The Diary of a Construction Manger in Love with His BI Tool

June 7, 2012

Hi, my name is Bob and I am a construction manager. I oversee all aspects of managing the operations of a construction project, including budgets, staffing, and the compliance of the entire construction project.

In 10+ years of my experience, I have never had a Business Intelligence (BI) tool. I had to create spreadsheets to track daily activities, calculate risks and build formulas to measure impact. Given the size of the projects I worked on, this was extremely complex.  As a result, I would spend a lot of my time putting out fires to problems that I knew could have been prevented if I had the right information.

Recently my company introduced BI to our team. Since I’m using BI for the first time, I decided to create an activity log similar to a diary of my project.

Let me share some highlights with you:

October 28, 2011

We are 4 weeks into the project. We have the crew working on the ground. The foundation is done. The structural engineer has finished his design. We are ready to roll.

January 11, 2012

This morning I received an alert about my Preventative vs. Corrective Maintenance. My monthly work mix by type looks like this: preventative 36%; repair 24%; rebuild 5%; and modify 35%. My preventative costs have gone down from an optimal 40% to 36% and my repair costs have increased correspondingly.

When I drilled down into the repairs, I see that we are responding to higher than normal number of heating and insulation work items. I am going to talk to Edward – my HVAC contractor – about it.

February 29, 2012

I have been monitoring our electrical work. Our average Cost per SQ Foot is 13% less than industry average. This is a breakthrough thanks to the changes I have made monitoring the project with BI and making data-driven decisions. It lets me monitor these costs on an ongoing basis, so I can take preventative actions to stay below industry average to protect our funding and even justify additional headcount.

March 16, 2012

Productivity Rate is one of my favorite indicators – because it truly provides me with real-time info about the performance of my team. On average, our productivity rate stays on optimal levels. However, the plumbing trade group’s actual cost is exceeding the estimated costs. This will affect my cost-to-complete and margins, as I have to pay overtime for this contractor.

But I don’t have to worry… my BI tool lets me drill into this indicator to see whether the reason is ‘labor’ or ‘supply’ related. Drill-thru was something a spreadsheet could never let me do.

March 30, 2012

Two weeks have passed since I shifted resources for plumbing. Our productivity rates have improved since then and the project is looking on time and on budget.

With 40 more days to go, I want to make sure we deliver on time and meet our SLA with the building owners. I see no bottlenecks. Cycle Times – the average time to complete an activity – shows me that we are actually 4 days ahead of the schedule.

May 21, 2012

I’m very happy to report that we are done with the construction. The ROI on this project was greater than we expected and my client is very happy. Next weekend is the Memorial Day weekend. I have the time and money I need to take a nice vacation with my wife and son.

-As told by Bob, a fictional construction manager.

Even though the story is fictional, it’s based on reality. Business users and project managers – such as facility managers, supply chain logistic specialists, even dairy farmers – use Pentaho business intelligence to make their jobs easier and to make smarter, data driven decisions – just like our fictional friend, Bob.

Who knew BI could be so handy for construction managers?

What is your secret BI story? Drop me a line.

- Farnaz Erfan, Product Marketing, Pentaho


Open Source Fuels “Power To The User”

June 22, 2011

Traditionally open source Business Intelligence (OSBI) has been adopted by individuals with an “I” in their acronym: IT, SI, and ISVs.  This made sense because Open Source software started with deep technical roots in operating systems, appservers, RDBMSs, ESBs, etc., and when Pentaho pioneered OSBI in 2004 it was no different. The OSBI landscape back then was filled with some very nice technical projects, some desire from the “then current” open source proponents to move higher in the stack, and the overwhelming BI market screaming for disruption in the form of better products, better architectures and better pricing.

Over the next few years Pentaho built out a great BI platform with end-to-end BI capabilities and quickly became known as “The” OS BI Suite vendor. In conjunction with building product, we built out vibrant open source communities that helped spur our growth and adoption. We were the only clear alternative to Business Objects, Cognos, Oracle and Microstrategy, and the market was hungry for a better and more appropriately-priced offering. We’ve experienced incredible growth over the last couple of years as we continue to deliver great, solid, scalable, secure and functionally-rich products to the market – both to our open source communities and to our paying customers and partners.

In 2009 we started delivering more products geared toward the “business user,” a.k.a. “end-user,” a.k.a. “casual user,” a.k.a. “non-techie.” We immediately started seeing more people convert into customers and this trend grew significantly all the way through 2010. This was a great move in that direction, but we knew that another gap needed to be plugged in order to really satisfy growing market needs – better web-based reporting and data visualization as well as an easier way to get to data. People want results fast and easy, especially the “non-technical user.”  Voila, Pentaho BI 4.0 directly addresses these needs and pain points.  Check it all out here in our Pentaho BI 4 resource center.

Pentaho BI 4 is our biggest release ever that’s geared toward the business user. This product makes it not only possible, but makes it easy for business users to access their own data and do their own reporting, analytics, data discovery and dashboards. We’ve shielded users from the underlying complexities while also giving them the power that they desire.  Our open source roots make it clear that we are all about the people, and this release specifically extends that philosophy to include the “non-technical people.”

Pentaho BI 4 will greatly expand our addressable market size and customer profile. Our early feedback from customers, partners and communities indicates that this is a huge inflection point for our product line and company.  Our launch webcast on Thursday June 23 – Pentaho BI 4 Live – has already broken our previous webcast registration by 250%!

