Daniel Havey
Cloud-based BI Solutions for Banking

This article will focus on Cloud-based Business Intelligence Solutions for Banking.

 

bank dashboardWhy do I love my iPod Classic? – I got my 80GB iPod Classic around 2007.  I was able to load all 14,000 songs from my library onto it.  I created several playlists that helped me organize the songs.  One playlist consisted of heavy metal that got me amped up before going to the gym.  Another playlist contained acoustic folk songs that were for the morning after a late night of fun. Continue reading

Daniel Havey
Cloud Reporting for Banks

This article will focus on Cloud Reporting for Banks.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Just what is Cloud Reporting?TechTarget defines Cloud Analytics as a service model in which the reporting and analysis process are provided through a public or private cloud.  These solutions are typically offered under a subscription-based pricing model called Software as a Service (SaaS). Gartner defines the six key elements of analytics as data sources, data models, processing applications, computing power, analytic models and sharing or storage of results. In its view, any analytics initiative “in which one or more of these elements is implemented in the cloud” qualifies as cloud analytics. Continue reading

Daniel Havey
Balanced Scorecards for Banks

This article will focus on Balanced Scorecards for Banks.

 

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Definition:  According to TechTarget, a performance scorecard is a graphical representation of the progress over time of some entity, such as an enterprise, an employee or a business unit, toward some specified goal or goals. Performance scorecards are widely used in many industries throughout both the public and private sectors. The performance scorecard is an essential component of the balanced scorecard methodology.

 

The focus of this article will be on balanced scorecards for banks.  Implementation of the balanced scorecard for banks and financial institutions is a very tricky thing, according to BSC Designer, as there is huge temptation to focus on financial indicators only.  We all know that banks work with money to make more money.  So, it is very easy to ignore non-financial indicators that have a direct impact on financial performance of banks.

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Daniel Havey
Dashboards for Banks

This article will focus on the many types of Dashboards for Banks that are being used today to improve bank performance.

dashboardforbanksDefinition:  According to Wikipedia, dashboards often provide at-a-glance views of KPIs (key performance indicators) relevant to a particular objective or business process (e.g. sales, marketing, human resources, or production).  In real-world terms, “dashboard” is another name for “progress report” or “report.”

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Daniel Havey
What should I be looking for in a Performance Management Tool for Banks?

This article will focus on what you will be looking for in a Performance Management Tool for Banks.

 

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

What is Performance Management?  According to the Harvard Business School, performance measurement focuses on four main areas:

-Communicating with external investors to ensure that a firm’s securities are fairly priced and that they are able to access capital

-Measure and evaluate a firm’s economic performance

-Improve resource allocation and strategy implementation within a firm

-Build accountability for performance through effective external and internal governance

 

The emphasis of this article will be on improving resource allocation and strategy implementation, specifically for banks.  Though banks have evolved over time, their basic function is to take in deposits and reinvest those funds back into the community in the form of loans for such things as houses, cars, education, and infrastructure.

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Hanna Kim
The Importance of Business Intelligence for All Companies and how it Impacts the Beginning of the Year

After the Thanksgiving holiday, I sat down with Solver’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Corey Barak to talk about the importance of business intelligence (BI) for organizations. Corey is our “Chandler” from the television sitcom, Friends. Everybody admires him for his sarcastic humor, intellect, and his sound judgment. Corey manages the day-to-day operations and focuses on maximizing the service quality to our customers and partners.  He has been in the BI industry for 20 years, and started his career at Solver in 1999 as a Senior Business Intelligence Consultant. Outside of Solver, he is a father of two children and a husband. As 2016 is coming to a close, I was pondering on the New Year, and the kind of impact BI may have on companies. As an author of leading BI books, including “Process Improvement for Effective Budgeting and Financial Reporting” and “BI360 Book – The Ultimate How-To Guide,” I thought Corey would be the appropriate person to pick his brain about the importance of BI for any company.

Watch the interview below or read on for the transcript of our conversation.

Kim: “Why is BI important for companies and does the beginning of the year have an impact?”

Barak: “BI is the framework for setting strategy and managing the success and failure of the strategy.  Companies should create a closed-loop process where they set strategy, set the goals for the strategy, put together the budget or the forecast, and constantly review and analyze the actual vs. the budget/forecast of the goals.  If changes need to be made, then the strategy or the goals may need to be modified, which starts the loop over again.  It has an impact on the beginning of the year as the majority of companies are going through their budget process.  If they have a fiscal year that isn’t based on a calendar year, then this would be a chance to do forecasting. They could reforecast based on the strategy. If the strategy has not been set and finalized, then it makes it impossible for managers to put together a budget that should be dependent on the strategy.”

 

Kim: “What are steps to start adding BI for your organization?”

