SaaS vs. Cloud Not Exactly Clear With Some Software Vendors

Photo by Meredith Cook at Breckenridge, CO on a “blue bird” day, a clear day following a fresh snowfall.  It’s unrelated to SaaS or Cloud (or is it?); just nice to look at. SaaS and cloud are starting to be used interchangeably (“we’re looking for a cloud solution”) but they really are not the same […]


An Intro to Analytics Vendors

Image by David Bleasdale, CC license Analytics is one of the top buzzwords in business software today. Analytics software is often marketed as a tool for business intelligence, data mining or insights. It’s the crystal ball software: tell me things I don’t already know, and show me ah-hahs or other exciting revelations that, if acted […]

finance 101

Business Software for Finance 101

Image by reynermedia, CC license Finance and accounting functions were among the first to be automated through software. The sheer volume of numbers and calculations, reporting requirements, tax filings and payroll mechanics, plus the fact that nearly every business has to engage in these activities, made the area perfect for software. When just these basic […]

Big Data

Big Data: Correlations, Not Cause-and-Effect

Image by Marcos Gasparutti, CC license In their recently published book, “Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think,” Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier say that big data will provide a lot of information that can be used to establish correlations, not necessarily precise cause and effect. But that might […]

LinkedIn DV

What Is Data Visualization?

A data visualization of LinkedIn connections. Image by Luc Legay, CC license Frank Luntz is a professional pollster who uses the visualization of data to show the sentiments of viewers as they watch political ads. The technique uses a moving second-by-second graph to show when exactly during an ad viewers felt positive or negative toward […]


Five Smart Ways to Use Retail Store Data

Photo by Krystian Olszanski, CC license Great!  Your second biggest customer has agreed to collaborate with you to build the business through collaboration and data sharing, and you’ll be getting access to all of their point-of-sale data through a third party company.  Now what? Fortunately there are some very good POS analytical capabilities out there, but […]


Retail POS Data Analytics Getting Easier

Photo: Decisions Decisions; Andrew Stawarz, CC license Companies making products sold at retail stores long ago realized they had minimal visibility of how their products are displayed at the retail shelf and how well their products ‘turned’ and produced revenue for them and the retailer. But today they can have visibility, and investments in software, services, analytics, […]

Data Vis example

Data Virtualization vs. Data Visualization

Image: visualization of data showing places in New York City frequented by tourists (red) and locals (blue); by Eric Fisher; Creative Commons license. Another emerging segment of the analytics software market is data virtualization (DV), referred to by some as Information-as-a-Service (IaaS), which enables access to multiple data sources, usually in real time, without the […]

Hong Kong Shopping

Demand Signal Applications: the Basics

The Landmark Shopping Mall in Hong Kong.  Photo by See-ming Lee, CC license. It’s now possible to string together data points collected from the shelf (POS) and upstream from there (your supply chain) to optimize your sourcing, production and distribution decisions.  Application vendors are calling this Demand Signal Management (DSM).  It’s not new; the same […]

data center

Big Data 101

Image: “Data Center.” by Stan Wlechers, CC license So what is Big Data, particularly Big Data analytics? Why all the hype? Big Data is what it implies: tons of data. We’re talking millions or billions of rows here – way too much for standard query tools accessing data on a disk. What would constitute “tons” […]