Business Intelligence using Satellites

You just have to love big investment firms that can invest millions to return billions.   Read this article about how hedge funds and wall street firms are using satellites to view car populations in Wal-Mart parking lots!

As part of a growing trend among hedge funds and Wall Street firms, Cold War-style satellite surveillance is being used to gather market-moving information.  The surveillance pictures are often provided by private- sector companies like DigitalGlobe in Colorado and GeoEye in Virginia, which build and launch satellites and take pictures for US government intelligence agency clients and private-sector satellite analysis firms.  

That means there are two links in the chain before the satellite data gets to Wall Street—a satellite firm takes the pictures and sells them to an analysis firm, which scrutinizes the images and sells the aggregated data to hedge funds and Wall Street analysts.

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World Cup Social Media Analytics – How We Did It #worldcup #analytics @extendedresults @microsoft

A good colleague of mine over at Microsoft, Bruno Aziza, gave me a call on a Sunday night to discuss Extended Results partnering with Microsoft on the development of a World Cup Social Media Analytics web page.   Bruno chose us because we have technologies to capture the social conversation going on along with the advanced visualizations we do in Microsoft SilverLight.  I told Bruno, where do we sign up!  Check out for the demo.

We started the project about 7 days ago with Microsoft using our Social Media Server solution to provide some insight into World Cup 2010.   Within just a couple days using our existing Social Media Server solution, we were able to capture over 800,000+ World Cup mentions in just 7 days!  Amazing…

There are many social media software solutions on the market basically all competing for your marketing dollars.   We took a completely different approach to the space in that we believe all this information needs to be captured and stored within a companies enterprise database and tied to other ERP solutions (CRM, Financial, Marketing, Competitive, etc).   Having the information stored within a SQL database, we can create laser sharp focused results out of the social media data, whenever we want, and tie it to business performance objectives.  Powerful…

The below diagrams will give you some insight into the process of capturing World Cup social mentions and providing the insight on our web site using our and Microsoft’s technologies.



  • We started by identifying all the World Cup teams and Players that we wanted to track and entered those keywords into our Social Media Server admin tool.   Our server tool then continuously pulls from the major social media web sites and a predetermined set of blogs and matches those keywords and pulls a rich subset of that conversation and posts it to our SQL database.



  • Once we started capturing all the data, we started writing queries to summarize the results into summary tables.  The reason we did this was because we are adding about 100,000+ new World Cup mentions a day.  We actually used Microsoft Access for a bunch of ad hoc querying because it was so easy to use.  You didn’t have to be a SQL developer to write complex scripts, a business user could use MS Access.
  • Once we got a summary tables completed, we wrote a data web service using Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 (C#).   We created a set of web service methods that our SilverLight client could call to get its data.



  • Now the best part.   For the past couple of years, we have been using Microsoft SilverLight for many of our business intelligence projects because we can provide a deeper insights with graphical representations of the data.   We used Microsoft Expressions Blend to built out our graphical objects and then passed the XAML to the C#/SilverLight developers (Matt and Steve) and watched them crank out the specific report views below.  Took them all of one day to build it out including the web data service!  They are the Best!


We have discovered all kinds of interesting social media facts around World Cup 2010 and will have some later blog posts on them.   Just think of what you could do bringing technologies like these into your company.  They can provide very valuable insights in what your customers are saying about your company and enhance business performance.

You can find out more about our Social Media Analytics solution at

What Does Your Retail Business Intelligence Portal Look Like? #bi #sql #sharepoint #visio

We are in the process of creating a Retail Business Intelligence Experience for a customer as you can see from below.  We take a very HIGH END approach to the experience and graphics when dealing with business intelligence data.

Below you will see a 3D layout of a store footprint.   Then you can drill into areas on the floor to see products and sales for those products.   You can also click on the layout and get a video walkthrough of the aisles.   Pretty amazing experience.

We are using SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010, SilverLight 4, and SQL Server 2008 R2 in the snapshot below.

Social Media Analytics for the Enterprise using Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and SilverLight

We have been doing a lot of work on pulling social media data into the enterprise and using it against our traditional data warehouses to find some new insights.  It can be quite interesting to pull twitter traffic on a product and tying that to retail sales and seeing the correlation between the two.

The technologies we have used are SQL Server 2008 R2, SharePoint 2010 and SilverLight.   The solution we used to pull data from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and the top BLOG sites is a solution we developed so it could work in the enterprise and supported by I.T.  It is a Windows Service that polls a list of active keywords on a timed basis and stores it in SQL Server.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at  This is a actual system we can deploy in your enterprise today!

Let’s Innovate on Business Intelligence Again!

I don’t know about you, but all the so called “DASHBOARD” solutions I have been seeing the last several years are really not well designed.    What happened to the creative minded people?

We have been very busy working on a new retail business intelligence portal leveraging a lot of different Microsoft business intelligence tools.  SharePoint 2010, Excel Services, SilverLight, PowerPivot and SQL Server 2008 R2.   Check out some of the work below.   This is a great business intelligence solution my team built in just 4 weeks!

This screen you see SharePoint 2010 with custom branding.   You see PerformancePoint and Excel Services reporting on the same page.  The circles at the bottle are SilverLight infographics we developed specifically for the project.

This screen is a mash up of Excel Services and PerformancePoint

SilverLight and Business Intelligence Example

We have been working with the Microsoft Online Business for quite some time on a SilverLight BI client.  They are all about interactive experiences over there and we created a killer business intelligence application for them.  Check out the screen shot below.  This has to be one of the coolest and interactive business intelligence applications of 2010.


  • SilverLight 3.0
  • C#
  • Web Services
  • SQL Server
  • SQL Analysis Services