Implementing a Data Warehouse Front-End in Google Docs

Aaron Frazer (Seeking Alpha)
Business & Industry
Location: 120-121
Average rating: ****.
(4.40, 5 ratings)

When Seeking Alpha set up our data warehouse, we had an easy time choosing Vertica as our SQL database backend.

We had a much harder time finding a good front end. We saw many different tools, including traditional BI systems and cloud-based visualization services. But none met our core requirements:

1) Minimal learning curve for all users
2) Extremely easy sharing between users at international locations
3) Extremely easy visualization
4) Automated detection and alerts about data errors
5) Automated alerts about important developments
6) No separate login required
7) Low cost
8) No server maintenance overhead
9) Scalable to any level we ever need
10) Platform-agnostic, able to serve our PC and Mac users
11) Flexible and extensible to handle evolving needs

We spec’ed and developed our own internal system, using Google Docs spreadsheets as the core component. This allows any user with basic spreadsheet skills to create auto-updating data tables, visual dashboards, and alerts for exceptional conditions, and to share anything created with users company-wide. Everything created is fully integrated with our company’s Google Docs system, which is our primary tool for documents and spreadsheets. Error detection, data backups, and many other administrative functions are all handled within the Google Docs platform.

This presentation will explain the architecture, advantages, and limitations of our system. We have found it cheap, easy, and extremely flexible, and hope others agree.

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Aaron Frazer

Seeking Alpha

I am a hands-on data science leader excited about the potential of data mining and analysis tools to make a real difference in business, public health, medical research, and clinical practice. I am interested in working in organizations that leverage these technologies to succeed in business and improve global health.

I am passionate about the technologies I use, but also about the people I work with. I have been privileged to recruit, train and manage an exceptional team, and to be managed by insightful mentors. Collaborating with them is a constant source of excitement and inspiration for me.

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Aaron Frazer
6-11-2014 14:11 CET

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the conference. Let me know if you have questions about my topic.