Monthly Archives: May 2009

Graduation

This weekend marks the end of a journey that started in early 2006 with a challenge to myself to go back to grad school and get my masters in business. On Saturday I graduate. 

I can’t lie, it feels damn good. In some respects this process was to get me out of my normal element and try to learn more about myself. It might sound odd or sadistic, but by putting yourself through a series of challenges, you end up figuring out who you are. You see your strengths and weaknesses, you realize how to work with others to accomplish great things. People ask me all the time, “Was it worth it?” And I definitely would say yes for the simple reason that I think I understand myself better than I did when I started. Sure I got a more refined business education and so forth, but the stress of meeting deadlines, working with other people and their differences of opinion, and somehow keeping the rest of my life in order helps me see things differently. In fact, I think things have slowed down for me and I can see big pictures more than I could before. I look at things through a different lense based on this experience. All good things.

So now what? To be brutally honest I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I never have. I tell people all the time that I’ve had no plan to get where I’m at, so why start now? In any case, based on this experience I think I’ve put myself in a good position to take on whatever life brings and look forward to it. Now back to only having one job everyday.

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Backing out bad data in Omniture

Hello blog…I’ve missed you.  How are you these days? I see you’ve accumulated quite a lot of dust since last we spoke.

Oh right. 

Anywho…so my post today is actually a plea to blogistan. And to some extent Omniture. Since I know people occassionally read this, here is my dilema. I have some bad transactions in my data that I need removed. For reasons beyond my comprehension our website had $800,000 Thinkpads for sale and somehow someone bought one or two. Truth be told they were just pricing errors, but somehow those transactions went through and are now sitting in my data. Honestly, if we’d just sell 3 or 4 of these $800k computers we’d be having a fabulous quarter, so maybe we should figure out how to do more of them. But in reality this is just bad data. Unfortunately, bad data is not easy at all to remove from SiteCatalyst. 

If you ask Omniture, they’ll tell you to create a couple of new metrics and import via Data Sources so that you’d have a metric that says something like ‘Cancelled Revenue’, “Cancelled Units”, “Cancelled Orders”, etc and then create a calculated metric to net them out. Unfortunately, that would cause a ton of work to redo about a billion reports and cause a ton of user education to not use the metric called ‘revenue’ anymore. Shouldn’t we be able to just remove or alter the offending records if needed? I think so. Maybe I am crazy.

So, here is where I need your help. I know someone, somewhere has created a Data Source that has taken out bad records via using negative numbers. I’d love to hear how you’ve done it. I created a Data Source rule that had the real metrics like revenue, orders, units and then loaded in the bad order id and a negative number but nothing happened. I know the reason that this method is frowned upon as it has possibilites to corrupt the database and open up a wormhole in the fabric of the universe (saw Star Trek yesterday) but I don’t care, I want the bad data out. It looks ugly. I’m a big boy, I’ll take the risk. I just want to figure out how to do it.

The other route I’d love to see taken is for Omniture to create a way to do this via a GUI in SiteCatalyst. Almost treat Purchase IDs and data associated with it as a classification to some extent that can be altered. I know that the reason this doesn’t exist (or at least I think I do) is because all the data is pre-processed into OLAP cubes for speed of delivery and redoing that stuff would cause reprocessing and slow the whole cycle down. But there has got to be a way to do this. Because right now the only true solution is getting Omniture engineering to back that out for you and that isn’t remotely cheap, especially if it keeps happening all over the world.

To repeat myself…if you’ve cracked the code on how to do this, please post….and I’ll owe you a beer (or 10) at next years Summit.  Lets see the Wisdom of Crowds in action!