Is HTAP the latest type of OLAP?

HTAP OLAP hybrid transactional systems

Some vendors have run from the four letters OLAP…and yet, articles continue to be published, and assertions made, that “analytical processing” is entering a new phase. There’s a new acronym in the market, HTAP, which stands for Hybrid Transactional/Analytical Processing. Given the close similarity (two out of four words ain’t bad—and it’s three if we consider the once-upon-a-time category HOLAP), is there a difference? This post from one of our favorite bloggers, Timo Elliott, may help you decide…

What is HTAP?

Read more about PARIS’ take on the HTAP technology on the PARIS Tech Blog

Infographic: Why BI is Key for Competitive Advantage

A great infograhic from the Master of Science in Computer Information Systems program at Boston University.  The BU researchers focused on: growth of business intelligence, management of data, decision-making and budgeting.  Enjoy!



{Originally posted here}

Excel-Friendly BI Helps Teach Business Analytics at the University

By Bill Tastle, our newest contributor

As a Professor at an AACSB accredited business school, I am responsible for preparing  business students who are eager to enter the marketplace upon graduation. Naturally,  I spend a lot of time researching about what skills will best serve them. This can be more of a challenge than one might think because today’s skills may not be in demand tomorrow but one thing appears to be quite apparent; the need for graduates trained in the methods of business analytics will be in demand for at least the next decade.  Thus, my business school faculty members and I have been discussing how best to incorporate Business Intelligence (BI) skills into our existing program.

This is a bit exasperating if one’s business school/college is AACSB accredited, because the required set of courses that comprise the curricula have very little room for extras.  BI, I must argue, is not an “extra” but rather, a critical component to a student’s undergraduate business education.

So, I carefully examined the landscape for suitable software tools to bring into my undergraduate classroom environment. I spent considerable time reading everything I could find from many, many companies and multinational corporations hawking tools for BI. Eventually, I happened upon a company featuring a strong “Excel user-friendly” product.

There seemed to be a natural logic to doing BI in Excel, given the pervasive use of spreadsheets in the business community, but what I had discovered is that many software vendors try to address the Excel “problem” by doing away with Excel altogether.

This company had a different approach, which is to embrace what Excel has to offer as a familiar front end. I sent off an email asking for information and virtually immediately was in contact with someone at the company and quickly received their literature. I read it!  Carefully!  The more I read, the more excited I became.

It is pretty obvious that all business schools teach Microsoft Excel, some at a trivial level, which is little more than a superficial introduction, and others are more advanced levels.  Perhaps I am a statistical outlier, but at my school, sophomores must become Microsoft Expert certified to pass their required business technology course.

So, the ability to bring a BI tool directly into Excel in the form of a simple add-in has made all the difference in the world.  Students receive an introduction to the world of BI and quickly discover what is meant by “multi-dimensionality,” an important concept when business performance models (“cubes” in BI terminology) are being constructed.

I could not do as good of a job teaching Business Analytics if I had to teach an enterprise database program first, just to get to their dashboard graphs.  Furthermore, being able to attach the BI software program to other sources of data made it all the more fascinating to students who are amazed to discover they can access data not only from other worksheets, but also from database tables.  This is also a fantastic achievement, getting data from multiple sources with different data structures.

I am about as pleased as can be. In fact, I am offering an additional course in BI and I have other courses undergoing development.  The pedagogy involved in the skills of Business Intelligence is being written in this decade, and the benefit of using an “Excel-friendly” tool in the classroom brings daylight to the mysterious area of “intelligence gathering” and how it is used in decision-making solutions.  For me, it is particularly exciting because it is the beginning of a thrilling direction in business education.

Next time:  Analytics in the Business Dean’s Office


How Business Intelligence Benefits Call Centers

Business Intelligence, according to Wikipedia, makes interpreting voluminous data friendly and enables  implementing an effective strategy successfully. This post talks about how BI could benefit contact centers as a data management tool. See excerpt below.


A more helpful definition describes BI as “the process of providing decision makers with valuable information and knowledge by leveraging a variety of sources of data as well as structured and unstructured information.”

