Author Archives: Peter Hanley

Corporate performance management – strategy to sustainable performance

Stock_BI4_LRAccording to Price Waterhouse Coopers, organisations struggle mightily to meld their strategic intent with their operations, leaving a gap between the strategy they develop and their ability to execute that strategy in day-to-day business.

What’s needed is a better capability to understand the pulse of the organisation – not only what is going on financially, but in terms of operations and compliance — actionable management information to guide operational and financial decisions. Developing a strategic performance management approach drives sustainable performance by aligning the activities of the management team and employees with corporate strategy.

Corporate Performance Management (CPM) is a framework that integrates strategy with business operations. It gives management a prospective and real-time picture of what is actually going on across the value chain and provides a robust platform to support future growth. It helps executives address the fundamental business questions of:

  • How are we doing?
  • Why?
  • What should we be doing?

The benefits of corporate performance management have been elusive since the term was first coined  over a decade ago. Often seen as a CIO responsibility for reporting and analytics, and a CFO responsibility for budgeting and planning, point solutions have failed to deliver the true benefits of corporate performance management.

As a consequence, many organisations are still using Excel for budgeting, planning and forecasting, reporting and analytics.

According to research undertaken by Deloittes in 2014, in excess of 63% of the survey respondents use Excel exclusively or primarily to undertake one of the most important tasks for an organisation.   spreadsheet dominance

What are the alternatives to Excel that can provide and support the budgeting, planning and forecasting cycle within organisations?

Every organisation, public, private or NGO, has to prepare budgets and plan for the future. Ideally they should also revisit remaining budget periods in light of actual performance and forecast what changes, if any, should be applied to the original budget to reflect the best view of the future. Only by making budgeting, planning and forecasting part of the DNA of an organisation will it effectively and efficiently survive in the post global financial crisis economy.

Volatility is the new normal

Examples from 2014 highlight how volatile and unpredictable the global market is. At the beginning of the year very few would have forecast oil prices to halve before the year was out; yet they did!

Similarly, and closer to home, on the back of a record year in 2013, few New Zealand dairy farmers would have expected to see their profitability and cash flow threatened by a 50% reduction in whole milk powder prices, but it happened.

Crude oil pricesmilk powder prices

But it’s not just the oil traders and the dairy farmers who are affected by these seismic shifts. For many organisations, significant changes in raw material costs, in either a positive or negative direction, can dramatically impact profitability. Being able to understand the financial impact of change and model alternative scenarios provides a sound basis on which to take appropriate action.

 

Being prepared for change: where is the budgeting, forecasting, and reporting process heading?

The short answer? It is heading away from an annual, finance imposed and led, morale sapping exercise. A time during the company year which as often as not turns into a multi-party negotiation in which finance, operations and general management are challenged to remember that the strategic goals of the organisation should be paramount, rather than individual incentives.

The ‘new normal’ business environment needs a new and enhanced approach to understand, identify and plan for a volatile, changing business environment.

  • Increased frequency, ideally rolling, forecasting
  • Greater insight into historical performance and external factors
  • Deeper integration with transaction systems such as ERP or HR
  • Enhanced automation to reduce manual entry, and use predictive analytics
  • Wider collaboration among a broader base of contributors to the process

Conceptually, this is not new. Organisations have been wrestling with the challenge of managing their way through ups and downs for decades. In its simplest illustration, management is characterised by addressing a few key questions, which constitute a management cycle. The frequency with which organisations complete the cycle is driven by the ‘heart rate’ of their business. A retail organisation, or one engaged in e-commerce may find that each cycle is measured in a few months. An organisation such as an airline or a university on the other hand may find that their cycle time is much longer, although elements of their plan may require monitoring and analysing on a more frequent basis.

imagefour
Analytics to support budgeting and planning

Organisations are now in a position to do a much better job of understanding and communicating what has happened historically, thanks to the rise of business intelligence.

  • Query and reporting tools are becoming ubiquitous
  • Data marts or warehouses more common
  • Static dashboards are expected

But penetration is still lower than it should be, and using analytics to understand why things have happened as opposed to just knowing that they have is still more unusual than might be expected. It is in many cases rather akin to driving with a misted rear-view mirror.

Management cycle meets business intelligence

Business intelligence has provided organisations with the tools to monitor, report, analyse and communicate what HAS happened in the business. Organisations have become more aware of the value of being able to use factual information rather basing decisions on raw data or gut instinct.

imagefive

 

If we lay the functionality and deliverables of business intelligence over the management cycle, we can see that business intelligence can provide deep and highly visual functionality to help organisations understand and communicate performance against plan. In many organisations, gathering and storing cleansed data to support the provision of business intelligence has provided a single version of the truth widely shared across the organisation improving both the quality and speed of decision making.

Amongst those decisions will be ones which set stakeholder expectations for the future as part of the budgeting and planning process. There is a Chinese proverb; “Consider the past and you shall know the future” credited to Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC), which leads to the consideration of how…

In Part 2 I will look at why business intelligence and budgeting and planning should be considered natural bed fellows within an organisation’s IT environment, consider why sharing data between BI and budgeting and planning aids accuracy and integrity, and demolish some myths around predictive analytics.

This blog post, by Peter Hanley, was Corporate performance management blog on Theta.

Growing international demand for NZ business software

Theta has entered into a partnership agreement with Seattle-based Talus Solutions Group for the marketing, sale, implementation and support of Six Degrees Planning in the United States.
This is the second international reseller agreement this year for the Kiwi-developed enterprise planning software built on the MicroStrategy business intelligence platform.

Talus is an established MicroStrategy partner, with significant business intelligence and human capital management expertise and several blue-chip customers.
Russ Anders, Talus’ CEO comments:

“We’re delighted to be representing Six Degrees in the US market. It occupies a unique niche in the planning software market, and partnering with Six Degrees means that we didn’t have to develop our own planning and forecasting solution. It also provides an excellent platform for us to develop enhanced reporting and analytics for our human capital management solution. It’s definitely something our customers are interested in, and we’re looking forward to working with Theta on new product features.”

Theta Chair Susan Paterson adds:

“It’s exciting to see this innovative, Kiwi-developed software meet an international need, and we’re ready to make the most of the opportunity. Talus’ extensive experience in the people side of planning will help us further develop Six Degrees, not just as resellers, but as collaborative development partners. Their access to companies like Amazon, Starbucks, Boeing and Expedia will help Theta take Six Degrees to the world.”

Together with Project X in Toronto who signed earlier this year, Theta now has two resellers in North America, and continues to develop a partner ecosystem to extend coverage and business opportunities.

About Talus Solutions Group

Talus has 500 staff in offices and client sites across the western United States and in India, and specialises in the healthcare, retail, manufacturing and utilities sectors.

http://talussg.com/

Can you use MicroStrategy for Enterprise Planning? Yes, you can!

Six Degrees uses native MicroStrategy technology to deliver Enterprise Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting in one solution with MicroStrategy Analytics and Reporting.

Grab your iPad, download the MicroStrategy App from iTunes if you don’t already have it, and go to http://tinyurl.com/mrn2zg6 to experience MicroStrategy Mobile delivering Enterprise Planning and Analytics anywhere, any time.

