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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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BI Self Service: Out of the Shadow and into the Limelight

flashlight brightens the shadows

A key issue that arises in nearly every business intelligence (BI) strategy assessment workshop I’ve conducted is “Shadow BI,” or decentralized and mostly unguided user development. Shadow BI is usually viewed by central BI teams as a negative, and for good cause—it’s uncontrolled development that often creates more data silos and data chaos, report proliferation, performance issues, and other ills.

But Shadow BI exists for a reason—users aren’t getting their needs met. Rather than fight Shadow BI, central IT organizations need to embrace, enable, and integrate it into their overall self-service BI strategy, and then leverages it for innovation …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …

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 …

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 …

Agile Visualization: Ignore the Buzz at Your Own Peril

agile visualizations image-iPad-

The idea of self-service business intelligence (BI) being at the core of the BI promise (to transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes) is now back at the top of the BI industry headlines. Should you ignore the buzz and just go on with your business? You shouldn’t.

First, let’s get the semantics out of the way – self service is an approach to BI that Read the rest of this entry

Mobile BI Design Framework: Response Time

DFactor 4.24

When you design for business intelligence (BI) or mobile BI, the response time (sometimes also referred to as load time ) will always come into question. The concept of fast loading pages is nothing new. Plenty of material exists on the web that covers everything from designing web sites to developing apps.

Every so often I am presented with this question: What is an acceptable response time for a mobile BI asset? And my answer—“it depends”— generally causes confusion. This is often because the person asking the question is looking for …