Business Intelligence Academy Video Series Blog

A closer look at the happenings within Append Media

The Business Intelligence (BI) Academy is a video series we're creating to both share our passion of business intelligence as well as introduce ourselves to our new friends.

We will be releasing a new section (academy) of the series starting on Friday, September 13th and a new video will be released everyday (weekdays) following that.

This project encompasses five main topics, each topic has its own video where you will hear an employee from a unique department relating how they use that component for their everyday life. Each episode will also be combined with a group setting question and answer forum.

The business intelligence components discussed in the video series:

  1. Databases
  2. Architecture & Applications
  3. Tools
  4. Analytical Tools
  5. Methodologies

But why should you care? Applications for example, are the interface between you and the most powerful tool in existence, the computer. With great programming, you can more easily communicate with a foreign language, computer code.

We're going to talk about the problems we face and how we've achieved success, repeatedly.

With our solutions, decision makers harness information for confident forecasting, accurate analytics, and effortless reporting.

Append Media helps cross functional teams communicate more efficiently to positively impact market growth. Each of the following episodes will cover a unique challenge that we have solved for our clients. Stay tuned and enjoy the presentation.

Databases (Dave)

databases

In our first video segment, databases, our Senior Project Coder, Dave Donally, will cover topics ranging from how he discovered databases, to how he would describe databases to a four-year old.

Dave is a full-stack developer, which means that he can work on everything from the front end — what the client will end up seeing (like Salesforce and Microsoft applications), all the way to the back end — the database side (a place rarely seen–hence the name).

In our everyday lives we interact with databases whether we realize it or not. For example, the phone that you carry with you everywhere, holds multiple sources of databases. Call Detail Record (CDR) databases are used by your cellular provider to store the number and call lengths from outgoing and incoming calls. Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) records are also ways that cellular providers link databases to the user (you). Have you ever thought about databases like this? These are only a few direct examples of how we interact with databases in our everyday lives.

To put databases a little more into perspective, something that we can all relate to that just happened — the unofficial (official) end of summer, Labor Day — I am willing to bet databases and data played an integral part in your vacation planning and trip execution. How is that so you may ask? Well, the people that you invited to your barbecue, that came from the contacts/social media databases in your phone. The GPS that got you to your destination over the holiday weekend, that information came from a database — whether it was Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze Maps etc., all databases. The purchases you made over the weekend, yup you guessed it, databases. On this one we will dive a little deeper to give you more of an intricate understanding:

  • The credit/debit card transaction you did created many database records.

    • First, a temporary copy was created in the device used to capture your credit card details.

      • An interchange network received the request to access your credit card information.
      • The interchange network routed the request to the appropriate payment processor.
      • The payment processor took over from there:

        • Responded to the request to access your credit card information.
        • Accessed your credit card information and created a copy of the requested transaction.
        • Ran your requested transaction through a fraud screening algorithm.
        • Approved or denied the requested transaction, storing such details as the merchant name, merchant terminal number, interchange network, your account details, the credit fraud screening score, etc.
        • If the payment processor approved the transaction then your account was debited or credited appropriately.
        • Finally, the payment processor transmits a message to the interchange network regarding the approval or rejection of the transaction.
      • The interchange network lets the merchant know the transaction disposition.
      • If the transaction was approved, the merchant's point of sale system creates a record of the purchase, which may in turn kick off a cascade of product restocking activity, which goes into a supply chain and may cause order data to be exchanged electronically, packages to be shipped, etc.
  • So on and so forth.

And so now you have a glimpse at what Dave Donally and the rest of our development team might be working on on a day to day basis.

If that explanation was a little too intense for you, tune into the video where Dave gets asked, “how would you describe database to a four year old”, — his explanation is quite creative.

The next section of this blog will talk a little bit about the second part of our video series: architecture and applications, by our CEO and founder Chirs Eaton.

Architecture & Applications (Chris)

applications

In this video segment, our founder Chris Eaton will be discussing architecture and applications as they relate to business intelligence (BI). Chris is also a full-stack developer and has been in the technology industry for over 25 years.

When asked: How would you describe the birth of BI software and how does Append Media approach that process? Chris responds:

“If you have started a business in this era, you are going to have business intelligence as a factor of your business and you are going to start out relatively imatuture, and that’s ‘fear of technology’ and …”

Do you agree with what he is saying so far? Interested in the rest of his response? Well, Chris says in a later segment that:

“Applications provide a form of validation for that incoming data from users that help clean up the data and provide you with a good solid set of data that is clean and high quality that you know you can rely on for reporting purposes.”

Essentially, architecture and applications are an integral part of BI, wouldn’t you be interested in seeing how it could benefit your business?

We can’t reveal spoilers but we can promise that the rest of the conversation that we have with Chris is very insightful and we encourage you to watch his complete section to get a better understanding of how architecture and applications play a critical role for your business.

The video section that follows Chris’ is the tools section done by our very enthusiastic and charismatic resident marketer. You will want to stay tuned for that!