Check out these Six Degrees Planning screen-shots

1. Home screen 2. Revenue review 3. Product sales heatmap 4. Revenue Planning by units sold 5. CoS assumptions by product 6. Product Mix 7. Expense Planning 8. People Planning 13. Balance Sheet

Six Degrees Planning: gold sponsors of 2014 CFO Summit

Six Degrees Planning were gold sponsors of the 2014 CFO Summit at Sky City in Auckland today, and provided enterprise budgeting and forecasting software demonstrations to CFOs.

Foodstuffs explaining their $150M transformational change project:

CFO

Here is the Indigo stand with Chris and Sefton all ready to share software and jaffas:

Indigo stand

What happens in Las Vegas… goes global!

MicroStrategy World was fantastic – let’s build on what we learned

Las vegas signThank you to everyone who joined us at MicroStrategy World to learn about the fantastic analytics capabilities of Six Degrees Planning budgeting, forecasting and planning software – based on MicroStrategy’s leading analytics platform.

“I liked what I saw at MicroStrategy World very much, and now we have had a full demonstration, I like it even more!”

Please contact me if you would like to know more about the innovative Six Degrees Planning, which shows off Kiwi ingenuity at its best, delivering some world firsts with a fresh approach to assisting business in one of the ‘must do’ areas affecting most, if not all of the management team.

We often do online demonstrations for businesses around the world and we’re more than happy to do this for you.

Peter Hanley
CEO, Six Degrees Planning

What happened in Las Vegas

MSTRWorld

Six Degrees set out to show how MicroStrategy can deliver an enterprise financial performance management solution including planning and forecasting at MicroStrategy World 2014.

If you didn’t get to see how Six Degrees utilises MicroStrategy to deliver a fully functional enterprise budgeting, planning, forecasting and consolidation solution – out of the box, with no additional software and no add ins – we’re happy to provide a personal demonstration online. Just ask, and we’ll arrange it.

Congratulations to Scott Rosenblum, from the Bank of America who left with a bottle of New Zealand wine.

If you missed the amazing GUCCI presentation, you can catch it here.

Top 3 questions from MicroStrategy World

Do you use MicroStrategy Transaction Services?

Yes we do for Six Degrees mobile. We use all of the great functionality available on the MicroStrategy Mobile Platform. For Six Degrees on the web, we have used the API’s and SDK supplied by MicroStrategy to provide new, native functionality for MicroStrategy which provides a very rich visual interface for users which also provides Excel like functionality for working with data.

Do you use a multidimensional OLAP database at the backend?

No, we don’t. There are two primary reasons. We use the MicroStrategy ROLAP engine to provide performance which is at least as good as we could expect if we used a multidimensional OLAP database. Secondly, the Six Degrees database is designed to provide a great end user experience both when data is being entered and consolidated, and also when undertaking reporting and analysis. Using a star schema design, and leveraging the MicroStrategy ROLAP engine lets us give users the best of both worlds.

Can I use Six Degrees on mobile?

Yes, absolutely. The ability of MicroStrategy to design and build once, and then deploy to a wide variety of user devices means that you can use Six Degrees on your laptop or your mobile device, and be certain that all of the data is kept in synch, and has integrity.

GUESS launches state-of-the-art mobile app for multi-channel customers

GUESS, Inc. has unveiled a new mobile app for its American customers powered by the MicroStrategy Alert Platform. The new GUESS app offers a personalized high-interactivity loyalty channel between GUESS and its customers through their mobile phones.

To see the GUESS mobile app for customers, watch this short video:

The GUESS app is intended to thrill its customers with greater convenience, better customer service, more information and fashion inspiration, and a seamless omni-channel shopping experience that blurs the line between in-store and online shopping.  The new GUESS app merges social loyalty with traditional loyalty by rewarding brand ambassador customers for extending GUESS campaigns and promotions through their social networks (Facebook, Twitter, SMS, or email).

GUESSIn its announcement of its new, recently launched GUESS app, GUESS said: “Reimagined and designed with you in mind, the all-new GUESS mobile app delivers a customized shopping experience right to your mobile device.

  • Connect to your GUESS List account and leave your card at home
  • Access your POINTS, REWARDS, and RECEIPTS anytime, anywhere
  • Earn EXTRA LOYALTY POINTS by socializing with GUESS on Facebook
  • Get CUSTOMIZED OFFERS, event invites, exclusive content and more”

The mobile app will allow GUESS marketers to forge a closer relationship between the brand and its customers. GUESS marketers will be able to introduce new products and to merchandise existing products using high-resolution images and videos.  They can cross-sell and up-sell products based on previous purchases or promotion responses. Using geo-fencing and the deep data analytics in Alert, GUESS will also be able to offer instant promotions to customers that are immediately relevant based on location and previous purchases.

“Our new GUESS app will allow us to engage with our customers in a highly interactive and personalized fashion,” said Michael Relich, COO at GUESS, Inc.  “Our goal is provide our customers with something they will love to use because it is so convenient, easy, feature-rich, and stylish.  At the same time, we wanted to provide our customer relationship team with a wide range of analytic and promotion capabilities to create an immersive and personalized experience.  eCommerce and mobile commerce have become vital parts of the GUESS business, and we are very confident that our Alert app will help us to fuel future growth in these areas.”

“Alert is a mobile app platform that enables retailers to rapidly generate their own branded mobile apps that are packed with state-of-the-art consumer and marketing features, and that are backed by the industrial-strength MicroStrategy Analytics Platform,” said Jonathan Klein, President, MicroStrategy Incorporated.  “Retailers must address the need for a mobile app connection with their customers for loyalty, marketing, and commerce; but very few retailers are prepared to design, code, and deploy a mobile app that links to their loyalty systems, CRM systems, catalogue systems, eCommerce, and social media sites.  Alert does all of that out-of-the-box, with no coding.”

Klein added, “The Alert platform embodies hundreds of engineering years that we can make instantly available to retailers, and since it’s hosted in the MicroStrategy Cloud, retailers can deploy their branded mobile app in a matter of weeks, rather than months or years it takes to do it from scratch.”

NASDAQ said in this article that “due to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets and increasing popularity of online shopping, several U.S. retailers are adopting omni-channel retailing to attract customers irrespective of the shopping channel they prefer. Reports suggest that multichannel customers have a tendency to spend more than regular customers. Response to this concept has been so strong that retailers are actually struggling to fulfill customer demand.” They go on to say that they “believe that developing its omni-channel platform should be among Guess’ top priorities”.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Apparel Market Is Moving Towards Omni-Channel Retailing

The U.S. apparel market is highly saturated with a number of established chains and private label players sparring over prices, quality, fashion trends, and other aspects of the business. Such a competitive environment has limited the room for growth for apparel players, which has forced them to focus on alternate channels such as e-commerce. However, despite the retailers’ efforts and the surge in online retail sales, e-commerce hasn’t grown into a big business for several players such as Gap Inc, American Eagle Outfitters and Guess. The direct-to-consumer business accounts for just 12% of Gap’s revenues and 13% of American Eagle’s revenues. Though Guess does not report the dollar amount of its e-commerce revenues, we believe that it does not contribute much to the company’s sales. In Q3 fiscal 2014, Guess’ comparable sales in North America declined by 5% despite a 33% rise in e-commerce sales.

