Blog: Claudia Imhoff Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

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!

April 2006 Archives

Look out Red Hat -- it appears that Mr. Ellison, Oracle's rock star CEO, may be looking to embed a Linux product into Oracle. Is this good or bad? And who is it good or bad for? According to Matt McKenzie. Editor, Linux Pipeline, a newsletter that I subscribe:

"... this isn't "coopetition," or anything else you can describe with a cutesy moniker -- this is the IT industry's second-richest, and perhaps most ruthless, executive deciding how best to rub out a source of persistent irritation. Assuming Ellison pays attention to his grudge du jour long enough to follow through on his ruminations, the enterprise Linux market a year from now will consist of Oracle -- and three grease spots where Novell, Red Hat, and JBoss were last seen."


Yes, Mr. Ellison does have pretty good reasons for embedding a version of Linux into Oracle's existing software. It all has to do with who owns the stack. And Mr. Ellison wants nothing if not to own the entire stack (based on Linux) and put Microsoft right out of business. IMHO -- that will take some doing. It is certainly no secret that Oracle has been pushing Linux for some time. Why? Well, it does give Oracle users using Microsoft's operating system and applications an alternative stack. Can you see Mr. Ellison drooling yet?

Apparently the acquisition-happy CEO has been casting his eye around to see who he could gobble up to supply the missing pieces in the stack. According to an interview with Financial Times, he has considered purchasing Novell as a quick way to get Oracle's own Linux.

What does this mean to Red Hat? Well, it is not good news, that is for sure. If Oracle does purchase Novell, life becomes suddenly much more difficult for Red Hat – particularly if, as Mr. Ellison stated in the FT article, IBM decided to follow suit - which it most certainly would.

So -- why wouldn't Oracle just buy up Red Hat? According to the man himself in the article: "I don't see how we could possibly buy Red Hat... I'm not going to spend $5 billion, or $6 billion, for something that can just be so completely wiped off the map".

Mr Ellison states that there are two reasons for not buying Red Hat or Novell. The first one (probably the most important one) is price. Apparently open source companies have finally made it into the big league with their price tags. Red Hat’s purchase of JBoss last week was a bit of an eye-opener. By the way, JBoss was a company that Oracle had itself tried to buy.

Mr. Ellison goes on to say in the FT article, “If an open source product gets good enough, we’ll simply take it,” he said. “We can do that, IBM can do that, HP can do that – anyone with a large support organization is free to take that intellectual property and embed it in their own products. You can build a sustainable business [in open source], you just can’t charge a lot for it. There’s brand value – there’s real brand – there’s people, and that’s it." Well, there you have it...

The second reason for not buying a Linux company, according to Mr Ellison, is also quite likely. He believes that as soon as one big company buys a Linux company, all the other big technology vendors would abandon it. “I don’t see how we could possibly buy Red Hat – IBM would just say, ‘Larry, congratulations, we’re going our own way’,” he said.

According to Lisa Vaas, another of my favorite writers, "Novell is too expensive as well. Why pay billions for Novell SUSE Linux when there are much cheaper and more deployed Linux distributions out there, with robust communities in place, to be had for probably what would amount to a few million? Ellison is likely telling us he doesn't have to buy a company with a huge existing open-source presence."

Ari Kaplan, president of the IOUG, stated in a recent conversation with Lisa that Oracle can be trusted not to lock anybody into an Oracle-only setup. "Based on recent history, you can still run PeopleSoft on IBM or other databases," he said.

Ah, I love naivety...

Yours in BI Success,


Posted April 20, 2006 12:20 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

Are you short on BI expertise? Stumped about how to maintain the right metrics for your business community? Tired of inconsistency and a lack of integrity in your BI metrics? Don't even know where to start in creating critical metrics?

Well, help is here -- It's called PROOF but I call it "a BI expert in a box"...

I rarely endorse products but I read a interesting press release recently about a new product developed by Symmetry Corporation called cleverly, "PROOF" for performance reporting framework. Not sure I understand the abbreviation but it is a catchy name.

