Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

BI Challenge 2012 Winners: arcplan Awards Students 5000 Euros Each


Back in September, we announced our BI Challenge 2012, a competition for students in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to create innovative BI apps for a chance to win 5000 Euros. Last week, we held the awards ceremony in Düsseldorf and honored the 3 winners. They’ll present their apps to the larger public at our arc|planet user conference on October 30-31.

Three computing and economics students took home top prizes for applications they designed in the Innovation, Fast Mover and Business Excellence categories. From the many entries, the winners were selected by a professional jury of experts including Dr. Wolfgang Martin, one Europe’s leading analysts, Wolf Müller Scholz, publisher of Business Intelligence magazine, Hans Peter Wolff, CTO at arcplan, and representatives of Daimler AG and Wacker Chemie AG.

In the Innovation category, John Winkelmeyer from the Cologne University of Applied Sciences took 1st place with his application “Intranet Analysis Model – investigation into usage information for an intranet.” In the Fast Mover category, the winner was Iman Sheikholmolouki from the University of Technology in Munich with a mobile management information system for iPad that analyzes company data. It’s being used by arcplan’s customer Scout 24, one of the leading European groups of companies in the online marketplace. Daniel Horlbeck from the University of Applied Sciences, Berlin won the Business Excellence category. He developed an arcplan Enterprise 7 dashboard that supports the partner managers of Digital Wallet, a virtual organization that enables electronic financial transactions.

The BI Challenge’s goal is to allow tomorrow’s professionals and managers hands-on experience with arcplan’s flexible and innovative BI platform, arcplan Enterprise, during their studies. Examples of solutions that were submitted this year include management cockpits, web-based analysis and reporting applications, and Balanced Scorecards.

Congratulations to the winners! Interested in entering the competition? Details about next year’s BI Challenge 2013 will be released shortly at


Real World Cloud BI Webinar – June 19, 2012


Edit 6/21/12: Click here to access this webinar recording.

Whether you’re looking to capitalize on next-generation BI capabilities with a cost-effective entry point, you’re a decision maker who wants a glimpse at what cloud BI really entails, or you’re an arcplan partner (or potential partner) and want to see a cloud BI solution in action, join us on June 19th at 2pm EDT for a free webinar: A Look at Real World Cloud BI Solutions.

Can’t make it? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording.

We’ll cut through the marketing hype and clear up the confusion companies have when it comes to cloud BI. Here’s what we’ll discuss:

The reasons why companies are making the move to the cloud
How to manage the move in phases
How to mitigate security concerns, particularly when it comes to keeping your sensitive data secure
Various cloud delivery models – public, private and hybrid
Ways to overcome cloud’s inherent challenges when it comes to BI
Our partner, GPX software, will present what cloud architecture looks like in the real world and how they created Xambrosius, their cloud business planning solution built on arcplan technology. It gives users the ability to plug in their own data and generate financial reports (income statements, balance sheets, etc.) and dashboards, as well as perform planning functions like employee costing with cloud data streams from

Hope to see you on the 19th! Register here >>


Poor Data Quality – Part 3: Strategies to Combat It


82% of top performers implement a process for continuous data quality improvement.

–  Gleanster Deep Dive: How Top Performers Improve Data Quality for Better Business Intelligence, January 2011

In recent posts, we’ve explored the consequences of poor data quality and also evaluated who should be responsible for maintaining good data within an organization. We’ve seen that there’s no quick fix for subpar data quality; rather, ensuring superior data requires a well-orchestrated team effort.  A 2011 Gleanster benchmark report revealed that top performing companies understand that maintaining data quality is an ongoing discipline requiring constant attention. Organizations successful in the pursuit of better data have implemented strategies such as these to continuously improve their data:

1. Have a policy in place and take ownership
Organizations may hire a data quality manager as a dedicated resource and the first line of defense against bad data. The data quality manager governs data processes by ensuring that reliable information is loaded into the data warehouse and is responsible for data processes such as migration, manipulation and analysis. Additionally, some BI systems like arcplan allow authorized users to write back data directly to the data source. In this case it is the responsibility of that user to enter accurate information and not corrupt the system with erroneous data.

2. Enforce data quality at the source system
“Garbage in, garbage out” is the phrase to keep in mind. Making particular information mandatory in the source system is one way to go about maintaining data quality…

Continue reading this post >>


5 Reasons Why Collaborative BI is Practical For Your Organization


Though Collaborative BI is still new, it’s gaining traction, with 15% of BI deployments to include collaborative elements by 2013 according to Gartner. A recent survey by author and analyst Wayne Eckerson revealed many BI professionals believe that collaboration tools have a positive impact on analysis and decision-making activities. So while some in the BI world are seeing its value, the others may appreciate our list of 5 reasons why Collaborative BI could be a practical solution for your organization if you’re trying to expand the reach of BI to more users and get closer to “one version of the truth.”

1) Collaborative BI solutions are designed for every type of user, even the most casual. They allow business users, executives, and managers to access the reports and dashboards created by power users and IT, which a) extends the reach of these often under-used analyses and 2)  means putting information into the hands of more people in the organization who can benefit from data in their decision-making process.

2) Collaborative BI provides a sanity check for your BI content. Is it relevant and accurate? Let the wisdom of the crowd decide. Report utilization statistics help your BI Competency Center and IT department determine which reports should be kept and maintained and which can be archived. Only the best content rises to the top.

3) Collaborative BI solutions engage users in ways they are already familiar with from Web 2.0 sites (Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, etc), so they need little to no training to make use of the system…

Continue reading this post >>


Mobile BI Strategy Webinar Recording


In case you missed arcplan’s webinar on May 30th, Developing Your Mobile BI Strategy, here’s the recording to view at your convenience:


In this webinar, we discuss:

  • 5 ways to fail at mobile BI
  • 6 elements your mobile BI strategy must cover
  • A comparison of various deployment options, including Web apps vs. native apps and extranet vs. VPN
  • Real-world security considerations and how to mitigate them

We ended with a demo of arcplan Mobile, our free mobile BI solution. Thanks to everyone who attended, and for those who didn’t, leave us a comment if you’d like to discuss anything you see in the recording.