Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan
3Apr/120

Collaborative BI On-Demand Webinar

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View-WebinarCheck out our free on-demand webinar, Collaborative BI: From Theory to Practice, presented by our SVP Dwight deVera. This webinar cuts through the hype to show you why Collaborative BI deserves to be on of the year’s hottest BI topics.

According to Gartner, improved decision making is by far the #1 driver of business intelligence investments in 2012 and beyond. Although companies continue to make significant investments in BI infrastructure, support for collaboration has been the missing component, often resulting in poor outcomes. So what can you do to ensure that your existing investments are being utilized, that adoption continues to grow, and that your BI system is contributing to improved decision-making? The answer might be Collaborative BI.

Collaborative BI is one of the hottest trends for 2012, but there’s a lot of theory floating around and not a lot of practical use cases being talked about. This webinar cuts through the hype around Collaborative BI and shows you its real-world implications.

View this webinar to learn:

  • How Collaborative BI systems differ from enterprise collaboration platforms
  • How Collaborative BI helps you decide which reports deliver valid, actionable information to aid your decision-making process and which reports are a waste of your time
  • How the “wisdom of the crowd” can fuel confidence in your existing reports and entice regular business users to actively engage with them for better decision-making
  • The main criteria you should look for in your in Collaborative BI solution

We also show a brief demo of arcplan Engage, the only Collaborative BI solution on the market that allows users to search and engage with structured and unstructured data from multiple sources, including arcplan, e-mail, SharePoint, and other BI systems.

Collaboration is the future of BI and that future is now. Watch this webinar to learn why collaboration is the key to helping knowledge workers make better business decisions based on the information that already exists in your enterprise.

30Mar/120

The Practicalities of Moving BI Into the Cloud: Part II

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In Part I, I talked about a couple of reasons why cloud BI hasn’t gone mainstream yet – the inherent complexity of BI systems and the amount of data produced daily. Then I presented a secure way for data to remain in place but your BI to move into the cloud. (web services-based SOA broadcast services, essentially querying data that exists behind your corporate firewall from the cloud). Today let’s weigh the risks vs. rewards of moving your BI to the cloud.

Choosing a Cloud BI Vendor
Do you stick with your familiar BI software as it adapts to a SaaS model or go with a newcomer offering true SaaS? Be sure to carefully consider your business requirements and go with a vendor that meets them. You may risk going with a smaller vendor, but you are more likely to get the BI deployment you want.

TCO
Certainly evaluate the long-term cost of ownership – cloud BI may be more affordable at the outset and allow you to avoid the capital expenditure approval process, but will it cost more in the end? The reward of a quick implementation and “easy out” may be worth the risk of higher long-term cost and may lead to additional benefits, like allowing you to scale your BI to more users throughout the organization faster.

Time Savings
Sticking with an in-house BI deployment results in your IT team spending time to set up, tweak, maintain, and debug servers – time that could be better spent elsewhere…

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14Feb/121

Business Intelligence at Hospitals: Real-World Examples of Hospital Efficiency & Quality Metrics

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As both the battalion chief of my local ambulance and rescue squad and a business intelligence consultant, you can imagine that healthcare analytics are near and dear to me. Plus, living in the Philadelphia region, it’s impossible to escape the news of numerous hospital closures every year. So at arcplan, I love working with hospitals and healthcare organizations to build reports and dashboards that track the metrics critical to their survival. All the way back in 2001, Paul Mango and Louis Shapiro of McKinsey & Company argued that hospitals are essentially a commodity business and therefore need to compete on the basis of operational efficiency. This sentiment rings true more than 10 years later, with skyrocketing medical costs, declining insurance reimbursements, and increased utilization by an aging population. Giving hospital executives (and physicians!) access to real-time data has never been more critical to hospital operations.

Hospital executives often report on financial, operational and clinical system metrics which are crucial to ongoing operations and management. The hospitals we’ve worked with often have an overarching goal to provide efficient, quality care to patients, and they need access to their existing data to make sure they are achieving that goal. Important metrics that roll up to the goal of “efficiency” include the average wait time for a hospital bed, physician productivity, nurse turnover rates and the cost per discharge. Metrics that roll up to a “quality” goal include average length of stay, re-admission rates and patient satisfaction. The only way to improve the quality and efficiency of care is to analyze current performance and identify areas for improvement.

One of arcplan’s customers, the largest private operator of healthcare facilities in the world, came to us when they were focusing on efficiency. For more than 5 years, they have used an arcplan-powered business intelligence system (with data from Oracle Essbase and Teradata) to track key metrics and make decisions that improve efficiency of care – specifically in emergency rooms. All of their ERs needed to reduce wait times, shorten lengths of stay, and avoid people leaving the ER without care and treatment. The goal became to have every ER patient seen by a doctor within 45 minutes of arrival.

So what metrics do they track to achieve this goal? Here are a few examples:

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7Feb/120

Types of Return on Investment

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Our series on Business Intelligence ROI has explored the importance of ROI for BI projects, provided examples of the types of BI projects that never pay off, and evaluated the methodology for calculating BI ROI. We saw that if a project has measurable returns it is more likely to get off the ground and get you acceptance for future BI projects.

Many of you who are tasked to calculate the ROI of your BI projects were never taught such a thing in school, so let’s break down another element that will help you do your calculations: types of return. Here are 5 types you should evaluate:

1. Revenue enhancement
Simply put, your organization will generate more money as a result of doing your project. Shareholders appreciate these types of projects – you’re reaching the right group of customers who see value in your project – and are willing to pay.

An example of this type of ROI would be one of arcplan’s grocery chain customers – their arcplan BI solution ties together three separate IT systems (one for sales, one for ordering, and one for inventory) and allows them to get a handle on inventory shrink (the loss of products between the point of manufacture and the point of sale…think brown lettuce or rotten tomatoes). arcplan allows the right people to see how many tomatoes are stocked in stores, how many are coming in from the warehouse, and how many are selling. The system allows the grocery stores to sell more tomatoes since they have better-looking inventory and less rotten tomatoes since they’re only ordering the amount they need in each store.

2. Revenue enhancement/margin protection
This means that your organization will increase profits through better efficiency. This does not necessarily mean more revenue but just higher profitability as a result of streamlining your current process.

The grocery store example from above also fits this type of ROI. The same shrink avoidance system allows stores to not only sell more tomatoes, but also to throw out less, thus protecting their profits (less shrink = more profit).

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28Dec/110

Business Intelligence Article Round-Up: 2011

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We thought we’d close out the year with a round-up of the best articles of 2011 from arcplan’s Business Intelligence Blog. Catch up on stories you missed or look back on highlights from the year in BI.

BI Dashboards. We covered this topic a lot, from dashboard design tips to best practices. Remember these articles?

Mobile BI. Since we launched arcplan Mobile in 2011, we had mobile business intelligence on the brain.

Cloud BI. 2011 was the year that cloud emerged as a massive IT trend. Check out our thoughts.

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