As a result, retailers are now looking to leverage customers’ online shopping interest to enhance store sales. According to a survey conducted by Retail Systems Research (RSR) in June 2013, around 84% of the retailers polled worldwide believed that creating a consistent customer experience across channels was very important. Moreover, multichannel shoppers have a tendency to spend more than regular shoppers as they have access to a wider product range and additional discounts. Therefore, investing in omni-channel retailing is quite essential for U.S. retailers. An Edgell Knowledge Network survey suggested that a majority of retailers in North America are planning to ramp up their consumer mobile initiatives over the next two years.

However, the current landscape of omni-channel retailing is not well developed in the U.S. According to eMarketer, retailers have been inefficient in coping up with multichannel shoppers’ demands. The RSR survey found that less than one in five respondents reported full synchronization in the 13 most important aspects of omni-channel strategy. This provides a big opportunity for Guess to completely develop its omni-channel platform before its peers and gain a competitive advantage. We believe that the retailer is capable of accomplishing this goal given its aggressive push towards the multichannel platform.

Gucci wows MicroStrategy World 2014 attendees

Attendees at MicroStrategy World 2014 in Las Vegas were impressed by Gucci’s demonstration of how they have used MicroStrategy products to deliver a better experience for their employees and customers.

Features include ‘snapping’ a magazine advertisement to obtain a list of all the items in the advert, watching catwalk videos and using the app to drag items into the customer’s wishlist, checking in at Gucci stores via Usher for personalised service based on the customer’s wishlist and spending patterns, and even enjoying advice on nearby premium attractions.

Six Degrees Planning attends MicroStrategy World 2014

Can MicroStrategy deliver an enterprise financial performance management solution including planning and forecasting?

Visit us on booth 1005 to see how Six Degrees utilises MicroStrategy to deliver a fully functional enterprise budgeting, planning, forecasting and consolidation solution – out of the box, with no additional software and no add-ins.

There may be a bottle of New Zealand’s finest wine in it for you!

Find out more about MicroStrategy World 2014 here, or join us at the world-class Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Resort January 27-30 to experience the most powerful, comprehensive, scalable, and user-friendly platforms for analytics, mobile, identity and loyalty.

Why attend MicroStrategy World?

  • See why the new MicroStrategy Analytics Platform is the most comprehensive analytics solution on the market and the only vendor to receive Good/Excellent ratings in every product capability category in the most recent BIScorecard.
  • Let Facebook, Yahoo and eBay show you how they work with MicroStrategy to solve the biggest of Big Data challenges
  • Introduce yourself to the newest addition to our analytics suite, MicroStrategy Analytics Desktop, which makes self-service analytics free and easy.
  • Hear from our customers, including McDonalds, Houghton Mifflin, Chipotle, DFW Airport, Einstein Noah Bagels, and others why MicroStrategy Mobile has been ranked the #1 Mobile BI Solution for the 3rd straight year.
  • Learn why Dr Pepper/Snapple, Netflix, Ingram Micro, Huntington National Bank and others are moving to the Cloud for their analytics needs.
  • Discover Gucci, GUESS?, and Tilly’s presenting cutting-edge MicroStrategy retail apps for clienteling, customer loyalty and engagement, and more reinforcing why RIS News Leaderboard ranked MicroStrategy as the #1 retail software vendor in 2013.
  • Tour MicroStrategy Usher’s live “Innovation Lab”, where visitors can see demonstrations of how the Usher solution enables enterprise employees and customers to leverage their identity on the smartphone instantly and securely to access systems, perform transactions, and authenticate themselves.

Actionable Mobile Apps increase worker productivity

Rise of the Information-Driven App Part 3

By Su Young (Alex) Kim on the MicroStrategy Blog

Guided Workflows Organize Your App

Successful mobile apps often guide users with a series of embedded tabs. For example, a personal finance app opens on an overview tab and has subsequent tabs for budgets, transactions, and goals. These tabs were designed and placed in such an order that the user can move from a high level view of their personal finances down to increasingly granular analytic layers. Information-driven apps should be designed with the same embedded workflow concept in mind. The dashboards that make up an app should be matched to the workflow that end-users will follow to explore, analyze, and act on their data.

Let’s look at how a manager at a retail store might use such an application. A store manager’s primary goal is making sure that her store is open for business and is utilizing space, staff, and time to its maximum potential. In order to achieve this goal, she would use an app that includes a store performance dashboard, an inventory dashboard, and a staff dashboard. In this workflow, the manager first views their sales performance and trends. From there, she anticipates when the store will meet heavy traffic and what items will be most in demand, based on previous sales, current promotions, etc. Then, she is able to use the inventory and staff dashboards to determine what items to restock and how to adjust staff schedule to meet customer demand.

Without the structure of guided workflows, an information-rich app could be an organizational nightmare, ultimately causing more trouble than it is worth. However, by designing an app with intuitive and user-friendly navigation, you empower business users to take full advantage of their data and make well-informed business decisions.

Transaction-Enabled Apps Reduce Delays

Once users have explored and analyzed their data, they need to act on their findings. When it comes to taking action, immediacy and context is essential. How often have you had a task, written it down, but never got around to it? Perhaps you’ve tried to explain a job to someone else, but without proper context, your directions were misunderstood.

When this occurs in a business setting, the consequences can be serious. Imagine, for example, a large manufacturer who finds a shortage of a critical nut in his supply chain. He notes the part number, exits his dashboard, and enters the order into his purchasing system. Suppose, however, he mistypes the part number and mistakenly orders a massive quantity of bolts. As the result of this slight error, the business could experience weeks of production delay and millions in lost revenue.

This example shows the importance of transaction-enabled app, which without users would have to exit the dashboard and use another application to perform their duties, perhaps relying on coworkers. Doing so creates both communication gaps and time delays, during which much information can be lost or distorted, as in the case of the manufacturer. Enabling users to take action from directly within the app reduces potential gaps and boosts user productivity.

By combining MicroStrategy Transaction Services with the new MicroStrategy Analytics Platform, users no longer experience a long wait from gaining insight taking to action. The app provides a wide variety of action options, including e-mailing, scheduling, and directly writing back to the data warehouse. In short, the app allows the user to do precisely what they want, when they want, without leaving the app or depending on others.

The MicroStrategy Analytics Platform allows you to connect to multiple data sources, enabling you to combine different workflows. The platform also uses seamless linking between dashboards to organize them into one cohesive app. A user can work on one dashboard and have the work carry over into the next step in the workflow. With our numerous automation features, building wizard-driven processes directly into your app has never been easier.

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, it is increasingly important to eliminate delays whenever possible. Minutes of extra work wastes resources. Having a structured workflow to perform your analysis ensures that you make the most of your resources. The MicroStrategy Analytics Platform has been designed to maximize savings on time and resources, helping you stay up-to-speed for maximum productivity.

Mobilised BI Apps deliver Analytics to the point of action

Rise of the Information-Driven App, Part 4

By Su Young (Alex) Kim on the MicroStrategy Blog

Users Demand Mobile Dashboards

Last year, MicroStrategy conducted a survey on dashboard use among a diverse group of participants. Predictably, 78% of respondents said that they would prefer to access their dashboards via a mobile device. In fact, mobile dashboard delivery was ranked as the most preferred method for receiving, viewing, and interacting with dashboards. Yet, only 28% of respondents have mobilized dashboards; the majority still use desktop machines. Despite the rise of self-service analytics and the increased adoption of mobile devices at large enterprises, users at most organizations remain tethered to desktop machines for their analytics.

