Corey Barak

About Corey Barak

Along with managing the day-to-day operations of Solver, Corey Barak’s main responsibility at the company is to maximize service quality to our customers and partners. Corey began his Solver career in 1999 as a Senior Business Intelligence Consultant. While at Solver, his responsibilities have ranged from Enterprise Project Manager to Director of Services before assuming his role as Chief Operating Officer in April 2008. Corey’s experiences in successfully implementing Business Intelligence solutions, establishing lasting customer relationships, as well as his many years in operations and an MBA from University of Southern California, have been influential in preparing him for this role

Corey Barak
Business Intelligence, Football, and Black Friday

When it comes to business intelligence analytics, I often find the outlying factors, which at first glance may seem insignificant, to be the most interesting and valuable nuggets of insight. It’s a little like predicting the outcome of a football game. Most analysts will pull out their stat sheets and substantiate their predictions with the usual tangibles like win-loss records, key matchups, skilled positions, etc. But the good analysts (usually the older retired coaches) always add those little insights that trump the statistical data. Things like warm weather teams traveling north in November. Rivalry factors. Short practice weeks. All the little things that don’t show up in the numbers, but have a huge impact on the outcome of the game.

Retail insight isn’t too different. Good BI analytics produces more than static facts and figures, it looks deeper into current trends, buying patterns—even events—that help you make actionable, informed decisions. For example, what outcome will the effects of Hurricane Sandy have on shopping in New York and New Jersey? Which neighborhoods are even functioning? Are consumers in those communities really likely to visit a store, or will they leverage online spending due to lack of transportation and infrastructure? How will that affect your staffing levels during the holidays?

Good BI analytics connects the dots between the real world and your business, helping you to accurately forecast, track and analyze your data in real-time, in ever-changing conditions. Good BI analytics offers complete visibility with timely, relevant data, and opens the window into consumer behavior and buying habits that turns predictions into profitability.

Learn more about Solver’s BI360 for Retail, and how to get the detailed insight you need to proactively run your retail operation. Read more.

Corey Barak
BI360 for Government: Liberty and Balanced Budgets for All

Regardless of where you stand this election, it’s clear that government institutions could use some help with their budgets. No, we’re not proposing a magical mathematical formula for balancing our bajillion dollar deficit, but we DO have some ideas on how federal, state, and local governments could leverage BI360 to plan, forecast, and better manage their budgets.
BI360 for Government offers a complete suite of powerful BI solutions such as excel-based reporting, budgeting, dashboards, data warehouse, and enterprise collaboration. However, given all the talk around government spending, we think a healthy Planning and Budgeting solution is worth debating about.
Here are a few ways BI360’s Planning solution could make a HUGE difference for public sector managers looking to improve their budgeting and forecasting activities:
Excel-based budget input and review
Streamlined budget entry:
– Copy history in a single click
– Spread budgets evenly or based on trends or budget at line item level
– Include comments (account or line item level)
Pre-built as well as user-defined input templates:
– Planning & Budgeting (Revenue, Expense, Payroll, Funds, Grants, Capex,
– Projects,Cashflow, etc.)
– Budget by Grant and Fund
– Forecasting (Single or multi-year)
– Modeling and what-if analysis
Budget data immediately available for reporting

Sophisticated approval workflow with full discussion and notification functionality

As government organizations increasingly adopt modern BI technologies to help drive better performance management, they’ll increase their efficiencies within all levels of government. Download our BI360 for Government white paper today. Get it here.

Corey Barak
How to Avoid a Budgeting Grease Fire

Budgeting is a time consuming and complicated process for any company. But when you’re talking about an international, distributed organization, it can be downright apocalyptic: different budgeting models, locally managed spreadsheets, individual differences in background data and calculations. Imagine being the corporate finance manager in charge of gathering, consolidating and deciphering that budget information.

Typically, I’ve found that these types of large, distributed companies could vastly improve their budgeting processes (and save a lot of headaches) if their budgeting solution addressed three key requirements:

1)  Excel-based: It’s the program of choice for any financial professional. And since you’re talking about different managers with different levels of computer and technical experience, Excel covers the bases for everyone.

2)  Retention of legacy data: No one can afford to lose years of valuable budget models and background data, only to start from scratch with a new system. When implementing a new budgeting system, be sure it can address legacy data retention.

3)  Complete version control: While companies want to retain their legacy data, they also need to be able to eliminate the macros and other complexities in the old budget models that led to higher risks of wrong data in the first place. They also need to enable various unique sub-models to comply with localized requirements throughout their business units.

Budgeting solutions like BI360 are simpler, more secure, and much more efficient. Furthermore, they greatly reduce the time involved in the normal budget-planning process. These budgeting solutions offer more visibility into the process as well, giving managers at the regional level better control, collaboration, and insight into the numbers that matter.

Check out more benefits of BI360’s budgeting solution here.

Corey Barak
Live ERP Reporting versus Data Warehouse Reporting

With BI360 organizations can report live from their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or from the BI360 Data Warehouse (DW).  The question is which one is best for your organization.  Each organization needs to determine which approach is best or whether a hybrid approach is best.  This article will give the benefits of using each option.

There are three main benefits of reporting live from the ERP:

  1. Live Reporting: there is a direct connection from many ERP’s directly into BI360, which allows for live reporting on thousands of fields.  This means that once a transaction is entered into the ERP, then it is available for reporting.  There is not a delay or a process that a user needs to wait for.
  2. Cost of Configuration: BI360 is already pre-configured for thousands of fields in many ERP; therefore, once the software is installed a person can start building reports.
  3. Metadata: as mentioned, there are already multiple modules and thousands of fields already available for many ERP’s, such as all Microsoft Dynamics products, Sage MAS500 and X3, and Epicor Prophet 21.  Standard modules and fields are constantly being added at no cost.

The BI360 Data Warehouse offers many advantages as well:

  1. Speed: using the DW enables organizations to perform many tasks to speed up reports, such as indexing, using a different server which is recommended, and using the flexibility of the DW to enhance report building.
  2. Report Design: Building reports directly from ERP requires hard-coding many times, such as accounts.  For example, cash would be a specific account range and then accounts receivable would be set up as another range.  The DW allows an organization to create trees or attributes so that the report design can point to current assets and the report will dynamically expand.  This will limit the number of groupings, which will greatly enhance speed. Please refer to the White Paper BI360 White Paper – Using Attributes instead of Account Ranges.
  3. Consolidation: consolidating multiple companies from the ERP requires the multi-company tool.  The DW allows companies to build hierarchy trees and report on any level of the tree.
  4. Combine Multiple Sources: gives the ability to combine multiple data sources and report from them using one connection.

There are many advantages to using either solution, but we have many clients that use a hybrid solution.  The recommendation would be to clearly define what reports would be built connecting to the ERP vs. the DW, so that there is no confusion within the organization.  An example of a hybrid approach would be using the ERP for subledgers and the DW for budgeting and financial/operational reporting.