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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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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 …

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, …

Real-Time Closing and Disclosing

tain station clock representing close disclose concept

As we continue to examine how technology is helping CFOs successfully deliver greater value, I wanted to extend last week’s discussion of real-time consolidation to also include real-time closing and disclosing of financial information. (See The Drive for Real-Time Consolidations.) These can provide real benefits to all organizations from small to gigantic and everyone in between.

Technology has expanded the work day. Many business are 24/7/365 (hours per days/ days per week/ working every day of the year). The business is like a ship on the ocean, constantly serving. …

Are You Seeing the Signals? How Finance Analytics and KPIs Can Help CFOs Guide the Way

dashboard displaying MPG as KPI

Have you ever taken a close look at your dashboard when the car computer displays key performance indicators (KPIs)? No? Yes, but not really? I am confident in saying that 99.9% of you will answer with a “not really” type of response, as there are many misleading, so-called KPIs that don’t provide guidance to make the right decision. I can’t understand why customers/drivers of cars have not yet complained about being misled. And I’m surprised they haven’t sued manufacturers for astronomical amounts of money in countries like the U.S. where this is a practice that can get downright bizarre …

The Drive for Real-Time Consolidations

roman numeral clock represents real time

Our exploration of how technology has expanded the roles of CFOs has covered a lot of territory. Whenever I am facing tremendous change, I remember Stephen Covey’s advice “The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value.”[i] So it is also with the roles of CFOs.

When CFOs focus on key objectives, they can leverage process innovation to achieve amazing results. While technology enables us to reach out, it also improves the day-to-day work at the core of financial operations. A prime example is the …

5 Myths That Can Derail Your Mobile BI Initiative

mobile BI team sitting around a table

Just starting a mobile business intelligence (BI) initiative doesn’t guarantee its success. Success requires a disciplined approach that considers all facets of the mobile user experience.

Numerous businesses succeed in implementing a strong mobile BI strategy that enables them to drive growth and profitability, while others struggle or stumble with mobile BI. I keep running into several myths that make the planning and execution of mobile BI projects more confusing and complex than they need to be.

Watch out for these five mobile BI …