Analytics / Strategy / Education
I started my career more than 30 years ago installing computer systems at tractor dealerships across North America and teaching the staff at these dealerships how to work with these green-screen newfangled machines. Like most software applications in the '80s, the application in this computer system had a lot of canned reports, but often my clients wanted to access the data inside the system in new ways and thus began my first forays into turning data into information. In those days, though, you had to know programming languages or use basic report writing tools to create information from data. It wasn't what we'd call user friendly.
Much has changed since then, but a common thread throughout my career has been helping people find and use their business data, transforming it into information that helps them make decisions. It was such a common thread that it became my career officially in 1999.
Not only do I create information solutions for a diverse group of clients, but I teach others how to create these solutions for themselves. I do this by teaching in the classroom and through video courses available at Pluralsight.com, speaking at technical conferences worldwide, and writing more than a dozen books on technical topics through Microsoft Press. In 2006, I launched my own consultancy firm, Data Inspirations, to provide these services. Since 2011, I have been honored to be recognized for my contributions to the technical community with the Microsoft MVP award. More recently, in 2017, I reunited with a former mentor to found 425BigData, a company that focuses on analytics on the Azure platform, and am truly excited by all the possibilities that the cloud enables for businesses large and small and to be of service to help make that happen successfully.
As data continues to explode, the variety of tools at hand to explore, analyze, and learn from that data is also evolving. This proliferation of data and tools in addition to the rapidity of technological change can be quite overwhelming. My role is to help IT and business professionals make sense of these technologies, develop an appropriate data analytics strategy for their respective organizations, and implement the right tools at the right time as painlessly as possible.