Tallan Blog

Tallan’s Experts Share Their Knowledge on Technology, Trends and Solutions to Business Challenges

Category Archive for "Data & Analytics"

Support is Ending! SQL and Windows 2008

Microsoft recently announced the end of support (EOS) for SQL and Windows 2008.   What does that mean for you?  Maybe nothing, but if your company is currently running either version you need to consider your options. There are two important dates to make note of – July 9th and January 14th. SQL Server 2008 support ends on July 9, 2019 and Windows Server 2008 support ends January 14, 2020.  Option 1 is to migrate to Azure.  When you’re ready to, you can modernize your applications.  Option 2 is to continue to run on 2008 until support ends and then decide.  We can help to weigh your options.
Are you ready to get started? We can help!

Why Insurers Should be Helping Their Customers Complain More

Here’s an interesting fact from a Forbes article published earlier this year, regarding end-consumers in the insurance industry:
“91% of non-complainers just leave”1
This tells us that there are two types of customers in the insurance world: complainers, and non-complainers.  Among non-complainers, more than nine out of ten actively choose to take their business to another company.  The insurer they leave behind must deal with the following consequences:

Loss of future revenue streams
Negative word-of-mouth
Lack of insight into why the customer chose to leave in the first place

The significance these metrics have on bottom line revenue can’t be understated.  These are customers that were already paying for a service – that had already gone through a decision-making process, chosen one insurer, and were so dismayed with some aspect of their service that they chose to begin this entire search process again.
But there’s a simple…

Machine Learning Getting Started Guide

It’s taken a year for me to feel confident enough to even chime in, on a high level, about the products we’ve created, and the platforms we utilize.  I can dabble in conversation about chatbots and Microsoft’s Cognitive Services.  I understand now, more or less, what ‘the cloud’ is and its benefits.  But, this is why teamwork makes the dream work, you know.  My colleagues can build you a solution to any business challenge. Anything.  You’ve got a problem, they’ll solve it.
But, now it’s my turn. I am going to express why what they can do matters.
You’ve all heard of Machine Learning.  We partnered with RetailWire to produce a Webinar on ML for Retail back in April and that’s where my understanding really began to take shape.  In a nutshell, Machine Learning can be set-up and do in minutes and…

AlwaysOn Backup and Other Tips

Introduction
SQL Server’s AlwaysOn technology (available since SQL Server 2012) provides high-availability and disaster-recovery database functionality which largely supplants mirroring and log-shipping – in fact, mirroring is now deprecated.  Exactly what functionality is available and how robust it is, varies by release (2012+), edition (Standard versus Enterprise) and the physical infrastructure devoted to it.  AlwaysOn is fairly easy to set up (though it requires cooperation from both Windows Server and networking admins) and, relative to the required effort, provides exceptional durability for SQL Server databases.  AlwaysOn is not a complete OOTB durability solution and has significant gaps – e.g. it does not maintain SQL Server logins and roles synchronized across multiple servers – but it is an excellent start for the needs it caters to.
This post assumes the reader has at least a basic familiarity with SQL Server backups, as well…

Row-Level Security in Power BI: Part 1 – Roles and Users

Securing Reports
Let’s say the Finance Department of a clothing retailer has some great reports that let them see all the sales across the United States; so great, in fact, that they want to share them with all Regional Managers so they can communicate about the hot spots in their region. The problem is the Regional Managers aren’t permitted to see data outside their region, and giving them access to these reports would allow them to filter to any region they wanted. We could create separate Datasets and reports filtered to the region for the manager that is given access to them, but that would be time-consuming, and a nightmare to maintain. Luckily, Power BI provides the ability to implement Row-Level Security (RLS).
So, what is RLS? Simply put, it controls a user’s access to each individual row of the Dataset. In…

Introducing the ‘Calendar by Tallan’ Power BI Custom Visualization

The Microsoft Office Store contains a growing library of custom Power BI visualizations developed by Microsoft and the community. While Power BI offers built-in visualizations, custom visuals can be downloaded for free and are used to enhance the way you display your data within reports and dashboards. Tallan has now taken its Power BI expertise to the next level by contributing our very own custom visual. Introducing the ‘Calendar by Tallan’ Power BI Custom Visual!

When associating dates with data, the first real-world visual that comes to mind is a standard 12-month calendar. While other custom calendar visuals exist in the Office store, the offerings did not portray the dates in this familiar manner or display the range of data desired. Tallan’s Calendar visual enables you to view the aggregation of data across a range of dates in a standard calendar…

Splitting 835 Healthcare Claim Payment

The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) consists of a file in a specific format that represents data exchanged in a transaction from supply chain to healthcare. EDI 835 Claim Payment transaction provides payments information in reference to claims in EDI 837 Healthcare Claim format. The details include transactions such as charges, deductible, copay, payers, payee, etc. The information is stored a hierarchical structure. The standard of EDI format is well defined and the complexity can be very overwhelming. Additionally, we do not want this high degree of detail slowing our processing time.
One of the problems that enterprise systems face with EDI is file size. A single EDI 835 may contain multiple claim records and the quantity of claims in a single file can make it very difficult to process the file. Systems are often bogged down when dealing with a very…

X12 EDI Databases for HIPAA Transactions

The X12 HIPAA transaction set is used across the healthcare industry to transmit claim, enrollment and payment information. Given the importance and ubiquity of these EDI files, you might assume that translating them from ANSI to a relational database format would be well-supported with a range of options.
In practice, a task as common as parsing a claim or encounter and storing it in a database can quickly escalate into a significant problem.
One solution we’ve seen involves archiving a snapshot of the EDI file using filestream storage. This can satisfy some retention requirements, but provides little in terms of fine-grained tracking or analytic capabilities.
A more complete approach is to parse the X12 file into its discrete elements and store them in a relational database. The ideal solution captures the full extent of the EDI transactions while also applying a reasonable leveling of flattening to keep in the number of table joins under control.
The…

Here’s How Microsoft Executives are Using Power BI

The Customer Data and Analytics (CDnA) team at Microsoft enables strategic data insights that shape the entire organization, from high-level leadership policies to small product decisions. At its core, CDnA creates and monitors indicators, known as “Power Metrics,” for some of the key divisions and businesses in Microsoft. CDnA delivers Power BI dashboards to several teams, including the Windows and Devices Group (WDG), Office, Bing, Cortana and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT). The SLT leverages the Power BI dashboards to monitor progress on strategic initiatives at the company.
Both CDnA and the Power BI product have mutually benefited from a close relationship since the Power BI public preview in 2015. In fact, the early and ongoing input from this internal Microsoft team and its users has helped make Power BI the “enterprise ready”, robust, and feature-rich platform it…

Sports Performance Platform Puts Data into Play – and Action – for Athletes and Teams

Seattle Reign players, coaches and staff celebrate a win over the Portland Thorns.
Sports ignite peoples’ passion like nothing else. Standout athletes become legends through their performance on the field. But what sets them apart often comes down to decisions made off the field, such as diet, mental and physical preparation and the frequency or intensity of practice. The difference between a win or a loss can be decided by an extra five minutes of wind sprints, levels of hydration or getting to bed 30 minutes earlier the night before.
At Microsoft, they believe sports provide a tremendous opportunity to use technology to transform how individual athletes and teams push the limits and gain the edge they’re looking for in the most challenging of circumstances. Imagine making clutch decisions that are based on insight, rather than gut. And what if coaches could…

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