The survey results show that as more and more business is conducted on the go, users want access to information at the point of action. Naturally, they view mobile analytics as a next step for many businesses. Information Driven Apps are Most Effective When MobilizedUsers are accustomed to on-the-go information in their personal lives, so it no longer makes sense to expect them to be restricted to a desktop. Having analytics deployed as a native app on smartphones or tablets not only allows for mobility, but it also enhances the capabilities of information-driven apps by making full use of all of the sensor inputs available on mobile devices. The chart below explains the benefits of mobilized apps:

Mobile apps

MicroStrategy – The World’s Best Mobile Analytics, Hands Down

The MicroStrategy Mobile App Platform provides the five mobile must-haves necessary for the most comprehensive apps.

  • Offline Mode – MicroStrategy apps provide full offline support that enables users to download and cache their data and multimedia in advance, allowing users to view their dashboards without an internet connection.
  • Military-Grade Security – MicroStrategy uses sophisticated encryption methods and delivers robust device security, data security, authentication, authorization, and transmission security to make sure that data is safe on all devices.
  • Native App Experience – MicroStrategy mobile lets businesses easily create compelling mobile apps without code or programming.
  • Transactions and Multimedia – The MicroStrategy Mobile App Platform contains an extensive library of mobile-optimized and touch-enabled widgets covering transactions and multimedia.
  • Big Data Performance – MicroStrategy’s sophisticated query engine provides the ability to access any big data and relational source.

 Mobile Information Apps in Action

Let’s explore how mobilized analytics have changed a store manager’s daily tasks. MicroStrategy retail customers are using store operations apps to free the store manager from the back office. With a mobile app, the manager can spend much of his day at the storefront, interacting with his staff and customers and building meaningful relationships. While examining his storefront, he makes use of the camera to scan item barcodes to seamlessly check item sales and stock. He also captures signatures on his device as he completes a sale. Finally, the touch-optimized interface allows him to swipe back and forth between multiple views of his business for quick and easy analytics on the fly.

Traveling executives and field employees are also using mobilized apps to access their data remotely. Taking advantage of offline support, executives can pre-cache their app overnight and evaluate their organizations’ KPIs while on-the-go. Meanwhile, field sales employees are also making use of their mobile device’s GPS functionality to locate customers and prospects near their current location. With the power and speed of mobile analytics, they experience an unprecedented 100x boost in time savings.

Thanks to the constantly increasing power and sophistication of smartphones and tablets, there is no longer any reason for a businessperson to be tied to a physical location. MicroStrategy is committed to providing native mobile applications that give business users an immersive and flexible app experience.

Gartner say the benefits of fact-based decision-making are clear to managers

Original article on BizTech2.com

The CIO focus on business intelligence (BI) and analytics looks set to continue through 2017, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that the benefits of fact-based decision-making are clear to business managers in a broad range of disciplines, including: marketing, sales, supply chain management, manufacturing, engineering, risk management, finance and HR.

“Major changes are imminent to the world of BI and analytics including the dominance of data discovery techniques, wider use of real-time streaming event data and the eventual acceleration in BI and analytics spending when big data finally matures,” said Roy Schulte, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “As the cost of acquiring, storing and managing data continues to fall, companies are finding it practical to apply BI and analytics in a far wider range of situations.”

Gartner outlined four key predictions for BI and analytics:

By 2015, the majority of BI vendors will make data discovery their prime BI platform offering, shifting BI emphasis from reporting-centric to analysis-centric.

Over the past several years, the BI platform market has grown largely through companies investing in IT-led consolidation projects to standardise IT-centric BI platforms for large-scale systems of record. These have tended to be highly governed and centralised, where IT production reports were pushed out to managers and knowledge workers. Gartner predicts that going forward, companies will shift their future investment away from IT-developed reporting solutions toward business-user-led analysis solutions. IT will focus most of its effort on data modeling and governance. As a result, data discovery will displace IT-authored static reporting as the dominant BI and analytics user interaction paradigm for new implementations by 2015.

While IT authored, system-of-record reporting will not disappear, it will become a smaller proportion of overall analytics use. Only 30 percent of business people have direct access to BI and analytics today only, but this will grow as a result of the shift to data discovery.

“BI leaders should scrutinise the road maps of both data discovery and IT-centric vendors to determine their suitability to meet growing business user and enterprise requirements,” said Schulte. “It’s important to acknowledge that one size rarely fits all.”

By 2017, more than 50 percent of analytics implementations will make use of event data streams generated from instrumented machines, applications and/or individuals.

As enterprises continue to recognise the economic value of information, and see the opportunity to capture and apply ever greater volumes of detailed data, they will come to expect access to analytics technologies capable of making sense from event streams. This goes beyond traditional and mainstream BI to a breed of technologies capable of producing autonomous insights and inferences quickly.

To produce and harvest this data from physical assets and other event sources, the market will expand for flexible, multipurpose sensors for temperature, humidity, vibration, pressure, sound, light/color, electrical or other utility flows, motion, facial expressions, voice inflection, health monitoring and other systems. Moreover, such event data from physical assets (operational technology [OT]) is sometimes combined with event data from administrative information systems (information technology [IT]) to develop richer, more powerful holistic systems (creating an IT/OT convergence). In addition, technology and consumer product vendors are hastening to enable their wares to capture and emit more consumption and environmental data. Several SaaS application vendors in particular, have already intensified their ability to collect more usage data and are devising quid-pro-quo arrangements with customers that allow leveraging their de-identified data for alternate commercial purposes.

“Nontech businesses leaders should create an inventory of the range of current data collected by their products and services, then consider what additional high-value information could be captured through further instrumentation,” said Schulte. “Application and other technology managers should ensure that the data collected from IT systems, applications, devices and users is maximised with equal consideration for performance implications and probable future business relevance.”

By 2017, analytic applications offered by software vendors will be indistinguishable from analytic applications offered by service providers.

Traditional vendors of analytic platforms recognise that in order to expand their reach beyond traditional power users, they must deliver packaged domain expertise and applications to enable self-service by a wider range of users. Service providers are seeking to turn custom project work and domain expertise into repeatable solutions that can be adopted by other organisations more easily.

The result is that end-user organisations selecting analytic applications will have a significantly wider variety of possible providers to evaluate. Organisations evaluating software vendors will almost always find a SaaS version of their packaged applications, and the similarity of product concepts will shift the emphasis of competition to the domain expertise embedded by the vendors into the application. Software vendors will increasingly face a co-opetition situation with their traditional service provider channels, forcing them to augment their own professional service capabilities. Service providers will use packaged applications as an integral part of their customer relationships, implying that there is a greater specialisation in the services that they provide.

Until 2016, big data confusion will constrain spending on BI and analytics software to single-digit growth.

Despite the strong interest in BI and analytics, confusion around big data is inhibiting spending on BI and analytics software. Until 2016, service providers will garner business by closing the gap between available big data technology and business cases. As big data matures and more packaged intellectual property is available, big data analytics will become more relevant, mainstream and, ultimately, hugely disruptive.

Recent Gartner surveys show that only 30 percent of organisations have invested in big data, of which only a quarter (eight percent of the total) have made it into production. This leaves room for substantial future growth. Analytics plays squarely into the big data trend, where the growing volume, velocity and variety of data create opportunities outside of the traditional, established BI domains and buying centers. However, that also makes the sourcing of analytics bigger and more technically complex than what has been done before.

