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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.


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 …

Drill for Real-Time Insight

oil rig in a lagoon

An oil well generates about 1 terabyte (TB) of production data per day. Each productive well generates the equivalent of the full-text data of Wikipedia every week, suggests an IDC 2013 Research Infographic. Exploration and production (E&P) companies are often at a loss for how to deal with such an unstoppable flood of data.

An E&P owner-operator continuously strives to increase the value of each asset by controlling costs, improving efficiency, and increasing production. As part of its extraction techniques they frequently use “choke modeling.” Choke modeling is the complex system that extracts production assets (and non-assets) out of …

Why Speed Matters to GRC

people moving quickly in a station

The Art of Speed: 2009

About five years ago, I was sitting beside a pool in Palm Springs while on a winter vacation when my phone rang. It was one of my credit card providers calling to tell me my credit card had been stolen. That’s right, they were telling me – not asking me.

They explained that over the previous four days, my card had been used at a college bookstore and a college pub, and several other places I had not ever frequented, even though I routinely traveled around the world on business. The expenditures were modest, probably …

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

internet of things concept shows connected words

The “internet of things“ (IoT) seems to be everywhere. Day after day, new articles, blogs, tweets, and event alerts pop up as having only one topic—IoT (or Industry 4.0 as many call it, too). The topic seems to be inevitable, not just for IT, but for the whole business of industries as well.

Reading many of those countless articles lately, I often find two things bothering.

Number One: The Statement that IoT Is the Brand New, Never-Seen-Before, Cool Kid on the Block

But is that really true? Are automated, flexible production techniques and sensor-driven computing actually that spectacularly new? …

Risk Management Project – Where Do I Start?

businesswoman drinks coffee and talks to coworker

Whenever I talk to customers that decide to embark on a risk management project, and wherever they are in the world, one question always kick starts the conversation: So, where do I start?

As a matter of fact, when writing this post, I was kicking myself: Why didn’t I start my blog postings with this topic first? I should have indeed, and I do apologize that it comes so late. It seems that we all want to see the results of a project and invite people to the house warming party before we even lay its foundations…

For all risk …

6 Key Traits of Successful Mobile BI Teams

team gathers around an iPad on a conference table

If mobile BI solutions are going to enable organizations to drive growth and profitability, technology or technical know how alone won’t be the only ingredient for success. It starts with leadership and our team’s talent and passion will be the determining factor.

There’s no simple blueprint for success given the resource constraints and competing priorities that mobile BI teams, like all IT teams, face. However, if you study successful mobile BI teams and how they make it happen, you‘ll quickly discover that they share many of the same traits. Here are six key ones.

1. They Seek Business Value …