For the Ross family, data and analytics are a family business, and what first connected the family to data is their shared love of sports.
As the manager for his high school football team, Doug Ross collected and gleaned insights from the team’s data. Doug's sons, Michael and Cameron Ross, have always enjoyed following baseball and football statistics, and Cameron uses Oracle Analytics Cloud to perform data analysis for his fantasy sports league.
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So, it was no surprise when three Ross family members parlayed their passion for data and analytics into their careers. An early programmer, Doug worked in Oracle’s business intelligence consulting organization for fifteen years before launching his own company. He then joined Performance Architects, an Oracle partner, as a Manager/Architect where he provides Oracle Analytics Cloud consulting for the University of Pittsburgh. Cameron also works for Performance Architects as a senior consultant, while Michael works as a Senior Manager at the Hackett Group, where he helps companies design and implement analytical reporting solutions.
Using Oracle Analytics, the three Ross family members spend much of their days helping clients find value from their data.
“I love walking into a client’s office, seeing their tables, and then turning those tables into visualizations that really mean something,” said Cameron.
Recently, Doug and Cameron, along with Performance Architects’ marketing associate Autumn Morrice and VP of Sales, Marketing, and Alliances Jeff Wade decided to showcase their Oracle Analytics expertise by participating in the ODTUG Oracle Analytics Storytelling Challenge. An independent, not-for-profit, global organization, ODTUG helps members stay on the cutting-edge of Oracle’s technology landscape.
“I like anything that involves a competition, and this one was in our wheelhouse,” said Doug. “Plus, it was a great opportunity for Performance Architects to demonstrate our capabilities in data visualization. Oracle Analytics Cloud made our work easy.”
For the challenge, all participants were provided identical sales data – including customers, sales, and products – which were stored in an Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse, and each participating group was required to present the data in the most impactful way. Performance Architects created a hypothetical traditional brick and mortar store, tapping into Oracle Analytics Cloud features to tell a story about how sales were changing from in store to online over time and how various departments show higher or lower sales – using visualizations, heat maps, and machine learning.
As a first step, the Performance Architects team applied the custom maps visualization, creating a map that resembled a store’s physical layout and populating each department in the store with sales data that showed which departments were generating the most sales.
The team then applied visualizations, including waterfalls, a calendar, and heat maps. To showcase the power of machine learning, the team used a sampling of data to develop a model that predicted what customers might buy based on patterns in the data regarding previous purchases.
With the Oracle Analytics Cloud data flows functionality, the team homed in on data from the United States because Performance Architects is based in Boston. The data flows functionality made it possible for the team to drag and drop, filter and process the data, and apply machine learning models without writing a line of code.
The last piece of the puzzle was applying a custom map feature to the new data flow. In just minutes, the team was able to visually present data on non-standard graphics. In fact, the team found that integrating the map into the analytics was a much faster process than drawing the map in their external graphics program.
“By showing the breadth of the Oracle Analytics Cloud capabilities, different visualizations, and how everything flowed together, we were able to take home the winning prize. Our project not only looked good, but it told a good story,” said Doug.
For the Ross family, Oracle Analytics has been a mainstay because of three key features that set it apart from the rest-governed analytics, self-service and augmented analytics.
“With governed analytics, you have a centralized repository of common data elements and common calculations, which you know are correct. With self-service, you can bring in your own data, create your own data flows, and get the clean data sets you want without having to work with the IT organization to make that happen. And with augmented analytics, you can enhance your data sets in new ways,” said Doug. “These are all big differentiators.”