More important to you is what PROOF does. According to the press release, PROOF is a server-based metrics platform that automatically generates standard metrics. Through its process it ensures that you get metrics integrity and BI best practices for performance management implementations like scorecards, dashboards, and reporting systems. I was fortunate to get a sneak peak at this Microsoft-centric product a few weeks ago and believe it is definitely worth blogging about. Here are the parts that make PROOF worthwhile:

1. Metrics integration - Once created, metrics are stored in a server so they can be centrally managed. You use these starter metrics over and over giving your BI performance management environment reusability and repeatability. Something BI implementers always strive for.

2. Metrics intelligence - This piece of the platform understands common business rules for specific calculations like Year-to-date, time , currency conversions, unit-of-measure conversions, and so on. These are the things that drive BI implementers crazy! No one seems to do these the same way twice. Now you not only have them stored but documented.

3. Metrics integrity - Because you reuse them and they are well documented, you can be sure that your metrics are interacting appropriately with each other through the correct business rules. They must stack up in the right order, especially for calculations like percent difference, period over period, etc. Apples cannot be compared to oranges...

Dan Bulos, the President of Symmetry, states, ""The information explosion has resulted in a proliferation of performance reporting solutions across companies. Often business logic is scattered in different systems or embedded in individual reports. Managers need consistent access to performance metrics and confidence that those metrics are accurate for effective decision-making."

Dan's company has over 20 years of experience in building BI systems, more than most other implementation companies, and has translated that expertise into this metrics platform. Now you can purchase their expertise to create your own performance reporting applications to highlight key targets, trends and typical rankings. Even non-experts can develop accurate, consistent metrics just like the pros. Interesting product, interesting solution. I hope you will look into it.

Yours in BI success,


Posted April 17, 2006 9:59 AM
Permalink | 5 Comments |

I wrote a blog on the demise of Western Union recently. If you remember, they charged by the letter for their telegrams. This lead to some interesting if not cryptic forms of communication. The best example I can think of was a farmer who sent a telegram to a fellow farmer that the bull he purchased was ready to be picked up. To save money, he sent the purchaser a telegram with a single word on it -- "Comfortable"... Think about, it will come to you.

Little did I know that this form of cryptic messaging would be rebirthed in an unusual and unpredictable fashion...

I just got back from Spring Break vacation with my family. I was amused that my daughter could not wait to get back in the US after a week out of the country. Why, I asked? "Because I need to talk to my friends", she responded. Huh?

OK -- I know instant messaging is popular. I use it all the time but I use my computer not my cell phone. Therefore I have access to a full keyboard and use English to communicate -- how outdated. Turns out that teenage girls in particular love using their cell phones to "chat". They have a language all to themselves due to the limited keypad. It mostly consists of consonants, abbreviations, shortened slang, etc. I peeked over my daughter's shoulder at her (now flattened) thumbs rapidly moving over her phone's keyboard as she communicated with her best buddy. The "conversation" went something like this:

My daughter: RU home?
Response: No - CJs
Daughter: LOL UR 2 good
Response: U talk

And on it went until the end:

Daughter: CU LTR
Response: TTFN

So -- how good is your IM talk? Here are the translations plus some of the more interesting abbreviations:

U -- You
R -- are
UR -- Your or You're depending on context
2 - too, two or too depending...
TTFN -- Ta ta for now
LTR -- Later

Less obvious ones:

ROFL -- rolling on the floor laughing
JK -- just kidding
GAG -- get a grip
ER -- eye roll

You get the idea...

So, I propose that we come up with a set of BI-related IM messages. I welcome your input on these. Come up with your own and post them... The funnier -- the better! As an incentive, I will send the person who comes up with the funniest or most unusual IM message one of our books for free. I, of course, will decide who the winner is -- blog prerogative. Here are a few of my own to get you started:

AH -- Analytics hack
DD -- DBA demigod
PH -- Performance hog
CQ -- Clueless query

I await your responses with great expectations.



Posted April 6, 2006 11:58 AM
Permalink | 6 Comments |