Data Management & the Continued Use of Excel
Small and medium-sized businesses aren’t able to afford business intelligence software platforms that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, that’s no longer an obstacle with the rise of affordable, easy to use BI tools like arcplan. Once you’ve decided that you need better, faster answers to your business questions, you start to get into the nitty gritty details of what a BI deployment means and how you need to prepare your data. Let’s continue with our series on the most frequently asked questions SMBs have when it comes to BI. This time I’ll address questions about data management and spreadsheets.
5) How much data do we need?
The #1 technology challenge for SMBs is getting insight from the data they already have. The average SMB has over 27 unique data sources according to research conducted by The Aberdeen Group – from ERP systems and General Ledgers to CRM tools, social media and more. Your company should carefully consider the amount, type, and “freshness” of data that your organization requires for its reporting.
- How many data sources are really critical to our decision-making?
- Do we need real-time data access or will daily or weekly updates do the job?
- How far back do we need to go? Do we need 5-year-old data or is only recent data important?
If you follow arcplan news, you’ve probably heard about our new partnership with Teradata. We just got back from exhibiting at the Teradata PARTNERS User Group Conference (TDPUG) in San Diego late last week and we’re blown away by how well we were received at the show.
Overall, the show was positive and encouraging, with Teradata’s customers really looking to partners for ways to extend the reach of their existing infrastructure and drive utilization and data storage within Teradata.
We met with so many data architects, DBAs, BI managers, and analysts who were excited over arcplan’s status as the only partner to support Teradata’s new OLAP connector without the need for a semantic layer. We talked to many Teradata customers who have already installed (or are in the final stages of installing) the OLAP connector in order to directly integrate a BI solution into their Teradata Warehouse. That’s what arcplan does, and it saves developers time – time to value, time to build reports, dashboards, and other analytic applications…and it also saves money since it requires less resources and less infrastructure.
We demo’d arcplan’s support for the Teradata OLAP connector and heard a lot of interest in the fact that arcplan takes the power of Excel (the only other way to access the OLAP interface directly) and broadens it to the casual business user of BI – those who need intuitive access to their reports and dashboards either on their desktop browser or on any mobile device. In fact, I spent most of the show walking around with my iPad out, showing arcplan + Teradata everywhere I went (as you can see in the picture).
We also spoke with attendees in the finance function, or IT managers responsible for budgeting and planning support, whose interest was piqued by our integrated platform, which combines reporting with budgeting and planning capabilities (allowing Teradata customers to leverage their existing infrastructure and expertise to address this additional organizational need!).
We’ll definitely be back next year. In the meantime, if you have questions about how arcplan works with Teradata, or if you’re a Teradata customer who is exploring the OLAP connector, email us or leave us a comment!
Are you an Oracle customer who’s heard about OLAP but aren’t sure what it can do for you? Oracle OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing), an option to Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition, is a calculation engine that supports advanced analytical applications including planning, budgeting, forecasting, sales, and marketing, to help identify key business trends and model complex business scenarios.
MDX stands for Multidimensional Expressions and lets you query multidimensional objects, such as cubes, and return multidimensional cellsets that contain the cube’s data. With the MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP, organizations and departments that use Excel for ad-hoc querying, analysis and reporting can connect to Oracle OLAP data just like connecting to any other data source.
The MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP enables users to take advantage of Excel PivotTable and PivotChart functionality to analyze Oracle OLAP data, including advanced formatting and dashboard presentation capabilities, and integration with other Microsoft Office products. With all data and calculations stored centrally in the database and analysis performed directly against the database, users benefit from the performance and security features of the Oracle Database, while helping to ensure that the analysis performed takes advantage of the very latest information.
Yes, it’s a mouthful, but essentially, MDX allows for easier, faster querying of your database, which is of course a good thing.
arcplan recently partnered with Simba Technologies, whose MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP allows organizations to utilize arcplan’s portfolio of products for Business Intelligence and planning. Even though arcplan’s products can access Oracle OLAP through standard SQL queries, the addition of MDX provides for a much more efficient method of data access.
There’s more information about this on arc|community, our user forum.
We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Teradata, THE big data/data warehouse experts! arcplan is their only partner to support Teradata’s new OLAP interface.
The cool thing for Teradata customers is…well, there are many cool things! arcplan is the ideal front-end to Teradata, providing analysis, reporting, planning, and real-time mobile analytics to Teradata customers. The new “arcplan OLAP Connector for Teradata” allows users to answer multidimensional analytical questions by slicing and dicing their large data volumes quickly over the Web or on any mobile device. Teradata customers can also build ad-hoc reports, intuitive and interactive dashboards, and can even manage their budgeting and planning with one architecture.