Paradoxically, the confusion that surrounds the “big data” term and the uncertainty about the tangible benefits of big data are partially to blame for the soft BI and analytics market. Procurement cycles have slowed while budget holders try to match the right tooling to the right business case. In the interim, BI and analytics continue to remain at the forefront for CIOs, and service providers will attempt to bridge much of the confusion. The gap will completely close when those services will become “productised.” This, in addition to a confluence of technology maturity cycles, is expected to occur around 2016. Beyond 2016, when the solution has found the problem, when the discussion has matured from technology to business, and when there will be more off-the-shelf capability available, big data analytics will pervade almost everything that we do, helping push society unequivocally into the digital age.

Ovum predicts BI and analytics growth will drive proactive, real-time decisions

Article from Ovum.com.

Ovum foretells of a maturing BI and analytics market that will enable more proactive and real-time decision making

Growth in BI and analytics will continue strongly in 2014, driven by fundamental changes in how enterprises are using information to make business decisions. This is according to Ovum’s Business Intelligence 2014 Trends-to-Watch report*, which foretells of a shift from a heavily IT-vested query, analysis, and reporting capability, to a more proactive and real-time decision tool for business users, which will impact on how both large and small organizations implement and spend on data initiatives.

Business Intelligence 2014 Trends-to-Watch:

  • In 2014, enterprises will increasingly shift away from data reporting to data discovery, enabled through self-service access and ad hoc interaction with data.
  • Mobile BI will boost BI adoption, and the emergence of mobile development and management platforms will expand the range and popularity of mobile BI applications.
  • BI in the cloud will continue as a growing trend among enterprises looking to reduce the cost and complexity of deployment.
  • The notion of a “logical data warehouse architecture” will continue to grow in importance.
  • BI and analytics will continue to become more tightly coupled.
  • Big Data processing frameworks will increasingly be factored into BI architectures.
  • Collaborative BI is more hype than reality.

Fredrik Tunvall, information management analyst at Ovum, says: “BI and analytics remain a top-priority technology for CIOs to help companies boost revenues, improve customer service, or control costs, by making better decisions, faster. More interestingly, BI and analytics are finding a new generation of sponsors in otherwise uncharted territory, such as in the office of the CMO, who are looking to make informed decisions based on data and rigid analysis with little involvement of IT. In 2014, this will continue to favor vendors who can cater tools to this new audience with self-service, visually compelling, mobile, and sometimes cloud-based solutions.

“At the backend, in-memory databases and appliances, NoSQL technologies such as Hadoop, and new underlying data architectures as the “logical data warehouse” will help enterprises process, analyze, and access growing data sets, both in terms of size and variation.

“In 2014, it will be imperative for enterprises to ensure their BI workers acquire the necessary skillsets – via education, talent acquisition, and outsourcing – to take advantage of newer and better front- and back-end technologies to improve the depth, accessibility, and effectiveness of BI implementations in their organization.”

MicroStrategy mobile rated #1 for third consecutive year

MicroStrategy receives highest overall rating compared to 25 different vendors

Leading independent analyst firm Dresner Advisory Services has rated MicroStrategy the number one overall offering out of 25 vendors for Mobile Computing / Mobile Business Intelligence (BI). This is the third year in a row that MicroStrategy has topped the list of vendors included in Dresner’s Wisdom of Crowds® Mobile Computing / Mobile BI Market Study.

Highlights from the study include:

  • Users in Sales & Marketing business functions have been among the earliest adopters of Mobile BI.
  • Top perceived benefits include pervasive access to information, better and faster decision-making, and better support for increasingly mobile and customer-facing workforce.
  • As in 2011 and 2012, Apple’s iOS devices remain the top priority in terms of what devices organizations are using or plan to use, followed by Android smartphones.
  • Also notable is the continued decline in the RIM Blackberry platform—with more than 50% of respondents indicating “no interest.”
  • From a vertical industry perspective, Retail & Wholesale assign Mobile BI the highest importance and have been among the most ambitious in its adoption—with many examples of excellent use cases related to store and field management.
  • For the most popular mobile platforms (iOS, Android) users still have a strong preference for native apps over web apps.

“Mobile Computing / Mobile BI is not only becoming more pervasive in and across organizations, it’s becoming much more mature and advanced,” said Howard Dresner, Founder and Chief Research Officer, Dresner Advisory Services, and author of the 2013 Wisdom of Crowds® Mobile Computing / Mobile BI Market Study. “Users’ needs have shifted away from simple viewing of charts / reports and KPIs in favor of more sophisticated capabilities including data selection and filtering / drill-down navigation.

“For the third year in a row, the study rated MicroStrategy the top Mobile BI offering with the highest overall score for Mobile Computing / Mobile BI among all 25 vendors rated.”

“Leading organizations have leveraged MicroStrategy to mobilize various parts of their enterprises in innovative ways—both out in the field and in the office,” said Paul Zolfaghari, President, MicroStrategy Incorporated. “The results of the survey, reflecting both independent analysts’ and actual customers’ views, demonstrate that MicroStrategy Mobile has the breadth of capabilities and ease-of-use to make compelling native mobile apps a reality in organizations.”

To receive a free copy of the 2013 Wisdom of Crowds® Mobile Computing / Mobile BI Market Study report, compliments of MicroStrategy, visit http://info.microstrategy.com/LP=189.

Six Degrees Planning vs Excel spreadsheets

Avatar Six DegreesUnlike manually created, complex and error prone spreadsheet budgeting, Six Degrees Planning is true enterprise planning software, delivering fully integrated budgeting, forecasting, planning and financial consolidation.

Real time collaboration between managers located around the globe has never been easier.

Six Degrees Planning offers:

  • pre-built budget software modules that run out of the box,
  • a step-by-step collaborative planning and forecasting process based on best-practice budgeting
  • mobile access enabling input from managers who are out of the office.

Capabilities

Capability Six Degrees Planning Spreadsheets
Revenue & Expenses Multiple scenarios with multiple versions for multiple years can be entered and maintained securely with full data integrity. Cross year comparisons are instantly available. An error prone and time intensive manual process, requiring multiple revenue schedules layered within multiple time periods to create the waterfall effect.
People &
Asset Planning
Driver-based planning lets you work with a range of real-world variables. For instance, you can centrally allocate costs according to the number of desks, office space, PCs and much more. Must be done manually by the IT team.
Balance Sheet &
Cash Flow
With pre-built modules that run out of the box, Six Degrees Planning delivers financial statements such as income statement, balance sheet cashflow and other critical summaries on demand for every entity. Manual, based on estimation, and problematic to manage.
Top down Bottom Up Inputs can be top down, bottom up or middle out, allowing users to enter values to either be cascaded down or consolidated up at any point in the hierarchy. Must be done manually by the IT team. Linkages across worksheets or between workbooks can become misaligned with the addition or deletion of even one cell or row.
What-if forecasting ‘What if’ forecasts are easy to prepare. Multiple versions of each scenario allow you to develop and compare different scenarios to contrast the outcomes of various strategies before decisions are set in stone. Exploring numerous scenarios to project the impact of various assumptions requires numerous recalculations and long periods of programming. This laborious process is inherently prone to error. Combining excel based ‘What-if’ worksheets with forecasted balance sheets and cash flows means obtaining an accurate result is virtually impossible.
Integration with ERP and General Ledger Transform your budgeting, forecasting and reporting and analytics process with collaborative budgeting and forecasting software that integrates in real time with your existing ERP, HR and line of business software systems. No direct interface. Periodic manual uploads create opportunities for variation on financials, organisational structure, departments or pre-set allocations.

