Category Archives: Analytics–Books

Accidental Analysts®: What are they doing with my data?

Eileen McDaniel, Ph.D. and Stephen McDaniel
This article was originally published in late 2013 in
The Data Warehouse Institute FlashPoint Newsletter

Earlier this year, we presented this topic in a talk to an independent group of data professionals. When we noticed it was mistakenly promoted as “Accidental Analysts: What are they doing TO my data?”, we had to laugh! Unintentional typo or not, we’ve found that data warehousing specialists often wonder what businesspeople are doing on their end. Who are accidental analysts, how do they analyze data, and what aspects of the data warehouse can data professionals evaluate and improve upon so that they are set up for success instead of frustration?

Who are accidental analysts?

Accidental_Analyst_in_hurry_Many business analysts either lack formal education in data analysis or took courses that didn’t fully prepare them for the challenges of real-world data analysis. They are asked to quickly answer business questions so that managers, colleagues and clients are able to identify and implement a plan of action. After teaching analysts in many organizations from all skill levels and backgrounds, we discovered that a major obstacle to obtaining good results is that many are uncertain of the steps to take when analyzing their data. They need a plan of attack, regardless of the analysis software that they are using!

 

The Seven C’s of Data Analysis

The_7Cs_of_Data_Analysis_Copyright_Freakalytics_LLC_605_175

The scientific method has been used by scientists for hundreds of years to design and analyze experiments. In our training and books, we adapted this method to fit business analysis, Continue reading

Visual analytics best practices, “The Accidental Analyst”

Order “The Accidental Analyst
Amazon

Are you drowning in a sea of data? Would you like to take control of your data and analysis to quickly answer your business questions and make critical decisions? Do you want to confidently present results and solutions to your managers, colleagues, clients and the public? Are you a champion of analytics in your organization helping others learn how to analyze and make sense of their data?

If so, The Accidental Analyst: Show Your Data Who’s Boss is for you! Although you didn’t plan for a career as a data analyst, you’re now in a position where you have to analyze data to be successful. Regardless of the software package that you use, we’ll walk you through a clear, step-by-step framework using illustrated examples to help you understand and apply the analytic process to find answers to real-world questions. We call this flexible framework The Seven C’s of Data Analysis.

Read this book for inspiration, ideas and confidence to begin tackling the problems you face at work. Keep it by your desk as a reference on how to organize, analyze and display your data. Throughout the book, we also include expert tips, tricks, and shortcuts that took years of analyzing data to discover and understand!

Order your copy of “The Accidental Analystat Amazon.

Reviews
“This is a wonderful book, filled with practical advice.
Business people who are struggling to make sense of their data
will find it accessible and directly applicable to their work-
a great resource for building analytical prowess.”
Stephen Few
Best-selling author, “Show Me the Numbers” and “Now You See It

“Finally, a book that clearly explains the fundamentals of business analytics!
I wish that I had this book at the start of my career as a data analyst.”
Tim Latendress
Financial Analyst

“This book is an amazing resource for regular business people
who want to make sense of their data
and take charge of their business!
It provides simple yet comprehensive coverage of business analytics.”
Diego Saenz
President, Petplace and former CIO of Pepsi Latin America

“… the executive manual, like an Executive MBA” for knowledge workers…
Ted Cuzzillo, DataDoodle
The Data Warehouse Institute, BI This Week Newsletter

One of the “8 great books about data visualisation”. Continue reading

7_Cs_of_Data_Analysis_Accidental_Analyst

Data Driven Conference 2012

We are having a great time at the Data Driven Conference in Columbus! Our first session was standing room only and we are presenting the same talk a second time at 1:30 in E161.

Interesting questions include “how do you become better at asking the right questions that lead to better analysis” and “how do you communicate with IT to get better data”?

To buy a copy of The Accidental Analyst, please visit www.AccidentalAnalyst.com.

Here is our infographic that we created Continue reading

Quick reference for graph and dashboard design

Freakalytics has published to Amazon, Android and iPhone a new quick reference for building better graphs and dashboards. Note that the iPhone and Android apps are now released: search for “Rapid Dashboards” on the iPhone (click here to open it in App Store web site) and “Rapid Graphs and Dashboards” on the Android application stores (click here to go to it in the Android Market web site.)

The Amazon version, “Rapid Dashboards Reference Card”, has all 64 tips readily available on four full-color, laminated pages. The card serves as a handy reference for yourself, your team and even your business audience during design meetings.

iPhone preview, also on Android
Page 1 Excerpt, buy it at Amazon
Page 3 Excerpt, buy it at Amazon

Over the coming year, we will post a sampling of the tips from the reference card on our site. Freakalytics, helping you take your graphs and dashboards from good to great!

Visual Analytics Best Practices—avoid flash, keep it simple!

Why don’t you just show me the numbers?

  • Poor presentation of data can make informative interpretation difficult or even impossible.
  • We spend years diagramming sentences & solving equations but have minimal exposure to telling stories with data!
  • The ability to explore, understand and utilize real-world data is a rare skill that can dramatically improve your organization and career.

Sample revenue data from a university

College Quarter Total Revenue Tuition Research Plan Revenue
Arts 2009-01 $5,510,268 $5,230,198 $280,070 $6,000,000
Design 2009-01 $703,770 $408,762 $295,008 $680,000
Engineering 2009-01 $25,139,083 $6,201,932 $18,937,151 $26,800,000
Sciences 2009-01 $4,439,991 $2,159,010 $2,280,981 $4,400,000

 

A prickly example

While it is indeed looking sharp, this graph is uninformative.
Continue reading