Top blogs for data analysis types

There is a vast yet ignored population out there. No, not the Blue States. I’m talking about people who want to know more, make better decisions, and understand their customers better -- if only they could make sense of their data. These are the analysts in mid-sized companies without big data warehousing platforms to lean on, the small business owners who want to be savvier about their customers’ needs, and the executives who are frustrated by how few of their questions can be answered.

Resources for this audience are a little thin. While there are lots of sites and blogs for the "enterprise business intelligence" community and "web analytics", our audience is underserved. I spent a piece of my Sunday (new boy Owen in my lap) making a list of blogs that may be of use. I split them into three categories: 1) general business analytics blogs/sites; 2) Data presentation and visualization; 3) Excel resources.

General business analytics

  • Open Source Analytics: Nice personal style and we share some of the same axes to grind.
  • Intelligence Economy: This blog offers some nice, in-depth descriptions of companies that are using analytics to their advantage. Also provides summaries of BI reports by companies like Forrester.
  • Steve Krause Blog: Written by the VP of Analytic Product, CNET Channel. An interesting read covering a wide range of current topics, including commentary on the use and misuse of data.
  • Information on Demand Blogs: A new addition that covers a range of information topics such from technology trends to data services
  • Hired Brains knowledge repository: Here is a great group of articles and white papers about business analytics by Neil Raden.
  • Jim Novo’s Drilling Down: Despite a recent disagreement with Jim, I still think he generally gets what it takes to help businesses make sense of data. His expansive tagline says it all: "Turning Customer Data into Profits with a Spreadsheet, A Guide to Maximizing Customer Marketing ROI." What is particularly valuable: He isn’t afraid to share his content freely. This isn’t a blog, but he does have a free newsletter.
  • Sort’s Feed: Here’s one I just found -- I like the cut of their jib. "Gain analytical perspective and clear insight from their marketing data."
  • BI Toolbox: "Articles about Business Intelligence Resources and How-To’s for the professionals"
  • Net Intelligence A blog for professionals looking for the next level of competitive advantage. Wide-ranging posts from myths about information to intelligent decision making.
  • Business Intelligence Network, David Loshin The BI network has a whole stable of bloggers--I found David’s blog the most relevant to the everyday analyst.

Data presentation and visualizatoin

  • Presentation Zen: How you present your data can be as important as the analysis. We’ve written about the skill and art of presentation building. In this blog, Garr Reynolds offers tips, tricks, and examples for making great presentations.
  • Information Aesthetics weblog: A daily dose of information visualization to spark your creativity.
  • Stephen Few: "Thoughts about how visual representations of data and visual interaction techniques can be used in practical ways to analyze and communicate business information"
  • Dash Tracker: "Keeping a watchful eye on the growing field of desktop graphical dashboard applications". Dashboards are an overemphasized piece of a business’ analytics picture--particularly if you’re in a fast changing environment. Still, this offers a good industry overview, with particular focus on software solutions for building dashboards.
  • The Dashboard Spy: "A collection of enterprise dashboard screenshots. This reference work is proudly offered as a source book to everyone involved in business dashboard design and implementation."

Excel resources

  • Process Trends: Kelly O’Day has put together a bunch of tips and tools to help with presenting and working in Excel.
  • Andrew’s Excel Tips: Andrew demonstrates his exceptional Excel skills in this blog. He’s available for Excel consulting (at a reasonable rate) if you need help putting together a particularly challenging Excel tool.
  • Jon Peltier, Excel MVP: Not a blog, but a nice resource for Excel tips and tricks, with a focus on charting
  • Tips and Tricks A huge archive of (mostly) Excel tips.
  • The JLD Excel Blog "This blog is aimed to help Excel users who have not the time or the patience to learn Excel in depth, and to share my experience with others users. You can add your comments in Spanish and in Hebrew too. See the limks in the sidebar."
  • Microsoft Excel 12: Specific discussion of what’s new in Excel 12. Did you know that the new Excel will allow 1 million rows?

Other suggestions?