Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

Wisdom of Crowds BI Market Study – Open Now!


Howard Dresner’s Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study was created as a way to give a voice to those actually using BI solutions (i.e., “crowdsourcing”), creating a new and different perspective for measuring BI vendors and products in the market.

This year’s study is up and running and we invite BI users to participate! If you have 10 minutes between today and April 2nd, please visit the following link and give your feedback:

In return, you’ll receive a copy of the study findings! Learn more about the study here and we look forward to seeing the results!


arcplan Customer BI Best Practices: Spotlight on Delkeskamp


From time to time, we’d like to introduce you to one of our customers’ best practice BI solutions, created of course with arcplan software. Today’s we’re putting the spotlight on Delkeskamp, a German corrugated board manufacturer. Their arcplan-based BI solution integrates data from multiple sources and brings transparency to their production costs — showing them where and when to take action to reduce costs in certain areas. These are 2 best practices any organization implementing business intelligence can benefit from. Okay, maybe we all can’t relate to production costs, but what about cost of sale or cost to obtain a new customer?

Let’s take a look at Delkeskamp’s BI solution.

The Requirements

With more than 30,000 individual production orders per year, managing Delkeskamp’s supply chain depends on an efficient business intelligence system that can process large amounts of data related to those orders and provide management with complete information. Managers need to be able to look at the company’s production by location, product line, supplier, and customer in depth and over time. In addition, the company’s divisions run different ERP systems that need to be integrated by their BI tool. One of those systems also houses financial data, and there’s yet another system that records and stores data from production machines. Having all of that data available for reports and analyses would certainly help the company make more informed decisions, cut costs, and boost efficiency.

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Social Media Monitoring as Part of Your Business Intelligence


A growing number of enterprises realize that Web 2.0 means communication and customer interaction, which are essential for businesses to survive in this day and age. We’re all participating in the social Web and trying to figure out if it’s worth the effort we’re putting into it. Social media monitoring is essential so companies can learn about the public perception of their products and services, monitor their competition, and more intelligently manage corporate communications. We need to know where, when, and how to respond to our constituents.

However, social media monitoring is not necessarily an option for all organizations. But the bigger a company is, the more important it becomes to develop a strategic approach for social media efforts and to devise performance targets. Many enterprises with a large customer base (like car manufacturers and banks) have been engaged in blogs and social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Xing for years. They know that their activities and those of their stakeholders have an impact on their business, but so many companies are still struggling to know exactly what kind of impact social media efforts are having and how to continuously monitor and measure these actions.

With over 100 million active blogs, more than 65 million tweets per day,* and countless Facebook status updates, keeping track of your organization’s online reputation and customer sentiment can be a real challenge. How can you derive relevant information from all these sources? Which sources are most important for your organization? Which are essentially irrelevant? How can you process all the unstructured information about your company on the Web?

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Great Expectations – Users Expect Web Services Data on Their BI Dashboards


I bet when you were building your Business Intelligence application, it never occurred to you that your users would be so demanding. After all, you’ve managed to provide them reports and charts containing all the data they entered into the system. Now, in addition to the data in your internal systems, they’re asking you to add in data from other sources that you have no control over. This is actually the latest trend and I’m convinced it’ll get worse before it gets better. In the old days, you could just tell them you don’t have the data and it would cost a lot of money to bring the information feed in-house. But like I said in my previous article on user expectations, your users already have access to this data on their home computers and they expect the same type of information access from the BI systems they use to get their job done.

The good news is that those applications are using something that’s readily available to you — Web Services (WS). The reason this data used to be unavailable in the past is because the producers had no way of giving it to the consumers. They could dump the data into delimited files and email them to you, but what good would that have been?

Awhile back, a bunch of bright people came up with a way to simplify the process and the concept of Web Services was born. By defining the structure of their feeds, producers of information on the internet can give you instant access to all of their data. Generally, Web Services are a combination of Data Feeds and the Data Definition Language (DDL) that describes them called WSDL. WSDL is a standard way of telling another program what the data feed looks like by defining the input parameters, their format, and the output of the Web Service. To the right is an example of a Stock Quote service provided by

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Moving Your Business Intelligence to the Cloud


Marketing research firm IDC predicts that businesses will spend $7.3 billion net new IT dollars on cloud services by 2013. For services like CRM ( and document collaboration (Google Docs), the roadmap for moving to the cloud has already been established. But for business intelligence, it’s not as clear. The sensitivity and volume of data and the potential complexity of BI systems have made executing a cloud-based BI strategy more of a dream than a reality.

If you’ve been thinking about how to move your BI to the cloud, I hope you’ll join arcplan on Thursday for our webinar, A Roadmap for BI Cloud Computing. It’s a roadmap for implementing BI in the cloud that mitigates concerns about data security and confidentiality. The strategy we’ll present allows BI consumers to manage large volumes of data securely at a low cost and with shortened implementation times.

Whether you’re a smaller company looking for a cost-effective, easy entry-point into BI or you’re a large organization looking to capitalize on what’s sure to be a trend with staying power, this webinar is worth your time.  Here are the details:

Date: Thursday, January 27th

Time: 2 – 3 pm Eastern (NYC time)

Speaker: arcplan Senior VP, Dwight deVera

UPDATE 1/28/11: Click here to access the recording of this event.