Triatin Natural Knowledge Tree

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Data warehouse and reporting tailored to your needs and time-frames

A Common Issue  

 Many organisations face a common issue in developing a good information and knowledge management strategy. How to deliver critical knowledge from systems without A) developing independent disparate datamarts that later have to be integrated into a more strategic solution, or B) trying to twist a client reporting tool to properly represent data from a production system, imbedding critical business rules in a proprietary technology creating a locked in situation, while not getting the flexibility needed for real business intelligence based decision making. The business needs knowledge now, but unchecked BI development makes for a very expensive mess downstream

Triatin Knowledge Tree Datamart Model

An Organic Approach:

The Triatin Knowledge Tree approach addresses this issue head on. By attacking the most critical reporting need first, we build a thread to supply key knowledge to where its needed. However we ensure that when building the foundation thread, we establish the necessary structures for an enterprise data warehousing solution. As new source systems come online, we enhance the infant Enterprise Data Store dimension and fact model progressively, developing the longer term data warehouse piece by piece.

Because we work organically, we achieve a number of benefits:

1. Rapid delivery of value to end users

2. Reduced costs (up to 80% lower than traditional approaches)

3. Organic Master Data Management, as it happens control.

4. An enterprise capable, industry standard data warehouse.

5. Reduces vendor lock-in on existing reporting systems

Clients that have benefited from this approach include major multinationals like Sony Pictures as well as local giants like Members Equity Bank and International energy services.

Decision Perspective

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Funny how making a decision can often be a mere coin toss. That’s a pretty valid method if either outcome is acceptable. Making a decision is a directional event, causing a direction to be taken in the flow of the decision maker’s life. It is affected by two things, the first being the goal of the decision maker and the second by the understanding of the at the time, entirely derived from the direction of travel to that point and the knowledge available to them.

If knowledge is Information in action, then the quantity and quality of the information is what will determine the perspective of the decision maker and thus the quality of the decision.  That quality can be measured by 2 main outcomes, the first being the accuracy of direction toward the goal, and the second being the distance closer to the goal the decision takes them.

The question that comes to mind then is why are so many decisions made on such limited knowledge, when so much information exists and is freely available in today’s internet based world? It appears effort is the key driver.  Although the knowledge is available, contextualising it, integrating it into the decision-making process is time consuming and requires effort.

What’s interesting though is that not only is the knowledge often ignored, in some cases its actively avoided. When the information does not concur with the beliefs or preconceived notions of the decision maker, cognitive dissonance occurs. This is unpleasant and requires a change in belief. So many people when confronted with a choice of changing belief or disregarding information that contradict their beliefs will choose the latter.

The availability of knowledge is like the access of water to the proverbial horse. Using the knowledge effectively is like getting the horse to drink. And speaking of horses, not using the best available knowledge systems to support your decision making can make you look like the wrong end of one.  At Triatin we know we can supply the best quality knowledge system, that were it water, it would surpass even Perrier and Avian. All you need to do is drink from it.


The Triatin Approach

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Imagine if you could have a 1800 per day expert for 600, on call when you need them.

Imagine you can monitor their progress and see details of the work they do as they complete their tasks.

Imagine if they always work to a plan,  a plan that you get up front, with clear definitions of the objectives, the milestones and the details of how they will deliver your requirements.

If this resonates with you, contact Triatin for your next information technology need. Triatin uses a team based approach, working with a collaborative project management technology that allows us to develop to a plan every time.

We can design a solution in hours,  including detailed steps on how to deliver it and by anyways applying a team approach we always have the most experience for money you can get.

We understand the need to have less stress,  more certainty and reasonable expense. Give us a call, we are very keen to explain it in person.

The team at Triatin.

It is the Business!

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Why your IT morale is low, and 3 ways to fix it.


A few days ago I noticed yet another article on Linked-In about the challenges facing CIO’s in improving the relationship with “The Business”.

I am confused, does finance have this problem? Or the office of the CEO? How about marketing, or sales, or manufacturing? Logistics perhaps? Is I.T. the only department with this issue?

Oh, hang on – those departments are “The Business” but I.T. is not. Huh???  Actually this explains a number of very expensive mistakes many major corporations are making every day.

