iOLAP’s Insights

Apr 32014

A Cloud Overview and Market Trends

By |April 3rd, 2014|Categories: Insight Post|Tags: , , |0 Comments

In both consumer and business technology discussions, we hear a lot about the cloud these days. So what does “cloud” mean within the context of things like Big Data, Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing? When we talk about data strategies and cloud technology, there are some basic service categories and deployment models that need to be defined and understood. Here’s a quick look at those categories and models—plus an interesting look at the market itself and where it’s going as predicted by the experts.

Apr 12014

Is Your Data Warehouse Aging Gracefully?

By |April 1st, 2014|Categories: Insight Post|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

How old is your data warehouse? It’s a simple question and probably one you don’t think about much. The majority of production data warehouses are now 15-20 years old and probably very transactional centric. Over the years, you’ve probably remodeled “the house” more than a few times—adding some “rooms” and “upgrades” here and there. It’s starting to feel its age as more Business Intelligence requirements have been added, including Mobile applications and specialized analytics. And more and more ideas seem to show up in your inbox every day, especially Big Data questions.

Feb 282014

Go Get Your Gold Medal: It’s Time To Get On The Podium

By |February 28th, 2014|Categories: Insight Post|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Have you ever wondered how it would feel to stand on the top step of an Olympic podium, lean over and have a gold medal placed around your neck? You not only have family, friends and coaches cheering you on, you have a whole nation behind you. It must be an overwhelming moment. While few ever have that opportunity, you can be the go-to champion in your organization. How can that happen?

Feb 242014

Reporting Accessibility: Thresholds for Color Blind Users

By |February 24th, 2014|Categories: Insight Post|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

With a user experience background, I take usability seriously when designing and developing reports. Usability provides end users with polished reporting that is intuitive while still informative. Paying attention to these details can make a huge difference. For example, “stop light” thresholds are a great conditional formatting style to quickly identify key indicators. They can help users identify which region is growing fastest or is poorly performing. A report uses red, yellow, and green circular indicators that are commonly associated with the flow of intersection traffic (red for warning or stop, yellow for caution or slow and green for go). While these stop light colors are known everywhere, what if the end user is color blind?

Feb 212014

Utilizing SFTP within SSIS

By |February 21st, 2014|Categories: Insight Post|Tags: |0 Comments

Within SSIS a FTP task exists which enables you to access a FTP server. However, it does not support Secure FTP (SFTP). There are many Secure FTP tools to choose from and each requires a unique set of commands and designs to be used within SSIS. For this article, I am using's file transfer tool commonly known as PSFTP (a free open source tool). This tool performed as needed and we were able to build additional processes around it to enhance its use and satisfy our customers' requirements.

Jan 142014

How Do You Build a Winning Team?

By |January 14th, 2014|Categories: Insight Post|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Like most of you, I work in the corporate world. I’ve been around long enough to be part of good teams and bad teams. I have also had the opportunity to build teams. Building a team is challenging and a lot of hard work. Being on a bad team is a stressful nightmare. Building a bad team is, well, a long story. If you did it once, you’re probably no longer with that company. With most companies, you are either a player or you are a coach (boss). If you’re self-employed that can be the most challenging—because you’re both. I am also a big football fan. High school, college, professional, fantasy—I like all of it. I never played on the field myself but I love watching a great game at any level. As the season winds down at this time of year, I always get a little sad that it will be eight months before I get to watch my favorite teams again. Starting in the late 1970’s and continuing throughout the decade of the 1980’s, one of my favorite football coaches was Bill Walsh.

Jan 132014

Big Data FAQ

By |January 13th, 2014|Categories: Insight Post|Tags: , |0 Comments

So what exactly is Big Data? In the real world view, Big Data is the culmination of several years' worth of data that your company has stored in their data warehouse as instructed by their DBA since, well, forever. This data that has been archived in different locations for safe keeping, and possible later use, is extremely valuable for marketing, sales and other decision makers in your organization. The official Wiki definition of Big Data is: “a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, transfer, analysis, and visualization.” You will see that definition used in a lot of places.

Jan 72014

Address Validation with IBM InfoSphere DataStage

By |January 7th, 2014|Categories: Insight Post|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Maintaining a database of postal mail addresses requires them to be maintained over time and validated. Conventional wisdom is usually that an address database should be largely static and never change after data entry unless someone physically moves. However, as in many cases, conventional wisdom is not correct in this case. Both the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the United States Postal Service (USPS) recommend that physical street addresses be maintained at least once a quarter via a process named geocoding, which includes street name, city, state and zip code validation.

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