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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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Retail and Commercial Banking

big data for finance

This blog was originally published on Banking View and has been republished with permission.

Customer data analysis has revolutionized retail – but retail banking is lagging behind. When customer understanding is the key to profit, the capacity to gather and interpret data is no longer optional.

When you think about the challenges facing retail and commercial banking, “Ann Taylor” is not, perhaps, the first name that springs to mind. But the arrival of an e-mail from Ann Taylor to my wife made me think about the kind of service banks are offering their …

Auditing on an iPad: The Bell Tolls for Audit Sampling

Redefining the Role of Internal Audit: Avoiding Redundancy

Over the last month, I’ve been looking at the results of surveys conducted by the Big Four accounting firms regarding internal audit. The messages are pretty consistent—audit departments need to pick up their game. They need to provide more proactive advice to stakeholders. The move from policeman to trusted advisor is requiring broader operational skills within the audit department.

But most importantly, auditors need to leverage technology more effectively. As I discussed in the first blog of this series, mobile-enabled audit management products provide an important opportunity to make the process of managing an audit more efficient. …

Financial Reform: Protect Yourself with an Agile Information Architecture

Financial Reform: Protect Yourself with an Agile Information Architecture

Remember the financial meltdown? Experts still can’t decide if we’re on the road to recovery…how long that road may be…or even if there is a road. As a nation, though, we did agree to more oversight over corporate financials. Enter the Dodd-Frank legislation, passed in July 2010.

A recent USA Today article shows that after three years, there’s still much work to be done to not only establish the regulations related to the legislation, but actually implement compliance to the regulation. As of September 3, 2013, only 40% of the required 398 rules had even been finalized. …

How to Get from Data to Decision — Enable Real-Time Analysis

How to Get from Data to Decision -- Enable Real-Time Analysis

In my last two blogs, we discussed two of the three key activities to drive value through analytics—gaining control of your data and delivering the right information to the right people. Now it’s time to explore the third activity—enabling real-time analysis.

Business issues are on-going. Companies must continuously monitor business performance against established targets to identify areas for appropriate action and further analysis. In addition, business users are bombarded on a daily basis with questions that require quick investigation. And many of these questions require in-depth, ad-hoc analysis that goes beyond the scope of a standard report or dashboard.

While …

How to Get from Data to Decision — Gain Control Over Your Data

How to Get from Data to Decision----Gain Control Over Your Data

In part one of the series, I introduced you to three key activities to drive value through analytics. Today, we’re going to explore the first activity—gaining control over your data.

Gain Control Over Your Data

Since the advent of the internet, information resources available to businesses have exploded due to increasingly sophisticated information technology. This creates a terrific opportunity to support business decision-making with a very rich data set, but first, companies must be able to assimilate all relevant information—whether structured or unstructured data, from internal or external sources—and make it available for general use.

Many …

What is Dirty Data Costing You?

But is data quality really that important?

Intrinsically, you know that you need good data. But how far do you need to go? What are the real costs incurred if you DON’T have clean data?

How Bad Can it Be?

The most common data quality question is, “We’re still making money, so how bad can it really be?”

Consider the following scenario. You made the “mistake” of hiring good people. Rock stars, even. They’re smart people, and they want to make sure you keep making money. As processes break and bad reports are generated, they want to fix them. So they do. Herein lies the …

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad…Data?

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad...Data?

Those of you familiar with the children’s story, “The Three Little Pigs,” know that a big bad wolf visits each of the pigs’ houses in anticipation of a savory meal. However, (spoiler alert here) only one little pig’s house ends up being strong enough not to be blown over by the big bad wolf. Well, that’s because that smart little pig knew that having a strong foundation for his house—in this case building it with bricks and mortar —would shield and protect his investment and literally save his skin when he needed it most.

Building a Strong “Data …

Making Holiday Shopping Truly Merry with Mobility and Data Management

Women With Shopping Bags

If you’re like me, you’ll spend many hours this holiday season shopping for gifts, as well as trying to snag bargains on a few items for yourself. The shopping period between Black Friday and the end of the year has traditionally been a boom time for retailers, and the impact of technology on the holiday shopping season is increasingly evident.

Every day, a myriad of advertisements fills my email inbox to inform me of each retailer’s deals. Multiple iPad applications were launched this year to help shoppers find the best bargains by aggregating holiday deals from multiple retailers. “Cyber Monday” …

Need Help Selling Your Information Governance Initiative?

SAP_Infographic_Information Governance_3

If you’re one of the many who isn’t yet tracking metrics and constantly reporting business value achieved through your efforts, you can use the Gartner whitepaper statistic below to help you quantify results.

How many business initiatives did you undertake last year? How many delivered on time, on target, and have increasing adoption? How many do you plan to undertake next year?

Ask your CIO or program management office for these numbers—then have a discussion. If you’re normal, 40 percent of those projects will fail. Investing in the quality of the information feeding those initiatives is an imperative.

New York’s Policing Strategy Highlights Big Data Problems

Lights on Top of Police Car

Is anyone out there a fan of the new television series “Person of Interest?” In that show, a computer genius gathers big data from multiple sources (traffic cameras, crime reports, facial recognition, customs, etc.) to determine who is about to commit a crime *and* stop them from committing it. I’ve been meaning to write about the show for a while, as the data management challenges are rampant—then New York said they were trying to actually do it. Wow.

Short run-down from the newspaper article on Slashdot:

The Domain Awareness System will draw …