Usability

Functionality Six Degrees Planning Spreadsheets
Data integrity Data validation checks across Six Degrees ensure the right type of data is entered and values can be validated for range. Six Degrees Planning creates a structured and auditable environment to ensure data is accurate and assumptions are reliable. Any kind of data can be entered in a cell. There is little or no protection against corruption through human error or inconsistencies.
Dashboards Intuitive, appealing, interactive graphic reporting dashboards, customised to user requirements with ‘drill down’ functionality to investigate detail. Heat maps, bubble graphs and geographic overlays are just the beginning. Can be manually built by the IT team, but dashboards are not self-service, are generally not tailored to user requirements, and do not allow ‘one click’ drill down functionality.
Collaboration
and Workflow
Staff around the company, and around the globe, can simultaneously enter data into Six Degrees and manage the portion of the planning process that they have access to. The process manager can check each contributor’s progress at any time. Spreadsheets are designed for data entry by one person at a time, which means multiple copies of each workbook are needed. Any error will take hours of effort to pinpoint. Managing the process of sourcing input from the many parties and collating all the copies back into one master workbook is error-prone and time intensive.
Mobile access  Fully interactive ‘anytime, anywhere’ mobile access via self service dashboards. With access via smartphones and tablets as well as PCs, users can add their input and get reports anytime, anywhere in the world.  Access is limited and remote workers often need to be emailed workbooks to complete and return, leaving room for error, and creating a version control nightmare.
 Modelling  Weighing options, and deciding the best way forward is part of managing a business. With Six Degrees coordinating financial and operational data from diverse sources, with inputs from the management team is simple and accurate with built-in functionality. Make informed decisions!  Cells, worksheets and workbooks must be formatted manually by the IT team to create the pre-set data entry options and designate the reporting structures. This process requires detailed and complex logic to create formulas, macros and various links between worksheets and cells, all of which is time consuming, and unreliable.
 Scalability
& Reliability
 Virtually unlimited in scope and scale, Six Degrees Planning is designed to handle the largest and most complex businesses down to SME’s.  Database driven planning ensures high data integrity, giving you confidence in the accuracy of the data you base your decisions on.  Data integrity is not guaranteed. Managers can freely enter data based on different and unrecorded assumptions. Human error during manual data entry is unlimited. Evolving needs and requirements will constantly degrade the integrity of a spreadsheet which was originally designed to do less.
 Consolidation  Six Degrees is built to handle complex organisations, multiple currencies, eliminations and partial ownerships. Dynamic consolidation means no more waiting for a consolidation process to happen before your numbers are available.  Running batch processes and consolidating multiple worksheets or workbooks is a difficult, highly manual and time consuming process, so the output is often riddled with errors.
 Formulas  Simple right click functionality removes the need for users to type in formulas, dramatically reducing errors. System wide formulas can be set and changed by Finance. Six Degrees removes the need for users to create macros and formulas, removing the errors that plague spreadsheets.  Huge amounts of time are required to detect and repair spreadsheet errors and flawed logic assumptions in macros and formulas. Yet 88% of spreadsheets can be assumed to contain errors.*
 Ownership  Each contributor is able to manage their section of the planning process, creating a sense of ownership and accountability, and freeing up the finance team to look at the big picture rather than micro-managing the process.  A single person often needs to manage the budgeting spreadsheet, which leaves the company at risk of losing the IP required to enable the complicated process.
 Platform  Built on the exceptional MicroStrategy BI platform, Six Degrees is the world’s first integrated CPM solution. Combining a fresh new approach to budgeting and forecasting, with world leading reporting and analytics, you can produce numbers with a high level of integrity, faster, and use the time freed up to report and analyse in detail.  Excel spreadsheets were never designed to be enterprise level budgeting tools; so basing your business planning on spreadsheets means accepting a number of limitations that ultimately result in less accurate outputs.
 Security  Built in security settings enable custom access settings for each user. Restrict users to appropriate entities, workflows or data sets with a few clicks.  Spreadsheets require manual security management. Access is managed by manually setting passwords on cells, worksheets or workbooks to limit mistakes and restrict access to sensitive data.
 Implementation  Ready to use out of the box, so you won’t need to hire consultants and spend a fortune adapting the software to your organisation to reinvent the wheel.  While excel is ubiquitous, version control can be a challenge.
 Maintenance & Upgrades  Six Degrees is upgraded in line with MicroStrategy releases so it stays in sync with your underlying systems, from finance to HR. No more paying for upgrades – with a valid support agreement your business will receive updates at no charge.  Upgrades are a time consuming, error-prone manual process.
User manuals & documentation Online training, full user guide documentation, intuitive menus, contextual prompts, help function and support desk are part of the package. In-house spreadsheet budgets are often managed by one person or a small team of workers, each with specialist knowledge, which creates knowledge management risk. The need for a manual or user guide is often overlooked.

* ‘What We Know About Spreadsheet Errors’, Raymond R. Panko, University of Hawai’i.

Aberdeen study results indicate need for planning software

A recent study by Aberdeen Group named ‘The Impact of Business Intelligence on Financial Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting: Aiding Insight and Confidence’ found that 21% of respondents cited an inability to trace business success to its key components.

30% of respondents to a question collected for that same report noted that “too many of their business decisions are based on inaccurate or incomplete data” as a top pressure influencing them to factor analytics into planning, budgeting, and forecasting.

Indigo and Six Degrees Planning founder Peter Hanley says “Enterprise planning software delivers a 360 degree view of your business, rather than the traditional ‘glance into the rear-view mirror’.

You can collect all the data you like, but without a financial planning solution overlying your business intelligence system to provide robust ‘What-if’ scenario planning functionality, your reporting and analytics will only ever be 20/20 in hindsight.”

You can read the Aberdeen report here.

Why forecasting leads to success in your business

By Darren Dahl from FedEx on Forbes, 23 May 2013

Far too many SMBs seem to get surprised by changes in the marketplace because they don’t take advantage of a forgotten skill: forecasting.

The rub is that many entrepreneurs and SMB owners say they’re too busy to sit down and create a forecast, which is really just a picture of what your company might look like up to a year or more into the future.

Failing to take a bird’s eye view of your business, however, can lead to fatal mistakes. An accurate forecast can establish measurements to guide management, facilitate planning and goal-setting and basically create a plan to avoid risks while helping the company meets its goals and milestones.

Jack Stack, founder and CEO of SRC Holdings, has been a huge proponent of forecasting for 30 years — a practice he credits with enabling his company to continue growing through three recessions. To do an effective forecast, Stack said that you should collect lots of information — both from the past and the future — from a number of diverse sources to help make decisions that can help your SMB thrive in good times and bad.

Specifically, Stack said any good forecast should be based on macro-economic projections like fluctuations in interest rates as well as survey information taken from customers and competitors.

Forecasting your own company’s sales is a vital part of the process, as is your cash-flow projections.

A common mistake is leaving the job of forecasting to managers. The best forecasts get as many people as possible from your company involved. Other common mistakes to avoid include not being diligent in recording data or forgetting employee costs. Also as important as creating a great forecast is putting together a contingency plan, or “Plan B” for what the company will do in case forecasts aren’t made.

