Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan
10Jul/142

Top 5 Criteria for Evaluating Business Intelligence Reporting and Analytics Software

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One of the most challenging tasks when planning a new business intelligence project is the selection of the right tools to achieve the best possible return on investment. You will have many decisions to make depending on your company’s needs. This poses many questions such as: Will you need new servers? Will you need to host it in the cloud? Will ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) tools be needed to manipulate data or to combine multiple data sources? Will you need cube technology (usually dubbed OLAP)? What type of reporting tool will you need? All of these questions need to be answered carefully as they affect each other on your way forward.

A criteria-based approach should be used in selecting each software. This approach in evaluating software provides you with a quantitative measurement of quality before you commit to a specific tool. When evaluating business intelligence reporting and analytics software, the following 5 criteria are your top priority, but should not be the only criteria used: flexibility, security, learnability, mobility, and evolveability. Let’s take a deeper look into each of these areas.

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15Apr/140

Analytics As A Catalyst For Positive Inflection

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Year after year the hype surrounding data analytics becomes louder. Thought leaders and research organizations have sung the praises of analytics as a means for generating much-needed insight into business operations, and companies that have embraced analytics have been able to translate insight to better operational productivity and faster, more accurate decision-making. In a competitive business environment where your competition is just as hungry as you are to reach and secure new customers and where business leaders need to make accurate, fact-based decisions about the company’s future, analytics can be the game-changer that makes the difference between success and failure. Here’s how:

The beauty of analytics is that it can serve as a guideline for transforming sub-par business performance to one that is efficient and profitable. Whereas reports provide a historical view of what transpired, analytic output is forward-looking, and plays an integral role in helping executives plan for the future.
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6Mar/140

Examples of Business Intelligence Use Cases

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business intelligence While it might seem like every company on earth is using business intelligence tools to glean insight from their corporate data, surveys say that nearly 10% of companies do not yet have BI in place. Even though 91% of companies may have it deployed somewhere in their organization, anecdotally BI vendors like to trot out the statistic that only 20% of potential users have access to business intelligence. The more companies we talk to, the more this seems true.

If you run a company or a department that doesn’t have access to BI tools, you might wonder how you can use them. Boris Evelson from Forrester Research compiled a list of analysis types that may apply to your situation:

Analysis Types

  • Historical (what happened)
  • Operational (what is happening now)
  • Analytical (why did it happen)
  • Predictive (what might happen)
  • Prescriptive (what should I do about it)
  • Exploratory (what’s out there that I don’t know about)

When you’re first starting out with BI, you’ll likely be most interested in historical and operational analytics, though we often work with finance teams who want to dive right into predictive analytics. Let’s look at a few practical BI use cases in various departments of an organization.

Finance Department: Historical, Operational, Analytical, and Predictive Analysis

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4Dec/130

On-Demand Webinar: Financial Transparency – Architecting Success

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View-WebinarView this 45-minute webinar on how to deliver a transparent, integrated view of company performance that serves both finance and operations.

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.

View this arcplan and Teradata webinar to learn how to use a financial data warehouse as a foundational component of a finance architecture. Content includes techniques for:

  • 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

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26Nov/130

3 Ways Analytics Help Retailers See Black Friday More Than Once a Year

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retailers-black-friday-arcplanPeople do crazy things, especially during the holiday season. On Black Friday – and even on Thanksgiving evening – customers will wait in line for hours to grab the best deals and knock items off their wish list. Retailers offer ridiculous discounts on high-priced items and keep doors open 3 days straight to cater to buyers around the clock, then web retailers kick in their own Cyber Monday promotions. Black Friday has remained the number one shopping day for the past decade, accounting for most of the sales that businesses reign in during the holiday season. But smart retailers don’t have to wait until Black Friday to ramp up their bottom line. Your analytical or business intelligence platform can keep a pulse on operations year round and help increase sales before the 11th hour. Here’s how:

1) Use analytics for in-store promotions
Analytics can help guide store layouts by tracking which products perform best on an aisle shelf vs. an endcap in various cities, and what products should go on sale in a given month and region based on sales history and inventory levels. Using business intelligence, you can run scenarios based on historical data and make predictions about programs designed to drive in-store business. For example, if you increase the circulation of your direct-mail flyer, how much additional business can you expect it to drive? Similarly, if you offer in-store coupons for a certain timeframe, what kind of sales uptick can you expect? Essentially, you can analyze past customer purchasing behavior to determine how to best influence future purchasing behavior.

arcplan’s retail customers use our platform to track KPIs and run what-if scenarios to ensure that products are priced appropriately. For retailers, one important KPI is the cost of goods sold (COGS) – the price paid for the product, plus shipping, handling and other expenses to get it ready for sale. By keeping track of COGS…

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