Jim Kobielus on 2012

Jim Kobielus revisits the predictions he made in 2011 (and a summary of 2010) , and makes some fresh ones for 2012. For technology watchers, this is an article by one of the gurus of enterprise software.


All of those trends predictions (at http://www.decisionstats.com/brief-interview-with-james-g-kobielus/ ) came true in 2011, and are in full force in 2012 as well.Here are my predictions for 2012, and the links to the 3 blogposts in which I made them last month:


The Year Ahead in Next Best Action? Here’s the Next Best Thing to a Crystal Ball!

  • The next-best-action market will continue to coalesce around core solution capabilities.
  • Data scientists will become the principal application developers for next best action.
  • Real-world experiments will become the new development paradigm in next best action.

The Year Ahead in Advanced Analytics? Advances on All Fronts!

  • Open-source platforms will expand their footprint in advanced analytics.
  • Data science centers of excellence will spring up everywhere.
  • Predictive analytics and interactive exploration will enter the mainstream BI user experience:

The Year Ahead In Big Data? Big, Cool, New Stuff Looms Large!

  • Enterprise Hadoop deployments will expand at a rapid clip.
  • In-memory analytics platforms will grow their footprint.
  • Graph databases will come into vogue.


And in an exclusive and generous favor for DecisionStats, Jim does some crystal gazing for the cloud computing field in 2012-

Cloud/SaaS EDWs will cross the enterprise-adoption inflection point. In 2012, cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) enterprise data warehouses (EDWs), offered on a public subscription basis, will gain greater enterprise adoption as a complement or outright replacement for appliance- and software-based EDWs. A growing number of established and startup EDW vendors will roll out cloud/SaaS “Big Data” offerings. Many of these will supplement and extend RDBMS and columnar technologies with Hadoop, key-value, graph, document, and other new database architectures.



James G. Kobielus James G. Kobielus
Senior Analyst



James serves Business Process & Application Development & Delivery Professionals. He is a leading expert on data warehousing, predictive analytics, data mining, and complex event processing. In addition to his core coverage areas, James contributes to Forrester’s research in business intelligence, data integration, data quality, and master data management.




James has a long history in IT research and consulting and has worked for both vendors and research firms. Most recently, he was at Current Analysis, an IT research firm, where he was a principal analyst covering topics ranging from data warehousing to data integration and the Semantic Web. Prior to that position, James was a senior technical systems analyst at Exostar (a hosted supply chain management and eBusiness hub for the aerospace and defense industry). In this capacity, James was responsible for identifying and specifying product/service requirements for federated identity, PKI, and other products. He also worked as an analyst for the Burton Group and was previously employed by LCC International, DynCorp, ADEENA, International Center for Information Technologies, and the North American Telecommunications Association. He is both well versed and experienced in product and market assessments. James is a widely published business/technology author and has spoken at many industry events.

Contact –

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jameskobielus

#Rstats for Business Intelligence

This is a short list of several known as well as lesser known R ( #rstats) language codes, packages and tricks to build a business intelligence application. It will be slightly Messy (and not Messi) but I hope to refine it someday when the cows come home.

It assumes that BI is basically-

a Database, a Document Database, a Report creation/Dashboard pulling software as well unique R packages for business intelligence.

What is business intelligence?

Seamless dissemination of data in the organization. In short let it flow- from raw transactional data to aggregate dashboards, to control and test experiments, to new and legacy data mining models- a business intelligence enabled organization allows information to flow easily AND capture insights and feedback for further action.

BI software has lately meant to be just reporting software- and Business Analytics has meant to be primarily predictive analytics. the terms are interchangeable in my opinion -as BI reports can also be called descriptive aggregated statistics or descriptive analytics, and predictive analytics is useless and incomplete unless you measure the effect in dashboards and summary reports.

Data Mining- is a bit more than predictive analytics- it includes pattern recognizability as well as black box machine learning algorithms. To further aggravate these divides, students mostly learn data mining in computer science, predictive analytics (if at all) in business departments and statistics, and no one teaches metrics , dashboards, reporting  in mainstream academia even though a large number of graduates will end up fiddling with spreadsheets or dashboards in real careers.

Using R with

1) Databases-

I created a short list of database connectivity with R here at https://rforanalytics.wordpress.com/odbc-databases-for-r/ but R has released 3 new versions since then.

