Financial Transparency – Architecting Success
Recorded Date: December 10, 2013
Duration: 45 min.
Presenters: Dwight deVera, arcplan Senior VP of Solutions Delivery; Jeff Lovett, Teradata VP, Finance & Performance Management
About this webinar:
Too many finance organizations manage their data using people, processes, and systems that are separated from the rest of the organization. This walled-off ecosystem requests data from other areas of the company and produces its own analytics often with different definitions of the same metric e.g. (Revenue, Margin) that conflict with those of line managers. With the ever increasing pace of change in the business this siloed, duplicative approach to financial analytics cannot deliver a transparent, integrated view that serves both finance and operations. Defining a simple architecture optimizes data management and makes it easy to visualize joint opportunities across both organizations.
- Leveraging insight into financial results, drivers and KPIs to provide visualized, actionable views of financial performance
- Telling the integrated contextual story of a company’s operations through common views and analysis
- Ending reliance on averages for more accurate, behavioral measures of customer or product profitability
- Utilizing the next generation of analytical techniques to unearth trends and predict organizational performance
Business intelligence is the key to unlocking insights from data and empowering company leaders to make impactful decisions, act swiftly even in volatile market conditions, and plan strategically for the success of the organization. arcplan is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and BI has been around at least as long as we have. Over the last 2 decades, we’ve seen companies make similar mistakes – mistakes that undermine the success of their BI initiatives. Those new to BI should learn from their predecessors. Here are 5 common BI worst practices and how to avoid them:
1) Blindly buying technology without considering your analytical requirements
BI projects do sometimes fail; it’s not something anyone likes to talk about, but most of the time these failures can be blamed on a lack of requirements gathering. Vendors like us have to ensure that we understand our customers’ requirements inside and out in order to deliver a solution that will be successful and demonstrate concrete ROI. But the truth is, some companies don’t have a thorough understanding of their users’ needs before they start evaluating solutions. Too many organizations start “feature wars” with vendors and end up buying the solution with the most perceived bells and whistles – features they barely understand and will never have a use for.
This is a much of a problem for customers as it is for vendors; it’s our job to ensure that what we’re selling you will have value to your organization, and a lot of that comes down to understanding your users’ needs. But if you don’t understand your users’ needs, how can we?
The first thing you must understand before you try to purchase a BI solution is the analytical problems your company is trying to solve. Don’t get side-tracked by fancy bells and whistles that will not solve your business problems. Avoid the feature wars and make your shortlisted BI vendors prove that their solution is a match with a custom demo or proof-of-concept application.
2) Using BI as a gateway to Excel
Unearthing previously unimaginable insights from massive data sets is the premise of all the big data hype. Over the past few years as more and more stories come out about how companies are finding competitive advantages in their data, big data has moved beyond the buzz. Enterprises are deploying big data projects at a faster rate every year, and even more plan to do so within the next 2 years.
The extent to which a company can take advantage of big data analysis is determined by the amount of resources and infrastructure it has available. The good news is that now the barriers to entry have been lowered, making it possible for more organizations to meet their goals to transform operations with insights gained from big data. Here are three approaches that companies of any size can take based on their particular situation.
One thing to note is that these are underlying infrastructure approaches, and that you’ll still need an analytic engine like arcplan on top in order to interact with, visualize and distribute your insights.
Lots of resources and lots of infrastructure
Before big data was “big data,” Teradata was the only game in town. They’ve been at it for so long and their functionality is so robust – some of their capabilities are second to none. Now other vendors like SAP (with HANA) and Kognitio have their own massively parallel analytic databases. They offer robust processing and querying power on multiple machines simultaneously, enable near real-time MDX (Multidimensional Expressions, for OLAP querying) and SQL (Structured Query Language, the standard way to ask a database a question) queries, and in the case of SAP HANA and Kognitio, are fully in-memory. Not surprisingly, Teradata and SAP HANA come at a high price, but for that high price, the insights you achieve can be very near the speed of thought.
Things are starting to get back to normal after last week’s landmark arc|twenty conference in Düsseldorf, Germany. I can finally catch my breath and think back on the awesome event we just held and all the customers and partners we learned from.
We normally call our annual conference arc|planet, but with it being arcplan’s 20th anniversary we decided to mix it up a bit and call it arc|twenty. On October 1st and 2nd, we hosted 250 international participants at the Hyatt Regency Düsseldorf, where everyone gathered for “Information & Celebration” – an apt theme this year as we soaked up information from BI industry experts as much as we celebrated our birthday and the launch of our newest platform release, arcplan 8.
Keynotes and Customer Presentations
Paul Warren from Mars kicked things off on Day 1. He covered the challenges Mars faced when trying to provide centralized, flexible reporting on their complex infrastructure, and how arcplan helped solve the problem.
Our CEO Roland Hölscher then gave a keynote called “Driving Business Analytics – Past, Present, Future,” a look back at BI 20 years ago when arcplan was founded as a bridge between IT and business leaders. From my perspective, seeing arcplan’s original product “inSight” on a floppy disk was pretty mind-blowing. He covered our history of innovation and really surprised some of the attendees who didn’t know that way back in 1994, arcplan was the first vendor to offer real-time access to many data sources and the first vendor with a visual designer for creating reports and other BI content.
Our CTO Hans Peter Wolff gave everyone an exclusive look at the new features of arcplan 8, particularly Responsive Design with HTML5, or what we call DORA (Design Once, Run Anywhere). He was followed over the next 2 days by more than 30 top-notch presentations by business intelligence experts, arcplan customers and partners, and the arcplan development team. A few highlights included…
An In-Depth Look at arcplan 8: Focus on Mobile BI
Recorded Date: October 3, 2013
Duration: 60 min.
Speakers: Dwight deVera, arcplan Senior VP; Wayne Chambliss, Senior Pre-Sales Engineer
The next release of arcplan’s business intelligence platform officially launched on September 26th. It focuses on efficient mobile BI, making it easier than ever for users and developers to mobile-enable their BI and planning apps for any device.
Watch this webinar on-demand to see:
- A primer on Responsive Design, a concept built into arcplan 8 that enables apps to dynamically adjust their layout to the end user’s screen size, resolution and orientation
- An exploration of arcplan 8’s new features, as well as a few updates from past releases that you may not be aware of (advanced analytics, commentary, etc.)
- A look at “Views,” a new concept in the arcplan Application Designer that enables developers to build responsive applications and print layouts with very little effort
- An in-depth demo of arcplan 8: responsive dashboards, self-service reporting (ad-hoc using Teradata as a data source) and more
This is a must-see not only for our customers and partners, but also for anyone interested in Responsive Design and how it applies to business intelligence.