Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

Collaborative BI Brings Consumer Culture to Business Decision-Making


Today I’m sharing an article I wrote with our readers. In it, I discuss the social features that make Collaborative BI easy for anyone to use, what’s driving Collaborative BI adoption, and why we’ll soon see its use skyrocket at organizations that want to improve access to information for all users and in turn, the decision-making process.

The bottom line? “In a collaborative environment, the power is in the end users’ hands. They expect data to be available on all of their devices, from desktop PCs to tablets to smartphones. They want their most frequently needed reports accessible via widgets. They want BI that takes unstructured data into account and makes it searchable. They want to collaborate and provide feedback about reports in an attractive interface that is designed around how they work. Ultimately, users need the ability to subscribe to BI in a self-service manner.” And Collaborative BI makes this all possible.

Check out the article on Information Management’s website >>


Poor Data Quality – Part 2: Who Should Be Held Responsible?


We’re almost half way through the year and by now more than half of us have forgotten or become complacent about our New Year’s resolutions. But it’s never too late to get back on track! The same is true about data quality management; it’s never too late to restore order to your company’s data and combat the consequences of poor data quality. Data quality management should be an ongoing process since bad data affects business intelligence systems and ultimately the decisions based off of BI. It’s a big job and someone has to take responsibility for it. Who should that be?

“Data quality is not solely an IT issue…success depends mostly on involvement from the business side…Business professionals must ‘own’ the data they use.”

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

The knee-jerk reaction to the question of who should be held accountable for maintaining data quality is “the data steward,” “the data quality manager,” or any variation of that role. But who is the data steward? I believe that each organization should have several data stewards and that they should be the content owners or really, the people who most care about data quality. Here are a few examples:

The marketing director who scrubs the CRM system to ensure that lead information is correct often wears the hat of data quality manager. Data quality is important to marketers because good data (email addresses, mailing addresses, and other segmentation fields like revenue and industry) is necessary to avoid fail points in communication and to ensure that the target audience receives your message. With a 2011 Experian QAS research report revealing that 90% of organizations believe as much as 25% of their departmental budgets were wasted during the last year as a result of inaccurate contact data, you can bet that your marketing team has a CRM data clean-up project in the works. Sometimes that means using an appending service to fix bad email addresses and sometimes that means manual research and data entry, but there is true ROI for marketing data quality initiatives.

The account manager who oversees a territory and enters sales and account information in the CRM system is also responsible for data quality…

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Mobile BI Strategy Webinar – May 30, 2012


Join arcplan on Wednesday, May 30th @ 2pm Eastern for our free webinar on Developing Your Mobile BI Strategy, presented by our SVP Dwight deVera. This webinar walks decision makers and IT teams through everything they need to consider before deployment.
Mobile BI is still new in the business intelligence world, but the hype is starting to wear off as more success stories come to light. It’s now part of every conversation we have with our customers and potential customers. Mobile BI rollouts are getting more and more aggressive according to Howard Dresner’s Mobile BI Market Study (October 2011). With 68% of respondents saying mobile BI is either “critical” or “very important” to their business, it’s time to lay out some practical advice for deploying it this year.

The latest in our educational webinar series, Developing Your Mobile BI Strategy will walk you through everything decision makers and IT teams need to consider before deployment. We’ll discuss:

  • 5 surefire ways to fail at mobile BI
  • 6 elements your mobile BI strategy needs to cover
  • A comparison of Web vs. native apps
  • Real-world security considerations and how to mitigate them

We’ll also host a live Q&A at the end of the webinar.

You’ll come away from this presentation with everything you need to build your organization’s mobile BI strategy. Join us on May 30th to learn how to get your mobile BI deployment off the ground the right way the first time.

Click here to register!

Hope to see you there.


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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Responsive Design + Metro Design in Business Intelligence Applications


Recently we have seen a dramatic change when it comes to deciding which screen size to design a new report or dashboard for. It’s always been a struggle for BI app designers to optimize applications to fit to the different sizes of desktop PCs and laptops, but adding mobile devices like smartphones and tablet PCs to the mix makes it even more complex.

The most natural solution of the past was to design two different views – one for the desktop and one for mobile deployment. But we no longer recommend this approach as the lines between different device categories are blurring.

Netbooks are encroaching on notebook and iPad territory, coming closer to their display capabilities. iPad has initiated a storm of new devices from other vendors with similar screen size. Even worse (from an app design point of view), Internet giant launched its Kindle Fire, whose screen size sits between traditional smartphones and tablet PCs. And now new devices like the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy III by Samsung, whose screen sizes are between the iPhone and the Kindle Fire, have found their own fans.

Although size does matter, screen size is not the sole point to consider when designing BI apps. There’s orientation to consider – which devices are optimized for portrait or landscape orientation – and on top of this, different vendors also offer a wide variety of pixel density – defined by pixels per Inch (PPI). For example, the new iPhone 4S with its Retina Display is able to display more pixels on its 3.5″ display than a decent netbook.

For app designers, it is impossible to create separate reports for every device, especially at organizations where BYOD (bring your own device) is the standard. This would end up being a total nightmare from a maintenance point of view. So what can we do? It’s time for a new and intelligent approach that will allow us to use one app and one report or dashboard layout for all devices.

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