The RODBC package remains the package of choice for connecting to SQL Databases.


Details on creating DSN and connecting to Databases are given at  https://rforanalytics.wordpress.com/odbc-databases-for-r/

For document databases like MongoDB and CouchDB

( what is the difference between traditional RDBMS and NoSQL if you ever need to explain it in a cocktail conversation http://dba.stackexchange.com/questions/5/what-are-the-differences-between-nosql-and-a-traditional-rdbms

Basically dispensing with the relational setup, with primary and foreign keys, and with the additional overhead involved in keeping transactional safety, often gives you extreme increases in performance

NoSQL is a kind of database that doesn’t have a fixed schema like a traditional RDBMS does. With the NoSQL databases the schema is defined by the developer at run time. They don’t write normal SQL statements against the database, but instead use an API to get the data that they need.

instead relating data in one table to another you store things as key value pairs and there is no database schema, it is handled instead in code.)

I believe any corporation with data driven decision making would need to both have atleast one RDBMS and one NoSQL for unstructured data-Ajay. This is a sweeping generic statement 😉 , and is an opinion on future technologies.

  • Use RMongo

From- http://tommy.chheng.com/2010/11/03/rmongo-accessing-mongodb-in-r/


Connecting to a MongoDB database from R using Java


Also see a nice basic analysis using R Mongo from


For CouchDB

please see https://github.com/wactbprot/R4CouchDB and


  • First install RCurl and RJSONIO. You’ll have to download the tar.gz’s if you’re on a Mac. For the second part, we’ll need to installR4CouchDB,

2) External Report Creating Software-

Jaspersoft- It has good integration with R and is a certified Revolution Analytics partner (who seem to be the only ones with a coherent #Rstats go to market strategy- which begs the question – why is the freest and finest stats software having only ONE vendor- if it was so great lots of companies would make exclusive products for it – (and some do -see https://rforanalytics.wordpress.com/r-business-solutions/ and https://rforanalytics.wordpress.com/using-r-from-other-software/)



we see


RevoConnectR for JasperReports Server

RevoConnectR for JasperReports Server RevoConnectR for JasperReports Server is a Java library interface between JasperReports Server and Revolution R Enterprise’s RevoDeployR, a standardized collection of web services that integrates security, APIs, scripts and libraries for R into a single server. JasperReports Server dashboards can retrieve R charts and result sets from RevoDeployR.



Using R and Pentaho
Extending Pentaho with R analytics”R” is a popular open source statistical and analytical language that academics and commercial organizations alike have used for years to get maximum insight out of information using advanced analytic techniques. In this twelve-minute video, David Reinke from Pentaho Certified Partner OpenBI provides an overview of R, as well as a demonstration of integration between R and Pentaho.
and from
R and BI – Integrating R with Open Source Business
Intelligence Platforms Pentaho and Jaspersoft
David Reinke, Steve Miller
Keywords: business intelligence
Increasingly, R is becoming the tool of choice for statistical analysis, optimization, machine learning and
visualization in the business world. This trend will only escalate as more R analysts transition to business
from academia. But whereas in academia R is often the central tool for analytics, in business R must coexist
with and enhance mainstream business intelligence (BI) technologies. A modern BI portfolio already includes
relational databeses, data integration (extract, transform, load – ETL), query and reporting, online analytical
processing (OLAP), dashboards, and advanced visualization. The opportunity to extend traditional BI with
R analytics revolves on the introduction of advanced statistical modeling and visualizations native to R. The
challenge is to seamlessly integrate R capabilities within the existing BI space. This presentation will explain
and demo an initial approach to integrating R with two comprehensive open source BI (OSBI) platforms –
Pentaho and Jaspersoft. Our efforts will be successful if we stimulate additional progress, transparency and
innovation by combining the R and BI worlds.
The demonstration will show how we integrated the OSBI platforms with R through use of RServe and
its Java API. The BI platforms provide an end user web application which include application security,
data provisioning and BI functionality. Our integration will demonstrate a process by which BI components
can be created that prompt the user for parameters, acquire data from a relational database and pass into
RServer, invoke R commands for processing, and display the resulting R generated statistics and/or graphs
within the BI platform. Discussion will include concepts related to creating a reusable java class library of
commonly used processes to speed additional development.