Tools (Brandon)

tools

In this section, Brandon Huber, our expert marketing and sales coordinator will be speaking about tools.

The word ‘tool’ in general has broad meaning, commonly thought of as an instrument to help one complete a task (hammer, saw, ladder, etc.). The way Brandon describes tools for his marketing and sales needs really is not too different. A tool for Brandon is basically anything that helps empower him to get his job done. For example, going back to our Labor Day reference, tools that you used to coordinate or plan your barbecue/vacation varied from social media applications (Facebook, Instagram), to text messaging and phone calls, to various other applications on your phone such as the calendar app and google maps.

Something that Brandon talks about in his video section is the variability of tools to help your business succeed. “If my version of the slingshot shoots farther than your version, I win.” Do you agree with that?

Whether you are in shipping and receiving, retail, commercial, industrial, etc., your business will most likely have some sort of forecasting needs. Thinking of it this way, you do forecasting in your everyday life as well. Perhaps you are a grill master or barbecuing aficionado so you looked at the hottest barbecuing trends of the season over labor day/summer? That right there is forecasting, you forecasted and are forecasting constantly in your personal and professional life.

In the end, tools are a way to make your life easier and help get your end goal accomplished. Customization of tools is an added benefit that may enable the user to gain even more of a competitive advantage versus the status quo. That is why our passion at Append Media is supporting your purpose with tools that create harmony of business and technology.

Watch Brandon’s video section to learn how, by building BI tools, we help empower your business for sustained growth.

Analytical Tools (Daniel)

analytical tools

Our newest marketing intern, Daniel Cordova, speaks a little in this video section about what motivates him, why he got into marketing, and analytical tools.

Arguably one of the fastest growing fields other than the tech industry, marketing—well, what exactly is marketing and why would someone want to pursue that as a profession? How does marketing coincide with a tech company such as Append Media? These questions and more are what Daniel talks about in his video section.

Perhaps, one of the biggest aspects of marketing are analytical/reporting tools. Just within the Google suite, the amount of options and variability that you have with Google analytics, Google tag manager, Google ads, etc., is so immense that they have ‘academies’ and ‘seminars’ for those individual subjects. A marketing department within a tech company has an advantage versus other marketing departments in other companies because the technological aspect of marketing is huge, as Daniel discusses in his video.

That is why Daniel loves marketing, because there are so many reporting analytical tool options and endless possibilities on how to achieve the company's end goal.

In our final installment of videos for the BI Academy, Julian Schlottman discusses methodologies and the multimedia digital design concepts that he uses with Append Media.

Methodologies (Julian)

methodologies

In this section, our resident graphics designer Julian Schlottman, talks about methodologies and how his role as a graphic designer ties into the workings of Append Media.

Well, what exactly are methodologies? Methodologies are a set of instructions that produce a consistent and measurable result. Like a recipe for your favorite baked ziti that grandma has always made, it’s always just as amazing. Grandma probably has a very strict process and reliable ingredients that she depends on for every family gathering. Employees that have to deliver concise results operate in the same manner. Now, consider a team of employees or even several teams and the amount of work they have to do to complete a process like deliver a new product line within the quarter. Imagine the confusion if there were significant variations in the process—you can understand why standardization is so important to the quality of the end result.

At Append Media some of the core methodologies that we use are intended to fit the attitudes, and standards of our clients. When things get complicated, being able to coordinate is key. That is why we use Kanban boards as a tool to organize and keep track of our day to day functions in order to meet deadlines and client timeframes. The culture—our culture, constantly revolves around ‘when is enough enough?’ By constantly challenging one another and incorporating new methodologies in our office, Append Media is able to stay on the cutting edge of bridging the gap between the data and the user.

In this video section, Julian also talks about one of the hottest trends in the industry right now, augmented reality. Do you see that playing a critical role in the way organizations do business in the future?

Part of our methodology is also making sure that we are very intentional—our road-tested 3 step process, discovery meeting (to make the plan), we build your dream software, and an SLA backed maintenance support program (which is optional) has been carefully curated to fit the needs of each and everyone of our clients. These are only a few examples of how Append Media is more than capable of helping your business reach its next level of growth.

Julian deeply understands the value of aligning with teams to achieve predictable results. Learn more about how Julian approaches his craft in the video titled, “Methodologies.”

Conclusion

closedown

As you can see, this video series will hit on a variety of subjects and topics ranging from the technological components of databases, to our employees describing complex structures to four-year olds. As an up and coming company, we know that we cannot be ‘all work and no play.’ That is why we hope that this video series gives you an insiders perspective on just how much fun we can have at Append Media while also educating you and getting work done for our clients.

After reading this blog, and watching the video series, I’m sure you would agree that Business Intelligence is more important than we realize. If your team is still contemplating the role BI will play in your company, call 800-375-3361 for a complimentary discovery meeting. With a 15-minute phone conversation, we could do a technical feasibility that may open up a whole new world for you.