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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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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 …

It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Governance

predictive word

I’ve been interacting with a few customers over the last few months, and our core discussions have focused on data governance with respect to the new age of data discovery and predictive modeling. One of the repeated discussions we had was about the gap between the governed and ungoverned, and many of them see that it’s widening. Several of the executives worried about the mainly known perils of ungoverned data discovery, predictive modeling, and ultimately, the applied decisions.

These discussions inspired me to write this blog post. The intent is not to boil the ocean regarding the parts of …

Retail Innovation – A Game of Checkers

game changer retail

The balance of power within the retail ecosystem has shifted many times over the years and will continue to do so. As the game of checkers goes, players methodically attempt to outmaneuver and manipulate towards the outcome of the game.

Within the retail ecosystem, it was the suppliers and vendors that dictated the rules of the game for retail early on. How products would be made available, and when and how they would be promoted, was decided by the needs of the retailer. In the mid-1960s, along came the “Big Box” retailers such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Target, and Kmart. …

Fraud Attacks Come From Unexpected Places – Can Predictive Analytics Help?

fraud and predictive

Recently, I had a chance to watch one of those old, French cult movies of the 60s from the recently deceased director Georges Lautner (an institution in France) entitled “Ne nous fâchons pas” (Let’s not get angry).

In one scene, the main male character seeks to engage in business with a rich (and wary) heiress. To gain her confidence, he tells her: “People always tend to see gangsters as stocky, dark-haired guys. It’s the silliest prejudice!” To which she answers, “And I have another one for you—they tend to think that a tall, blond woman is inevitably daft… Missed!”

5 Ideas To Successfully Brand Your Mobile BI Initiative

mobile BI success team

When I bring up branding as part of mobile business intelligence (BI) discussions, I’m often met with that “deer caught in the headlights” look. I realize that branding is typically discussed in the context of marketing, but I also see it playing an important part in the design and execution of a mobile BI strategy. As with any technology project, in mobile BI we need to effectively manage communication of the mobile BI vision and strategy.

I consider brand management an important function of any mobile BI initiative because it helps us successfully position …

Upping Your Analytics IQ

empower graphic

As the data explosion and technology disruptions continue and analytics become pervasive in every job, many organizations are reviewing analytic skills and aptitudes in new hires. They‘re also looking into how to help existing employees upgrade their analytic skills.

New titles are abounding. At the executive level we have Chief Analytics Officers and Chief Data Scientists. In the middle, traditional Business Analyst and KPI Analyst roles continue to exist, but are complemented by more informal, and playful, titles like “Data Diva” or “Data Savant.”

Not everyone needs to be a data scientist, but every employee should be analytically curious …

The Critical Role of Marketing Executives in the Risk Management Process

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From my experience, marketing executives are often involved in the risk management process quite late – usually to manage the communication aspect of a crisis. Therefore, they’re only involved when the risk has transformed into a critical incident and the company is in a defensive mode.

I strongly believe that marketing executives can bring a lot to the table for a proactive risk management approach. This would notably help in monitoring the reputational risk and protecting the brand from adverse events.

As we all know, communication channels have exponentially expanded in the last few years to reach volumes that …

Use Big Data, Mobile, and Cloud Together To Optimize Planning and Performance – Part Two

How to Get from Data to Decision -- Deliver the Right Information to the Right People

Let’s recap some of what we have learned in the previous blogs. First, planning departments face huge challenges driven by an increasing complex and unpredictable world. Uncertainty reigns supreme, yet the need for effective planning has never been higher.This is one of many paradoxes being faced.

Another is the need for planning efficiency while at the same time a need to embed planning in the lines of business to be as close to front line action as possible. Fortunately, new technologies are supplying some solutions to these challenges—cloud computing, Big Data, in-memory, and mobility.

The Explosion of Cloud Computing

Analytics and the Internal Audit Report

analyzing data magnifying glass

Internal auditors have been using analytics (historically called ‘data mining’ or ‘computer-assisted audit techniques’ (CAATS)) to find potential issues for decades.

When I was with Coopers & Lybrand, we used analytics for a variety of audit purposes, including reperforming calculations, sampling transactions for manual auditing, and identifying unusual transactions for further inspection.

When I ran internal audit at Tosco and Solectron, we used analytics to detect millions of dollars of potential duplicate payments; at Solectron, we used analytics and a Benford’s Law routine to identify potential fraud in Suzhou, China; and at Business Objects analytics helped us search out …

Real-Time Finance: Helping Strong CFOs Transform Their Businesses

game changer retail

Life happens in real time. Buying a new TV? You probably research your purchase, read reviews, and compare prices online. Get store opening times, directions, and parking. Even check your account balance. All the information you need is at your fingertips.

You’re constantly making decisions based on the best available data at any given moment. So why can’t you do the same for your business?

Particularly in times of market volatility, when organizations are bombarded by risks and opportunities, finance functions need a precise view of the past, immediate insight into the present, and a clear perspective on the …