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Claudia Imhoff

Welcome to my blog.

This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

So...check it out every week to see what is new and exciting in our ever changing BI world.

About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants ( You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

March 2006 Archives

A bit silly perhaps but sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder...

This bit of levity describes how two robbers tried to rob a bank. The only problem? It was a cashless bank....

I think I have been in this business too long -- I see a need for BI everywhere. I just read a story about 2 clowns who should have done their homework before embarking on their day of crime. A tadt of business intelligence would have saved them a lot of trouble. Here's the story:

Two masked robbers tried to hold up a cashless credit union bank at gunpoint -- I am not kidding. They started out just fine by bursting into the "bank" in Benicia. CA, weapons drawn, yelling at employees to lie down and hand over the money. Can you imagine their faces when told them there was no cash?

"I would say that apparently they weren't really prepared," said Benicia police Capt. Steve Mortensen.

The robbers apparently had no idea they'd attempted to rob a credit union that immediately deposits its money. This instant deposit process means that it is impossible for anyone to access it. What would Butch Cassidy say about this?

"It's a common theme among a lot of credit unions." says Mr. Mortensen... Just not common knowledge among theives, I guess.

Posted March 23, 2006 4:16 PM
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Having just gone through a move back into my newly renovated house, I have had an epiphany about master data management. We consumers should demand our own version of this functionality...

Let me set this up for you. What happens when you move? You must send out hundreds of postcards or emails or voice mails letting everyone -- friends, family, businesses -- know what your new address is. The data is incredibly redundant and, in my case, easily prone to errors from the manual effort it takes. Plus it is just bloody boring writing my address over and over and over again...

So -- where am I going with this? We have heard a lot about master data management (MDM) for corporations. In case you don't know what that is, a common definition is that it consists of all that wonderful reference data that companies collect on locations, products, orders, and, yes, customers. The idea is to somehow centrally store and manage that data making it available to all systems -- including BI systems -- with a need for it. Companies then have one place to enter, update, and even delete this data rather than having to do so in hundreds if not thousands of system databases. The various systems using the data would either get updates from the MDM function (via message brokering or other mechanisms) or use the MDM database itself as a direct source for this information.

MDM functionality is a hot topic for a lot of vendors and is the topic of an upcoming B-EYE-Network research paper co-authored by Colin White and myself. That is what got me to thinking that the vendors are missing a truly wonderful opportunity by focusing only on how corporations can use this capability. How about consumers? Think about having your own personal MDM function where you update your address and other information once. Then give access to that data to your selected accesses (see list above).

Can this be done in a secure fashion -- a way that does not allow my private information to be accessed by unauthorized peepers? Sure. We are already doing something like this with the likes of Plaxo and LinkedIn . The problem is that you have to be a member of each one of these to keep up with all your contacts. Also, I can't "link" my magazines into this service -- so far, it is only for people not businesses. And then there are all the security and privacy issues to be solved...

So -- there you go, vendors. Let's move MDM one step further and make it functional not only for businesses but also for the everyday consumer. I'm betting that there is a huge market for this type of service. I know I would use it.

I look forward to hearing what you think about this.

Yours in BI (and single pint of data entry) Success.


Posted March 10, 2006 1:59 PM
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I got a note from a friend of mine the other day. He wanted to know if I knew of some tools that could help him rapidly design dashboards. I do not know of anything but thought you might.

Here is his note in full. Please comment if you can help him with his question.


I have been looking for a set of Visio shapes that will allow rapid design of dashboards that are supported by Microsoft, Oracle, BW, etc. Are you aware of where these might be available as opposed to having to create them from scratch. Thanks."

Well, there you have it. I am not aware of what Visio might have so I leave it up to others to expand the knowledge bank. Got any suggestions?

Yours in BI (and dashboard design) Success.


Posted March 2, 2006 12:05 PM
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Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of mergers and acquisitions, a not-so-glitzy story gets lost that really deserves our attention. So it was with FirstLogic. Most of the news has been about Business Objects acquisition of this data quality software vendor but -- you know -- there was another recent news story about FirstLogic that was even more important IMHO but it got lost in the shuffle...

On February 1 of this year, right before news of the acquisition broke, a story appeared in ReliefWeb stating that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had signed an agreement with FirstLogic for the data quality vendor to supply their software on a pro-bono basis. Yes -- that's right. They donated their software (known as IQ8 and IQ Insight) to help the United Nations obtain higher quality critically needed data. It will be used for data analysis on forensic and financial records of United Nations programs in tsunami-affected areas. The software will improve the quality of the UN's data analysis.

“The UN will benefit from this donation, which will help achieve high quality, reliable, and complete data to better review financial records and take more informed decisions about the delivery of humanitarian assistance in tsunami-affected areas,” said Jan Egeland, the United Nations’ Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Joe Zurawski, FirstLogic Vice-President of Global Alliances and Product Management stated, “FirstLogic is very pleased to help the United Nations in its goal to achieve high standards in accounting for the funds received for this disaster.”

UNDP is the UN's global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP is in 166 countries, working with the local folks on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and their wide range of partners.

OCHA is the United Nation's department for the coordination of humanitarian response, policy development and humanitarian advocacy in complex emergencies and disasters.

UNICEF will also benefit from this gift as well, I am sure, so that the children of the world get the humanitarian aid they need.

I applaud the largess of FirstLogic and hope that Business Objects continues to display the same generosity and compassion that their acquisition has shown. Perhaps more companies and CEOs follow suit with their own donations to worthy charitable organizations.

FirstLogic -- good company, good people.

Your in BI success,


Posted March 1, 2006 8:42 PM
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