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

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.


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!!!

Get a running start on a CIO Dashboard


Outside the BoxWith IT being under continued pressure, the ability to measure and align is becoming ever more important.

Here is one of my versions you may download and modify to get a running start.

It is based on Excel with simple way to add data for reporting.  Optionally you can also download and run the supporting cartridge for Telco’s and in so doing, modify the base Dashboard to become Telco/Mobile Network Operator specific.

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Becoming the Acord Conversation using a Tablet


SupermapperLike many other industries, those of us operating in the Financial Services and more specifically Insurance need to start Business conversations fast, to the point and with minimum fuss.  Please click here to explore unfolding Primer using Acord for Tablets and Mobile devices to help start the Business Conversation.  It was generated with freshInsight SuperMapper a service from Deon Pollard & Associates.  Notice that  materials may be copyrighted,subject to T & C’s and therefore you should be a Acord member.

These “fast and to-the-point” conversations by enlarge implies ready made industry collateral and what better way to make use of a specific Industry Reference framework to get going.  In Insurance-talk it make sense to based it on Acord, the Industry Reference Model and Standard.





Seeing What Others Don’t


The remarkable ways we gain insights and why some people understand things and others don’t was brilliantly positioned  by the book of Gary Klein with the same title.

This also help me in adding some specific features to  freshInsight  the go-to tool of choice for the professional Consultant.  This bring me to the point of connecting the dots and determining which dots to connect.

In freshInsight Visualisation is used to help:

  1. removing the non-dots
  2. clarifying the ambiguous dots
  3. grouping the dots that look different but are really the same and therefore arguably help you connect the dots for real Insight!