Deon Pollard's Weblog

Free resources for Professional Enterprise Architects, Solution Architects and Data Scientists

Data Catalogs meeting place for Org data — January 21, 2019

Data Catalogs meeting place for Org data

datacatalogsIn the new digital world where data lives everywhere,  data catalogs are essential to your Enterprise Data Strategy.  Herewith a graphic highlighting some of the key providers.

Trim your data for self service analytics — September 22, 2016

Trim your data for self service analytics

dataAlmost a year since last adding something.  Clear I got some priorities wrong.

Herewith a simple C++ Cmdline routine called DataTrimmer one can use to trim large and super-large datasets with.  Written it specifically with C++ to not have dependencies when running.  You should be able to copy the EXE file to any windows machine(client or server) and run it.

Many times  IT will extract data in the many millions of rows and normal utilities will not be able to deal with it due to its size.

You simply tell the utility how many rows to include and it will trim the data accordingly.

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DATA is the new Gold — August 25, 2015

DATA is the new Gold

powerEarly notification of the PowerMapping suite I with some associates are bringing to market.  Select Customer and Project feedback very good.  Also evolve into a Service called MapTo.

It have the ability to rapidly take non-standard arguably unknown data and rapidly correlate it with one or more Industry models.  Accelerators for IAA and Guidewire exist with Acord, eTOM, TIA and others to follow.

Suite consist of  a a) Mapper (POWERMAPPER) seeded from an Enterprise Repository allowing Project teams to do data mapping whilst the Project is doing what it is suppose to do. It also consist of the b) Validator (POWERVALIDATOR) that can validate mappings and provide degree of compliance. Lastly a cloud based repository service c) POWERDRIVE create enterprise knowledge ensuring mappings are getting more accurate in time.  It also drive next gen visualisations amongst others data lineage and flow.

Suite is showing clear value when new Platforms are introduced with heavy duty legacy conversions typical in Insurance(new Product Admin Platforms).  Also been used when driving data exploration when designing service interfaces and data warehouses.

 

the 3 to FIVE rule —

the 3 to FIVE rule

threeNo this is not the new working hours, it is the essence of framing things so that one can see it clearly.

What make YOU see the outline of a solution? Whether you are the builder, planner, designer or even the change agent that helps motivating for the new solution… what makes you see it?

The obvious is that any solution must be done for a reason and therefore you must be clear on what you are solving for.  In doing so, the biggest problem I observe is that solution crafter’s are ignoring the 3 to FIVE rule.

The rule simply imply that ANYTHING about the solution you write down or draw should never be less than 3 items or more than 5 items.

OK here is the test; look at your latest Powerpoint deck, your Visio outline or even your emails describing the outline of the problem and/or the solution.  If you cannot count the items you have a big problem… you are in no-where land.  If the points typically are more than 5 you are fuzzy and cannot see the problem/solution and therefore other people that you are communicating with will even see it less.  If however, you consistently describe the problem, solution and options respectively in 3-5 points you are seeing it.  If you consistently do it in 3 you are on the money.

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Data Model Visualisations – IBM IAA BDM — March 27, 2015

Data Model Visualisations – IBM IAA BDM

BDM_Data_ModelCurrent thinking dictates Data Models to be re-presented as ERD’s or UML structures when looking at structured data.  Herewith something different when one wants to find patterns within the Data.  Example is the IBM IAA BDM Model shown within a Cluster Circle Packing visualisation.

Labels is not shown to respect IBM copyright. Example was specifically chosen to show how it would work across a well matured data model with about 2000 entities and over 1200 attributes in support.

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Business Architecture 101 – doing right things, right way — January 22, 2015
Insanely simple Timesheet —

Insanely simple Timesheet

timesheetLike most of us working on different Projects keeping and recording associated  time for each is quite a hassle.  Making it easier is always a priority.

Recently I went through the AppStore thinking it may be quite easy to enter and manage it from a tablet.  Though most are visually quite appealing they almost all fail when one want to edit time records, add additional properties or even report slightly different to what the App allows.

This led me back to faithful pivots with simple time-entries in Excel.  Herewith sanitised version I use myself, just remember to refresh Pivot for latest views.

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Count by colour – Excel Power Functions — October 3, 2014

Count by colour – Excel Power Functions

For some or other reason Excel does not have a standard formula to count cells by colour.  Herewith my simple count colour formulas embedded in an EXCEL add-in.  Very handy if one needs to count cells that was classified by color to denote progress, status or other meanings.  Subsequently decided to add some more functions in the pack – see below.

Once off install –

Download ZIP file and copy add-in to C:\Users\[YourUserName]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns.  This is standard path to Excel add-ins or save to a file location of your choice.  Invoke Excel choose Options then Add-Ins and select dpxFormulas.

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PowerPoint Data Pump – data driven Powerpoint shapes — August 27, 2014

PowerPoint Data Pump – data driven Powerpoint shapes

PointPump ITRolesSheer frustration to quickly generate visuals from data, ready for Executive consumption in Powerpoint forced me to develop the PowerPoint Data Pump.

Right now, right or wrong, the active/recorded Business conversation in Corporates are largely embedded in Powerpoint which make it quite difficult if one wants to convey data bound visuals that are created in specialist tools like Visio or other Architecture specific tools. Those of you that struggles with this will understand exported images from these tools is not the answer either.

Enter Powerpoint Data Pump.  You create your data in Excel and then use PowerPoint in a mail merge style whereby a new slide is generated for every row of data.  Each column of data corresponds to named shapes (all you have to do is name the shape in Powerpoint the same as the column name) and the slide would be generated with appropriate data.

It is ideal for Visual Diagrams(Maps); for example Capability or Component Maps previously largely drawn by hand in Powerpoint or inclusive in other speciality tools.  Therefore you can design “infographic” consisting of multiple shapes that is “linked” to the data and once generated will allow you to use these shapes either individually or leave them as normal slides.

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Smart Business Case Calculator — June 16, 2014

Smart Business Case Calculator

bcA Business Case usually captures and motivates the reason why a given solution journey is embarked upon.  Typically this is a well structured document that tells the story and outlines what benefit is expected at the end.

You can view or download the Calculator here.

This Post is not about the document but more about a way for the Solution Architect to quickly build a simple financial case in support.   There is a fallacy that a business case is a thick tedious manuscript, written by professional consultants in an incomprehensible language.  Hope it helps!!!