The truth is that at times, forecasting is as much an art as it is a science. That means there is no perfect way to go about creating one, but making a habit of looking ahead will prepare your company for both unexpected road bumps and future success.

Amazing business intelligence feats events

amazing-feats-events

Welcome to the most sensational analytics show on Earth!

Join MicroStrategy in Auckland or Wellington to experience Amazing Business Intelligence Feats that are sure to shock and amaze. From Visual Data Discovery to Mobile and Cloud analytics, come watch MicroStrategy shatter your ideas of what Business Intelligence can do and where it can take your organisation. Incredible acts of analytics! High flying dashboards at death-defying speeds! Big Data tamed and used for all!

RSVP for this FREE event in partnership with Indigo, featuring MicroStrategy 9.3.1:

  • Give every business user the power to build and share great analytical dashboards in less than 10 minutes.
  • Apply 10 mobile innovations to make your BI 1000x better and increase user adoption to 100%.
  • Build a high performance analytical app on a 10 TB database 10x quicker and for 1/10th the cost in the cloud.
  • Maximise every sales opportunity with more effective sales execs powered by advanced analytics.
  • Build a mobile BI app and deploy it to thousands of users in one business day.

Auckland

Register NowNovember 6 I 8:00 am to 10:00 am
Breakfast from 7:30 am
Rendezvous Grand Hotel, Cnr Mayoral Drive & Vincent Street

Wellington

Register NowNovember 7 I 8:00 am to 10:00 am
Breakfast from 7:30 am
InterContinental, 2 Grey Street

Agenda

7:30 – 8:00am:    Registration & Breakfast

8:00 – 10:00am:  Welcome & Introductions

Customer Case Study Presentation

5 Amazing Feats Presentations

Top 10 disadvantages of spreadsheets

Top-10-Disadvantages-of-SpreadsheetsPosted on March 26, 2012 by the Denizon Team

After writing a bunch of articles focusing on specific disadvantages of spreadsheets, we’ve decided to come up with a list featuring 10 of the most damaging or counterproductive of them all. You’ll notice that all of them are in line with significant issues surrounding today’s business enterprise.

1. Vulnerable to fraud

Of all the spreadsheet disadvantages listed here, this is perhaps the most damaging. Fraudulent manipulations in company Excel files have already resulted in Billion-Dollar losses. The main underlying reason behind this spreadsheet vulnerability is the inherent lack of controls, which makes it so easy to alter either formulas, values, or dependencies without being detected.

2. Susceptible to trivial human errors

While fraud will always be a threat to spreadsheet systems, there is a more significant threat that should make you seriously consider getting rid of these outdated systems. And that is its extreme susceptibility to even trivial human errors. Missed negative signs and misaligned rows may sound harmless.

But when they damage investor confidence or cause a considerable loss of opportunity amounting to millions of dollars (Are we serious? Google up “spreadsheet horror stories” to find out), you should understand that it’s time to move on to better alternatives.

3. Difficult to troubleshoot or test

So how about testing spreadsheets to mitigate the risks of items 1 and 2? Good luck. Spreadsheets just aren’t built for that. It’s not uncommon to have interrelated spreadsheet data scattered across different folders, workstations, offices, or even geographical locations.

Worse, even if you are able pinpoint the locations of every related file, tracing the logic of formulas from one related cell to another can take ages. It’s pretty obvious now how you’ll also encounter a similar problem when troubleshooting questionable data.

4. Obstructive to regulatory compliance

Combine items 1, 2, and 3, and what do you get? A big headache impacting regulatory compliance. And we’re not only talking about one or two regulations. Serbanes-Oxley (SOX), Dodd-Frank, Basel II, Solvency II, EU Data Protection Directive, and FAS 157 are just some of the many regulations that impact spreadsheet systems.

And to think it looks like regulatory bodies are just getting warmed up. Over the last two decades, we’ve seen a surge in regulations that directly affect spreadsheet-based systems. Now, you tell me that you haven’t wished there was a better way to beat regulatory compliance deadlines. Well, if you’re still using spreadsheets, then there certainly is a better way.

5. Unfit for agile business practices

We’re now in an age when major changes are shaping and reshaping the business landscape. Mergers and Acquisitions, Management Buyouts, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, uprisings, climate change, new technologies, and so on. If your business isn’t agile enough to adapt to such changes, it could easily be left behind or even face extinction.

Spreadsheets are normally created by individuals who have not the slightest know-how regarding software documentation. In the end, spreadsheet files become highly personalized user developed applications. So when it’s time for a new person to take over as part of a large scale business change, the newcomer may have to start from scratch.

6. Not designed for collaborative work

Planning, forecasting, budgeting, and reporting are all collaborative activities. In other words, plans, forecasts, budgets, and reports typically require information from different individuals belonging to different departments. In addition, the final documents are a result of multiple exchanges of data, ideas, and files.

Now, if your company’s offices are scattered throughout the country or if certain team members are separated by large distances, the only way to exchange data stored in spreadsheets is through email.

Experience will tell you that such a method of exchange is susceptible to duplicate and even erroneous data. Team members will tend to find it hard to keep track of similar files going back and forth, and sometimes even end up sending the wrong version.

7. Hard to consolidate

When it comes to simple data entry and quick ad hoc data analysis tasks, spreadsheets are highly favored by end users. This has made them one of the most ubiquitous office tools on the planet. But as a consequence, data in spreadsheet-based systems are distributed throughout the organization.

So when it’s time to generate reports, you’ll really have to go through a slow consolidation process. In most cases, end users would have to collect data from different files, summarize them, and submit the same to their department heads through emails, portable storage media (e.g. CDs or USB flashdrives), or by copying to a commonly shared network folder.

Department heads would have to undergo a similar process before submitting them to their own superiors. This has to go on until all the information reaches their organization’s top decision makers. Throughout the entire consolidation process, data is subjected to numerous error-prone activities such as copy-pasting, cell entry, and range specification.

8. Incapable of supporting quick decision making

In a spreadsheet-based environment, extracting data from different departments, consolidating them, and summarizing the information so that it could aid the company’s top brass in making sound decisions can be very time consuming.

And because we know how susceptible spreadsheets are to errors, everyone involved in the information processing has to be ultra careful to keep the integrity of the data intact. Hence it would be prudent to enforce double-checking as much as possible.

This extra but necessary exercise can further delay the process. So, when the final information arrives at the hands of the top executive, he may not have much time to work with. (Read about Business Intelligence)

9. Unsuited for business continuity

As mentioned earlier, data in spreadsheet systems are never kept in a single place. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The worse thing about it is that they’re always in the hands of non-IT personnel, who are understandably not familiar with storage and backup best practices.

Thus, if a major disaster strikes, full data recovery can be very difficult if not impossible. As a consequence, even if the company has financial reserves, the absence of data (e.g. accounts receivable records, customer records, and inventory) to work on can prevent the company from making a quick restart.

10. Scales poorly

As an organization grows, data in spreadsheet-based systems get more distributed; subsequently compounding the issues outlined above. It is absolutely not advisable for a large organization to keep using spreadsheets.

Are you in spreadsheet hell or budgeting bliss?

