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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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Self-Service BI: Let Your Users Lead but Keep an Eye on Them

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When I take my little boy for a stroll in the park, I like observing how small, growing children interact with adults. You can tell the different parenting styles: the protective mum that isolates her children from others, the one who just lets them be but keeps an eye on them at all times, and the one that has no idea where her kids are but relies on the playground fence—she knows they won’t be able to go very far.

Governing self-service business intelligence (BI) is a bit like being a parent of a child that has grown fast …

Dead Rats in Risk Management

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It seems that almost every day I read blogs or articles in professional journals lamenting the fact that business executives aren’t supporting risk management initiatives in their business or not consuming the reports and conclusions of their risk management professionals.

In addition, we see evidence regularly in the press that risk management is failing and that catastrophic and harmful losses persist. There’s a reason for this. Risk management practices embrace beliefs and methodologies that create apparently” profound reports—but instead it’s ponderous and essentially useless information. It results in inert, albeit attention grabbing, charts and graphs.

I call them dead …

Dead Rats and GRC

Dead Rats and GRC

GRC Quiz:

Please select the best answer:

1. A flight attendant in a commercial airliner notices smoke coming from the stove in the rear galley. He is trained to:

a. Immediately contact the pilot and report a “material weakness” in the smoke detection system.

b. Immediately contact the pilot and report smoke coming from the stove in the galley.

2. You are awoken in your home in the middle of the night by the sound of intruders. You should:

a. Immediately call the police and report a “key risk indicator.”

b. Immediately …

GRC Strategy Quadrant: Understanding Type D Risks

GRC Strategy Quadrant: Understanding Type D Risks

A Better Way to Classify Risks

There’s nothing new about classifying risks by category – strategic risk, operational risk, and so on. But I’m suggesting the strategy for managing risks is dramatically different for each section of the quadrant. And we make mistakes when we use a response strategy that doesn’t match the risk type.

In my previous blogs, I illustrated the GRC Strategy Quadrant, which classifies risks based on the risk “appetite” of the business and the perceived risk level, and I explained Type A, Type B and Type C

Misunderstanding Risk and Controls

Misunderstanding Risk and Controls

Time and again I hear that risk management is seen as something that is required by the regulators, perhaps by the board or top management, but is not seen as something that helps individual managers succeed.

Time and again I hear that boards are not receiving the information they need to know whether the risks to the organization’s strategies are managed appropriately.

Time and again I hear of organizations that are satisfied (i.e., complacent) with the periodic management of a list of significant risks — as if risks are somehow less dynamic than the business environment.

Time and again I …

GRC Strategy Quadrant: Understanding Type C Risks

Misunderstanding Risk and Controls

A Better Way to Classify Risks

There’s nothing new about classifying risks by category – strategic risk, operational risk, and so on. But I’m suggesting the strategy for managing risks is dramatically different for each quadrant. And we make mistakes when we use a response strategy that doesn’t match the risk type.

In my previous blogs, I illustrated the GRC Strategy Quadrant, which classifies risks based on the risk “appetite” of the business and the perceived risk level, and I explained Type A and Type B Risks in detail.

Today, I’m covering Type C …

GRC Strategy Quadrant: Understanding Type B Risks

GRC Strategy Quadrant: Understanding Type B Risks

In a recent blog, I illustrated a GRC Strategy Quadrant that I think can be used to tailor risk management strategies to different types of risks.

A Better Way To Classify Risks

There’s nothing new about classifying risks by category – strategic risk, operational risk, and so on. But I’m suggesting that the strategy for managing risks is dramatically different for each quadrant. And we make mistakes when we use a response strategy that doesn’t match the risk type.

In last week’s blog, I defined the four types of risks, and explained Type A in detail. …

GRC Strategy Quadrant: Type A Risks Explained

GRC Strategy Quadrant: Type A Risks Explained

In a recent blog , I illustrated a GRC Strategy Quadrant that I think can be used to tailor risk management strategies to different types of risks.

A Better Way To Classify Risks

There’s nothing new about classifying risks by category—strategic risk, operational risk, and so on. But I’m suggesting that the strategy for managing risks is dramatically different for each quadrant.

The quadrant classifies risks based on the risk “appetite” of the business and the perceived risk level. I will illustrate my points over the next few blogs, starting with Type A risks today.

The New Breed of CFO and How to Become One Yourself

The New Breed of CFO and How to Become One Yourself

‘Stick close to your desks and never go to sea, And you all may be rulers of the Queen’s Navy’

The chorus of “Sir Joseph Porter’s Song” above, taken from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta H. M. S. Pinafore, is a satire said to be based on William Henry Smith (1825-91), the Victorian businessman who made a fortune through expanding his father’s bookselling business into a national chain which still thrives today as WH Smith. Like many successful businessmen William entered Parliament in 1868 and was appointed First Lord of Admiralty in 1877, – equivalent to the American “Secretary of …

Driving Value with Risk Management

Driving Value with Risk Management

Real success for risk management can only come from creating value. Yet risk management practices have largely failed the value add test.

Defining Value

What drives value in your business? To find out, you need to learn how equity analysts make buy/sell recommendations. Value drivers may not be tangible and they may not be on the balance sheet, but they’re very real.

For example, in the mining and metals industry, proven mineral reserves drive value. In the airline industry, one equity analyst concluded that the quality of customer experience drove value. For a railroad long-term contracts with coal shippers are …