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Archive for the ‘Business Intelligence’ Category

Build a hierarchy in Tableau

March 13th, 2012 No comments

One of the most useful things for me in Tableau is the ability to create a hierarchy in a few seconds. I have used this for building product hierarchies – i.e. product category, subcategory, group, etc – and also for reporting on regional data – i.e. Country, State, County, City, etc, which is great for using on maps (assuming you have a longitude and latitude at the bottom of the hierarchy). Read more…

Waterfall Charts in Tableau

March 8th, 2012 No comments

I’ve noticed waterfall charts are becoming quite fashionable now. If you’re not sure why this is used, it’s a great way, for example,  of showing how total revenue is compiled from it’s components. Using the Tableau Gantt Chart it’s quite simple to build. In this article I’ll give a very quick guide to building your own such as the chart below.


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Bullet Charts in Tableau

February 5th, 2012 No comments

I’ve only just discovered the bullet chart, I’ve had no need to create one until very recently. Both I and my customers find them really useful. They replace the less meaningful ‘traditional’ dashboard tools of guages and dials into something which conveys more information.

The purpose of using them is to compare a value against another value – for example sales this year vs sales last year or order count this year vs budget order count. It compares against the Total of 1 value and the percentiles of that total. In other words it can be seen at a glance if this year is ahead of last year, or to what percentile this year has reached against last year. Read more…

Developing a BI Roadmap

January 6th, 2012 1 comment

I recently read this in another article and found this extract very useful so thought I’d note it down. It’s a guide to developing a BI roadmap and I find the diagram, the BI Ladder to Success, especially helpful for just showing the things I believe BI should supply. I don’t necessarily they should be a ladder as such as this implies one is dependent on the other, but if your company is very strong on Step 1 – Standard Reports, for example, then the other things further up the ladder become far easier. If standard reporting is weak you’ll find the other steps are still possible but are likely to be far more complex and time consuming.

This is the BI Ladder to Success and can be used when trying to evaluate where you are right now in your organisation and help guide to where you want to get to. If you are working in a business intelligence role it is definitely worth having annual or bi-annual reviews of your BI roadmap. Read more…

What Makes A Good Business Intelligence Analyst

June 27th, 2011 2 comments

I was recently asked what makes a good business intelligence analyst. Business Analyst is such a broad term as a job title it can cover a wide variety of different skills. In this case I’m going to ignore the Project Manager roles which are increasingly often given the title of business analyst.

In my opinion a business analyst is someone who can deliver information about the business be it via creating reports or using existing information, combining it and drawing insights. For both of these aspects of business analysis there’s a common theme, an often overlooked skill that is essential. That’s the ability to question, to ask the right questions. The analyst needs to have a commercial understanding to be able to understand what they are being asked for and why they are being asked for it. Read more…