Big Data and Analytics

Data analytics, also called "business intelligence", simply means leveraging the data your organization already possesses in order to make informed decisions and perhaps discover hidden opportunities. I find that many companies have data locked away in their information systems, especially 3rd-party offerings such as ERP systems and e-commerce websites, but they don't have the know-how to get that data out of those systems, to produce reports, charts, or statistics. That's where I can help.

I have been working with databases almost as long as I've been developing software, and my academic background has exposed me to lots of ways to use data, ranging from interactive graphical visualization, to sophisticated statistics, and even machine learning (aka "artificial intelligence"). Although statistics can be valuable, I often find that an intuitive dashboard of data graphics can be the easiest way to see the big picture and identify meaningful patterns in the data.

Some fun facts about my career in data analytics:

  • I taught an MBA-level Statistics course online at UMaine in 2018.
  • I used the statistical programming language R extensively in my Ph.D. dissertation, and Python in my later work, particularly to generate numerous data graphics from code.
  • I have experience with data visualization in each of these tools: R, RStudio, Python (matplotlib), Jupyter notebooks, Microsoft Excel (of course!), Tableau Desktop, jQuery Sparklines, and D3.js
  • I'm the author of an e-book on data engineering and I have another one on databases in the works.
  • I taught a "Big Data Management" course on Hadoop, MapReduce, and related tools to the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India.
  • Between 2016 and 2019 I developed a "kitchen sink" of custom analytics applications for Maine manufacturer Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. (Read about it here.)

What I can offer:

Business Intelligence Dashboards

Reports with charts and graphs are great, but if you have to pay an expensive expert every time you want to produce one, they aren't worth the price. That's why the world of data analysis is moving toward self-service business intelligence tools such as dashboards in Tableau (the leading platform) and similar products (such as Microsoft Power BI, Qlikview, Looker, etc.). Once I set up a dashboard for you in one of these tools, it will be continually refreshed with the latest data from your computer systems, and in most cases you'll be able to dynamically filter it, change parameters like the time scale, and drill down into greater layers of detail.

Do you know who your twenty best customers are? Which products are most likely to be returned for refunds? Which formerly-regular customers haven't ordered in a while? Which days of the week your marketing e-mails are most likely to be read? Get in touch with me today -- we'll take a look at what data might already be available in your company's databases, and get you started with your first analytical dashboards.

Data Science

Admittedly, it's a buzzword... data science refers to using Ph.D. skills to analyze business data beyond the surface statistics of totals and averages. Some of those tools are like the statistics I taught in the UMaine MBA program -- they can test hypotheses about business causes and business effects, to help you forecast the future and choose between strategies. Some of the other tools include machine learning (so-called "artificial intelligence"), leading to innovations like Amazon's famous "if you liked this product, you might like these others...". Clever companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook have built whole businesses around techniques like these, and now they're available to every business.

As a software developer who understands what drives your business, and with a few tricks up my sleeve in statistics, data graphics, and machine learning, who knows what opportunities we might be able to discover for you?

Database & Data Warehouse Design

Databases are one of my special areas of expertise; I have been using them for over 20 years, have taught about them in universities, and have written an e-book about data engineering. If you are designing a new database, or more likely, are trying to repair or redesign an existing one, you can count on me as an experienced advisor.

One of the steps you can take toward more sophisticated data analytics is to design a data warehouse; essentially, a centralized database that pulls data from all of your other systems and restructures it for easy analysis with business intelligence tools (see Business Intelligence Dashboards, above). I can design a data warehouse from scratch, along with the ETL routines to populate it with data (that is, extract/transform/load), and get you on your way to the next level of analytical maturity.

Big Data

Big Data is all about processing large batches of data, whole, and it usually requires clusters of computers running in parallel (usually in "the cloud"). There are whole ecosystems of tools designed to make this easy to manage, the most famous being Hadoop, MapReduce, and Spark. If you have large databases or logs, particularly if it's non-quantitative data like unformatted text, one of these tools might enable you to mine them for valuable insights.

Call me at 207-307-1457 if you think you might have some "Big Data", and I'll tell you what solutions I think might apply to your goals.

Rate Sheet

Rates are negotiable based on circumstances. To learn more about the discounts I can offer, call 207-307-1457.

Tableau dashboard based on existing database queries $1800
Analytics query development with visual dashboard(s) call
Database modeling and data warehouse design call
ETL development call
Statistical analysis of business data call
Machine learning / artificial intelligence call
Big data (Hadoop/Spark/NoSQL) development call
Standard data analytics consulting rate $600/day
or $100/hour
Initial consultation Free!