If you know Java- try http://ramanareddyg.blog.com/2010/07/03/integrating-r-and-pentaho-data-integration/


and I like this list by two venerable powerhouses of the BI Open Source Movement


Open Source BI as disruptive technology


Open Source Punditry

Commercial Open Source BI Redux Dave Reinke & Steve Miller An review and update on the predictions made in our 2007 article focused on the current state of the commercial open source BI market. Also included is a brief analysis of potential options for commercial open source business models and our take on their applicability.
Open Source BI as Disruptive Technology Dave Reinke & Steve Miller Reprint of May 2007 DM Review article explaining how and why Commercial Open Source BI (COSBI) will disrupt the traditional proprietary market.

Spotlight on R

R You Ready for Open Source Statistics? Steve Miller R has become the “lingua franca” for academic statistical analysis and modeling, and is now rapidly gaining exposure in the commercial world. Steve examines the R technology and community and its relevancy to mainstream BI.
R and BI (Part 1): Data Analysis with R Steve Miller An introduction to R and its myriad statistical graphing techniques.
R and BI (Part 2): A Statistical Look at Detail Data Steve Miller The usage of R’s graphical building blocks – dotplots, stripplots and xyplots – to create dashboards which require little ink yet tell a big story.
R and BI (Part 3): The Grooming of Box and Whiskers Steve Miller Boxplots and variants (e.g. Violin Plot) are explored as an essential graphical technique to summarize data distributions by categories and dimensions of other attributes.
R and BI (Part 4): Embellishing Graphs Steve Miller Lattices and logarithmic data transformations are used to illuminate data density and distribution and find patterns otherwise missed using classic charting techniques.
R and BI (Part 5): Predictive Modelling Steve Miller An introduction to basic predictive modelling terminology and techniques with graphical examples created using R.
R and BI (Part 6) :
Re-expressing Data
Steve Miller How do you deal with highly skewed data distributions? Standard charting techniques on this “deviant” data often fail to illuminate relationships. This article explains techniques to re-express skewed data so that it is more understandable.
The Stock Market, 2007 Steve Miller R-based dashboards are presented to demonstrate the return performance of various asset classes during 2007.
Bootstrapping for Portfolio Returns: The Practice of Statistical Analysis Steve Miller Steve uses the R open source stats package and Monte Carlo simulations to examine alternative investment portfolio returns…a good example of applied statistics using R.
Statistical Graphs for Portfolio Returns Steve Miller Steve uses the R open source stats package to analyze market returns by asset class with some very provocative embedded trellis charts.
Frank Harrell, Iowa State and useR!2007 Steve Miller In August, Steve attended the 2007 Internation R User conference (useR!2007). This article details his experiences, including his meeting with long-time R community expert, Frank Harrell.
An Open Source Statistical “Dashboard” for Investment Performance Steve Miller The newly launched Dashboard Insight web site is focused on the most useful of BI tools: dashboards. With this article discussing the use of R and trellis graphics, OpenBI brings the realm of open source to this forum.
Unsexy Graphics for Business Intelligence Steve Miller Utilizing Tufte’s philosophy of maximizing the data to ink ratio of graphics, Steve demonstrates the value in dot plot diagramming. The R open source statistical/analytics software is showcased.
I think that the report generation package Brew would also qualify as a BI package, but large scale implementation remains to be seen in
a commercial business environment
  • brew: Creating Repetitive Reports
 brew: Templating Framework for Report Generation

brew implements a templating framework for mixing text and R code for report generation. brew template syntax is similar to PHP, Ruby's erb module, Java Server Pages, and Python's psp module. http://bit.ly/jINmaI
  • Yarr- creating reports in R
to be continued ( when I have more time and the temperature goes down from 110F in Delhi, India)

Common Analytical Tasks

Image via Wikipedia


Some common analytical tasks from the diary of the glamorous life of a business analyst-

