If you want to learn how to use your new BI system or the companies BI system - then you most likely want to get the data to your system.
You can download it in several formats (i.e. CSV, TXT, or XLS) and then import into your system. The XLS file format would be the most likely to contain a virus - so if that is an issue you would probably choose to get the data as CSV and convert to something easy to import into your BI tool.
Many of the sites also note that the data is virus free and checked so I have not seen that as an issue.
So Tricia does playing around with sample data typically involved downloading it (ie, bringing it in house) or are we talking about playing around with it on the provider's site (in the cloud, in today's parlance)?
Good question Beth. Many companies have a development or test area where it is playpen area. My larger concern has always been making sure the data is good to use for learning.
I really liked the BIRT data because the data has issues (missing values, complicated joins) that force you to learn how to use the tool to overcome those situations. Real data often has issues so you have to know how to work with the data.
Hi Tricia, I love the idea of using sample data, especially when it's free. But do BI and analytics professionals need to be aware of any risks, especially if you bring the sample data inhouse? Do we have to be concerned about bugs or other security issues, for example?