»Me, myself and BI«

Bissantz ponders

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Galileo, the world’s first information designer (Art and data analysis, Part II)

In the days of modern, high-resolution photography, it’s sometimes hard to believe that Galileo’s tools were limited to pen and paper. His observations of the moon are sketched with the precision of a scientist and the artistic prowess of a Michelangelo. His drawings are the data material for his analysis. It’s the artistic prowess of the reproduction – and not the mere ornamentation – that distinguishes first-class information graphics.

Friday, July 6th, 2007

Using data as graphic elements: stem and leaf displays

John W. Tukey’s semi-graphic visualizations transform the actual data into graphic elements. Like most brilliant ideas, however, this one isn’t widely used.

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Statistical thinking vs. statistical rituals, Part II

What constitutes statistical thinking? As we take another look at our margarine marketing example, we find that the key is just plain commonsense.

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Statistical thinking vs. statistical rituals, Part I

Means are often used as the sole representation to characterize distributions for a collective of data. Yet, these types of shortsighted visualization are highly dangerous. How can we present data so that it reveals more than it conceals – and still makes sense to managers?

Friday, June 15th, 2007

Comparisons, Part II – Avoiding visual pathos

We often encounter cartographic visualizations as a way to explain spatial comparisons. Although they are great eye-catchers, there are rather difficult to use (well). Learn when (and if!) it makes sense to use these chart types to visualize business data.

Friday, May 18th, 2007

The scale is your message

Chopping the axes of a graph is one of the most common forms of data manipulation. Stretching or squishing the scale is equally taboo. However, different scales might have their validity in certain situations.

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Interview with Professor Dr. Rolf Hichert

A vehement advocate for good information visualization, Professor Dr. Rolf Hichert has successfully spent the past few years preaching his doctrine at controller conventions and seminars throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In this German interview he explains that bad report design plagues companies of all sizes and industries. In addition to pointing out the cardinal faux pas of reporting, Hichert takes a critical look at consultancies and other influential industries.

Friday, March 30th, 2007

The eight commandments of good visualization

Thou shall honor these eight simple visualization principles of Edward Tufte – or have a darn good reason not to! They apply for the first map carved in stone over 6000 years ago just as they do for contemporary Web sites. Sometimes the best thing that information design can do is simply not to destroy good content.

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Ivy League Rock and Roll – A day with Edward Tufte

Edward Tufte, the world’s most renowned visualization expert, holds legendary information design seminars up to 40 times a year. What an experience!

Friday, February 9th, 2007

Why 2.0? Welcome to Business Intelligence 7.0!

As most people in relationships know all too well (“You’re just like your mother!“), your selection of opening words will make or break any discussion. This holds true in the IT industry as well. Only there, you need to talk about something new or at least make it sound like it is. The proper terminology is equally important. But at all cost, avoid German translation. Not everybody fails as poorly as I did: Google cites 1,310,000 German pages for Data Mining and 846 for Datenmustererkennung (data pattern recognition), a term I tried to coin as repeatedly as unsuccessfully. More …


Death to business charts!
Why business charts must die

Graphic tables
Lay back and control

Industrial reporting
Production-like efficiency for management reporting

Can we drive companies
like we do cars?

Against dashboards, speedometers and traffic lights in Controlling

Business Intelligence 2.0
modest, serious, sincere

Rediscovering slowness
Sparklines make us John Franklins in management information.

Good reporting is boring
Looking for excitement?
Try a night on the town instead.

Are sports fans smarter
than managers?

Management reports need to become more dense and dashboards more rare

The myth of data mining
Why men don't buy beer and diapers at the same time.

Numerical blindness?
I wouldn't see a doctor, if I were you.