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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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Daimler Trucks North America Hits the Road to the Cloud

clouds in clear blue sky over Germany

Daimler Trucks North America is the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Chances are you have overtaken one of their trucks (Freightliner, Western Star) or buses (Thomas Built Buses) on a stretch of highway somewhere. Daimler Trucks North America is packed with software innovations—virtual technician, fleet software, on-board tablet, and so on—but its innovation drive just doesn’t end up in its vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America is also reinventing the way it does business after the initial sale by using the cloud and business analytics.

Daimler Trucks North America’s relationship with …

Why Turkeys Can’t Wait for Thanksgiving: The Difference Between Business Intelligence and Predictive

turkey_graph_happy

As we know, Thanksgiving is certainly not the best moment to be a turkey. So why do they, in fact, look forward to ? The answer is simple – they look at the past day and see how wonderful the past few days and weeks have been. And they assume the future will be the same.

Indeed, days after days their owners are taking better and better care of them, ensuring that they’re very well fed and that they grow in the best possible conditions. And each day that the owners take a little better care of them, they really …

5 Sure Ways to Improve Your Mobile BI Solutions

workers sit around a conference table

Although more and more organizations implement mobile business intelligence (BI) solutions, they can be intimidating to some businesses, particularly those who have challenges with their existing mobile BI solutions. The good news is that making mobile BI solutions a success doesn’t have to be agonizing.

There are several investments that can tremendously benefit any mobile BI engagement. These investments typically don’t require significant additional resources. And almost any team, regardless of their size or budget, can leverage them with a little discipline and a willingness to innovate.

Almost all mobile BI engagements use adoption as one of the key …

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 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 …

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. …

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 …