Duane Schafer, Author at Perficient Blogs
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Duane Schafer

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Power BI Primer – 4 part series

In previous posts we’ve discussed how to introduce advanced analytics into your BI platform and along the way we introduced several new technologies. These technologies range from self-service query tools to cloud-based visualizations. Even though the previous scenario was based on the Healthcare industry, the concepts and technologies can be applied across all industries. But […]

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Visualization options with Microsoft

I’ve been speaking to a lot of clients lately about the visualization capabilities of the Microsoft BI platform and want to clarify a point of confusion. When building an enterprise analytics platform you will be faced with several decisions around architecture as well as delivery. The architectural options will be vetted by your IT department, […]

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Advanced analytics in healthcare with Epic, SQL Server and Azure

Over the months we have released a lot of information on building analytic platforms in healthcare. Several members of my team have played key architectural roles in not only implementing the Cogito platform and performing readmission analysis with it, but also expanding the platform to include customer satisfaction data from Press Ganey. These functions were […]

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“Accelerate your Insights” – Indeed!

I have to say, I was very excited today as I listened to Satya Nadella describe the capabilities of the new SQL 2014 Data Platform during the Accelerate your Insights event. My excitement wasn’t tweaked by the mechanical wizardry of working with a new DB platform, nor was it driven by a need to be […]

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The state of social sentiment analysis – Part 1

Sentiment analysis is arguably one of the fastest growing concepts in the analytics space and is poised to become a major source of information to enterprise BI programs in the very near future. The idea of receiving instant feedback from a consumer base, enabling near real-time follow-up or correction holds an incalculable ROI. Unfortunately the […]

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Technology Confusion

While returning from a client presentation and reflecting on the meeting conversations I was struck by a similarity that seems to be creeping into the minds of our clients. While discussing our approach to performing a strategy assessment for this new client we were reviewing an example architectural diagram and a question was raised. One […]

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Why are BI Projects so difficult to implement? part 3

You can find the previous posts to this topic here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 2.5 So how do we reduce the amount of anxiety related to a BI project (thus making them less painful)? To start, the project team needs to be keenly aware of the following: They must consistently over communicate that some […]

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Why are BI projects so difficult to implement? part 2.5

..so I hadn’t planned on exploring the next piece of the puzzle so soon, but this article jumped out at me. I just finished reading “Achieving Greater Agility with Business Intelligence” from the TDWI and found several interesting comments. The article was based around ‘faster decision cycles and competitive pressures’ but it had a few […]

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Why are BI projects so difficult to implement? part 2

In a previous post (here) I posed the question regarding the difficulty we experience when implementing a BI project, and promised to address mitigating the pain that our project teams and clients typically experience. But before we can do that, we need to explore where the pain and difficulty comes from. Difficulties: – Unfamiliar technologies, […]

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Why are BI projects so difficult to implement?

I’m not really asking the question, I’m setting the stage for a topic that has been on my mind recently. For background, I grew up through the data architecture ranks so the problems I see our project teams experiencing seem natural to me (if not basic). In my mind it’s always been this difficult, but […]

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BI trends for 2013

While attending the SharePoint conference a couple of weeks ago I noted the three major technology trends being presented, namely: Social, Cloud and Mobile. While not being surprised that these three where at the top of the list, I did wonder if the sentiment was the same across the industry and what that would mean […]

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Microsoft is raising the bar on Self-service BI!

I’m attending the SharePoint conference in Las Vegas and man are there some sights to see. Sleek and inviting, everything you would want in a BI platform of course! I work extensively with all of the technologies from the Microsoft BI stack, but have realized already this week that the changes coming in the SharePoint and […]

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Blended value with SQL Server and your BI team

As a follow up to the EIM Awareness with SQL Server blog post I previously created, I’d like to dig into the potential impact of the “…increasing EIM maturity level…” I referenced. Whether you manage a consulting practice or a BICC, you’re always struggling with providing the right balance of value to your clients. In […]

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Ad-hoc reporting with SQL Server 2012

As the virtual launch of SQL Server 2012 draws near, I receive more and more requests for demos. This doesn’t really surprise me however considering the new enhancements really do show well. So in an effort to spread the mindshare here is a nice overview of the ad-hoc reporting capabilities of PowerPivot and Power View. […]

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SQL Server 2012 ad-hoc reporting in action

As the date of the SQL Server 2012 virtual release draws near, I’m getting more and more requests for client demos. And this should be no surprise as the new platform does show very well! So in an effort to spread the mindshare, here’s a link to a nice overview of PowerPivot and Power View […]

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EIM awareness with SQL Server 2012

I just finished reading the results of an interview I gave earlier this week to technology webzine www.CRN.com regarding the pending release of SQL Server. I was interested to know which parts of my 30 minute discussion with the technical writer would make it into the article. I was happy to see that the writer […]

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Magic Quadrant Madness, Denali and complete transparency

So I just read the recently published BI magic quadrant analysis from Gartner and noticed a slight adjustment in the bubbles. The Microsoft BI platform continues to increase along the ‘Completeness of Vision’ axis (X), but the ‘Ability to Execute’ measure (Y-axis) slipped a notch and I wanted to know why. After reading the ‘Strengths’ […]

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Microsoft BI in the enterprise

I was demoing the Microsoft BI stack to a client the other day and although PerformancePoint, PowerPivot and Power View showed well as always, I was amazed that the Q&A session gravitated back to the same old questions that I always hear. “Well what about Oracle?” “Have the BI tools made it out of the […]

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Emerging Trends in BI 2012 and the Microsoft stack

I just finished watching a webinar from The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) on the top BI trends for 2012 and thought I’d match those trends to the Microsoft stack for comparison.  According to TDWI, the top 7 trends are as follows:   Self-service BI – Enabling business users to perform their own modeling and analysis […]

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