  1. By assuming I.T. is like building architecture, and not a vital business function, many organisations lose alignment between IT and their goals. I.T. are as much a core business function as finance, management, manufacturing and marketing.  FIX: Good knowledge systems give your business an edge, those who include I.T. capabilities into the strategic value proposition of their businesses simply outclass those who don’t. Make I.T. part of every departments strategic planning.
  2. Many I.T. staff believe their role to be technical, to be a great programmer, or network technician. FIX: They should be driven by whatever the business function is. If it’s a bank, they are bankers. If it’s a used car dealer chain, they sell cars. Passion for the business should be what motivates them. They just use I.T. skills to help drive the business forward.
  3. Outsourcing key roles and responsibilities makes it even worse as IT staff become more marginalized, and realize their options for promotion are even more limited. Worse yet, when you outsource, you reduce that alignment we spoke about earlier. Your “outsource partner” is a consulting company and is concerned with improving their business, using your experience. FIX: Only outsource the low end functions. Repeatable, unchanging and lacking in any authority. Sure, hire consultants to guide on depth of technology solutions, but own them internally.  In fact, before you outsource any functions to an overseas service provider, check locally for boutique companies that can offer the same value at a similar price. You will be surprised at how many specialist small companies can meet and even beat Indian, Philippines, Chinese and Indonesian service provider pricing with the added advantages of being both local and able to work on-site and being driven to deliver in shorter time frames.

So there you have it – an easy and zero cost way to improve I.T. morale, reduce risk, increase revenue and agility, and destroy the I.T. Business divide. Just think of I.T. as part of the business. And if you are in I.T. BE part of the business.

Where is the Data Asset on the Balance Sheet?

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The value of a well defined, well organised knowledge system.

So you want to buy a business. You go through all the correct research processes, checking out its market, its product fit, its books and historical profitability. You investigate the staff, identifying key personnel, you check its online and regulatory history for comments and considerations. Finally, you sit down with the books again, looking though the details a second time to see if you missed anything, or if any behavior indicates a risk that may later surface. One last check before you make the final decision.

What is the value and capability of the data assets, or more importantly, the knowledge system? As a few pertinent questions, and if the answers are “No”, perhaps add a few extra liabilities to the “Why Not to Buy” column in your assessment.

Is there a knowledge system in place, to ensure internal (and ideally external data) can easily be accessed and monitored in an integrated way? If NO then add a full BI and Data Warehousing cost to the “Why not to buy” column

Has it been quantified, in terms of dollar value in the balance sheet? What data does it manage, how much and how current? If NO then add an Audit cost to the ”Why Not to Buy” column.

Is it well managed in terms of a systematic, comprehensive strategy, with simple applications, independent storage and thorough data warehouse principles? IF NO then add Data Quality, Cleansing, Remediation and Reorganization costs to the “Why Not to Buy” column

Is it organically flexible, designed to be relatively independent of any specific vendor or technology, and capable of rapid responses or quickly incorporation new data sources and phasing out old ones properly If NO then add the cost of rebuild and rework of all components repeatedly to the “Why Not to Buy” Column.

Is the knowledge system independent of the ERP, or other business applications, including metadata and business rules and process knowledge? If NO calculate cost of replacing the ERP and other applications as a green fields installation with retraining of all staff and redevelopment of all business processes and add that number to your “Why Not to Buy” column.

We are all aware of the “Value of data” and the idea that “Data is the new oil”, clever catchphrases, but how many companies think of an enterprise wide, consolidated and independent organically designed knowledge system as a separate asset, adding a very tangible dimension of value to the business.

If you don’t have a good knowledge system strategy, call us. Using our unique Knowledge Tree model we can develop a new strategy for you, enhance a poor existing one or modernize the current system to a full business asset. Knowledge Threads are quick, but built with the future in mind – calculable and economic, coming it at 20-25% of traditional data warehousing costs.

Visualization vs Data Configuration

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Visualization vs Data Configuration

What’s Behind the Scenes?

Australia, represented as 100 people. Simpler to understand than “Australia represented in percentage points” but pretty much the same thing. Aside from the obvious issue of losing value as the grain is reduced from a detail level of 24.16 million to a mere 100, there is also the question of natural biases as to what was aggregated, and when visualizing the results in a chronological order, some obvious biases in what was presented.

