Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

What’s Your Business Intelligence ROI? – Part I


Cash-strapped and revenue-hungry, companies today are very mindful of their expenses and are making a concerted effort to ensure that projects – business intelligence-related or not – have a return on investment in a reasonable amount of time. As a project owner, business planner or member of a BI competency center, you want to increase the probability that your business intelligence project will be approved. It’s not enough to assume that your BI project has ROI – you must calculate and demonstrate that your proposal can produce positive cash flow for the company in a set time span. You’ve probably realized that your executives are not going to give the go-ahead just because you say that the cost of your BI project is justified because it will help achieve ‘better reporting.’ They’re only going to listen to you if you can give them a real rate of return. Let’s dive into how you can figure this out.

Return on Investment is defined as a measure of the value of an investment compared to the cost of the investment for a predetermined time limit. Your executives are likely asking you to show them how your BI project will produce positive ROI – how your project will save more money than it costs or how it will find ways to increase profits since you’ll have better, more organized data. So let’s talk about calculations. It is relatively straightforward to calculate the cost of hardware, software, the hourly rate of your consultants, and the cost of using internal resources. So outline those items first and come up with an investment number. Then you have to consider the following questions:

  • ‘Can I quantify the business value of this project?’
  • ‘Will the company see financial returns on this investment?’
  • ‘How soon are we going to see these returns?’

If you have stellar answers for these questions, go ahead and present your business case. If not, let’s examine them.

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Visit arcplan at KScope 11


Just a quick plug for our appearance at the Kaleidoscope (KScope11) show from June 26-30 at the Long Beach Convention Center. arcplan is exhibiting (booth #309), touting our seamless integration with Oracle products and our status at the #1 front-end to Essbase. If you haven’t registered yet, get $100 off by using the code ARCP at checkout.

Hope to see you there!


Congrats To Our Partner & Customer, iPartners, On Their RAVE Award Win!


Just a shout out to our partner and customer, iPartners, who just picked up their 2nd RAVE Award in a row for their arcplan-powered BI solution, Insurance Scorecard. This solution provides performance management dashboards and scorecards, ad-hoc detailed analysis, and production reporting to property & casualty insurance companies.

RAVE Awards are presented by Tech Decisions, an insurance technology trade publisher, and Novarica, an insurance technology research, consulting and advisory firm. They recognize technology solutions for the insurance industry that are delivering exemplary value to customers, based on their own evaluations.

iPartners received very high marks from its customers – an overall 93/100 ranking, with a 96 for Overall Customer Satisfaction, 93 for both Technology and Functionality, 92 for Staff, and 91 for Organization.

Congrats! We’re proud to have excellent companies like iPartners as customers (and partners)!


How To Be An Analyst – Register for our Webinar


EDIT 6/1/11: Click here to access a recording of this incredibly popular webinar!

Join arcplan on June 1st at 2pm Eastern for How To Be An Analyst, a free webinar on common data analysis techniques and their real-world application in business intelligence.

Many of the scorecards and dashboards you see today are quick glances into the rear view mirror of a business, but what most businesses need is a deeper look into the metrics that drive  performance. The issue is not a technology problem – most modern business intelligence platforms can easily perform more advanced analysis. It’s a people problem, and it’s probably not your fault. Many business managers were never taught to be analysts, have assumed the role because of a staffing shortage, or simply like being self-sufficient when it comes to answering business questions. But the truth is, it takes time to understand all of the nuances of data analysis in order to be able to extract meaningful information from rows and rows of data.

This presentation is a primer on the art (and craft) of being analytical. It’s for managers who are new to data analysis or have simply forgotten what they learned in school.  We’ll begin with overviews and use cases of the basic methods of analysis including:

  • Sorting and ranking
  • Comparative analysis
  • Contribution and Pareto analysis
  • Projection and regression analysis

Then we’ll apply these methods to real world business intelligence scenarios that you see on scorecards and dashboards, including:

  • Sales rep performance
  • Revenue forecasting
  • Accounts receivable and the aged trial balance
  • Financial reporting, P&L, and balance sheet
  • Pareto analysis (the 80/20 rule)
  • Above-and below-the-line performance analysis

Becoming an analyst is a journey. This presentation will set you off on the right foot in your quest to master some of the most common data analysis techniques.

Date: Wednesday, June 1st
Time: 2:00 pm Eastern (New York City time zone)
Presenter: Dwight deVera, Senior Vice President

Register Now For This Webinar


The Pros & Cons of Using Tablet PCs for Mobile BI


In a previous post on mobile BI, we looked at how tablet PCs have changed the way we access our data and the convenience and flexibility they offer to executives and field personnel. Tablets are becoming the primary deployment platform for business intelligence at many organizations due to their ease of use, their popularity among the executive set, and the perceived boost they give to productivity of on-the-go workers. Thanks to tablet PCs, you’re not restricted to hauling a laptop to meetings – you can simply slide out your lightweight tablet, take notes via touch screen technology, and zoom in and out of graphs to focus on pertinent information.

The Pros

Imagine this: you’re meeting a client for lunch at a local coffee shop and you’ve planned for this to be a very informal yet productive sit-down. Not only does your tablet PC give the client the impression that you’re up-to-date with the latest technology, but it also provides hands-on experience when you allow them to explore data that’s important to them on your device. And just like that, your iPad transforms into a demo tool for your client. It allows you to share information in a more hands-on way than you otherwise could.

According to a November 2010 CIO Magazine survey, IT leaders are considering ease of use first when making mobile purchase decisions – followed by support, services, reliability and security. For many people, having a larger screen with touch capability is easier to use than a tiny smartphone screen or Blackberry trackball, so there’s one advantage right there. Zooming in and out of BI dashboards on an LED-backlit screen blows your smartphone screen out of the water.

But is there a price to pay for the ease of use and freedom you get from deploying mobile BI on tablet PCs?

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