They call it work for a reason.  Because you are exchange an hourly rate for your time.  Yet I like working in IT as a consultant.  If I had to do some meaningless job with no creativity or flexibility, then I'd dread it like the majority of workers do.  I find it to be true that full time jobs work like this, the people at the bottom of the totem poll do the majority of work for the least amount of money, get dumped on continually, while the people at the top love their jobs, receive huge bonus' and salaries and basically play politics all day.

I've been in the workforce full time since about 1991 and I finally found a job where I'm not complaining most of the time.  So there's something to be said about that.

And maybe one day, I'll have finally decided what to be when I grow up.