On this basis there are clearly strong synergies between BI and contact centres: contact centres provide vast amounts of information about customers, their needs and wants from a company, their issues with a company’s products and services. This is all grist to the mill for BI software. And the analysis of these and other data can provide valuable insights that can help call centre operators improve the customer experience. Furthermore, BI software can provide valuable insights into the operation of a contact centre – insights not otherwise available.

View Full Post – BI brings big benefits to contact centres

Source – WhaTech Channel


Business Intelligence Smart Even for Small Business

Business Intelligence is essential for decision making since it helps businesses to do more with their data, improve productivity and efficiency. However, many business intelligence applications are often thought of as a solution that is used by larger businesses who can either “afford to” or have the need to find ways to grasp their ever growing data needs. This article from IT Tech News Daily explores ways that small businesses can “take a bite out of the business intelligence data pie.”

Human Head Business Intelligence

While many small-business owners may be under the impression business intelligence is only for their larger competitors, research from St. Joseph’s University suggests they think again. Researcher Ginny Miori said business intelligence can boost small businesses by helping determine their best customers, their most profitable product or service and the best location for their business.”The businesses that aren’t obtaining this kind of information are operating below the curve,” Miori said. “Business intelligence provides small businesses with tools to standardize data, reduce costs and identify new opportunities to improve efficiency.”

Read Full Post: Business Intelligence Smart Even for Small Business

Source: IT Tech News Daily

Better Business Intelligence from a New ERP System? Think Twice!

ERP Systems Image

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems are widely acknowledged as a backbone software component for mid-to-large sized companies. The general idea is to create efficiencies in the way a business is run by gathering information from different functional areas—Finance, HR, Marketing, Sales, Customer Relationship (CRM), etc.—and managing them “all under one roof.” It’s not a new concept. Indeed, many firms with some kind of system already in place (even if it didn’t have the ERP label when originally purchased) are asking themselves if a more current ERP implementation can better help them reach their business objectives.

The question under discussion here is: If better, more dynamic and flexible Business Intelligence is the objective, should a firm be thinking of a new ERP system? Our advice can be summed up in two words: Think twice!

There are clearly smart reasons to consider a new ERP purchase to replace the system you are using now to run your business.  A system that is just “old and in the way” really needs to go.  And since ERP systems take a modular approach, you can start with what you need immediately (e.g., the Finance component) and build up other components in sequence, or as the need arises.

The more hopeful case for considering a new ERP would be to address the needs of a growing business: your current ERP system might not be keeping up with the volume or complexity of where you anticipate you’ll be in short time. Or perhaps specific components of your current ERP system are weak or data is “silo’d” in a different software altogether, causing real grief in trying to bring actionable intelligence together. So you might seek out a system that will deliver benefits as “an integrated whole.” As an example: a new ERP could provide the more robust CRM system you need, while tying it to more powerful and efficient financial and sales order systems as well.These are prime considerations when your thoughts turn to a new ERP purchase: the functional exigencies or strategic objectives a new system must address to make your business run better.

And if those reasons are not enough, ERP vendors will most definitely find ways to inspire you!

One very compelling message you’ll likely hear is the promise to obtain better, faster insights through better Business Intelligence from a new ERP system. So far, so good. It does seem to make sense that if functional areas are brought together in an ERP system, then reporting and analytics would be better and faster, too.

But here again, those words of advice: Think twice. The expectation of better Business Intelligence has led many a firm to the rash purchase of a new ERP system.  A better alternative, not to mention less costly and time-consuming, might be to investigate a BI solution that will work powerfully with your current ERP system.

Given that many BI solutions will work cross-ERP/database, what you will want to do is (similar to an ERP purchase) consider your functional and strategic objectives. And you should do so independently of why you might consider a new ERP system in the first place. There’s no reason to wed yourself to BI from an ERP vendor. You should be clear on what you need as actionable Business Intelligence from your data right now, whether or not the purchase of a new ERP system is justifiable in its own right.