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A Simple Analytical Architectural Strategy

  1. Over the last month I’ve been taking a tactical view of analytics by focusing on some of the specific features of IBM SPSS Statistics so today, I have decided to think a bit more “strategically”. If your organization wants to begin leveraging survey-response type data for example, what might be a reasonable approach? If I assume that they are already employing SPSS statistics for analysis and possibly some modeling, I would recommend starting with a straight forward architecture based upon IBM SPSS Data Collection:

The Basic Components 

SPSS Data Collection Author

IBM SPSS Data Collection Author is a desktop authoring tool for creating and previewing surveys for use in a variety of output formats.

 SPSS Data Collection Interview Server

IBM SPSS Data Collection Interviewer is a fully integrated interviewing solution for mobile and on-site data collection. Setup internally or running as a “software as a service (SaaS)” – to deploy and host those surveys globally.

SPSS Statistics

IBM SPSS Statistics base (and advanced) used to access and analyze the generated response-survey information.

Data Collection – Getting Started with a Survey

The process of using SPSS Data Collection Author to create a simple survey starts with creating a questionnaire:

  1. Start SPSS Author and from the “Welcome Screen” you can select “Create a New Document” and then click “OK”.
  2. From within the Author IDE, provide a name for the survey:








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3. Next use the “Insert” menu to add questions to the survey. These questions can be single or multiple response or even true/false. Each time you insert a question, you  can provide a name for the question, a question “short name”, the actual question text and appropriate answers for the question:















You can also select a predefined professional looking “style template”, the desired format for (i.e. “checkbox” or “list box”) and a variety of other attributes for each of your questions.

At any time during the process of adding questions you can use the “Preview Interview” feature to see how the survey is going to look to this point. It really doesn’t take much to create a really nice questionnaire:

Interviewing Mode

You can then specify the “interviewing mode” for your survey from the available interviewing modes:

  • Paper – Scanning – The selected routing is designed for use with the SPSS Data Collection Paper and SPSS Data Collection Paper – Scan Add-on applications. The questionnaires are generated via the Paper application and survey results are recorded via the Paper – Scan Add-on application.
  • Phone – The selected routing is designed for use with the Interviewer Server’s Phone Participants activity. Interviewers call respondents and gather questionnaire responses over the phone.
  • Local – The selected routing is designed for use with the IBM® SPSS® Data Collection Interviewer application. Survey information is collected locally (face-to-face) and the results are entered and verified via the Interviewer application.
  • Web – The selected routing is designed for Web interviewing. Respondents are provided a survey URL and conduct the interview online.
  • Paper – Manual Entry– The selected routing is designed to allow all question types, some of which may not be supported in Paper. It is recommended that when this mode is selected the resulting survey is not used in Paper, but is instead printed or previewed in Author\IBM® SPSS® Data Collection Author Professional.

Saving and Activating Your Survey

Once you are happy with your survey you can save it and activate it. Using the activation console you will need to provide:

  • The name of your Interviewer Server Administration server or URL.
  • Your Interviewer Server Administration user name and password
  • Your authentication method


Using IBM SPSS Data Collection Author and Interview Server can easily be your next step on the towards becoming a true analytical competitor.

“There is considerable evidence that decisions based on analytics are more likely to be correct than those based on intuition.” – From “Evidence-Based Management,” Harvard Business Review, January 2006;

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Jim Miller

Mr. Miller is an IBM certified and accomplished Senior Project Leader and Application/System Architect-Developer with over 30 years of extensive applications and system design and development experience. His current role is National FPM Practice Leader. His experience includes BI, Web architecture & design, systems analysis, GUI design and testing, Database modeling and systems analysis, design, and development of Client/Server, Web and Mainframe applications and systems utilizing: Applix TM1 (including TM1 rules, TI, TM1Web and Planning Manager), dynaSight - ArcPlan, ASP, DHTML, XML, IIS, MS Visual Basic and VBA, Visual Studio, PERL, Websuite, MS SQL Server, ORACLE, SYBASE SQL Server, etc. His Responsibilities have included all aspects of Windows and SQL solution development and design including: analysis; GUI (and Web site) design; data modeling; table, screen/form and script development; SQL (and remote stored procedures and triggers) development and testing; test preparation and management and training of programming staff. Other experience includes development of ETL infrastructure such as data transfer automation between mainframe (DB2, Lawson, Great Plains, etc.) systems and client/server SQL server and Web based applications and integration of enterprise applications and data sources. In addition, Mr. Miller has acted as Internet Applications Development Manager responsible for the design, development, QA and delivery of multiple Web Sites including online trading applications, warehouse process control and scheduling systems and administrative and control applications. Mr. Miller also was responsible for the design, development and administration of a Web based financial reporting system for a 450 million dollar organization, reporting directly to the CFO and his executive team. Mr. Miller has also been responsible for managing and directing multiple resources in various management roles including project and team leader, lead developer and applications development director. Specialties Include: Cognos/TM1 Design and Development, Cognos Planning, IBM SPSS and Modeler, OLAP, Visual Basic, SQL Server, Forecasting and Planning; International Application Development, Business Intelligence, Project Development. IBM Certified Developer - Cognos TM1 (perfect score 100% on exam) IBM Certified Business Analyst - Cognos TM1

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