By , June 25, 2013 on the Marketo Blog.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in spreadsheet hell? Waking up the morning that your budget is due and dreading the time you will spend stuck in spreadsheet hell as you are trying to track spend on all of your marketing programs? Do you feel like a zombie as you stay up all night trying to reconcile invoices from different members of your team? Do you feel super stressed out because you are not communicating with finance and you fear you have lost credibility?

If you have ever felt this way, you are not alone. Many marketers spend time stuck in their own spreadsheet hell. In fact, 89% of organizations are still using spreadsheets to manage budgets. I know, crazy right?

But going beyond the spreadsheet will enable you to perform better and provide metrics that lead to greater accuracy in your forecasting and budget. Once you finally get freed from your addiction to evil spreadsheets you will be able to share and manage budgets with ease, forecast accurately, and report ROI. Because when you know where your marketing spend is occurring, you can manage it more intelligently, so you can remain in budgeting bliss!

spreadsheet

MicroStrategy in the “Challengers” Quadrant of the 2013 Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms

Evaluation Based on Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute

TYSONS CORNER, Va., Aug. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ Wall Street Journal

MicroStrategy Incorporated, a leading worldwide provider of enterprise software platforms, today announced that it has debuted in the “Challengers” quadrant in Gartner’s 2013 “Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms” report.*

“We are extremely pleased that our MicroStrategy Mobile App platform has been placed in the Gartner Magic Quadrant,” said Paul Zolfaghari, President, MicroStrategy Incorporated. “MicroStrategy has invested heavily in mobile platform technology designed to help our customers take advantage of what our company and its founder, Michael Saylor, see as the coming ‘Mobile Wave’.”

For six consecutive years, Gartner has positioned MicroStrategy’s Analytics Platform in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence. “MicroStrategy Mobile is now independently recognized for the value it offers customers searching specifically for a mobile app platform,” added Zolfaghari. “MicroStrategy Mobile brings to life analytics, transactions, workflows and multimedia in platform-built custom native apps for tablets and smartphones. As a result, we have seen hundreds of our customers use our mobile platform to build apps that reach beyond BI and include enterprise workflow and transactional processing.”

Powerful mobile uses that MicroStrategy customers have deployed to date include: retail store operations apps, client-facing wealth management apps, sales rep enablement, conference apps, education content apps, and field service apps.

According to Gartner’s report, “The mobile application development platform (MADP) market remains largely distinct from the larger AD tool market, because developing mobile applications for enterprises present unique challenges, including:

  • Each mobile OS has a unique presentation style, interaction style and software stack.
  • Devices have different screen sizes, input modes and hardware capabilities.
  • New devices and OS versions are introduced multiple times per year.
  • Network connectivity and power levels fluctuate widely in typical usage scenarios.
  • New consumer applications regularly extend and revise the standards for good mobile applications.”

MicroStrategy addresses these unique challenges with a code-free development platform that facilitates scalable and rapid native app creation for multiple mobile operating systems. MicroStrategy Mobile(TM) powered apps seamlessly integrate with specific native device capabilities to create a rich, fully immersive user experience, while also providing off-line access when connectivity is limited. Additionally, MicroStrategy’s tooling and architecture make app iteration and maintenance easy and efficient so customers can respond to changes with agility.

A copy of the Gartner report is available, compliments of MicroStrategy, at: http://info.microstrategy.com/2013GartnerReport.

Fast, Enterprise-Grade, Secure and Reliable Mobile App Development Platform

MicroStrategy’s code-free, click-to-configure development allows developers to assemble analytical and information driven apps, leveraging a large library of pre-built widgets, in an intuitive drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface, to create polished and appealing cross-platform apps.

MicroStrategy Mobile includes a wide array of security tools, such as remote wipe-offs and data encryption on-device and in-flight, so that users can access their mobile applications in a secure environment. Additionally, in December 2012, MicroStrategy released its integration with Good Dynamics, providing the ability to deploy MicroStrategy Mobile powered Apps in a Good Dynamics secure container.

True to its BI Heritage, MicroStrategy Enhances its Mobile Monitoring Capabilities

In its latest 9.3.1 release, MicroStrategy enhanced client-side monitoring capabilities to broaden the set of information captured about usage and mobile app users. MicroStrategy’s monitoring capabilities are embedded into every MicroStrategy Mobile powered app. Client-side monitoring captures personalized analysis every time a user taps on an app screen. Statistics are gathered on time spent on each app screen, exploration paths, GPS location, app usage, device type, operating system version, and cache usage. With this information, app developers can track overall app adoption and geo-location of usage, perform cohort analysis, support continuous development cycles, analyze app performance, spot network issues, and track adoption rates of new devices, operating systems, and clients.

Dedicated to Making Every MicroStrategy-powered App Faster

MicroStrategy 9.3.1 also yielded important performance improvements for all apps built and powered by MicroStrategy Mobile 9.3.1. Performance optimizations were realized across the platform and throughout apps themselves, resulting in a much faster end user experience for every user of every MicroStrategy Mobile App.

“MicroStrategy prides itself on helping customers accelerate their enterprise mobile strategies,” said Zolfaghari. “We have announced a number of new initiatives with the intention of making great apps powered by MicroStrategy accessible to all. From the educational videos and certifications included in MicroStrategy’s Mobile App Developer Academy, to the growing global directory of MicroStrategy Mobile powered apps published in MicroStrategy’s Mobile App Universe, to reducing the cost to zero for our Mobile QuickStrike program that delivers a custom app in 10 days, MicroStrategy is committed to making its customers’ mobile strategies a reality.”

 

About the Magic Quadrant

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

About MicroStrategy Incorporated

Founded in 1989, MicroStrategy (Nasdaq: MSTR) is a leading worldwide provider of enterprise software platforms. The Company’s mission is to provide the most flexible, powerful, scalable and user-friendly platforms for analytics, mobile, identity and loyalty, offered either on premises or in the cloud.

The MicroStrategy Analytics Platform(TM) enables leading organizations to analyze vast amounts of data and distribute actionable business insight throughout the enterprise. Our analytics platform delivers reports and dashboards, and enables users to conduct ad hoc analysis and share their insights anywhere, anytime. The MicroStrategy Mobile App Platform(TM) lets organizations rapidly build information-rich applications that combine multimedia, transactions, analytics, and custom workflows. The MicroStrategy Identity Platform(TM) (branded as MicroStrategy Usher(TM)) provides organizations the ability to develop a secure mobile app for identity and credentials. The MicroStrategy Loyalty Platform(TM) (branded as MicroStrategy Alert) is a next-generation, mobile customer loyalty and engagement solution. To learn more about MicroStrategy, visit www.microstrategy.com and follow us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/microstrategy) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/microstrategy).

MicroStrategy, MicroStrategy Business Intelligence Platform, MicroStrategy Analytics Platform, MicroStrategy Mobile App Platform, MicroStrategy Identity Platform, MicroStrategy Loyalty Platform, MicroStrategy Mobile and MicroStrategy Usher are either trademarks or registered trademarks of MicroStrategy Incorporated in the United States and certain other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
* Gartner “Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms” by Ian Finley, Van L. Baker, Ken Parmelee, David Mitchell Smith, Ray Valdes, Gordon Van Huizen, August 7, 2013.
Contact: Warren Getler, MicroStrategy Incorporated, 703-744-6258, wgetler@microstrategy.com
SOURCE MicroStrategy Incorporated, http://www.microstrategy.com