Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) often evoke thoughts of the cutting edge of technology. Self-driving cars, AlphaGo and talking digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. These are perhaps the most recognisable and exciting aspects of Machine Learning, certainly for those who don’t work within Business Intelligence (BI). The real power of Machine Learning, though, lies in its application as part of data analytics or BI. It may not be as glamorous or as attention-grabbing as the previous use cases but the value Machine Learning can add in this avenue is more than significant. For those who work within BI, or use it in their business, the value of Machine Learning needs to be recognised, understood and exploited.Read more
Modern customer expectations have changed dramatically, especially in the logistics industry. Technology advancements mean that customers expect goods delivered faster, safer and at lower costs – all with the added ability to change deliveries last minute. Where once it was just a pipedream, free next-day delivery is now an expectation. With all these changes and a ramp-up in expectations, logistics companies must find a way to be able to adapt to the demands and deliver exceptional service for their customers. Increasing competition and the rise of small-scale disruptors in the industry means failing to do so will result in a loss of business, maybe terminally.Read more
Labour is a critical component of any logistics operation. Very often it represents the largest proportion of expenses for large organisations – at least those with hourly workforces. Reducing the costs of labour for the logistics industry is a pressing concern. Given that customer demands are increasing, and services must now be more flexible than before many find that labour costs are only rising. Those who continue to assess and deploy labour using traditional methods will risk profitability.Read more
In many ways, the logistics industry presents the perfect conditions for the user of cloud-based analytics. Logistics companies have to take into account reams of complex and constantly changing factors that influence their decision making on a minute-to-minute basis. Global supply chains now have more players, are more complex, and are generating more data points than ever before. Added to this, the industry is also seeing a higher level of competition with the traditional suppliers losing ground to smaller, more agile companies.Read more
Waste in business is bad. It negatively affects your bottom line and can mean you’re using up to 20-30% of your revenue on inefficient and badly managed processes. Since the advent of robust data analytics tools, businesses everywhere have been striving to become more efficient in everything they do and identify numerous improvements to every process. This need to improve efficiency and business processes is keenly felt by the logistics industry – for several very good reasons.Read more
With more data being stored than ever before, many firms are turning to data visualisation to help them understand the truth in their data. The market for data visualisation software has increased as a result, with a wide range of tools being available, and even dedicated programming languages, such as D3. SAP has a long history of Data Visualisation-capable tools and are a market-leader in the area with the SAP Analytics Cloud solution.Read more
Bridge charts are a form of waterfall chart, that have an elevated first category.
Waterfall charts are a great way to show the contribution of different categories’ performance towards an overall goal. They take what could be a boring stacked column chart and add graphical drama by moving each category to the right of the previous one. They are also one of the few ways to neatly demonstrate negatively performing categories alongside positive ones.Read more
Praetura Asset Finance (PAF) offers tailored funding options such as asset-based finance, hire purchase, finance leasing and refinancing. Always ahead of the technology curve, Daryl Johnson, Deputy Managing Director, decided to deploy SAP BusinessObjects and this is his four-part guide of their experience when migrating up towards the world-leading Business Intelligence solution.Read more
Praetura Asset Finance (PAF) offers tailored funding options such as asset-based finance, hire purchase, finance leasing and refinancing. Always ahead of the technology curve, Daryl Johnson, Deputy Managing Director, decided to deploy SAP Analytics Cloud and this is his step-by-step guide of their experience when reviewing, installing and using the solution.Read more
SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP6 was released two weeks ago and we have been testing and exploring its new capabilities since then. In this blog post I will be taking a closer look at some of the new functionality that SAP has brought to Web Intelligence: the introduction of automatic date hierarchies, hyperlinking within documents, and the auto-refresh option in the Fiori interactive viewer.Read more
Public sector organisations have faced extreme funding shortages and had to implement cost-saving measures for many years. Seemingly, there is always more money to be saved and efficiencies to be found. Many of these problems have been solved with the introduction of ‘digital transformation’. The idea is that public sector organisations would move from traditionally paper-based or physical processes to online and digital ones.Read more
The UK retail landscape in 2018 is highly competitive. Customer behaviour and how people choose to interact with and purchase from brands has shifted significantly in recent times. The problem is that many retailers have found it difficult to adapt and keep up with these developments. They lose out on market share, and in the worst cases, go out of business. But for those that fold, there are also others that are thriving. They have found ways to stay ahead of trends and maximise their profits.Read more
Manufacturing is, by its very nature, an extremely data-heavy industry. All processes, from managing supply chains and resources to the actual production and delivery of goods. Machines and processes must be monitored in excruciating detail – any drops in efficiency or maintenance required needs to be addressed urgently so production is not damaged.Read more
Thinking about Digital Fitness is much the same as traditional, physical fitness. You need to practice to get better, and, you must start somewhere. The journey isn’t always going to be easy, but the benefits are obvious – we’re all aware of them.
