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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.


Is Your Organization Getting Value from Your Big Data?

Is Your Organization Getting Value from Your Big Data?

Have you ever looked at the pictures of people on LinkedIn? I was scrolling through the site the other day and it hit me how many different styles there are: Professional (staring directly at the camera), Casual (cropped from a backyard picnic), Action (presenting at a conference), and Modern (my personal favorite— black and white “look-away” shots as if they’re in an important meeting —I feel like I’m intruding). The people that use all of these different styles are trying to create value for themselves by displaying a certain image to the outside world.

That got me thinking about all …

“Big Data” and Analytics — Value Chain Cross Section

Value Chains of Big Data

Much is said about the definition of Big Data, but for the sake of this blog let me reiterate:

Big Data = ∑ (Volume + Velocity + Variety + Veracity + Complexity)

This means that you don’t have to have all of the 4V + 1C characteristics in order to call it Big Data. Any combination of 4V + 1C results in Big Data. For example, you may have as little as one gigabyte of data, while the complexity and veracity of the data is high—this still qualifies as Big Data.

The …

Speed and Agility = Competitive Advantage


I recently joined SAP; in fact this is my second week. I’m very passionate about analytics, “Big Data”, and enterprise architecture —and I have been for the last 15 years. Over the last decade, analytics practices were primarily silos and didn’t have the chance to integrate with enterprises. Since most of the analytics objectives in the enterprises were focused on the “experimental” side of things, very few companies took advantage of “opportunistic” data. Opportunistic data brings its own challenges, and most of those are in accordance with transactional system comfort. In other words, the transaction system dictates how this data …

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 …

Leveraging Rapid Deployment Solutions For Analytics And Beyond

Leveraging Rapid Deployment Solutions For Analytics And Beyond

Today, organizations face multifaceted problems and need to quickly realize the value of their technology solutions whether it’s for business intelligence (BI) or other technology implementations. Business challenges have become more complex and are often riddled with ambiguity that makes it harder to address using traditional methodologies in analytics and beyond.

As a result, to answer the most pressing business questions, we’re still left with an age—old problem—balancing functionality against scarce time and resources. Rapid deployment solutions (RDS) can provide an alternative method by providing an accelerated timetable and the right foundation …

Cross-Channel Customer Intelligence Makes Big Data Actionable

Man paying with credit card at grocery store

What if you knew exactly who your customers were, what products they wanted, and when they were most likely to purchase them? It would have a huge impact on your marketing and sales strategy and execution!

We now have an unbelievable amount of data on every customer. Each of these data sets opens up a new window on a customer and reveals insights before, during, and after the purchase cycle. But most companies lack the right data, unified platform, or mathematical expertise to accurately predict customer behavior from all this data.

Fundamental new tools and techniques have recently emerged that …

Hurry Up and Wait with Big Data Analytics? How to Realize the Benefits of Real Time

people moving through a station

Big data can help businesses gain new insights at incredibly fast, real-time speeds. However, making an informed decision based on accurate information is only the first step. You have to implement that decision across your organization in order to produce the desired outcomes. But how do you do that?

In order to fully realize the benefits of real time, you need to act in real time and bring both analytics and transactions to work at the same speeds. If one is running at light speeds while the other is running batch jobs, you won’t realize the full potential of your …

Bad News Travels at Light Speed: Cloud Analytics to the Rescue

Light speed

Why is it that we tend not to say much when we’re happy with a commercial transaction, but we can’t communicate enough when we’re disappointed! Take one of my favorite industry analysts/bloggers, Josh Greenbaum, for example. In one of his recent blogs, he roasted a prominent bank as only a scorned author of his caliber could. What does this have to do with analytics? From an enterprise perspective, perhaps nothing. From a cloud perspective, however – everything.

If the bank in question were to mine their call center data, they could no …

Hurricane Irene — Social Media, Powerful Analytics, and Ubiquitous Mobile Access a Must for Insurers

Thankfully, the damage from Irene proved to be lower than predicted. However, coming on the heels of a series of catastrophic tornados and even a strong East Coast earthquake, insurers have been reminded that in today’s reality, they need to act in new ways—before, during, and after the storms. Insurers who wish to separate themselves from the pack are now making innovative use of social media, mobility, and real-time analytics. They’re not doing so just to be prepared financially for servicing claims or reaching out to their customers after the damage is done, but …