Last week I loaded up a U-Haul trailer and moved back to my home north of Boston to start my own data and analytics consulting firm, Frontline Analytics. I’d been thinking about this for a long time but only in the past 6-8 months did I begin taking substantive steps toward making it a reality. Overall I enjoyed my experience at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and will miss former TCS and client colleagues from my recent Power BI/SSAS project but I’m also very excited for this new journey.
The new firm will offer research and advisory, solution design, and development services focused on Microsoft Business Intelligence and Power BI tools and services. Details of these services and the company will soon be added to the company site. At a high level, research and advisory will consist of in-depth analysis of MSBI and Power BI tools and services, solution design patterns as well as advisory support to BI/IT organizations. Solution design will involve the logical architecture and design blueprints and documents supporting BI and analytics projects. Development will entail physical implementation, testing, and deployment support.
Performance monitoring, tuning and troubleshooting
MSBI and Power BI Skill Assessments
Guidance on latest tools, design patterns and considerations
Targeted Studies, Test Results, and Proof of Concepts
Logical and physical design of Power BI and SSAS Tabular models
ETL Design and Source-to-Target Mapping
Processing Automation Design
Dashboard and Report Design with Power BI and SSRS
Custom Security and Role-Specific Requirements
Advanced DAX metric and query development
T-SQL Query/Procedure and SSIS Package development
Advanced R Statistics and M (Power Query) development
Powershell and TMSL Processing Scripts
The Practical and the Ideal
With any major career decision like this you have to analyze many factors (‘dimensions’) and to my mind these can generally be aggregated into questions of pragmatism and idealism or more simply ‘what you can do’ and ‘what you want to do’. It’s of course easy to want or desire an unrealistic outcome. Likewise, I’ve known many professionals that almost exclusively focus on the security and stability (the practical) of the current state with little outward concern for ideals. I believe my decision and the new consulting firm represents both practical and ideal factors and that variables on each side of this equation complement one another.
- SQL Server 2016 is a major release, not an incremental update, and this will lead to greater demand for MSBI skills and services
- Power BI is already a leading BI & Analytics platform and its increased adoption and integration with other MSBI and Azure services will lead to demand for this knowledge
- There’s a significant gap between what the latest tools are capable of and how they can best be utilized to current understandings – this is true even within leading MSBI focused partner firms. For example, many MSBI professionals are still relatively new to DAX and SSAS Tabular and many others are only beginning to learn Power BI architecture and solution design and deployment issues.
- The downside risk of my decision is limited as my startup and operating costs are very low. In the event I don’t acquire or maintain clients or projects I don’t have loans or bills or employees (yet) or a family (yet) to be concerned with.
- I studied business in college including an MBA in finance and my father owned a small business so although I’ll surely learn and make a few mistakes I’m comfortable with business concepts.
- I believe that modern, powerful analytical capabilities should be available broadly in organizations and that Power BI and other Azure and MSBI products which uniquely facilitate this empowerment are doing a good thing.
- I’ve studied philosophy informally for over 10 years and owning a firm provides the opportunity to fully embed and apply the ideas I’ve concluded to be true. Details of this are far outside the scope of this blog post but the pursuit of knowledge, an acceptance of objective reality, rational self-interest and individualism are all major components.
- By owning a company my energy can largely be allocated to what I’m passionate about. I can exclusively choose projects/engagements on terms that are rewarding and can simply decline any project I’m not interested in.
- Not that I haven’t asked for and received help from others but, as far back as I can remember, I’ve far more often been asked to give away my time and efforts to others – often with no reward or even a word of appreciation. I’ve also been consistently asked to ‘slow down’ to be more like others, accept the status quo, and generally not think for myself. I’ve almost always went along with it, opting to a choose a better, later time to assert my independence. That time is now.