Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

Business Intelligence Trends 2013: The Breakthrough of Do It Yourself BI and the Breakup of Big Data


arcplan recently examined the trends that will shape the BI landscape in 2013 – self-service BI, collaboration, and mobile BI. Under the umbrella of Do It Yourself BI (DIY BI), these trends will come to the forefront and big data will lose steam. It might be controversial to say, but we have our reasons.

Enterprises are demanding an increased focus on cost reductions and customer profitability – typically under business users’ purview – which constantly impacts the development of BI as business users are driving future trends. In 2013, business users will demand easier ways to access and analyze data, pushing their employers to purchase the self-service tools that BI vendors have been developing over the past few years and leading to a true breakthrough of DIY BI. Beyond that, the big data challenge has not yet been solved with an easy-to-digest solution, causing a lot of the hype to die down next year (for good reason). Let’s examine these trends further:

DIY BI Part I: Self-Service BI
In the past, BI was limited to a few expert analysts and users in the IT department. No doubt it has come a long way since. More and more BI users are taking over tasks traditionally dominated by IT developers, such as report development, dashboard creation, and ad-hoc reporting. In fact, Forrester Research advocates that 80% of BI tasks should be in the hands of business users themselves – and these business users need easy-to-use interfaces, programming-free BI app creation, the ability to search, write-back and drill-down, and data exploration capabilities.

In 2013, the delays associated with IT will be brushed aside in favor of the speed, control, and rapid access that comes along with self-service BI. The demand will increase for modern ad-hoc tools that allow users to directly tap the corporate data warehouse and provide a high degree of flexibility to slice-and-dice the data for insight on the fly. In-memory technology, advanced visualizations, and the broader emergence of HTML5 will support developers in creating multifaceted web-based apps that run on any device via a standard web browser and offer simple, intuitive self-service features every type of user can enjoy. Users will become more self-sufficient in 2013, able to get the information they need in order to optimize and accelerate their decision making processes.

DIY BI Part II: Collaboration

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Why I’m Not Impressed With Your Big Data


Musings on the challenges of big data in a year of serious hype

There’s a reason you haven’t heard more than a handful of big data success stories in 2012. Handling big data correctly is hard, requires huge infrastructure and resource investments, and may not be worth it…yet. According to one survey in November 2012, 60% of businesses said it’s too early to tell if their big data project was successful and produced a proper ROI. It seems that so much of the hype around big data is focused on the technologies you need to buy and the talent you need to acquire (data scientist is the latest fad title), and not on what’s most important: what you can do with the data, what value you can extract, what business decisions you can speed up or improve with all that data.

With companies jumping on the big data bandwagon to the tune of $28 billion this year, it’s time to discuss why it might be best to ignore the hype for now and focus on reaping insight from the data you have already. Here’s why I’m not impressed with your big data:

You don’t actually have big data.
The marketing hype can lead you to believe you have a “big data problem” when you really don’t. Using the terminology incorrectly has the potential to harm your business, causing you to invest in unnecessary infrastructure when you may be able to leverage what you already have in place. Even Microsoft and Yahoo! have made this mistake…

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arc|planet BeNeLux 2012 Event Recap


Yes, it’s another arc|planet recap – we held 3 in 2012. This time I’m spotlighting the arcplan user event we hosted in The Netherlands on November 21st. We invited arcplanners to gather at Stadskasteel Ouaden, a historic castle in Utrecht with a brewery on-site (this comes in handy later!). Thanks to our partners and sponsors Ernst & Young and Sapindigo, we had a successful day of networking and education with arcplan users in the region.

We had a packed agenda for this one-day event. Our CEO Roland Hölscher kicked things off with an inspirational keynote on innovation. He covered why it’s a top priority for arcplan* and what new ideas we’ve brought to the market in the last few years, including the integration of social media concepts into BI (via arcplan Engage), cross-platform mobile BI (via arcplan Mobile), and cross-platform data exploration and ad-hoc analysis (via arcplan Spotlight).

Other presentations included an update on what’s new in arcplan 7.5, an overview of the latest and greatest features in arcplan Edge, our budgeting, planning and forecasting solution, as well as an introduction to arcplan Mobile. Attendees also got an exclusive look at arcplan’s next major release in 2013, code named Xenon.

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Making Chaos Comprehensible with BI


One of our blog authors, Dwight deVera – arcplan’s Senior VP of Solutions Delivery – was interviewed recently by Forbes. This week, the feature piece was published and I thought I’d share it with our readers.

 arcplan Makes Chaos Comprehensible
With its promise to deliver order – or at least orderly reports – from the chaos of heterogeneous systems, and provide results including live data updates to mobile devices, arcplan has opportunity for continued growth. 

The article highlights arcplan’s flexibility and independence, which allow us to consolidate Excel spreadsheets and dispersed data into reports, scorecards, and dashboards that simply work on any device. It also comments on some of the new features in arcplan 7.5, like drag-and-drop from arcplan to Excel, Live Screenshot widgets, and more.

Dwight also shares his opinions on the popularity of Excel, the iPad as an executive tool, and how he expects Microsoft’s Surface tablet to perform.



Scorecard & Dashboard Development: A Detailed How-To Webinar


You’re invited to our last webinar of the year!

Scorecard & Dashboard Development: A Detailed How-To
Date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Time: 2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT

You’ll come away with well-rounded, practical knowledge about how to create best-in-class BI applications that are highly adopted and provide a stellar user experience.

In this webinar, we’ll show you real customer examples that illustrate:

  • How to make your scorecards & dashboards simple, clean and effective
  • Visualization trade-offs and choices
  • Navigation as the key to success
  • Managing the path of analysis
  • Scorecards that tell a story
  • And much more

We’ll also leave time for a Q&A session at the end of the webinar.

Register now »

This event is a continuation of arcplan’s September webinar, Effective BI Dashboard & Scorecard Design, where we discussed the characteristics of successful dashboards. It is not a pre-requisite to have attended this webinar, but if you’d like to view the recording, you may do so here.