My Week At the TDWI Conference (2008) – IV

On from Regular

Fourth post about my week at the TDWI World Conference in 2008 during which I learned lots of stuff that I wish would permeate more into Web Analytics…

Today I was in new territories. I took both sessions on Data Requirements Analysis and Data Profiling for Reengineering, Knowledge Discovery, and Information Quality, both given by David Loshin. We spent the morning discussing (well, not me!) data discovery, data assessment, and data requirements. We went deep and in all details into David’s methodology. It felt like speaking a foreign language at an upper-intermediate level: I cold understand all we talked about, but missed several of the subtleties.

I was very impressed with the level of scrutiny data warehouse and BI people put in their assessment of the data quality. I think we should pay a little more attention about that in Web Analytics. Of course, we are talking here (BI) about a way more complex world. Still, I think we should do a better job at questioning our data. Looking at all that can and should be done with data assessment, I even wonder now how the ASP model is good for us, if we can’t have immediate and full access to the data/logs. I mean, when you stop thinking about it, what validates the accuracy of the results in Google Analytics? Yes, the brand. That’s it! No access to the data; got to trust Google that the numbers are good. Not acceptable to a professional web analyst I think. This means that the Omniture and WebTrends (OnDemand version) of this world should make it very easy to access the logs.

The afternoon session was basically focusing on what can go wrong with data. Wow! a lot, as you can imagine. I can’t go through the details of all that. It would be too long and I haven’t digest everything yet (if I ever will!). I was just extremely happy to be exposed to all that.

In early evening, I listen to a vendor panel featuring SAS, Business Objects, Oracle, MicroStrategy, IBI, and Cognos. Besides the very deep technical stuff their customers in the room asked them, they all agreed that text/verbatim analysis was very hot. Most of them are choosing to acquire vendors in that field instead of developing that capacity.

OK, that’s it for today. Tomorrow is going to be even deeper in the data. I wonder if I will emerge from this week in one piece…

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