Techniques for Collecting and Harmonizing External Data

In the past 20 years businesses and society as a whole has shifted dramatically towards a culture of analytics. For the individual, the Internet has made accessible rich and detailed information and data hitherto unavailable. For the business, data warehouses and self-serve reporting have now become staples of the IT portfolio.

While data warehousing has brought businesses tremendous insights, it is inherently limited by the information that the business can produce. On the other hand, external data has traditionally been treated as belonging to a separate domain. Consequently, Market and Competitive intelligence knowledge workers have traditionally treated internal and external data sets as being disjointed and incompatible. Furthermore, because Market & Competitive Intelligence professionals are not always technologists, they often pass up opportunities that the Internet and data warehousing software now presents.

In this presentation, Neil Hepburn discusses proven techniques for collecting external data sets and blending them with internal data warehouses to derive powerful market insights, especially in the areas of: Location Intelligence; Demographic Intelligence; and Competitive Intelligence.

During this presentation you will hear about the following:

  • The ethics of external data collection and competitive intelligence.
  • A brief overview of Location Intelligence and relevant StatCan data sets.
  • Techniques for selecting and evaluating data sets for purchase.
  • Techniques for selecting web sites to harvest.
  • Techniques for aligning internal data sets with externally collected data sets.
  • Ethical and legal techniques for mining ethnic, religious, gender, age, and other demographic insights.


Neil Hepburn is currently employed as a Data Architect at Call Genie Inc. Neil has over seven years of telecom experience, and over 15 years of experience in IS/IT. In addition to his day job, Neil is the GM of marketing for, an Internet radio aggregator that has received favourable reviews in TechCrunch, USA Today, CanadaAM, Le Monde, and WDR Germany. Neil has a patent pending in database search technology, and also does part-time data management consulting under Hepburn Data Inc.



Apr 15 2009


8:30 am - 11:30 am


The Rostie Group, WaterPark Place, 20 Bay Street, 12th Floor, Toronto.

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