Creating geospatial mashups with Visual Fusion

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’re asked by your boss to find the correlation between the data coming out of your data warehouse and some Excel spreadsheets. He wants to know why some of the call centers have been getting inundated recently with higher call volumes. Just looking at these two sources of data you’re having trouble finding a good answer to the question. You realize that the data includes addresses of your call centers and the areas that they support.

To achieve better insight and understanding, you can load up your data into Visual Fusion, a data visualization platform built by IDV Solutions. The data can then be consolidated into a single interactive view. No more having to go through different reports, trying to match it up with sales data, and seeing if socio-economic factors are related. Read more of this post

Telling Even Better Stories with Microsoft BI and GeoFlow

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig

Last December I wrote about Microsoft’s add-in to Excel called GeoFlow, an application that allows users to analyze geographic and temporal data on a globe. Using 3-D data visualizations, GeoFlow enables data discovery that may not be possible in standard 2-D charts and tables. The first post I wrote about GeoFlow covered a pre-released version, which had some basic features and functionality. Now Microsoft is proud to introduce a public preview of GeoFlow, which comes with a host of improved features and functionality. In my first post, I used GeoFlow to build a narrative around ticket sales’ data at the Seattle Center. We’ll continue with that same data set here. Read more of this post

Tell Better Stories with Microsoft BI and GeoFlow

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig

Storytelling seems to be a lost art form; in this fast-paced world people are more interested in getting as many bits of information as they can. But without a story, something to pull all the data together, the target audience will probably gloss over your message. Throwing a few numbers and charts at the reader has become pretty acceptable nowadays. But to make something truly memorable, and hopefully shared with someone else, you need some kind of story. You need something to tie it all together, to give it some meaning. That’s where Microsoft steps in with its latest addition to the Business Intelligence Analytics space with an add-in to Excel called GeoFlow.

GeoFlow allows a power user to take an existing data set and visualize it on a 3D globe. The visualizations can vary from simple points to heat maps and bars that extrude from a map. Using the data, you can build a tour of the insights that were found and replay them. Similar to PowerView, you can embed the captured insights into various communications and share them with your peers. Read more of this post

The Latest Buzz in the World of BI

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig

Ever feel like whenever you stop and breathe for a moment, some new innovation comes around and if you’re not on top of things you might get lost in the dust? I sometimes feel like that with some web technologies like Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagrm, etc. The world of Business Intelligence (BI) may not be advancing as rapidly as the web, but you still have to pay attention. Especially if your business stands pat, you can expect to miss out on new ways of generating and consuming data.

I’ve compiled a list of buzzwords to get you brought back up to speed on the latest and greatest things “BI.” Read more of this post

Executing a SSIS Package from SharePoint 2010

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig

In this post I will talk about how you can create a SharePoint list that will kick off SSIS packages. This interface will allow certain end users to have some access to package execution;  it is much cleaner than having a business user log into a database to manually kick off a job.

Creating the SQL table
The package execution history will be stored in a simple table comprising of two columns: PackageName and LastExecuted.

The table

If the user wants to rerun a specific package they will zero out the LastExecuted column. Doing so will kick off a trigger that executes sp_start_job. Below you will find the syntax for the trigger. Read more of this post

What Makes Good Business Intelligence Software?

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig

With the amount of data within an organization growing by the minute, it can be challenging to make sense of it all. A data analyst may have a good understanding of what is really going on, but would a C-level employee be able to do the same? It all depends on the set of business intelligence (BI) tools being used.

The goal of a BI tool should be to quickly provide meaningful insights into your data. This can be done by extracting, manipulating, enriching, and extrapolating on various data points. A good piece of software will meet certain expectations (some of which we’ll explore below). Read more of this post

A Better ERD

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig

The problem that I have with big Data Warehouse projects, is that it’s somewhat difficult to document the system in a useful way. I’m sure everyone has seen an entity-relationship diagram (ERD) before, and there are some definite usages for them. Read more of this post

The Mysteries Behind Aligning Visio Images

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig

A colleague of mine recently reminded me of an issue I ran into when building out a dashboard with Visio. He was having issues aligning Visio charts with other web parts; It appeared that when a Visio web part was used on a page, it would have an arbitrary amount of canvas space around the image. He had seemingly tried everything, except for starting over.

I had this exact same issue, and it almost drove me mad figuring out what I could do to fix it. I attempted to change several properties on the web part itself, such as: Overriding the Web Drawing’s default initial view; disabling zooming; and, disabling panning. Then just for the heck of it, I open up Visio itself and think I might have some luck there.

First things first, I save the file. To my surprise the canvas area changes once again, but this time it at least looks a little bit familiar. I switch back to Visio and I notice that layout in the web part matches exactly the layout in Visio. It seems that the vdw holds onto some view state information. This makes no sense to me, but I test out my hypothesis by scrolling up in Visio and Read more of this post

Master / Detail Report

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig

I’ve always had a difficult time creating a good master / detail report. The biggest problem has been remembering the solution that came out of the trials and tribulations I went through the time before. My train of thought goes through the same varied iterations every time.

I always start off with a single report and two separate tables. This idea works but I can’t dynamically change the parameter of the detail. Then I try using a sub-report, also works but–yet again–I can’t send parameters using a click. Every time, same steps, same frustration.

Then it dawns on me, why not use two separate reports on a single SharePoint page? With that layout a user can click on a part of a chart and it will filter the detail report through a URL query string. Snazzy.

The solution is pretty simple to implement and will allow you to build a quick, interactive dashboard. You may ask yourself: Read more of this post

Integrating Visio Services with Excel Services using SharePoint

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig

Microsoft has tightly integrated the latest releases of Visio Professional 2010 and Excel 2010 into SharePoint.  With this integration, you can do some pretty nifty things with these tools without writing a single a line of code.  The end goal is to have a set of data linked graphics drive Excel chart selection.

For this example we’ll be using our internally created Crossbone brand; Crossbone Brands is a fictitious lifestyle products company that specializes in creating products that appeal to extreme sports enthusiasts.

In the Visio section we will see three of our snowboards that we have for purchase with their respective sales broken up by board length.  A user will select a board and this will then change the Excel chart showing off the yearly sales broken down by month. Let’s get to coding designing.

The Images

The first step will be to get three images that you want to use and add them to your Visio canvas.  After that, click each image by itself and Read more of this post

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