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.


10 Mobile BI Strategy Questions: Design

woman organizes sticky notes on board

When the term design is used in mobile business intelligence (BI), it often refers to the user interface (UI). However, when I consider the question of design in developing a mobile BI strategy, I go beyond what a report or dashboard looks like. As I wrote in a previous post, when designing a mobile BI solution we need to consider all facets of user interactions and take a holistic approach in dealing with all aspects of the user experience. Here are three areas of design to consider …

Data to Decision: Big Insights vs. Big Data

Data to Decision: Big Insights vs. Big Data

Everyone is talking about “Big Data,” but what they really want are “Big Insights.” To realize significant insights requires an effective analytic strategy.

Many companies believe they have an analytic strategy when what they actually have is an architecture, which is important but certainly not all you need. An analytic strategy requires continuous strategic and tactical business alignment, defining and updating your analytic strategy in view of your business goals and objectives, and analyzing and updating your current analytic roles, analytic skills, business processes and technologies. It also requires governance— data and development— as well as an effective data strategy.

Lessons in Business Intelligence: Be Careful What You Wish For


What’s the purpose of a business intelligence (BI) dashboard? It’s not just to look sexy. The primary purpose of a dashboard is to convey information. A secondary purpose is to inspire a behavioral change based on the information that’s being conveyed. Nobody wants to be “red” on a dashboard reviewed by executives, so they’ll change their behavior in order to get into the “green” area.

But humans are a creative species. What happens if their behavior changes in an unanticipated way?

Unintended Consequences

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the cobra effect, …

Seven Rules for Dashboard Success


While not every corporate executive understands what business intelligence truly is, every executive wants dashboards because they’re sexy and beautiful. They transform boring data into an attractive visualization. But how many executives know exactly what a dashboard is for and what it should be? Very few. It’s just like those hot trendy spring fashions that everyone wants to have but don’t exactly know why. To make things more complicated, every Jane, Jack, and Harry thinks they know how to build a dashboard or what it should look like—or perhaps they’re simply afraid to ask.

Below are some of the dashboarding …

Dash for a Good Cause: How Business Intelligence Transformed My Daughter’s Fundraiser


Have you ever thought about using business intelligence (BI) to rally around a common goal? Sometimes a bit of out-of-the-box thinking can make a difference.

My daughter’s school has several fund-raisers every year, but the biggest is the “Ladies Basket Raffle.” Volunteers spend several months gathering donations and putting together hundreds of baskets filled with prizes. Attendees then purchase and use auction tickets to try and win the basket(s) of their choice. Two years ago, the school used a laptop, LCD projector, and an Excel spreadsheet to put the winning numbers up on the side wall of the gym. Apparently, …

Turbocharge Your Career with Intelligent Business Intelligence


It’s a fact. Putting intelligence back into business intelligence (BI) can boost your career – forever. Sure, I’m biased, but I’ve seen it – and it wowed me. A few clicks to a portal for the latest and greatest insights; a quick, informative check of my marketing dashboard; and I’m a believer. It’s so much better than fussing with spreadsheet after spreadsheet after spreadsheet.

A well-known marketing executive, who has been CMO for a few top software companies in Silicon Valley, catapulted her career when she introduced a BI solution to the marketing folks. It wasn’t the technology, necessarily, that …

It’s the Wild West of Data Out There — But Is Unstructured Data Worth Lassoing?


Twitter feeds and Facebook status updates—some of us see and interact with them every day. If you’re in business, do you ever find yourself wanting to take those thousands of free-form, unstructured little nuggets of sentiment and opinions about your event, competition, or product launch (think about the tweet storm that goes on when Apple releases a product) and aggregate, analyze, and use them to influence your next move? Would harnessing all that information make your business better?

Lassoing Unstructured Data: The Cool Factor

I don’t know. But …

Your Fact-Based Mindset


“My basic idea is that the world has changed so much, what people need isn’t more data but a new mindset.” Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling is an exceptional individual. He’s the Swedish medical doctor who cofounded Gapminder. He can make statistics dance and break apart your preconceived ideas with hard facts and great passion. If you’re not familiar with his unique presentation style, catch his TED presentation about life expectancy and fertility rate …