There must be some real unsolved thirst for pushing power to the user.

Richard


Sex
 & 
Sizzle 
– 
not
 without
 plumbing

November 16, 2010

What sells BI software? Sex and Sizzle! What makes BI projects successful? All of the data work done before any grids or graphs are ever produced. It’s the side of the business most BI vendors don’t talk about as they’d rather just woo and wow people with flash charts and glossy dashboards. Not that there is anything wrong with that – who doesn’t like great looking output? But, if the backend plumbing is either too complicated or non-existent, then it doesn’t matter how sexy this stuff is.

Today Pentaho announced the Pentaho Enterprise Data Services Suite to help make the “plumbing” as easy and efficient as possible. We’ve enabled people to iteratively get from raw data–from virtually any source–all the way through to metadata and onto visualization in less than an hour. We’ve enabled a new set of users to accomplish this by taking away many of the complexities.

In about 80% of the use cases we encounter, our customers want to quickly create and perform analytics on the fly, do this in an iterative approach, and when satisfied put their projects into production. You shouldn’t need a Ph.D in Data Warehousing to accomplish this, nevertheless many tools require extensive knowledge of DW methodologies and practices. It is fine to demand this knowledge with larger Enterprise DWs (EDW) but why make everyone pay the price – both in terms of software cost and experience/training required.

Now it would be one thing to provide data integration with RDBMSs, another thing to integrate with ROLAP, and yet another to integrate with Big Data like Hadoop, but how nice would it be to have a single Data Integration and Business Intelligence platform to work for all of these? Almost as nice as the Florida Gators winning a national championship but we won’t have to worry about that in 2010…had to digress for a moment.

A big part of our product release today centers around Pentaho for Hadoop integration including the GA for Pentaho Data Integration and BI Suite for Hadoop. Big Data and the whole ”data explosion” trend is just starting, so if you aren’t there today, give it time and know that Pentaho is already positioned to help in these use cases.

Pentaho allows you to start down an easy path with Agile BI and then scale up to EDW when and if necessary with enterprise data services. Our engineering team and community have spent significant time and effort to bring these services to market, and today is the official release. Please take a few minutes to read up on the new Pentaho Enterprise Data Services Suite and attend the launch webcast. Or, go ahead and download the Pentaho Enterprise Data Services Suite and start making easier, faster, better decisions.

Richard


Part 2: Configuring Server Side Data Connections – even easier!

July 23, 2010

Welcome to Part 2 of the Pentaho Video Tutorial Series. In Part 1, we covered the installation of the Pentaho BI Suite on an Ubuntu Linux O/S using the Pentaho BI Suite Installer. Many have already experienced how easy it was to download and install, thanks for your comments. (You can obtain the installer from the Pentaho KB or from http://www.pentaho.com/download/.)

In this part we will cover configuring Pentaho server side data connections that can access your traditional RDBMS data sources. In this example I demonstrate adding connections to Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. It is important to note that the Pentaho design tools, such as Report Designer, Schema Workbench, Data Integration and the Metadata Editor can publish content using these server side data source connections that have been configured. (We will cover this in Part 3 of the series) To prepare for this configuration, please have the appropriate vendor specific JDBC Type 4 driver available for the data source you want to connect to. You can obtain them from the database vendor’s web site, your DBA, or perhaps the installation location of the RDBMS.

You can view the video inline in this blog, or download the higher quality .wmv (Windows Media Video) to your workstation for local viewing.

To see all related Tutorials in this series posted by me, click on my pic on the bottom right under Authors.

Mike Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho Corporation

Para ver esta entrada en español chasque aquí here
Pour regarder cette entrée en français cliquez sur ici
Um diese Eintragung auf deutsch anzusehen klicken Sie hier


Part 1: Installing Pentaho Enterprise Edition – yep, it’s that easy

July 21, 2010

That’s right, I said it. It’s that easy. Hello everyone, I am Michael Tarallo, Pentaho Pre-Sales Director.  It is an absolute pleasure to be blogging in the Swamp with the rest of the Pentaho crew.  Originally I started creating a series of Pentaho related tutorial type videos published exclusively on my blog michaeltarallo.blogspot.com. However, I have also been invited to the Swamp to share my BI technical musings and knowledge with y’all. (no really, I am originally from the North East, I don’t ever say y’all) –  I thought this would be a great way to share this series and create an awareness of how easy it is to get started using and evaluating the Pentaho software.

This is part 1 of an N part series (there is so much to showcase I don’t have a definitive number) that will showcase the power, flexibility and extensibility of the Pentaho BI Suite. My goal is to help you evaluate the Pentaho BI Suite easily and quickly as well as show you tips and techniques that make Pentaho the right choice for current and future needs.  In this 15 min video (available in my blog or as a download here)  you will watch me go through the process, of downloading, installing and testing the Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition on an Ubuntu Linux operating system. From start to finish, you will see it truly is just that easy. The next entry will focus on configuring data sources to be used for content creation. Enjoy and I hope to speak with you in person!

To see all related Tutorials in this series posted by me, click on my pic on the bottom right under Authors.

Mike Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho Corporation

Para ver esta entrada en español chasque aquí here (Google Translation)
Pour regarder cette entrée en français cliquez sur ici (Google Translation)
Um diese Eintragung auf deutsch anzusehen klicken Sie hier (Google Translation)

You can download the high quality .wmv (Windows Media) here


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 105 other followers