Using Monarch Professional Is Straightforward

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2011-12-07 Print this article Print


For my tests, I dumped a large SQL database of pseudo-sales information into an ASCII file, using a simple report-generator. I also grabbed some sales content stored in PDF files, as well as some log files from an online store application (a shopping cart). Finally, I included a few other data files related to the sales process that a typical small-sales Website might have.

The idea here was to use Monarch Professional to uncover some sales trends that could be beneficial to a company looking to enhance marketing plans or try something different. My example has a relatively narrow focus, and potential users shouldn't try to pigeonhole Monarch Professional into only one scenario. The product is powerful enough to handle many types of analytics and data extraction.

Ultimately, the goal here was to demonstrate how Monarch Professional can allow a user to view, print, analyze, extract and transform data from existing files. The product works by examining reports and then creating a soft copy of the report that can be visualized on-screen. This basically provides automated intelligence to give reports a data structure, which can then be viewed, manipulated or even exported out to Microsoft Excel or other applications.

In practice, using Monarch Professional is a straightforward and easy-to-learn process. Users create a template, which offers instructions on how to extract the data out of an existing report and then transforms that data into a visual representation. This allows the users to manipulate the data. Once a template is created, it can be stored in a model file, which allows the template to be applied to future reports. There are several options available when building templates, which help users create a workable structure around unformatted data. Ideally, users can associate the header of a report with field names and then target the actual data on the report - transforming the original report into workable data that can be linked to other files or used to look up additional data from an external source, such as a SQL database. External data can be incorporated by using real-time lookups or via importation.

It just depends on how you want to work with your data.

Once a template is applied against a data set, Monarch delivers a visual representation of the data in a tabular format. Users can then apply algorithms using a data-extraction wizard to the newly created data set. The application offers more than 60 functional commands to work with the raw imported data set to create output that makes sense. The function set proves to be very familiar to users that have worked with spreadsheets and Boolean logic commands. In addition, calculations are included in the function set, allowing users to create some very complex scripts that offer algorithmic behavior.

Working with the included wizards and definition tools proves quite easy, and I found myself spending more time thinking about how to work with my data than actually defining filters, traps and calculations. While that may sound like a bad thing, in actuality it is a good sign that Monarch Professional can deal with almost any idea that you can come up with on how to mine and transform data.

For example, I created a data set that filtered out customers by a specific geographical area and then set a date range to see what was purchased. I was able to further engineer my transformation logic to tie those purchases with specific categories of products that were related to a seasonal quarter. From my data set, I was able to determine that people in Vermont buy snow skis a month earlier than those in Massachusetts-information that I could use to build off-season sales incentives to get late-season buyers to purchase skis earlier in the season.

Of course, that is only one narrow example of how Monarch Professional can be used. The product's flexibility creates an almost unlimited number of scenarios. The product's biggest strength comes from the way it helps people to think about data differently and to see the value in archival data, especially historical reports. That is a major accomplishment since many business operators struggle with the cost of storing data and find elements such as compliance-driven archiving a burden. Monarch Professional brings value to that data, and makes it much easier for IT to justify the need to store historical data.

What's more, it offers value directly to IT. The product can be used to formulate conclusions from data logs, participate in the auditing process, check against compliance requirements and so forth.

While Monarch Professional may not have the power of very expensive analytical platforms driven by big data systems, it does bring the ideology of business intelligence and analytics to companies that want a lot of data analytical power for a relatively small investment.

With Monarch Professional, even the smallest data sets can offer additional information and at the very least, it offers an intuitive way to create custom output from canned, closed systems-where data can be gathered from static reports and combined with external resources to create information that is actionable by most any business.

In short, Datawatch Monarch Professional V11 will prove to be the perfect tool for those individuals or workgroups looking to make better decisions using automated analytics without incurring the enormous investment in traditional business intelligence systems.


Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). FrankÔÇÖs duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP TechnologyÔÇÖs Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test CenterÔÇÖs review content into both CRNÔÇÖs print and web properties. He also contributed to NetseminarÔÇÖs, hosted sessions at CMPÔÇÖs Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test CenterÔÇÖs contributions to CMPÔÇÖs Channel Web online presence and CMPÔÇÖs latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMPÔÇÖs Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel GroupÔÇÖs publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel GroupÔÇÖs specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis EnterpriseÔÇÖs tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a presidentÔÇÖs award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including NovellÔÇÖs CNE, MicrosoftÔÇÖs MCP.Frank can be reached at

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