Barak: “The first step is to determine what impacts your business – the revenue growth and profitability -and determine how to measure that. Some manufacturing companies may have areas around manufacturing speeds or getting things out to the market quicker. Find those Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that drive your revenue growth. If you company doesn’t know what they are, the company needs to find out what they are. If they don’t have the data to determine their KPIs, then it is time to look into a BI tool that can bring in data from disparate systems and display them in structured reports and dashboards that are quick and easy to view. Make sure you’re making progress and improving. If you’re not improving and you’re actually declining, this is where you can start reviewing your strategy as things aren’t going the way you planned. Once it is finalized, then determine if this data is easy to access or it takes time to put this together.  Bring that data in, calculate the KPIs, and compare it to your budget or your forecast every month.

 

Kim: “What are some tips that you can share with organizations that are looking into investing in BI?”

Barak: “Find a tool that can bring your financial data and operational data together. Generally, a KPI is not going to be based on just financial data or just operational data, but a combination of the two. Determine the company’s KPIs and then determine the departmental KPIs, and create dashboards for them as well. Concentrate on the company’s KPIs, what really impacts the entire business and then start moving to each department. Find out how to get the data and what the calculation would be for the KPIs. Next step is try to build those, practice them before you put it into the dashboards. Go manually calculate them, make sure it’s trending properly. The next step is building a dashboard. Start early in the process of implementing a BI Tool and if you have a BI Tool, then start the process of strategy and planning early. There should be regular forecasts based on potential changes to the strategy and initiatives.”

*Side note – A KPI stands for a key performance indicator, which is a business metric used to evaluate factors that are important to the success of a company. For example a KPI can be gross margin, turnover, net income, sales by salesperson, and more. There are thousands of KPIs you can use. The key is to find what is important to your company and industry.

 

Kim: “How does Solver use dashboards that other companies may not?”

Barak: “Solver has completely revamped our financial process.  End of 2015, we decided to change the way we report our financials. In 2015 and prior, we would literally get an email with our financials and everyone looked at different values, but there was no determination of what the most important KPIs are to the executives and to managers that will grow the business to drive profitability.  We rebuilt our allocation model in January 2016, so that it would take into account what was truly important and impacts our decision making.  We brought in more data sources.  We finally built KPI’s and dashboards for executives and then we built them for department managers.  This is how we start meetings rather than looking at a financial statement.  Our financial statements are backups now and used mainly if we have a question or need to drill down.  Our KPI’s show comparisons to the budget/forecast and to prior years.  We show 24 and 36-month trends so we know if we are trending up or trending down. We now are able to make decisions immediately because we have the data and analysis at our fingertips.”

Hopefully, this conversation is helpful for your BI needs and for your organization, no matter the size.

Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.

Karen Barak
Making the Most of Focus 2016—Best Things to Do at THE BI360 Conference of the Year

In just a few weeks, from August 22 – 25, 2016, the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in San Diego, CA will become the focal point where hundreds of BI360 Partners and Customers will gather to learn about one of the top full service business intelligence suites and corporate performance management (CPM) products on the market.

Determining which sessions and activities to attend at this year’s conference can be mind-blowing, making your head spin with all of the possibilities. To help you pinpoint key sessions and things to do at the event, check out my guide to this year’s conference.

LAJOLLA

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Hanna Kim
An Introduction to the Business Intelligence World

This article is an introduction: I’ll tell you a little bit about myself and my entry into the Business Intelligence realm, as well as my plans to blog about management solutions.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

My name is Hanna Kim, and I’m an Angeleno. If you live in Los Angeles, you will notice that the city is not full of natives, but it is rather a melting pot of people with interesting stories, and I absolutely admire that about this city. As a story lover, I love traveling. I enjoy learning about different cultures and history, but the most fascinating part of traveling is finding layers about myself that I never knew about. It is always a humbling experience.

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Solver looking to hire Support Consultant…Apply today!

Description: The support consultant provides customers and partners with phone and web-based support for our Microsoft Excel-based software suite called BI360: http://www.solverusa.com/products/bi360

Details: Your primary responsibility will be to support our customers and partners, primarily Microsoft Dynamics customers and partners that use BI360. For the most part, the support involves phone and web support to assist customers with installation of the BI360 software, report design questions, and general usage. General knowledge of Microsoft Excel, financial report writers and Microsoft SQL Server is preferred. No travel required as the position is based in our office near Century City in Los Angeles. After two years, qualified candidates can move into consulting roles in our business intelligence practice. The hours for this position are 7:30 AM PST through 4:30 PM PST.

Requirements
Qualifications:
Bachelors Degree and one or more years experience from a position involving financial report writers, as well as working with Excel and applications running on MS SQL Server. It would be a strong plus with two years experience with a Microsoft ERP (Dynamics AX -Axapta, GP-Great Plains, SL-Solomon, NAV-Navision) products and two years experience with a financial report writer.

Financial and technical support experience is a plus. The position requires excellent organizational, qualitative and analytical skills as well as the ability to apply a creative approach to problem solving. The candidate will demonstrate an ability to learn on the fly and multi-task. Excellent written and verbal communication skills along with a strong technical and financial business applications aptitude are required.

For more information, send your resumes to cbarak@solverusa.com