Data Talks

Intelligent conversation on business intelligence.

Data Talks is Exago's podcast on all-things business intelligence, analytics, and application software. Each month, we bring one or more guests on the show for a topical discussion on the BI space and software-as-a-service at large.

Ep. 18 - Going to Market (Again)

This month, we’re turning our attention to the crucial role SaaS marketing teams play in the deployment of feature enhancements and major product updates. How do feature launches differ from initial product launches?  How do you reposition your product when it undergoes a revolutionary change? What’s the process for going to market again? Georgiana Laudi and Claire Suellentrop, co-founders of SaaS marketing and growth consultancy Elevate, join us to relay some critical advice on making the most of your feature launch.

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Ep. 17 - Reporting to Investors for SaaS

This month, we are rejoined by CloudKPI co-founder CEO Maeve Kneafsey for a discussion on reporting to investors for SaaS companies. Knowing which metrics to include at which stages of growth can be a challenge, as can getting at the stories behind those metrics. Kneafsey shares her expertise on the subject and explains how machine learning and predictive algorithms are helping SaaS providers surmount these reporting challenges.

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Ep. 16 - The Right Way to Calculate 3 Critical SaaS KPIs

Did you know there are 43 different ways to calculate churn? This month, we get some much-needed guidance from CloudKPI co-founder Maeve Kneafsey on counting customers, measuring churn, and calculating customer acquisition cost (CAC) — it’s not as straightforward as it sounds. Should you count customers by contract, for example, or by logo? Should you keep your eye on both counts, and if so, to what end? We explore these and other nuances around summarizing SaaS performance.

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Ep. 15 - Using BI to Audit Data Quality

When most people think of BI, they think about extracting insights from their data, not about their data. This month, George Firican explains why BI can be a surprisingly effective tool in data quality auditing — particularly for organizations looking to save money by investing in multipurpose software. Firican’s expertise is informed by his work as the University of British Columbia’s Data Governance and Business Intelligence Director as well as his passion project Lights on Data.

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Ep. 14 - Building Dashboard Visualizations for Clients

We talk to data visualization expert Allison Torban about preparing dashboards and their components on clients’ behalf. As a Data Visualization Designer for the American Enterprise Institute and host of the Data Viz Today podcast, Alli has extensive experience clarifying the goals and contexts around her clients’ data viz projects and working with them to build something appropriate and actionable. We learn some tricks of the trade and how they might be applied to the process of building out report and dashboard libraries for SaaS end users.

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Ep. 13 - How to Build a Killer Sales Dashboard

VanillaSoft CMO Darryl Praill and his decades of marketing experience joins us to talk about sales metrics and how to build a high-performing sales dashboard tailored to a spectrum of stakeholders. We also learn what metrics SaaS sales teams should pay particular attention to and what common dashboarding missteps to avoid.

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Ep. 12 - Analytics-First Business Strategy

Booz Allen Hamilton principal data scientist and executive advisor Kirk Borne explains “analytics-first” business strategy (not to be confused with data-first business strategy). We learn what it takes for businesses to begin doing data science and hear about companies who have found success in asking the right questions and establishing a culture of curiosity around analytics.

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Ep. 11 - Demystifying BI Buzzwords

We disambiguate some common BI buzzwords with entrepreneur and c-suite data analyst Lillian Taylor. Together with co-host Travis McGrath, we hack through forests of jargon using a machete of specificity and nerd out over pop culture and emerging tech.

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Ep. 10 - Escaping Spreadsheet Hell

We follow data whisperer Jen Stirrup through the circles (rectangles?) of spreadsheet hell, learning how companies find their way there and what they must to do escape. Protip: put an executive in the lead if you want to make it out at all.

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Ep. 9 - Testing Emerging Technologies

We talk to PricewaterhouseCoopers Technology and Analytics Director Alex Rubin about his unusual work in sourcing, testing, and evaluating emerging technologies. As part of PWC’s tax division, Alex focuses on evaluating process discovery, intelligent automation, and data analysis solutions. We find out what he looks for in each of these technologies and what test cases he uses to push them to their limits.

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Ep. 8 - Bitemporal Data

Christopher Fabri and Exago senior software engineer Richard Mohrmann, both formerly of Merrill Lynch, about bitemporal data modelling—what it is, why it’s such a valuable recordkeeping method, and why we don’t see more of it at the enterprise level.

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Ep. 7 - Data Science and Embedded BI

Senior Software Developer Dave Killough and VP of Product Development and Delivery Tom Gimpel of SofterWare about the data science behind their nonprofit fundraising platform, DonorPerfect. We find out what sorts of experiments they run, what insights they’ve uncovered, and how they use embedded BI to pass that value on to their clients.

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Ep. 6 - The Scalable CEO

We bring on three-time entrepreneur and Exago CEO Mike Brody to discuss management strategy with Les Trachtman, six-time CEO successor and author of "Don't F**k It Up: How Founders and Their Successors Can Avoid the Clichés That Inhibit Growth." Being good at founding software startups doesn’t necessarily make you good at scaling them, but some smart tactical decisions can help you make the transition.

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Ep. 5 - The How and Why of Ad Hoc BI

Bryce Lee, Director of Product Management at Strategic Insurance Software (SIS or Sisware), and Marc Jorrens, Founder and Solutions Architect with Outbound Software, talk about why they chose to invest in embedded ad hoc business intelligence software and what impact that has had on their end users.

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Ep. 4 - Inside B2B Tech Support

Exago Support Manager Jeff Kalpakis talks shop with Zendesk Senior Advocate Manager Brian Harris, exploring such topics as team structure, internal communication, and what to do about those pie-in-the-sky enhancement requests.

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Ep. 3 - Pro Tips From Data Product Managers

Kevin Smith of NextWave BI and Deanna Glinka of Quorum Software share tips and trade war stories from behind the front lines of data product management.

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Ep. 2 - Data Security

John Myers of Enterprise Management Associates and Gary Hollis of FM:Systems discuss data security as it pertains to personal privacy and software as a service (SaaS) applications.

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Ep. 1 - Marketing BI

Jason Kochel of WorkWave and Leo Daiuto of The Revolt Group talk about marketing BI to very different user groups.

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