Connect with Us

About Us

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.

Archives

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. In most organizations, the work does not stop. …

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 myths that can derail your mobile BI initiatives right from the …

Everything I Know About Key Risk Indicators I Learned in Middle School

Firefighters on the Job

A number of years ago, while living near Houston, Texas and working for a major oil company as an audit director, I joined the local volunteer fire department in my community.

As a new member, I was assigned the task of carrying out a fire inspection at our local middle school. I was part of a team that included more highly-trained fellow volunteers.

Auditing Fire Risks

Being an experienced auditor, I was certain I was up to the task. I knew all about controls and I thought that knowledge would come in handy. My plans were to meet up …

How Fast Is Your Financial Close Process?

moving_colors_represent_speed

An organization produces financial statements for various stakeholders. And that organization’s financial statements are its face to the world. The quality and speed with which these are produced are a reflection of the organization as a whole.

Quality can sometimes be measured by the number of restatements or the audit costs, but it’s not that simple. However, speed isn’t subjective and is easy to measure.

An ever-so-true quote from Peter Drucker is, “What gets measured gets managed.” Likewise, organizations try their best to manage the number of days it takes to produce financial statements, which is something that’s easily …

How Do You Measure the Success of Your Mobile BI Project?

Did you know that on average, only 10% of people in organizations use analytics today? This is quite a low amount and frankly, a bit scary that 90% of people are using gut feel—or experience at best—to make decisions. With mobile business intelligence, we have the opportunity to get instant information to many in the organization with an experience that’s right for all of them.

Mobilizing existing BI investments or building new content tailored for mobile users is now easy and cost-effective, so that BI is becoming more pervasive and essential for day-to-day jobs. If you already went and …

Can Advanced Analytics Help a Telecom Business Reduce Customer Churn?

customer service representative using headset

If you’re a telecommunications (Telecom) service provider, customer churn isn’t new to you. It’s a plague that you’ve been dealing with for decades and it can never be completely brought to zero either. Customer churn costs you money, so the questions become, ”How much churn are you willing to live with and what strategies can you deploy to keep churn manageable?”

Estimates place the current churn for wireless companies at between 10% to 65% annually. That means, if you‘re at the top end, your entire customer base turns over in less than 18 months!

Of course, one company’s churn …

Monitoring Risk and Control Deficiencies – Who’s Responsible?

Who’s responsible for ensuring that corrective actions to remedy issues identified by internal audit are completed?

Management is responsible for the system of internal control as well as for managing risk.Management is responsible for correcting deficiencies either in controls or in the management of risk, whoever identified them.

So why does internal audit, more often than not, monitor completion of these actions? Why should they be the ones that report progress to the audit committee and executive management?

Internal audit certainly has an interest in seeing these actions taken. Not only does it mean that their recommendations for change …

Effective Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Programs – Must They Remain Illusions, or Can They Become Allusions of Success?

bribery

Often, when looking at historical events and time periods, I try and imagine what it would have been like to live then and to have my perspectives influenced by the opportunities and challenges of the day. What would have been my reactions, for example, to experiencing the Prohibition of the 1920s, to having the Bible made available to the masses, to living under fascism, or to seeing the end of slavery?

Not having lived during those times, it can be easy to make allusions (or casual references) to the difficult and challenging periods as if they simply live in …