What I did during Christmas Vacation!

Just wanted everyone to know that I do occasionally do things other than Business Intelligence. During my Christmas vacation this year I installed a small bank of solar panels on my home. This is just a start of a large solar array I plan on finishing later in 2011. This is my way of reducing my energy footprint and raising awareness about the use of alternate energy sources.

Yes I know this is a bad time of year to install solar... short days, snow, etc.. But I wanted to get started and also take advantage of the 30% tax credit in 2010. The solar panels feed a computer that will allow me to track my generation. Later in 2011 the local power company is installing smartmeters so then I will be able to track daily usage. This will then allow me to merge both daily generation and usage and track the results. I know it will be overkill but I will then put in weather data and put it into OLAP and do some trending and forecasting!

For more information you can go to a recently published article in my local newspaper:

My Solar Installation

Find an Oracle Office

This is just too cool not to share with you all. I find myself often wanting to work with various Oracle people and wanting to find various Oracle offices. Fortunately, the Oracle ACE Newsletter that Oracle ACEs receive has an answer.

Deepak Vohra, Oracle ACE, has developed an Oracle Map search feature using Google Maps API for locating all Oracle field offices including locations that have been acquired (i.e. Siebel, Sun, etc.). Check it out by entering your home town and see how accurate it is. I found it pretty good!

Vlamis Sponsoring Oracle Day and Partner Fair in St. Louis and Kansas City

Wednesday Jan 20   St. Louis  info link registration link
Thursday Jan 21 Kansas City info link registration link

Join us in St. Louis or Kansas City as we'll be presenting a session titled "Tales from the Front: Strategies for a Successful OBIEE Implementation" and manning a table so that we can talk with customers about their existing and upcoming BI and Data Warehousing needs and projects.

Mooers’ Law and the Challenge of BI

An information retrieval system will tend not to be used whenever it is more painful and troublesome for a customer to have information than for him not to have it.

Calvin Mooers 1959

When one cites Mooers’ Law at most IT conferences, most people immediately think of the law that addresses how the number of processors which fits on a computer chip advances given a discrete unit of time. The law of Calvin Mooers, however, predates the processor chip law by a few years. Calvin Mooers was a rare individual, one who relished a good dilemma more than a scientific truth. What should be most interesting for us in Business Intelligence, however, is the implication of the ever increasing information processing speed, power, and accessibility of business information; executives may find having more information more troublesome than not having it.

For those who want to focus on making BI tools and software more “user friendly” as the ultimate answer to every obstacle facing BI and believe accessibility is what Mooers’ first law is addressing, they need to face a broader, more sober reality. Mooers extended his thoughts in what might be termed a first “corollary” to his law.

Where an information retrieval system tends not to be used, a more capable information retrieval system may tend to be used even less.

Executives may have certain perspectives, beliefs, and strategies that they don’t want challenged by information. They may choose to ignore our precious BI tools rather than rely on them. The more user friendly and accessible we make them, the more threatening they become. The famous social observer Saki stated:

A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation.
H. H. Munro 'Saki' (1870-1916).

Sometimes we need to recall that businesses don’t run on information alone and that decisions are not pure calculation. Businesses are living, breathing, entities that have all the complexity and motivational obsequiousness that we have as individual people. To truly understand how best to leverage the power of BI tools, we need to reflect on an organization in an empathetic way. What are their underlying motivations? How does their situation “make sense”? How sustainable is their current culture that prefers ignoring analytical information? And who, if anyone, is trying to change the culture? Sometimes, it seems, executives prefer a little inaccuracy in order to save a ton of explanation.