Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan
19Sep/120

2nd Annual arc|ademy BI Challenge – Submit Your Application, Students!

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It’s that time of year again – when we invite students in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) to create innovative BI applications for a chance at our 15,000€ prize fund! We’re looking for university-level computing and economics students to create outstanding analytics and planning solutions on the arcplan 7 platform that solve real business pains. Students can apply individually or in groups in three categories:

  1. Innovation: applications that are novel in their visualization, methodology, or technical approach
  2. Fast Mover: solutions that have been developed in a short time span or can be deployed quickly
  3. Business Excellence: applications that aim to improve the quality of business decisions

Each winner, selected by a jury of industry and media experts, will receive 5,000€. Last year’s winners will be presenting their solutions at our arc|planet user conference in October. Winners of the 2013 competition will also get this invaluable exposure to DACH companies at next year’s arc|planet.

Entrants should be as creative as possible, developing solutions such as management cockpits, web-based analysis and reporting applications, balanced scorecards, or anything in between. There’s just one condition: projects must be developed during the period from September 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013 as part of an ongoing study program or college-related internship.

Learn more about the competition >>

14Sep/120

10 Keys to BI Dashboard Success: Part II

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In my last post, I gave you 5 tips for taking your dashboards from “standard” to “world-class.” Today, I present 5 more tips that will help your dashboards become truly useful, essential daily viewing material.

Your BI dashboards should be:

6) Diverse. Incorporating data from your various in-house sources and from the cloud enhances your dashboard. Combining data to produce mashups – like retail locations with financials over Google Maps – can make your dashboard indispensable.

7) Dynamic. Static dashboards rely on historical data, neglect your organization’s present performance and set you up for failure, warns Forrester Research. Successful dashboards are dynamic and reflect the real-time changes of your business’ performance. They also offer ad-hoc capability so users can manipulate variables for further analysis and drill-down functionality so users can find root causes. See what I mean by downloading arcplan’s free trial. It features an ad-hoc tab integrated into the dashboard application.

8) Attractive. Users appreciate and are more likely to adopt a dashboard that has style and substance. What makes a dashboard attractive?

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11Sep/120

Webinar: Effective BI Dashboard & Scorecard Design

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**Edit: Click here to view the recording of this event.

What makes a BI dashboard or scorecard “bad?” After 20 years of working with more than 3,200 customers around the globe to create stellar BI applications, I’m certain we know the answer. On Wednesday, September 19th, arcplan’s Senior VP Dwight deVera will dissect real BI application examples that seem okay at first glance but in reality render great data ineffective. We’ll show you how to go beyond basic BI app design to make truly excellent, interactive dashboards and scorecards that facilitate decision-making.
This is our annual review of the latest thinking in BI app design and our most popular webinar – but totally revamped with more examples and practical how-to tips.

In this webinar, we’ll discuss:

  • What should be avoided in modern BI dashboard & scorecard design
  • Characteristics of successful BI applications
  • How Metro Design & Responsive Design principles will affect design standards
  • Tips for designing mobile dashboards
  • The right chart types for your data – why some work and some don’t
  • How to display data so that trends and problems pop

We’ll also leave time for a Q&A session at the end of the webinar.

Click here to view the recording!

5Sep/121

10 Keys to BI Dashboard Success: Part I

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Dashboards have been getting a lot of flack lately, especially in blog posts about why they’re pathetic or why you should hate them. I get it – dashboards have been a staple of business intelligence for decades and the concept hasn’t changed that much, so it must be time to disparage them. They’re no longer a hot topic. But that’s precisely why we need to keep the conversation around BI dashboards going. They’re not going away, but they can always be improved.

A well-designed dashboard with the right metrics will serve you for years. arcplan has customers who have been using the same dashboard for 5+ years. Why? Because it simply works (this also happens to be our company’s tagline!). I’m thinking specifically of one company whose dashboard isn’t flashy at all – in fact, it’s pretty boring looking – but it contains essential, revenue-driving metrics and sends alerts to trigger action based on specific thresholds.

Is that all it takes to create a lasting, functional BI dashboard? Not quite. Here’s a list of the top 10 keys to BI dashboard success, derived from arcplan’s nearly 20 years helping customers around the world design custom dashboards.

Your BI dashboards should be:

1) Personalized. Tailor your dashboard to the role of the user, designing it around metrics specific to the individual. You can see an example of this in the arcplan free trial. It gives you the option of logging into the application as a director of finance or director of sales and each individual dashboard displays metrics that matter to the particular user role.

2) Customized. Accommodate your users no matter where they are located. If you are designing dashboards to be used in the US & Europe, be sure that European users can view them with their particular language and currency settings (for example, displaying dollars as Euros and using periods instead of commas). Luckily with arcplan, those adjustments are a click away.

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2Jul/120

ODTUG KScope 12 Conference Recap – an Oracle Partner’s Perspective

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I just returned to arcplan’s headquarters in Germany after spending the last week in San Antonio, TX for KScope, the Oracle Developer Tools User Group Conference. This was our second year in a row at the show and another fantastic experience. It’s 5 days of knowledge sharing for Oracle customers, very applicable to real-life challenges and professionally delivered by industry experts with hand-on experience. And it’s an event very different from typical vendor-driven user conferences, which tend to deliver more “marketing driven” material. Again this year, KScope felt more like “by Oracle users, for Oracle users.”

The conference is an absolute must for Hyperion customers as it provides high quality content on a wide variety of topics of interest to them, from MDX to Essbase scripting to ASO cubes. While sometimes it was awkward for the conference to straddle the varied interests of attendees – especially between Apex developers and Hyperion/EPM attendees – the various tracks helped people find their niche. While my colleagues represented arcplan at our booth, I attended many sessions and heard first-hand how attendees were benefitting significantly from the knowledge shared and planning to apply it to their own projects. The Sunday symposiums provided a compact and good overview on some key aspects of Oracle database technologies and the future of Oracle planning, data integration, financial reporting and more. Our SVP Dwight deVera was on the agenda this year, presenting his infamous hour on Calculating ROI for Business Intelligence Projects. His session was as well-received as it was at Collaborate earlier this year.

At KScope, the conference atmosphere is very open and communicative. As an attendee, it provides a great opportunity to network and engage with organizations and individuals that share your same interests. As a vendor, it’s a terrific event for arcplan. We help customers enhance their existing Oracle investments, which is exactly what attendees are there to figure out how to do.

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