1) removing duplicates from a dataset based on certain key values/variables
2) merging two datasets based on a common key/variable/s
3) creating a subset based on a conditional value of a variable
4) creating a subset based on a conditional value of a time-date variable
5) changing format from one date time variable to another
6) doing a means grouped or classified at a level of aggregation
7) creating a new variable based on if then condition
8) creating a macro to run same program with different parameters
9) creating a logistic regression model, scoring dataset,
10) transforming variables
11) checking roc curves of model
12) splitting a dataset for a random sample (repeatable with random seed)
13) creating a cross tab of all variables in a dataset with one response variable
14) creating bins or ranks from a certain variable value
15) graphically examine cross tabs
16) histograms
17) plot(density())
18)creating a pie chart
19) creating a line graph, creating a bar graph
20) creating a bubbles chart
21) running a goal seek kind of simulation/optimization
22) creating a tabular report for multiple metrics grouped for one time/variable
23) creating a basic time series forecast

and some case studies I could think of-


As the Director, Analytics you have to examine current marketing efficiency as well as help optimize sales force efficiency across various channels. In addition you have to examine multiple sales channels including inbound telephone, outgoing direct mail, internet email campaigns. The datawarehouse is an RDBMS but it has multiple data quality issues to be checked for. In addition you need to submit your budget estimates for next year’s annual marketing budget to maximize sales return on investment.

As the Director, Risk you have to examine the overdue mortgages book that your predecessor left you. You need to optimize collections and minimize fraud and write-offs, and your efforts would be measured in maximizing profits from your department.

As a social media consultant you have been asked to maximize social media analytics and social media exposure to your client. You need to create a mechanism to report particular brand keywords, as well as automated triggers between unusual web activity, and statistical analysis of the website analytics metrics. Above all it needs to be set up in an automated reporting dashboard .

As a consultant to a telecommunication company you are asked to monitor churn and review the existing churn models. Also you need to maximize advertising spend on various channels. The problem is there are a large number of promotions always going on, some of the data is either incorrectly coded or there are interaction effects between the various promotions.

As a modeller you need to do the following-
1) Check ROC and H-L curves for existing model
2) Divide dataset in random splits of 40:60
3) Create multiple aggregated variables from the basic variables

4) run regression again and again
5) evaluate statistical robustness and fit of model
6) display results graphically
All these steps can be broken down in little little pieces of code- something which i am putting down a list of.
Are there any common data analysis tasks that you think I am missing out- any common case studies ? let me know.




R Oracle Data Mining

Here is a new package called R ODM and it is an interface to do Data Mining via Oracle Tables through R. You can read more here http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/options/odm/odm-r-integration-089013.html and here http://cran.fhcrc.org/web/packages/RODM/RODM.pdf . Also there is a contest for creative use of R and ODM.

R Interface to Oracle Data Mining

The R Interface to Oracle Data Mining ( R-ODM) allows R users to access the power of Oracle Data Mining’s in-database functions using the familiar R syntax. R-ODM provides a powerful environment for prototyping data analysis and data mining methodologies.

R-ODM is especially useful for:

  • Quick prototyping of vertical or domain-based applications where the Oracle Database supports the application
  • Scripting of “production” data mining methodologies
  • Customizing graphics of ODM data mining results (examples: classificationregressionanomaly detection)

The R-ODM interface allows R users to mine data using Oracle Data Mining from the R programming environment. It consists of a set of function wrappers written in source R language that pass data and parameters from the R environment to the Oracle RDBMS enterprise edition as standard user PL/SQL queries via an ODBC interface. The R-ODM interface code is a thin layer of logic and SQL that calls through an ODBC interface. R-ODM does not use or expose any Oracle product code as it is completely an external interface and not part of any Oracle product. R-ODM is similar to the example scripts (e.g., the PL/SQL demo code) that illustrates the use of Oracle Data Mining, for example, how to create Data Mining models, pass arguments, retrieve results etc.

R-ODM is packaged as a standard R source package and is distributed freely as part of the R environment’s Comprehensive R Archive Network ( CRAN). For information about the R environment, R packages and CRAN, see www.r-project.org.


Present and win an Apple iPod Touch!
The BI, Warehousing and Analytics (BIWA) SIG is giving an Apple iPOD Touch to the best new presenter. Be part of the TechCast series and get a chance to win!

Consider highlighting a creative use of R and ODM.

BIWA invites all Oracle professionals (experts, end users, managers, DBAs, developers, data analysts, ISVs, partners, etc.) to submit abstracts for 45 minute technical webcasts to our Oracle BIWA (IOUG SIG) Community in our Wednesday TechCast series. Note that the contest is limited to new presenters to encourage fresh participation by the BIWA community.

Also an interview with Oracle Data Mining head, Charlie Berger https://decisionstats.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/oracle/