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New Frontiers in Business Intelligence

Nari Kannan

How to use the most popular BI tool available

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Yes. I mean Excel spreadsheets!

That's the dirty little secret of many companies and organizations. They may have terabytes of warehouse data, tons of reports already in production and tons more in the making. Scratch the surface and you will see that they all take the data out of these, put it in an Excel spreadsheet and use it to create the reports they would use.

Bernd Held has written a really good book: Microsoft Excel Functions and Formulas.


Now this is a book worth having in every bookshelf. I have used Excel countless times and have always wondered what all those functions and formulas did while still struggling mightily to get the kinds of things done that I wanted done.

Bernd Held takes a very calm, systematic approach to explaining each of these functions and formulas, providing lots of examples for each one (for different purposes, how to use different variations of the same function, for example). The functions are organized in terms of Logical, Text, Date and Time, Statistical, Mathematical, Financial, Database and Lookup and Reference functions.

Then he provides examples of how to use formulas. This followed by a ton of real examples of people trying to use Excel formulas and functions for various purposes and this provides a real  nice window into how someone could use all these features.

I have seen Excel spreadsheets being used almost like a real powerful computer program, except they have all been built by very experienced Excel power users. Formulas and Functions make Excel a very powerful tool, as many in the business intelligence community can attest to.

No matter what your product is, you are ultimately in the education business. Your customers need to be constantly educated about the many advantages of doing business with you, trained to use your products more effectively, and taught how to make never-ending improvement in their lives.  -- Robert G. Allen

Nari Kannan's blog explores how new approaches to business intelligence can help organizations improve the performance of business processes--whether these processes are creative or operational, internally-focused or customer-facing, intra-departmental or across functions.

Nari Kannan

Nari Kannan started and serves as the CEO of appsparq, a Mobile Applications development company based in Louisville, KY with offices in Singapore and India. Nari has over two decades of experience in computer systems development, translating product and service strategy into meaningful technology solutions, and both people and product development. Prior to this, he has served as both Chief Technology Officer and Vice President- Engineering in six successful startups, two of which he co-founded. He has proven experience in building companies, engineering teams, and software solutions from scratch in the United States and India. Prior to this, Nari started Ajira Technologies, Inc., in Pleasanton, CA, where he served as Chief Executive Officer for more than six years. While at Ajira, Nari was instrumental in developing service process management solutions that modeled, monitored, and analyzed business processes, initially targeting the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Telecom, and Banking verticals in India, and Finance, Insurance, and Healthcare verticals in the United States. Prior to this, he served as VP-Engineering at Ensenda, an ASP for local delivery services. He also served variously as Chief Technology Officer or VP-Engineering at other Bay-Area venture funded startups such as Kadiri and Ensera. He began his career at Digital Equipment Corporation as a Senior Software Engineer. Nari has a long involvement with Customer Support and other customer facing processes. At Digital Equipment Corporation he was involved with their 1800 person customer support center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was tasked with coming up with innovative tools to help customer support people do their jobs better. He holds a U.S patent for a software invention that automatically redirected email requests for customer support to the right group by digesting the contents of the request and guessing at which software or hardware support group is best equipped to handle it. At Ensera, he led a 45 person team in developing an internet based ASP service for handling auto insurance claims, coordinating information flow between end-customers, Insurance companies, Repair shops and Parts suppliers. Ensera was acquired by Mitchell Corporation in San Diego. Nari holds a B.S. degree in Physics from Loyola College, and an M.B.A degree from the University of Madras in Madras, India. He graduated with a M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1985. Contact Information: Nari Kannan. Email: nari@appsparq.com Mobile: 925 353 0197. Website: www.appsparq.com View more .


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