Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

Budgeting & Planning in 2013: On-Demand Webinar


View-WebinarCheck out our on-demand webinar for an essential review of modern planning.

Budgeting & Planning in 2013
Speaker: Dwight deVera, SVP of Professional Services at arcplan

This webinar reviews how budgeting and planning are evolving and how you can keep up. It’s essential viewing for those interested in improving their process and evaluating new technology to do so this year.

We reveal:

  • How the planning process is evolving from simple annual capital, expense and headcount planning to planning for strategic and opportunistic contract, capital, and indirect projects
  • The essential components of a modern planning system, including online and offline capabilities, allocation and spreading, workflow, and commentary/ supporting details functionality
  • How integrating business intelligence within the planning process helps you gain insight into the effectiveness of the planners and identify the root cause of potential problems with the plan
  • And much more

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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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Responsive Design + Metro Design = A Match Made In BI Heaven


responsive-design-metro-arcplanWith the increasing popularity of mobile devices in daily life, workers have become accustomed to switching between gadgets according to the task at hand – smartphones for calls and quick searches, tablets for web browsing and e-mails on the go, and laptops for more time- and labor-intensive activities. But switching devices in the workplace is not always so effortless, especially when it comes to using business intelligence (BI) applications.

A new wave of design options is changing this, making it easier than ever to build and deploy BI apps that can be used on any device without the need for extra development – apps that are clean and modern, and designed for quick consumption of data and taking action. This article covers the trend toward two design concepts: Responsive Design and Metro Design, both of which are essential to next-generation BI applications that increase productivity on all devices. I’ll also explain how arcplan’s BI solutions are leading the way.

In 2013, users will come to expect “BI anywhere,” which puts the burden on designers to create BI apps tailored not only to users’ needs, but also their device preferences – particularly if the organization has a bring your own device policy (BYOD). The intelligent approach – utilizing Responsive Design principles – is to create one application (like a dashboard or report) for all devices, where the layout adapts to the appropriate screen size, resolution, and orientation.

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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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Cloud BI: The Data Integration Challenge


In recent weeks, I came across a handful of articles and research reports about the public’s perception of cloud computing and how many Americans don’t seem to understand the concept, yet already use and depend on the cloud despite this lack of understanding. The good news is that business leaders generally have a better understanding of what the cloud has to offer, including the untapped potential of cloud computing to create an integrated picture of business content. Organizations are starting to develop cloud computing strategies to provide context to business operations.

Despite the hype around cloud computing and cloud BI, the real adoption of cloud BI systems is relatively low, according to Howard Dresner’s 2012 Wisdom of Crowds Cloud BI Market Study and a Gartner report earlier this year on the major drivers of BI revenue. The delay in adoption isn’t because business managers fail to see the value of the cloud; simply put, the barriers to cloud BI adoption are very practical ones – data integration and security being the most frequently cited. arcplan has addressed these concerns previously in our webinar, A Roadmap for BI Cloud Computing, but in this post, I’ll explore how businesses are proactively addressing cloud BI data integration concerns.

Business leaders who have implemented cloud BI give positive feedback, naming process efficiency, effectiveness, and gaining a competitive advantage as some of the benefits. But what takes cloud BI to the next level is uniting data from multiple data sources within their organization and leveraging external data resources to get comparable benchmarks. This last piece is only possible in a cloud environment.

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