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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.

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Is Your House in Order?

blueprint for enterprise archi

I recently took on the daunting task of a major kitchen renovation and believe it or not, that got me thinking about enterprise architecture (EA). Really! A major renovation requires a keen and accurate understanding of how things work together today, where all the components reside (appliances, water supply, electrical), how efficiently things work together, and how proposed changes to the infrastructure will impact the current configuration (aka: architecture).

To me, and many of my customers, that’s a common approach to the project of creating an integrated enterprise architecture.

But how you go about constructing your EA will make …

Anticipating the Customer Experience for the Connected Enterprise

hands holding up letters spell out customer

Today’s customer is highly informed and interacts unconditionally with brands across multiple touch points demanding a superior customer experience. With increasing customer expectations and organizational silos within a retail enterprise, there’s a greater need to create a connected enterprise to anticipate and deliver an unparalleled customer experience.

We constantly hear about how the adoption of analytics has been slow. However, to instill a more dynamic enterprise to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations, retailers are now embracing the need to move to the furthest extreme of the BI maturity model—predictive analytics.

Anticipate the Action

Retailers have the advantage …

Simple Predictive Finance—Everything Is Profit and Loss

dollar amounts in columns on paper currency

As I mentioned in my last blog, Simple Predictive Finance: Why the Dream Is a Reality, the finance function is transforming with advances in technology and predictive tools. There are several key points that I believe can help people better understand the context of predictive finance. I covered the first two (simplicity and the path to governed data discovery) last week. Today, we’ll cover a couple more.

The Mission Is Margin Improvements

Everything in any given organization is profit and loss. From the top floor to the show floor, people will have to understand their contribution to …

5 More Reasons Why More Data Doesn’t Guarantee Better Decisions

group studies data at table

In my last blog, I discussed 5 reasons why more data doesn’t guarantee better decisions. I had picked what I considered my top five from a long list of reasons. I must have hit a nerve with our readers because the response has been tremendous. So today I’ve incorporated some of that feedback into this list of five more reasons why, with all this data, better decisions aren’t guaranteed.

1. When It Comes to Data, Quality Comes Before Quantity

We seem to take quality for granted. As we continue to evolve as a society with rapid and …

Transform Your Future with Predictive Analytics

predictive analytics on digital tablet

We’ve all experienced some form of predictive analytics in our day-to-day lives – each time we check the seven-day weather forecast or price airline tickets for a future trip. And while we’ve become accustomed to this technology in our daily lives, how many businesses take advantage of this power to anticipate the future?

According to a best-practices report by The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI), “Predictive Analytics for Business Advantage,” not many: Only about 20% of organizations surveyed report having some predictive analytics activity already under way.

That’s not to say companies are completely in the dark. According to a …

Simple Predictive Finance: Why the Dream Is a Reality

future target with arrows in bulls eye

For a couple decades, there was a quote about prediction that everyone seemed to jump on, “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” This not very provocative sentence from the first half of the 20th century (by Physics Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr) was popular for good reason. How could you possibly be able to predict anything except death and taxes? (Another famous quote, but I won’t go there…)

Where I live, people may not even listen to the weather forecast, since it doesn’t have a great impact if you’re expecting 95 or 97 degrees in Central Texas …

GRC Is NOT My Life

woman uses mobile GRC app

My Fictional Day Begins…. By Carla

After I drag myself out of bed and finish my morning ablutions, I sit down with coffee and cereal to read the latest Federal Register followed by Compliance Today and a few industry publications. I make notes as I go of any regulation changes relevant to my job. You see, the company is extremely interested in avoiding compliance risk—and to be honest, it makes my work life miserable.

Oh, pardon me, I should introduce myself. I am Carla Franco, a working manager of a purchasing team within a large global enterprise. I can’t …

5 Reasons Why More Data Doesn’t Guarantee Better Decisions

business intelligence team studies paper and laptop

Data alone may not be enough to guarantee better decisions, but better decisions almost always start with data. Just capturing and storing data will not get us far. Disconnected and fragmented data can’t paint a complete picture because different segments linger in a detached state or in isolated buckets. Left disintegrated, they lack the necessary transformations to be turned into cohesive and compatible building blocks.

With all this data, why is it that we continue to make bad business decisions? I was asked this question the most in the business intelligence course I taught for a doctorate program.

CSPs Can Stay Competitive by Using Data-Driven Insights to Improve Customer Engagement

big data word cloud above a laptop

“Out with the old and in with the new.” Is that the mantra of this new millennium that’s fueled with disruptive changes in business models and enabled by technology? You know what I mean— Skype, Whatsapp, FaceTalk, Facebook (communications), Uber, BlaBlaCar (Transportation), Netflix, iTunes, Napster (entertainment), Amazon (retail), Paypal, and Bitcoin (currency) are all examples.

What are the traditional businesses doing in the wake of such disruption? One thing they can do is hang on to their customer base and provide outstanding customer service, which ensures the customer won’t turn to an alternative. To make this a reality, every …

3 Reasons Why Exceptional User Support Is Key to Success with Mobile

smiling woman talks on mobile phone

As anyone who works with technology knows, the best solutions—even when designed and implemented perfectly—are prone to face challenges at some point. Mobile technology, by its nature, is bound to fail or be misunderstood by some of its users (like any other technology). And when this happens, the longevity of a mobile solution relies on a solid support infrastructure that is consistent and predictable.

First and foremost, we need to bring a mobile mindset when developing and executing our support strategy. Regardless of the size or the scope of the mobile engagement, a mobile mindset should apply …