Data: it’s just notation, not reality

September 5, 2017

The always fascinating Donald Farmer, former Qlik exec and now Treehive Strategy principal, has news for users of data business: “Data isn’t the real world.” It’s just a reflection that’s framed by stories we tell ourselves. Stories come first, contrary to the data industry’s dubious vision. Data, the marketing likes… Read more

Data lake: compositional or architectural?

July 25, 2017

Is the data lake following the typical path for new technology? Merv Adrian, research VP, data management and integration and Gartner was talking about data lakes and big data projects at the just-concluded Pacific Northwest BI and Analytics Summit. Josh Good, senior director of product marketing at Qlik asked the… Read more

BI Summit / Putting one more V on big data: virtue

July 18, 2017

Big data needs a bigger heart than it’s shown so far — essentially the point that Jill Dyché will make this Friday at the sixteenth annual Pacific Northwest BI and Analytics Summit in Grants Pass, OR. Organizations have a responsibility to improve lives, as she puts it, “one citizen, patient,… Read more

Free-the-data movement meets privacy

January 10, 2017

Back when data was little and simple, self-service analysis advocates started the chant, “Free the data!” IT stood in the way, they said. Fast forward to 2016: “democratized data” has become common, but so has public concern over privacy. That nettlesome struggle drove a discussion that now stands as the… Read more

Bohemian Grove a la BI

June 28, 2016

The Bohemian Grove of the BI industry convenes for the fifteenth time in just three weeks. Naturally, you ask the obvious question: Are you serious? The Grove? A summit? The answer begins with a fond recollection of the Grove. If you’ve never attended the Bohemian Grove yourself — I haven’t,… Read more

“BI for the other 80 percent” at
Information Management

April 6, 2015

How can business survive without data? Well, 80 percent of eligible users, according to most surveys, do seem to go without. The industry salivates in anticipation of someday colonizing that territory, and it shudders in frustration because they haven’t done it yet. That topic came up last summer at the… Read more

Data storytelling will be bigger than data itself

January 14, 2015

I heard an IBM marketing vice president say last summer, “Storytelling will be huge.” I think so, too. But what are data stories? The big question on the table was what it would take for BI to break out of its miserable five percent penetration into business? Two regulars at… Read more

Got analytics? Who will promote the industry?

August 15, 2014

Business people have everything. They’ve got data, and often it’s clean. They’ve got tools, and many are easy to use. They’ve got visualizations, many of which help. They’ve got domain knowledge, at least most do. What some front line observers find they lack is analytical thinking. Given descriptive data, few… Read more

BI industry builds tools for itself: Yellowfin CEO

August 11, 2014

Why aren’t the data industry’s tools more widely adopted? Data-industry experts have fretted for years over the estimated 5 percent penetration. Yellowfin CEO Glen Rabie has an explanation. “We never contextualize applications,” he said at the recent Pacific Northwest BI Summit. “We always talk about the homogenous product. We don’t… Read more

“Storytelling” comes to the Pacific Northwest BI Summit

August 5, 2014

The Boulder BI Brain Trust founder and leader Claudia Imhoff interviewed me at the recent Pacific Northwest BI Summit. She asked about data storytelling. Listen to it here. FacebookTwitter Read more

My latest in Information Management: “‘Sexy'” Data Science is a Team Sport”

January 6, 2014

The word got out last year: data scientist is the “sexiest job,” a late-2012 declaration by the renowned Tom Davenport of “Competing on Analytics” fame. Trouble is, “sexy” goes bad faster than fish. “Data scientist,” still fresh, is my word of the year. In 2013, the data analysis industry discovered… Read more


August 26, 2013

There’s no video, and even memories may be sketchy of an historic few seconds in the exhibit hall of TDWI conference last week in San Diego. The word is that Steve Swoyer, prolific industry journalist and recent reporter at the Pacific Northwest BI Summit in July, displayed the Summit’s secret… Read more