In this case, there is some, but not much, popular demand driven bias in the aggregations available, this is data from the Australian Statistics Bureau, which is a function of government, and has a budget too limited to just “Count all the stuff out there”. In culling some aggregations or adding some survey variables, there is always a percentage of bias, and in including popular expectations, there is more bias.

Of course, journalists sell news stories, so they are more prone to bias in reporting what the public wants to read about. More about gender biased in the corporate sector, less about food diversity in restaurants. More about age of home ownership, less about types of business growing from small to medium. More about immigrants, less about emigrants. More about school attendance, less about school curriculums.

All the data is actually there – and much more, but while the following visual is fun to play with, try to remember the 10’s of thousands of man hours, people and metrics that were collected to get this data, the fact that there is so much more data available and the complexity in preparing the data from consumption. Then when you are finished having fun with this fast food of data visualisations, hop over to the Australian Bureau of Statistics website and see the real thing.

Getting the back end right is where the real work is, most visualization tools offer “fast food” demonstrations, high in sugar, low in nutrients. Talk to people who know how to prepare the data so that you get real ongoing deep value. Spend some time with us so we can help you bring health back to your knowledge system.

Man or Machine?

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Will robots inherit the earth? Yes, but they will be our children.

MARVIN MINSKY, Scientific American, October 1994

So, a computer will take your job? Only if you are overpaid and underworked, it seems. And no, business leaders are generally not in that category, contrary to the common perception. A recent study by AlphaBeta research house shows many of the job functions in modern work roles are not likely to be cost effective to completely phase out of human hands.

Fortunately for Triatin, those functions that are good to phase out, are mostly around replacing manual reporting and analytics with good systems, for as you know we are purveyors of the very finest knowledge systems.

To have a bit of fun, go to the ABC website and see how at risk your job is!

Data Analysis with MS Excel and MS Access

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Data Analysis with MS Excel and MS Access

From Data Wrangling to Data Clarity!

Excel and MS Access are not only not dead, but thriving. In fact, these tools form the foundation for almost all projects and are also well used in many small to medium enterprises as mission critical platforms for knowledge work. For this reason, Triatin has always focused on ensuring our consultants have solid MS Access and MS Excel skills.

From complex spreadsheets with heaps of VBA and Macro code to Ms Access being used as datamart and full blown knowledge applications, and even cases where Excel is imbedded into MS Access as additional third party database tables we have seen it all. But there is one common thread running through these experiences – finding value in data! Some examples that come to mind: –

  • A midrange Australian bank, using MS Access and Sybase as a data warehouse strategy. We helped them transition to a Microsoft SQL Server platform, while keeping the value MS Access and Excel bring to them.
  • A Sydney based super fund, with the most complex Excel Spreadsheets you could imagine, with over 50 spreadsheets some containing over 100 tabs and interconnected with complex formula for financial and tax calculations. We cleaned and remodelled the installation, moving some data functionality to SQL Server while streamlining the MS Excel application
  • Department of Health and Human Services Victoria. Working with their in-house Data Scientist we developed a case management reporting technology designed for Analytics tools like Tableau. Loading data from MS Excel and using MS Access as a control interface, the SQL server database is loaded via SSIS and results in a platform that is both analytics ready and can generate clear stakeholder reports for government ministers and public officials.
  • A Government Education Department. We analysed, documented and repaired complex Ms Excel based applications to manage school data. Significant data wrangling, working with Oracle and SharePoint bases systems, we recovered models for the data team to work with, and supported their services

These a but a few of the war stories in the data analysis space that Triatin team members have worked with. In business intelligence, we find so many varieties of data management. In fact, our biggest data warehouse project makes use of CSV files for most of the data loads, as the data is augmented data from external sources.

Data analytics and data wrangling are often the same thing – and like snake wrangling, it helps to have a healthy respect for the complex nature of the data, but not to be too afraid of it to get in subdue it.

Once the data is cleaned and the storage understood, it’s time to look for the nuggets of value in the analytics tools at your disposal, and that’s what we find the most rewarding part of our job. Finding that “pregnant man” or “lost” 12 million, catching a price drop from happening too early, or even worse, too late.

Triatin has a philosophy of “The customer business is our business”. Our consultants are driven to be what the customer wants – a banker when we work for a bank, a child care worker when we work for a child care NGO or government child safety or education department, a movie distributer when we work for, well, a major movie distributer. We just use our IT skills to do that, but we always align with your mission!