Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

4 Ways to Prepare Your BI Solution for International Deployment


Companies that strive to grow and thrive rely on the insight gleaned from their business intelligence system. But when international growth is on the agenda, some businesses forget to prime their BI system for that change. At arcplan there are plenty of experts in this area since so many of our customers are multi-national companies, so we put together this list of items to prepare your international BI deployment for success. With Gartner’s 2012 global survey of CIOs revealing that business intelligence/analytics is their top-ranked technology priority this year, this list is more important than ever to guarantee that your BI system serves users worldwide.

1) Multi-Language Support
BI systems that will be used by employees in more than one country must be multilingual. While users in the U.S. see English or Spanish, users in Germany must have the option to display the system in German. Even better, the system should be able to identify a user’s language via the operating system settings and display their native language automatically. This first point is critical to the success of your system worldwide. If a business intelligence solution hinders useage due to something as simple as language support, it will never take off. Some configuration may be required, but this extra effort will always be worth it.

2) Multi-Currency Support
Any BI system deployed globally must be able to handle multiple currencies and should default to the users’ local currency. In Mexico, users should see all values displayed as pesos; in Canada, users should see values in Canadian dollars – always with the option to convert to U.S. dollars, euros, or any other currency the company uses. Paramount here is also the ability for the BI solution to display local decimal style, i.e. commas vs. periods. In the U.S., decimals are notated with periods (2.45), whereas most of Europe uses decimal commas (2,45). Your business intelligence should comply automatically.

3) Point-of-View Settings

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Collaborate 12 Oracle Conference Recap


I just returned to Germany after spending last week in Las Vegas for the Collaborate 12 conference. arcplan had a booth at the show, billed as the “Technology & Applications Forum for the Oracle Community,” for the first time in 4 years. We’ve noticed trade shows having a bit of a renaissance and this one – with 6,000 attendees – was no exception. With our strong Oracle customer base and our billing as the most widely-used BI front-end to Oracle Essbase, we thought 2012 was the perfect time to return to Collaborate. And after our great experience at KScope 11, the Oracle Developer Tools User Group Conference last year in Long Beach, we want to participate in more conferences where the attendees are the users and creators of BI applications in their enterprises. Collaborate turned out to be a terrific (re)addition to our lineup.

The conference kicked off with a keynote from Oracle CIO & SVP Mark Sunday on “IT at Oracle: The Art of IT Transformation to Enable Business Growth.” His presentation stressed the importance of simplifying IT, which complements arcplan’s vision and our 2012 tagline: It simply works™. With our focus on reducing infrastructure and helping our customers leverage what they already have, this message really resonated with us.

The rest of the session topics reflected Collaborate’s heterogeneous nature as a melting pot of three different user groups (OAUG, IOUG and Quest)…

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Collaborative BI: Today & Tomorrow


Collaboration is becoming an increasingly important facet of our business interactions. For years, research groups like Gartner , Ventana Research and the Aberdeen Group have provided insight and predictions about this phenomenon, and today we’re seeing how collaboration within the business intelligence space has moved from knowledge sharing and self-service BI to a whole new level of innovative decision-making for the business team. So let’s take a look at some of the shifting points of view about Collaborative BI and where it’s headed in the future.

Web 2.0 technologies and the social media boom have had a tremendous impact on what business users expect out of their business applications, especially in the collaborative space. Collaborating does not simply mean exchanging emails, making calls or holding meetings to facilitate decision-making (though they are the most-used ways according to Wayne Eckerson’s Collaborative BI report). These days, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube have taught us how to share, rate, like, comment on, and especially make use of user-generated, helpful information. In our work lives, business users have learned to embrace information from various data sources – both formal and informal – as well as perform ad-hoc analyses without help from IT and share this information with colleagues. Collaborative BI as it exists presently is about facilitating the innate desire of business users to collect and share the information necessary for their everyday decision-making, while at the same time preventing duplicate work and allowing colleagues to draw on each other’s strengths. Users have an expectation that social media concepts will be available to them in their business environment, and so many Collaborative BI systems, like our own arcplan Engage, incorporate rating, tagging, etc.

However, we’re seeing a shift in how analysts define Collaborative BI and they are now calling for an even higher level of engagement.

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Big Data FAQs – A Primer


The big data trend promises that harnessing the wealth and volume of information in your enterprise leads to better customer insight, operational efficiency, and competitive advantage. The marketing hype around big data and the pace of studies, analyst reports, and articles on the subject can be mind-numbing for companies that want to take advantage of big data analytics but do not know how to separate fact from fiction and determine real use cases for their business. So here’s a big data primer for those just getting in the game.

1) What exactly is big data?
“Big data” is an all-inclusive term used to describe vast amounts of information. In contrast to traditional structured data which is typically stored in a relational database, big data varies in terms of volume, velocity, and variety. Big data is characteristically generated in large volumes – on the order of terabytes or exabytes of data (starts with 1 and has 18 zeros after it, or 1 million terabytes) per individual data set. Big data is also generated with high velocity – it is collected at frequent intervals – which makes it difficult to analyze (though analyzing it rapidly makes it more valuable). Additionally, big data is usually not nicely packaged in a spreadsheet or even a multidimensional database and often includes unstructured, qualitative information as well.

2) Is it a new trend?
Not exactly. Though there is a lot of buzz around the topic, big data has been around a long time. Think back to when you first heard of scientific researchers using supercomputers to analyze massive amounts of data. The difference now is that big data is accessible to regular BI users and is applicable to the enterprise. The reason it is gaining traction is because there are more public use cases about companies getting real value from big data (like Walmart analyzing real-time social media data for trends, then using that information to guide online ad purchases). Though big data adoption is limited right now, IDC determined that the big data technology and services market was worth $3.2B USD in 2010 and is going to skyrocket to $16.9B by 2015.

3) Where does big data come from?
Big data is often boiled down to a few varieties including social data, machine data, and transactional data…

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arc|platform 2012 Partner Conference Recap


Last Thursday & Friday, March 15th-16th, we held our largest partner conference in history at the Atlantic Hotel in Essen, Germany. More than 140 international participants – including arcplan partners, systems integrators, and resellers from Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, India, China, and Morocco – joined us for 2 days of presentations, networking, awards, and even a little friendly competition (attendees enjoyed a slotcar racing competition that highlighted our theme of “speed up your business”). Sincere thanks to our sponsors Teradata (Platinum), Oracle (Gold & Evening) and Amorsys (Gold) as well as our presenters!

The conference provided the opportunity for arcplanners (as we fondly call ourselves) to share updates on our company vision, product development, and sales strategies with our partners. They discussed the new arcplan 7 BI platform, its roadmap, and how arcplan is continuing to stay ahead of trends in self-service, mobile, cloud, and collaborative BI. Our CEO, Roland Hölscher (pictured right), delivered an inspiring keynote on these topics and highlighted how arcplan enables customers and partners to simplify and accelerate decision-making by 1) easily connecting users with all relevant information sources, 2) providing integrated solutions for analyzing the past and planning for the future, and 3) making critical business insight available in real-time, anywhere on any device. In addition, he announced arcplan’s support for SAP HANA with our latest version, solidifying us as the #1 BI front-end for SAP environments.

As for the other presentations at arc|platform, there were too many excellent ones to mention them all, but here’s a few highlights…

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