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Business Intelligence (per Gartner)

While researching Data Analysis tool information and recommendations to include in an update of our course, the ASPE Data Analysis Boot Camp, we found this gem of a Gartner tools report to include as a reference. While we always take these type of reports with a grain of salt, especially when sponsored by a tool firm favorably reviewed, there is great Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms information here. Tiny snip from the lengthy report: “…also support analysis, prediction, forecasting and optimization. Because of the growing importance of advanced analytics for descriptive, prescriptive and predictive modeling, forecasting, simulation and optimization…”

There are many tools with an evaluation period, and a few that have a freeware version as well. It is our experience that if you can get through to a salesperson or marketing, accommodations can be made for a variety of evaluation, proof of concept, and trial processes. Certainly enough to try out to try to enhance your data analysis capabilities and presentation. With marketing, especially social media, now providing so much data, we need to keep up on tools to help us make the best of our limited time. Most of the tools can be used for many types of information manipulation and presentation, which leverages the learning curve and cost. I find that the various tools use many techniques, several of which can be easily simulated – providing immediate value using existing tools. Other features, however, will remain out of reach unless you have that particular tool. One tools that was perhaps not covered enough, is Google Public Data, perhaps because Google make the tool available to all for free!

While we have to remain tool agnostic for our courses and consulting, knowing the state of the art in Data Analytics and Data Analysis tools is helpful to anyone with some data to crunch, reports to prepare, analysis to perform, and recommendations to present! As with other types of analysis, how you present it often highly influences how much of what you recommend, actually happens… We often find the most useful training a Data Analyst or anyone gathering, processing, analyzing, and presenting data to be is… logical presentation training! Persuasive speaking, organization of your presentation, and covering alternatives are usually what executives want to see… For some ‘evidence’ of this, watch any Tom Clancy movie to see poor Dan Ryan making a presentation to the Joint Chiefs of Staff or even the president. He has great data, but they always boil it down to something like, “How do you read this data Dr. Ryan?” or “What do you think we should do?” so you might short-circuit the process and just present your opinion using your data to back it up…

While Excel and now Google Spreadsheets are great, they are still mostly manual and not really geared toward visualization of data. For that, you need tools made for that purpose, with more modern interfaces, built-in data visualization functions, and presentation ready graphics that make your recommendations pop. Alternatively you can alternate simple graphics with other types of images that both reinforce the conclusions you wish drawn from the data and your proposed path. Keep in mind that with all our 3-D rotating, shaded, and icon-laden graphics, the established experts in the field, and Tufte and Few, both independently recommend keeping it as simple as possible…

Anyone with even a passing interest in BI analytics and tools should read at least the summary up top and the bottom portion. There are many tool ratings, some specialty that apply mostly to marketing, some to big data, and some general for almost any data analysis or presentation task. They rank across 17 categories based on user surveys, interviews, and published materials. Here are a few of the categories:

· Information Delivery

· Reporting

· Dashboards

· Business user data mashup and modeling (and 13 more…)

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http://www.tableausoftware.com/ This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Tableau. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Shout out to Tableau Software http://www.tableausoftware.com/ for releasing the Gartner report to us all… I am sure it is just a coincidence that they won the shootout! With all of the vendor hype, at least Gartner covers the bases needed to help us make more informed decisions on our data analysis, data analytics, big data, and related tool purchases and use. In this and other quickly maturing software areas, there is just too much information, never mind the mis-information, to make an informed data analysis software decision on our own.

To learn more about data analysis in marketing and in general, check out our Data-Driven Marketing Boot Camp and Data Analysis Boot Camp courses. To check out books referenced above and other useful references see http://www.dataanalysis.com/connect/recommended-reads and click on the Data Analysis category.

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