Each Labor Day weekend, analysts discuss the impact of gasoline prices and other factors on travel driven by an extra day off and the symbolic end of summer. Some estimates indicate that a greater number of travelers by car saved a collective $1.4 billion this year, much of which was spent elsewhere during trips.
Often association leaders ask me, "Where is the best place for us to begin our data analytics initiative?" I like this question and am reminded of Steven Covey's expression that before we undertake a new initiative, we should "begin with the end in mind". When it comes to data analytics for associations, this means starting with your strategic plan.
Choosing the right data visualization is as important as choosing the right outfit to wear to an important meeting. Although your alma mater’s sweatshirt is perfect for the ball game, a suit and tie is more appropriate when trying to convince your board to increase your budget. Similarly, you are going to catch some flack for showing up to the game in a suit and tie! Choosing the right visualization for your audience is similar to choosing the right outfit for the function.
Steve Jobs said that computers are like a "bicycle for the mind" allowing us to go further faster with less effort. Within the field of business intelligence, I believe data discovery should be the same, amplifying our intelligence and creativity, allowing us to see patterns and insights which we can use to create the future of our organizations.
One of the valuable features of a business intelligence platform is the ability to subscribe to updates of your association dashboards. We like the way this is handled with Tableau Server, and created this short guide to explain how it works. In this case, the Tableau Server and the SMTP server are on the same machine. You will need additional configuration if the two servers are on different hardware.
The Magic Quadrant
In February 2013, Gartner Inc. released an important report entitled Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms which details the current state of the business intelligence (BI) market and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of several of the top vendors. It’s interesting to note that in this report, Gartner emphasized the emergence of data discovery into the “mainstream business intelligence and analytics architecture”, something we have been highlighting at DSK Solutions for years.
Data-guided decisions permeate our everyday lives as individuals, but how can you harness that power for your association and your members? The field of data analytics and big data is exploding with opportunity. Businesses are encroaching on the areas that used to be the private domain of associations – content, networking, events, etc. – because they are employing the power of analytics. But now, the process and tools needed to analyze and interpret data are much less expensive and easier to use than before. Are you ready to have a conversation with your data? Each level of business intelligence has a unique language to make your data speak!
Although the term "Business Intelligence" is so overused that it is almost meaningless, what is important to know is that advances in data science and analytics are affecting everyone - every day. Tableau outlines important trends in this field for 2013. What do these trends mean to your association?
5 Steps to Visualize Association Data
Big Data, business intelligence, analytics…..these terms have been buzz words headlining most association conferences this past year. When DSK presented at the ASAE Tech Conference last December, 80% of respondents to our straw poll noted their #1 question was “How do I get started with BI?” DSK has defined 5 Steps that form a framework for analytics and business intelligence initiatives for associations:
DSK Solutions, Inc. received Avectra’s AUDC 2013 Innovation Award for an outstanding business intelligence (BI) project created for the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). AFP’s sister company gtnews needed to meet contractual obligations for reporting statistics to sponsors. AFP’s Director of Data Research, Galina Kozachenko, envisioned a BI solution and turned to long time collaborators DSK to execute and enhance the project. DSK created new data marts and developed C# applications to manage the separate data sources. They recommended Tableau software to build dashboards and reports with superior data visualization capabilities.