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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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

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

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

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!!!