Category Archives: Analytics–Tools

Free Webinar—Analyzing Your Data With Excel:
Simple Steps for Actionable Results

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Recorded August 22nd, 2013
 
 
Do what you can with what you have where you are.
—THEODORE ROOSEVELT
Cowboy, soldier, historian and
26th President of the U.S.

Synopsis
Answer everyday business questions like an analyst with Microsoft Excel. This webinar is based on a selected set of techniques from The 7C’s of Data Analysis, as covered in our book, The Accidental Analyst: Show Your Data Who’s Boss. An abbreviated case study will be used to demonstrate common techniques that can start you on the course to analyzing data with Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010 or 2013.

This presentation is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes in length.

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Thoughts on “Business Analytics Software Still Has Skeptics”

Synopsis of the article and summary chart from Pete Barlas at Investor’s Business Daily
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Many companies still view the promise of analytics software as a glass half-empty.

One of the strongest sectors in enterprise software, business analytics has many doubters among companies skeptical it truly is helping improve the top and bottom lines.

So found a survey released last month by accounting and professional services firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

“What we are seeing in the analytics front is a real skepticism among business leaders about whether this works and how it can make a difference,” said Tim Phillipps, global leader of Deloitte’s analytics practice.

The findings, he admits, were a surprise.

Here is Stephen’s comment on this article:

I have worked in analytics for many years at over 100 companies (employee, consultant and leading teams.)  It has always been easier to lean on costs savings as a clear measure of success with analytics and data warehouse investments.  Continue reading

Free Webinar—Quick & dirty analysis with Tableau
in 13 lucky steps!

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July 31st, 2013, Noon Pacific, 3 PM Eastern, 8 PM London
 
 
So much data, so little time!
–Stephen McDaniel
Co-founder of Freakalytics

 
 
Synopsis
Let’s face it: in the daily world of work, you often are asked to provide an answer to a new problem in less than a day. Of course, your boss tends to forget about the other three project deadlines you are currently facing, so you really have only 10 or 20 minutes to squeeze in a quick and dirty analysis.

If this sounds familiar to you, this webinar will walk you through the thirteen flexible steps that can take you from being clueless to looking smart with Tableau in just a few minutes. Hopefully you’ll be able to obtain enough information to come up with ideas for an e-mail update or talking points for the unexpected meeting that is looming large over your day, showing your boss and colleagues that you can deliver great results in time to be useful.

So, if you’re already a user of Tableau, this webinar will guide you in the critical path of many analyses in Tableau. If you are totally new to Tableau, you can see the possibilities of what you can accomplish in a short amount of time, once you get started and practice these techniques.
 
 
A preview of the first few steps

1 What question will you examine?

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Okay, in reality this step might take hours or even days! But let’s assume you have your question, and if it is complex, break it down into several, simpler questions.

2 Grab the closest, readily available dataset Continue reading

Free Webinar—Business analytics and more
with SAS Enterprise Guide

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Recorded on July 10th, 2013
 
 
 
 
True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of
uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.

–WINSTON CHURCHILL
Prime Minister of England during WWII

 
 
Synopsis
In this webinar, Stephen will analyze multiple real-world case studies using SAS Enterprise Guide by following the 7 C’s of Data Analysis. He will collect data from a range of sources, explore the data for common problems, apply quick data fixes, demonstrate best practices of visual analytics and use powerful predictive models that go beyond the limits of standard analysis techniques.
Click here for the full post and to register below Continue reading

Free Webinar—Visual Analytics Best Practices
Why Can’t You See My Point?!?

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You can have brilliant ideas,
but if you can’t get them across,
your ideas won’t get you anywhere.

-Lee Iacocca

 

The webinar is past but you can watch the recording and view the slides below.
This post is currently being updated with the slides and videos.

Why do visual analytics best practices matter?

Why can’t people see your point when you present data-oriented presentations?

Whether you are using big data, small data or summarized data that has been prepared for you, this webinar will explore these vital questions. If you are concerned with getting the most from your data, this complimentary webinar is a great step in learning how to clearly communicate with people as they make better informed decisions in the hectic world of modern business.

Synopsis
Are you clearly communicating the message that you want to deliver from your data? If you’re tired of your tables and charts being “good enough”, learn some tips and tricks to help make them great! We’ll demonstrate how choosing the right table, chart and metrics to answer the question at hand and how to simplify your visuals for maximum impact. Regardless of whether you use Excel, SAS, R, PowerPoint, Qlikview, Tableau, Business Objects, Cognos, Microstrategy or most any other analytics tool for your analysis, you will benefit from this thought-provoking presentation.

For everyone who joined, thanks for your support and participation during the Q&A!

