Blog: Claudia Imhoff Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

Claudia Imhoff

Welcome to my blog.

This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

So...check it out every week to see what is new and exciting in our ever changing BI world.

About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

August 2005 Archives

OK -- here is your chance to let me know how you really feel about this blog. SearchCRM.com is holding a contest to find the most outstanding and popular blogs in the CRM and BI markets. Anyone can nominate a blog, but it must be on the topic of CRM, BI or a related field, and it must be maintained on a regular and consistent basis. Be sure to get your nomination in by September 30. To nominate a blog, click here.

Thanks for reading -- and voting!

Yours in BI Success,

Claudia


Posted August 31, 2005 9:49 AM
Permalink | No Comments |

Microsoft is getting into the package tracking and delivery business. Yes, the mighty software company has partnered with hardware vendors to create its own version of the RFID (Radio Frequency Identifier). Today they are offering it to post offices throughout the world but who knows where they will go tomorrow...

The technology allows a postal service, the package sender and the receiver to view precisely where a package is at any time. Currently most of the big package senders, Fed Ex, UPS, DHL, have services similar to this.

Microsoft's technology goes further though in terms of its ability to personalize package delivery. Their RFID chip has the ability to send out notifications to the receiver indicating when the package will arrive. It can even send out alerts to senders via MSN Messenger or your mobile phone that the package has been signed for at its destination. The chip can hold much more information than a bar code that is used today by other carriers.

Microsoft has combined its software with hardware from partners like Texas Instruments to come up with a RFID tag that is about the size of a playing card. The card has a sticker on one side to hold it onto the package and contains information about the package's contents, the sender, receiver, destination, etc. This information helps not only to track the package but can also be used to make the mailing process more efficient by telling other electronic devices -- like sorting machines -- where the package should be sent.

I can see a future where the RFID not only directs its own shipment but could even relay back to the postal service if its machines were not performing correctly. "Yo dude, your sorting machine just ate my packaging..."


Posted August 25, 2005 10:20 AM
Permalink | No Comments |

Here's one for ya -- vendors that supply CRM software to US companies wishing to improve their customers' loyalty have the lowest percentage of loyalty amongst those very companies when compared to other software segments. Ouch! So says a new report from Walker Information...

According to an article from destinationCRM, only 52% of US customers stated that they wanted to continue the relationship with their CRM software providers. Compare this to enterprise software providers who had the highest loyalty percentage of 59%.

US CRM software providers scored high in another area (not good either) -- they had the highest percentage (22%) of high-risk customers. These are customers who have a low commitment and low intention of furthering the relationship with their current vendors. Twenty-one percent of customers surveyed felt "trapped". Look out, CRM providers -- if given a viable alternative, your customers will likely defect.

Why, you ask? Well, here are just a few of the factors contributing to these dismal statistics:

-- Total cost of ownership
-- Product quality
-- Reliability
-- Ease of use

Among the CRM software providers examined, Microsoft came out the only winner have earned the loyalty leader distinction in the US. Sixty-three percent of its US customers are truly loyal - congratulations to them! By comparison, SAP only had 48% of its customers deemed truly loyal.

According to Phillip Bounsall, EVP at Walker, "The line of thinking is -- If you were more customer friendly and you were more focused on me, you would be making products that are more what I want, that are easier for me to use, and that are reliable for me".

Gee, isn't this the very selling line from the CRM software vendors to their customers on why THEY should buy their CRM applications? Maybe these providers should use their own software to understand their customers better...


Posted August 23, 2005 2:47 PM
Permalink | 3 Comments |

This week the Data Warehousing Institute held their Summer conference in lovely San Diego, CA. The theme this time around was bringing the business and IT organizations together. The attendees, vendors and presenters alike learned a great deal about how to do this. In addition, I tried my hand at pod casting... Read on to find out more.

TDWI's education director, Dave Wells, started the show off Monday morning with a keynote address concerning building the critical business and IT relationships so necessary for a successful BI environment. This was followed by an entire track dealing with forming and maintaining the business-IT relationships in support of BI initiatives.

In my own track -- Six Steps to Building a Successful Corporate Information Factory -- we discussed the need to recognize that a BI environment must be governed as a program not as a series of loosely related projects. We discussed the need for business sponsors, a steering committee (or as one of my attendees put it - a "Clarity Counsel"), and business involvement in the design and ultimate rollout of the final deliverable. This was in addition to the normal project management activities used to construct the CIF.

Then I got to do a really fun thing -- I interviewed a whole slew of vendors attending the conference for around ten minutes each. These mini-interviews were then made available as pod casts by the wizardry of Shawn Rogers. Not sure what a pod cast is? Think it has something to do with aliens invading human bodies? Well, so did I until this week. Now I am - like - so savvy, dude.

Pod casts are audio vignettes that you can download to your iPod or other MP3 player and listen to at your leisure. Just click here to see the list of available pod casts done live from TDWI! You will learn as I did all about what TDWI is up to from Wayne Eckerson, the real story to Microsoft's SQL Server launch, and what's new at FirstLogic, IBM, Cognos, Teradata, ProClarity, SAP, Trillium, QlikTech, CSI, and RightOrder. I hope you find these interesting and entertaining! I sure had fun doing them. Look for more at the next TDWI conference in November.

Until then --

Yours in BI success,

Claudia


Posted August 19, 2005 12:14 PM
Permalink | No Comments |

I attended a most interesting “night school” at the Data Warehousing Institute’s conference this week in San Diego. It was taught by Sid Adelman and dealt with the new accounting requirements that companies assign a “fair value” to their data warehouses and BI environments. Read on about this controversial and confusing new accounting practice.

Did you know that you and your accountants must put a fair value upon your data warehousing environment that includes not only the software and hardware but the intangible value it brings to your company (better decisions, timely reporting, quality data, etc.)? Yes, it is true. The new FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) rules requiring that data warehouses show up on your balance sheet as an asset will kick in fully in 2006. At that time, it becomes “the law” to record the full value of this critical company asset just as you just record the value of your inventory, capital assets such as buildings, financial assets, and so on.

Yikes! Where do you begin to estimate (yes – it is a statistical estimate at best) the asset value of BI? The key is to determine the future value of the data warehouse and be able to express that in today’s dollars. According to FASB, “Assets are probable future economic benefits obtained or controlled by a particular entity as a result of past transactions or events” (FASB Concept Statement No. 6).

Let’s start with the easy stuff – you know with relative accuracy the cost of the hardware and software, consulting and contracting resources costs, and employee costs (the number of hours they worked on creating the BI components times their loaded hourly rate). These are “hard” dollars that you spent on the construction of the data warehouse and its associated marts or applications.

But what about the other benefits of the warehouse that are not so easily valued? These include such things as the benefits garnered from its usage like lowered costs or expenses, better marketing of your customers, more productivity from analysts, reduced fraud, better quality data for decision making, etc. How do you put a fair value estimate on these?

Other considerations are the data quality improvements, meta data, data models, enhancements to the warehouse, value of integrated data, the performance and availability capabilities. Each of these increases the fair value of this asset. Note though that poor data quality is just as important in decreasing the value of the warehouse!

Note – some things cannot be capitalized and must be expensed. These include maintenance costs, training, ongoing administration and support, the cost of the help desk and – significantly – a failed data warehouse project!

And, as if that were not a big enough headache, you or your accountants must determine the useful life of the warehouse. This is the time frame that will be used to amortization this asset. Do you amortize it over three years? Five years? Perhaps ten?

For more information on this subject, read Sid Adelman’s complete article entitled "Capitalizing the Data Warehouse".


Posted August 17, 2005 12:03 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |
PREV 1 2