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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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Ken Rudin of Facebook, Discusses His Approach to Analytics and Team Building

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During a recent Inside Analysis webinar, Wayne Eckerson, founder of the BI Leadership Forum, and Ken Rudin, director of analytics at Facebook, discussed how companies should approach analytics. I found three of their points particularly interesting.

Focus on impact not insights. Analytics organizations and analysts need to promote the importance of measuring the right business components to achieve meaningful results. It’s more effective to track results tied to your business strategy than to make observations about the data. Focus on the questions you want answered not the answers. In order to get the right …

Why Facebook Beats Google+ as a Model for Enterprise Collaboration

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In October of last year, when Google+ was still only a few months old, a member of the nascent social network posted a long rant that received lots of media attention. He meant to share his post only with coworkers, but it went public instead – causing more than a little embarrassment for his company. Who was this person? A Google engineer, of all people.

Beyond the post’s content, the incident was curious in a broader way. It highlighted how contextual ambiguity can introduce risk into the everyday decisions that we make – even decisions as simple …

Social Media Analytics — A Brand Value Goldmine

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The growth of social communities like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn gives us a preview of how the Netizens (citizens on the Internet) of tomorrow will communicate with each other. CTIA survey results released in Dec 2009, showed Twitter had hit 50 million tweets per day during 2009; however that traffic grew substantially per Twitter’s blog, which showed 177 million tweets were sent on March 11, 2011. There are also almost 700 million users on Facebook.

All of these people are willing to live their lives and communicate on a very public media. So, how can businesses take advantage …

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

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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 the “cool and interesting” factor is way …

Data-Driven Decision Making — Isn’t It Time?

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I asked in the first Decision Factor blog post why companies hadn’t adopted business analytics en masse yet given the concept of business intelligence has been around for what seems like forever. I read a New York Times article recently (There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Information) that not only endorsed the benefit of business analytics but also attempted to explain why analytics has yet to be widely adopted.

The article reviewed a study of 179 large companies by an economist at the Sloan School of Management at the

Friending Your Enterprise Data: Social Media Meets Real-Time Operations

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Running a data-driven organization (which these days, is nearly everyone) is like being a new mom in at least one way – you always need to stay alert.

I see both sides of the equation. At SAP, we work with businesses and nonprofits of every size and industry. They’re all wrestling with what’s been dubbed “big data.”

In fact, the sheer volume of data these days is massive – more than 300 exabytes of data worldwide, researchers have calculated. That’s 300 billion gigabytes, covering everything from books and microfilm to YouTube clips.