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The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.


Daimler Trucks North America Hits the Road to the Cloud

clouds in clear blue sky over Germany

Daimler Trucks North America is the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Chances are you have overtaken one of their trucks (Freightliner, Western Star) or buses (Thomas Built Buses) on a stretch of highway somewhere. Daimler Trucks North America is packed with software innovations—virtual technician, fleet software, on-board tablet, and so on—but its innovation drive just doesn’t end up in its vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America is also reinventing the way it does business after the initial sale by using the cloud and business analytics.

Daimler Trucks North America’s relationship with …

How Predictive Analytics Is Your Crystal Ball for Future Business Success

hand holds a crystal ball

Halloween is always a magical time in my home. As of this writing, I have a 2-year-old witch riding her broomstick hexing anyone who comes along her way. My 12-year-old is trying to look cool enough as a mad scientist so he can take his two sisters around the neighborhood. Last, but definitely not least, there’s my 10-year-old daughter who always stretches my creativity and (nonexistent) capabilities as a seamstress.

This year, my preteen daughter decided to be a fortune-teller – complete with a crystal ball. While I was working on the finishing touches on her costume, she asked …

Why You Shouldn’t Target the “Most Likely to Respond” Prospects

dart board with arrows

A few months ago, I was talking with a friend who happens to be one of the top executives in a large EMEA bank. He asked me a very intriguing question, “Why do you think my bank isn’t targeting the prospects who are the most likely to respond to my marketing campaign?” Despite scratching my head for few minutes, I didn’t come back with any reasonable answer.

After a while, he explained to me that in banking, the people who are the most likely to respond to promotions are either 1) planning to practice fraud or 2) …

The Effective Audit Engagement

mobile BI team sitting around a table

So far, I have discussed “What Should Auditors Audit?”and “The Risks to Include in the Audit Plan.

Now I want to talk about how we should staff the audit engagement and how technology can help us. We already know the risks that will be addressed in the engagement and whether it will be an assurance or an advisory (or consulting) project.

So, Who Needs to Be on the Project and for How Long?

I like my audits …

Why Turkeys Can’t Wait for Thanksgiving: The Difference Between Business Intelligence and Predictive


As we know, Thanksgiving is certainly not the best moment to be a turkey. So why do they, in fact, look forward to ? The answer is simple – they look at the past day and see how wonderful the past few days and weeks have been. And they assume the future will be the same.

Indeed, days after days their owners are taking better and better care of them, ensuring that they’re very well fed and that they grow in the best possible conditions. And each day that the owners take a little better care of them, they really …

Get Off That IT Treadmill with a Product Management Practice

legs of people walking on treadmill

One of the consistent themes I hear from IT is that a line of business of department bought its own tool, and then handed it off to IT to support. Also, many times when we ask IT what features their internal customers want next, they really don’t know until the critical request comes to them.

Now, I get that IT resources are constrained and no one has a bunch of free time. But there is a very solid, best-practice method to get your IT department off of this critical request treadmill – Read the rest of this entry

The Risks to Include in the Audit Plan

close up of someone using an iPad for auditing

In my last post, I discussed “What Should Auditors Audit?” My answer was that internal audit should address the risks that matter to the organization, its board, and executive management team:

“All risks that could affect the achievement of corporate goals, including unstated objectives such as compliance and safety, are prioritized and the top ones considered for inclusion in the audit plan.”

I also explained that, “When internal auditors provide insight and even foresight on the risks that matter, their work matters to the board and top …

Part Two: Technology Imperative for Financial Planning and Analysis

Business men working on laptop

In part one of this series of blogs I made the argument that most companies are way behind the “technology wave” and struggling with persistent, fundamental issues that are hard to fix. In this blog I’ll argue that there are two additional factors at work, namely:

IT has a full plate which can actually hinder progress and adoption of new solutions Business needs to be a co-pilot in driving the introduction of technology

These need to be addressed in order to make the transition to a …

Risk Management Is Only for Big Companies

mountain climber on snowy peak

Now there’s a sentence I have heard many, many times! I believe this assumption comes from the association that risk management equals management of compliance risks, which applies mostly to regulated companies or public companies.

As we’ve already discussed many times in these blogs, this is a misconception – compliance risks only compose one risk category that deserves to be managed. It certainly doesn’t define a complete risk management scope.

All companies manage risks since they’re inherent to any production or service delivery activity. For instance, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) might manage:

Treasury risks: suppliers and employees aren’t …

Part Two: How Is the Internet of Things Already Changing Manufacturers´ Business?

inside of a manufacturing plant pipes

In my last blog, I discussed how ubiquitous the media references to the internet of things (IoT) have become—and how frustrating I find most of them. The truth is, the IoT isn’t a new idea as many articles seem to imply. And the IoT is already having a specific, real-world impact in many companies, though one would never know it from the constant vague references to the promise of new, “breakthrough, disruptive new business models.”

I’d like to share some of these IoT breakthrough models that I‘ve seen in the manufacturing …