Ultimate Business Intelligence Guide

Here’s a useful website if you are interested in the more general area of BI.

This is a comprehensive site. Of particular interest to me are the following articles:

BI software: A comprehensive look at various BI software offerings

Certification : Various pages discussing BI certification paths available from Microsoft, Oracle, Business Objects and SAS

Books: The book list is quite extensive covering Data Warehousing, BOBJ, Microsoft, Oracle and Data Visualisation.

Solutions: A detailled look at the whole gamut of BI technologies.

I’ve added this to my list of bookmarks.

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Performance Point Server

I haven’t been posting as much recently as I have been focusing on getting the Microsoft Performance Point Server certification. This is gained by passing exam 70-556, and on passing, awards you with the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Performance Point Server certification.

Performance Point Server is a product based on the Proclarity platform of Business Intelligence products. Proclarity has been developing Business Intelligence products over the Microsoft stack since 1995, and in April 2006, was bought out by Microsoft.

Microsoft has now integrated these applications more closely with its own Business Intelligence tools and has released them under a new application suite called Performance Point Server.

The exam covers a wide range of topics relating to PPS – installation, configuration, configuring dimensions, models, rules and dashboards.

Panorama/Google Docs Tutorial

Following on from my recent post regarding the Google/Panorama tie up, I’ve found a tutorial which guides you through the process of creating pivot tables in Google Docs.

It’s very easy to use and adds another dimension to your standard spreadsheet pivot table.

Adobe Air and Business Objects Widgets

I’ve been reading more and more about Adobe Air. This is an application which allows developers to deliver rich internet applications using popular web technologies such as AJAX, HTML, Flash and Flex.

Of particular interest is how this can be intergrated with data sources coming out from Business Objects. Head over to the Business Objects Labs and you will find a few examples (here and here) of Business Objects/Xcelcius integrating with Air. It is worth taking a look.

For those that haven’t come across the Business Objects labs beofre, it is well worth paying them a visit. They are working on a number of potentially useful developments, some of which find themselves incorporated into a full release. I particularly like the Business Objects Mashup which integrates Business Objects data with Google Maps. Not sure how they decide what gets put into a future release, but if you liek something in their labs, it won’t do any harm letting them know!

Google working with Panorama?

I stumbled across this article recently which talked of Google partnering with Panorama.

For those that don’t know, Panorama Software produces some great visual software in the area of Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and Multidimensional Expressions (MDX). In the mid 90’s Microsoft bought Panorama Software’s OLAP server technology, which was subsequently implemented in Microsoft’s SQL Server Analysis/Reporting Services technology.

This is an interesting move. Having sold one of it’s key technologies to Microsoft, and with ProClarity being bought by Microsoft, I was wondering where this left Panorama. It really does produce some great products so it is good to see it is still alive and kicking.

You can actually use this technology now on Google spreadsheets. Here is the link. It’s still early days, but if more of the Panorama technology is implemented, Google spreadsheets could become a big player in the BI market.

Sparklines

Following on from a recent post about dashboard design, you must take a look at Bissantz’s Sparklines.

I am amazed at how much meaningful information can be displayed in such a small footprint.

Bonavista Systems have also implemented their own version of Sparklines and have integrated Stephen Few’s bullet graphs. They have called their product Micro Charts.

Sparklines are based on works by Edward Tufte. Edward has written a highly regarded book in the area around visual presentation of data called Beautiful Evidence.

One for the wish list.

Book: Information Dashboard Design

I’ve just finished reading Stephen Few’s excellent book Information Dashboard Design.

It makes for very interesting reading. Stephen points out many of the visual failings of existing ‘dashboard’ products from most if not all dashboard product vendors. He goes on to create a version of a dashboard which will surprise you in how simple and clear information can be presented. I certainly will be taking much of his thinking on board when designing reports.

This book is well worth the investment, particularly if you work with dashboard products or develop graphical reports.

It’s also worth taking a look at Stephens website perceptualedge.com for further examples. He also writes a interesting blog which is well worth reading.

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