Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

Get Your Data Back in Shape for the New Year


data_in_shape_smEvery so often I overhear interesting conversations while standing in line at a store or waiting to board a flight. Recently, I heard this one:

Person 1: I literally put on 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
Person 2: Don’t get me started…I’ll be working all year to knock off the 10 pounds I picked up over the holidays, just to be back where I was before Thanksgiving.
Person 1: Yeah I’ll exercise full-force through January but by February, let’s be honest – I’m tired of it. One step forward, two steps back…

This scenario is true for many of us; we take a step in the right direction toward our goal, but then get distracted and fall behind. Now that 2013 is underway, it’s time to make some data management resolutions and stick to them.

Data management is an overarching term that includes all the disciplines related to creating, housing, delivering, maintaining and retiring data, with the goal of valuing data as a corporate asset. And it’s not just an enterprise issue anymore. SMBs also find themselves struggling with growing data volumes and subpar data quality. Organizations of all sizes and industries are implementing business intelligence software to glean insight from their data, but the thing no one wants to talk about is this: how many BI projects get delayed due to issues with that data. Whether data or their definitions vary across systems or there are rows that violate relationship rules (many-to-one, one-to-many), data integrity issues must be resolved before you can expect great results from your BI software.

Here are some practical steps you can take to get your data back in shape this year:

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Business Intelligence Trends 2013: The Breakthrough of Do It Yourself BI and the Breakup of Big Data


arcplan recently examined the trends that will shape the BI landscape in 2013 – self-service BI, collaboration, and mobile BI. Under the umbrella of Do It Yourself BI (DIY BI), these trends will come to the forefront and big data will lose steam. It might be controversial to say, but we have our reasons.

Enterprises are demanding an increased focus on cost reductions and customer profitability – typically under business users’ purview – which constantly impacts the development of BI as business users are driving future trends. In 2013, business users will demand easier ways to access and analyze data, pushing their employers to purchase the self-service tools that BI vendors have been developing over the past few years and leading to a true breakthrough of DIY BI. Beyond that, the big data challenge has not yet been solved with an easy-to-digest solution, causing a lot of the hype to die down next year (for good reason). Let’s examine these trends further:

DIY BI Part I: Self-Service BI
In the past, BI was limited to a few expert analysts and users in the IT department. No doubt it has come a long way since. More and more BI users are taking over tasks traditionally dominated by IT developers, such as report development, dashboard creation, and ad-hoc reporting. In fact, Forrester Research advocates that 80% of BI tasks should be in the hands of business users themselves – and these business users need easy-to-use interfaces, programming-free BI app creation, the ability to search, write-back and drill-down, and data exploration capabilities.

In 2013, the delays associated with IT will be brushed aside in favor of the speed, control, and rapid access that comes along with self-service BI. The demand will increase for modern ad-hoc tools that allow users to directly tap the corporate data warehouse and provide a high degree of flexibility to slice-and-dice the data for insight on the fly. In-memory technology, advanced visualizations, and the broader emergence of HTML5 will support developers in creating multifaceted web-based apps that run on any device via a standard web browser and offer simple, intuitive self-service features every type of user can enjoy. Users will become more self-sufficient in 2013, able to get the information they need in order to optimize and accelerate their decision making processes.

DIY BI Part II: Collaboration

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arc|planet 2012 Germany: Event Highlights


It’s conference season at arcplan! Though we hold smaller arc|planet events in other countries, like Korea and the upcoming BeNeLux conference, the big kahuna is our annual German users conference, held last week at the Park Inn in Kaarst, Germany. Around 200 attendees including customers, prospects and partners showed up for the two-day event – a mix of more than 20 presentations from business intelligence experts and arcplan customers, break-outs, networking and of course, a little fun.

We must thank our ten arc|planet 2012 partner sponsors – and most especially Ernst & Young as our main event sponsor – for working with us to enable this great conference!

Keynotes and Featured Presentations

Wojtek Czyz kicked things off with a keynote called “Everything’s Possible.” Mr. Czyz lost his lower left leg in 2001 when he was an aspiring soccer player and turned that setback into Paralympics Gold and Silver medals in Athens, Beijing, and London. He gave us insight into his life and success, inspiring us all to have confidence and believe that a combination of willpower and determination can make anything work.

Our own CEO Roland Hölscher delivered a keynote on the theme of the conference, “It simply works,” a message we saw fit to be our company tagline and one that describes our drive for simplicity in the arcplan platform. Mr. Hölscher also provided a brief preview of our next major release (code named “Xenon”), which maintains the concept of simplicity yet provides an even more improved user experience across multiple applications, including mobile devices.

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arc|planet Korea 2012 Recap


October 24, 2012 marked our third successful arc|planet Korea conference. More than 200 participants gathered in Seoul to glean insight on business intelligence best practices, network with other arcplan users, and see the latest updates to the arcplan 7.5 platform. Our partner Zalesia graciously hosted this event and provided mobile devices that attendees used to explore some of the newest features discussed in the day’s presentations.

I previewed the new features and functions of arcplan 7.5 which was released to the general public the following day. Attendees were excited to see improvements to our planning solution (including enhancements to workflow and simulation methods), upgraded charting (including motion charts, which allow users to see changes in data over time), the new KPI designer (which allows users to design their own roll-up measures), and more. I also shared an outlook of the BI industry, covering hot topics such as data analytics, collaborative BI and mobile BI. Our Korean customers are early adopters of new technologies, so this presentation proved to be of particular interest.

But of course, the highlight of any arc|planet event is the presentations by arcplan customers…

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Teradata PARTNERS User Group Conference 2012 – A Vendor’s Perspective


This year’s Teradata PARTNERS Conference in Washington D.C. was my second in a row. The theme, Decision Possible, was perfect as the focus of the sessions was not just on the business of collecting data, but more on using data to make better decisions. At our booth, we met hundreds of DBAs, Solutions Architects, BI Directors, and consultants, some of whom knew arcplan already and some whom had never encountered us before. But by the end of the show, we had gotten to the heart of the challenges they face when it comes to BI.

The attendees we met seemed to be most interested in what arcplan offers that other vendors do not. We’re one of the only partners to support Teradata’s OLAP Connector (and relational interface as well) and with so many customers purchasing it to enable easy access to Teradata content for the business community, we have a great starting point with those organizations. We were part of a special Teradata OLAP Connector Reception on Tuesday, October 23rd along with Tableau, where we raffled off an iPad and a Samsung Galaxy tablet. Why these 2 devices? That leads to one of the most frequent discussions we had with attendees at the conference…

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