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Chat comments at the end of the webinar
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Click here for the video and presentation Continue reading

SAS versus R for business analysts

Click to read this post

Over on R4Stats, I replied to Bob Muenchen’s article, Forecast Update: Will 2014 be the Beginning of the End for SAS and SPSS?

Personally, I think SAS is a wonderful application, with my SAS experience starting in SAS programming back in 1989 (mainframes, along with Fortran), SAS Enterprise Guide (I wrote SAS for Dummies, the first two editions with Chris Hemedinger) and SAS Enterprise Miner.   Additionally, I have used JMP, SAS Data Integration Studio, SAS Forecast Studio and several other SAS tools.

On the other hand, I have used R since 2004 on several projects and S (precursor to R) since the 90’s in biopharm. I find R truer to being a modern programming language while SAS is truer to being an analyst programming language. Perhaps I am biased? But, the way I think of attacking problems with data and my typical need to massage the data in a wide range of ways, SAS is simply superior in my opinion. The flow of the language, the ease of readability and the powerful DATA step are still my favorite programming world. However, if I am seeking most any statistical test under the sun, R is clearly superior.

Unfortunately, R doesn’t have a clear, de-facto GUI (graphical user interface) that is well-designed Continue reading

Estimating future success rates from initial experience
surveys and observation (tutorial)

A wide range of common business questions are often decided incorrectly because decision-makers overlook, forget or neglect the application of a simple concept from statistics. In this tutorial we will walk you through several examples to avoid this potentially costly mistake. Examples where this technique can help include:

Is my ad worth the price?
Conversion (CTR): how many customers converted to a paying customer after clicking on an Google ad and visiting a special offer web page? Based on the revenue generated is the ad price too high?

How many of my customers have children?
Estimating customer demographics: based on a one day survey in every store, what percent of our entire customer base have children?

Who will win the election?
Survey results: what percent of likely voters will vote for Obama based on the responses from a 1,000 people in a poll?

Bringing down the house?
Winning a bet: if my friend flips a coin 10 times and it landed on heads 9 times, is this a “fair” coin?

All of these questions and many others can be answered with the technique explained and demonstrated in this article.

 

Which states have the most Miss America winners?

Here is a fun example about the Miss America pageant, it appeared on the Ask.com home page.

Notice that 27% of Ask.com users picked the correct state for the most Miss America winners, is that good? Well, we should ask how you would perform if you had no information and simply guessed at the answer. With four choices and only one correct answer, you have a 1 in 4 chance (that’s 1/4 = 25%) of guessing the answer even if you have no clue.

So, is 27% actually better than all of these people just guessing@f4 The answer is “it depends” on a missing piece of information- how many people answered this question. If 100 people answered it and 27 answered correctly, there is a good chance that they are all simply guessing. However, if 10,000 answered this question and 2,700 answered it correctly, there is a good chance that some of them answered better than just guessing.

 

The classic illustration of success- flip a coin

You may be puzzled at this point. Don’t fear. Let me move to a simpler example, flipping a coin. Believe it or not, it is very similar to the multiple choice question above, with the main difference being the chance of “success”- guessing heads or tails correctly, which is 1 in 2 or 50%. So, if I flip it once and you are right, then 100% of flips were guessed correctly. However, this one flip being guessed correctly wouldn’t lead me to believe that you had the ability to see the future (or that the coin is an unfair coin that is always heads). How many flips guessed correctly would it take@f5 Like I have seen followed in many business situations, what does your intuition or gut say@f6

Five out of five correct@f7
Twelve out of fourteen@f8
80 out of 100@f9

Here’s the good news, there is a simple Continue reading

Quick tutorial on reference lines, bands and distributions – visual analytics best practices

The following article features Tableau 6

Reference lines, bands or distributions may be added to your views to emphasize particular values or areas that may be useful in interpreting your data. In particular, when comparing multiple groups or categories of data, reference lines and bands provide immediate feedback on the overall differences between the groups.

Reference lines

Reference lines are vertical or horizontal lines displayed on your view that mark requested values such as average, median, minimum, maximum, sum, total and constants (such as a line that separates the data points as being above or below a target). They can be added on any continuous axis.

1) Open the Sample – Coffee Chain (Access) data source included by default with Tableau 6

2) Place Sales on the Columns shelf and change the aggregate to Average.

3) Place Product on the Rows shelf,
     State and Date on the Level of Detail shelf
     and format
Date to ‘MMMM YYYY’.

Continue reading

Wimbledon winners dashboard

Wimbledon winners by country and player

 
The compact form of this example was also featured on The Guardian DataBlog, the third most popular online newspaper in the world. All four of the Wimbledon examples on this website were created in less than two hours using Tableau- this includes three distinct perspectives on the Wimbledon winners data and two of them in a compact design for use on the Guardian web site.

 

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!