Business analysts and their enablers are a fascinating bunch, to generalize extravagantly. In your first two minutes with one, you might recognize the tiny sparks of brilliance on an otherwise ordinary appearance. Keep watching, and you might see those sparks ignite nearby fuel.
Look again, and your analysts again appear ordinary. They want what everyone else wants: to do the work they do best, and without interruption, hassle, or undue tedium. And when they succeed, they really don’t mind recognition. Some might even crave rock star status.
Naturally, such people find their way into highly skilled, well paid crafts like data analysis.
Recently, my posts on business analysts caught the eye of Steve Sarsfield, Vertica director of product marketing.  He wanted to revive the Vertica Analytics Platform story — which is sometimes drowned out by that shiny new thing, Hadoop.
We knew the Vertica story would be best told in the stories of current users. So I turned to Vertica users I knew, and he turned to his customers.
Talking to those who go elbow deep into data speak with a gravity that I find satisfying. I heard the hard, up to date facts of brutish data volumes. When a load arrives from a client, where do you put it all? How do you cope with slow processing other than to push the “go” button and say goodnight? When you need a tweak, where’s your DBA? Your work starts and stops, you invent workarounds, and you make do.
The Vertica analytic database users I heard from showed that such a tool has been there all the time — which surprises some people. One story, which I used in the whitepaper, illustrated the exactly that kind of surprise.
The story goes that a Vertica sales rep was presenting an update at a customer site, and he mentioned a built in analytical function. Perhaps it was time series, or geo-spatial, or machine learning. No one quite remembers what. The rep does remember, though, a reaction from the back of the room: Two data analysts, listening intently, turn each other and slapped high fives.