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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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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. …

Bad Data the Culprit in Weird Holiday Gift List Mystery

Marketing Data

Come holiday season and it’s normal for your promotional mail to increase four folds. But this holiday, I received a few weird offers—a hearing aid, a retirement community brochure, and a marketing call for an elderly alert system. Being in analytics myself, I wanted to understand the reason why these companies are targeting me since I assumed this didn’t result from mass marketing.

I started scanning my last few months’ purchases to understand the trigger and didn’t find anything. Finally, I found a website that listed my marketing data and this is what I found:

And the …

Get Your Hands Dirty, Data Scientists!

Get Your Hands Dirty, Data Scientists!

Have you read Gartner’s research note on Defining and Differentiating the Role of the Data Scientist? You can hardly read anything about enterprise information management (EIM) without bumping into the term “data scientist”. And @DataLovers tweeted just last week that data scientists are the new rock stars.

Maybe…

Here’s my issue. Before you can be a data scientist—conducting experiments with data and unearthing new correlations between weather, what I had for lunch, and what I’ll need at the grocery store for dinner—before any of that, you have to know what data you have.

And …

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 …

The Information Governance Jigsaw Puzzle

The Information Governance Jigsaw Puzzle

My eight-year-old daughter loves to do puzzles; she has since she was a toddler. When she first started doing the cardboard ones from a box, rather than the simple board type, we tried to explain how to put them together (e.g. start with the edge pieces, look at the box’s picture). Like most kids, she had her own ideas about how it should work, and of course, followed none of our instructions. But now she puts them together faster than most adults.

I happened to be doing a puzzle with her last weekend, and I thought about how …

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 …

Can Information Governance Help Me Find My TV?

Can Information Governance Help Me Find My TV?

USA reported an interesting story about a musician who ordered a Westinghouse TV from Amazon (purchased from a third party provider). Some of you probably did that yourself over the holidays. He anxiously waited for the big box to arrive. Instead, a much smaller box appeared on his doorstop. Hmmm. Perhaps, he thought, this is a single component for the TV? Cables or a stand? Reasonable guesses.

Nope. Not a TV at all—instead, it was a black, semiautomatic gun. Imagine his surprise! Thankfully, the Washington, D.C. musician did the right thing and called law enforcement.

However, the …

The Digital Rush! Customers Define a New Era for Cloud Content

In the cloud

The need for information is just as strong today, if not stronger, than it was hundreds of years ago. But the ways we access information, and the forms it exists in, are dramatically different. I like to compare the past two decades’ changing landscape of digital information to the California Gold Rush of the 1800s. As they did during the Gold Rush, droves of people are jumping on the band wagon with the hope of achieving unprecedented riches and their 15 minutes of fame. Today, they hope to do it by creating content to post on social channels (like YouTube …

Governance for Your Cloud Applications

In the Cloud

There are all types of applications available in the cloud today, including ones focused on customers, sourcing and suppliers, HR, business networks, analytics, and full business processing with ERP. So, where do governance and information programs fit within these cloud applications?

Ina Felsheim does a great job of talking about governance, including what it does for you and what happens if you don’t have governance. And if you follow her on Decision Factor or Twitter, you’ll see she talks about governance as having many entry points: information discovery (knowing what you …

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.