If you’re a logistics company, getting fitter digitally will bring you a whole host of benefits. Every system and process can be improved via the use of data and analytics. No company will be short of data or processes to analyse. But as we’ve just said, you’ll need to practice to achieve this – so why should you bother?
Read our blog and find out the top 5 reasons you should.Read more
In our previous blog, we looked at a Centralised vs Distributed model of Business Intelligence (BI) Hybrid Solutions. We’re still looking at hybrid BI solutions in this blog (Part Two), but now we’ll be focussing on the debate between cloud and on-premise solutions.
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the last 5 years, you’ll be fully aware of cloud computing and how it has been incorporated into almost every aspect of our personal and business lives. With that in mind, what does this mean for your BI implementations? Should you be using the cloud or keeping it on-premise?Read more
What is a Business Intelligence (BI) Hybrid Solution? You might have seen this term thrown around quite a lot in the BI industry lately, and besides knowing a general definition of the word ‘hybrid’ it can be quite hard to know what is meant by it.Read more
Just recently we came across a client who was currently running their data warehouse on an Oracle 10g installation and wanted to come home to the world of SQL Server. As I am personally not a fan of Oracle at all I couldn’t fault their logic one bit, I had not however ever experienced moving and SAP DS transform from one database server to another for the same datastore and so I thought I’d look into it a little more. Let’s begin by stating the problem a little clearer and throwing up some caveats about what this posting is not.Read more
As is usually the case this blog post started life through a totally off topic conversation about whether stereotypes are always negative. My fiancee is currently taking a language degree and part of the course relates to languages & culture. When at first challenged with this question initially you DO think that stereotypes are negative; then you start to delve just a little deeper and you start to realise they are not always negative. Moreover they are actually an essential part of life as well as being an innate component of the learning process. We are born pretty much a blank slate and slowly over time our brain fills with experiences, observations and nuggets of information, it is these that inform our world view. One of the most amazing things about the human being is our adaptability, it is innate within us and allows us to hit the ground running in any of the different cultural situations we find ourselves in. There are some medical conditions that from a very early age prevent us from assimilating within a social group but in the main we are all able to cope with whatever the crucible of life throws at us. It is my belief that the blank slate approach is critical, if we had some level of pre-programming that allowed us to ‘fit in’ culturally I believe that our adaptability would be severely compromised, culture is also constantly evolving. I also believe that it would hamper our learning model to a huge degree.Read more
One of the nice features of SAP Data Integrator that DTS just cannot compete with is how it deals with datastores at run time. For an overview let's think about how the process will normally work…Read more
I enrolled onto the two-day SAP Crystal Reports Introduction course run by DSCallards as a complete novice.Read more
So, recently I find myself heavily involved with SAP Data Services and data migrations, I know what you’re thinking … that's not real code! And you’re damn straight …. it isn’t, but I have always leaned heavily towards the data end of the spectrum rather than the UX end which is filled with sorcery, witch craft and more importantly users who are like little pixies with no respect for the sanctity of code; data is data though and it doesn’t press buttons marked ‘Nuclear Button, Do Not Press’ just for kicks. I thus don’t complain too much (ahem) when ETL jobs come my way. One of the biggest challenges with ETL in the SAP world is to keep everything down at the database level, it’s very easy to slip up and watch your execution times rattle up to unusable very quickly all because you used a feature for which there is no direct database equivalent and at times it is frustrating at how the simplest functions are not covered; bygones.Read more
I find myself starting this blog, sad that I must write it. When it comes to development languages and products I am without a shadow of a doubt firmly two feet and all other associated body parts stood plum on the centre of the Microsoft camp; this has been the case since my late 20’s when I started in software. The only real difference now is that there’s a lot more of me to fit inside the camp nowadays but fit I still do. Of late I find myself heavily involved in more ETL work than true ‘development’ and so my playing field when i get distracted thus comprises off SSIS which I’ve always used (being of the Microsoft camp) and SAP Data Services which is what we sometime use in-house (being an SAP reseller). It is about these two products which I write.Read more
If you use a month name field (or convert a month number to name), it is a string object, so orders alphabetically in a report. The report users can change this with a custom sort but this is cumbersome.Read more
I've just taken a look at the new Waterfall Chart feature in CR4E 4.2 SP2. I thought the idea of tracking weight loss over a period of time would be a good visual representation of the data. My data is very simple, consisting of a weekly period starting on the first Sunday of the week from the beginning of 2016 until the current week. I have stored the weight in kilograms and then a variance from comparing the weight loss (or gain!!!) between weeks.Read more
GetLowerBound and GetUpperBound
These functions work well with a Date Range parameter field. Firstly, you will need to define a parameter called 'Date Range' where Type: = Date. Ensure that 'Allow Range Values' is set to True.Read more