The EU has developed a new privacy / data protection law, the “EU General Data Protection Regulation”. It has been in full force since May 2018 and there is still uncertainty among a lot of companies and their data protection officers as to what is actually required by the new regulations and what kind of impact they will specifically have on their data processing processes. Especially in the big data and business intelligence environment, fundamental conflicts of interest arise and widely spread paradigms regarding data retention and analysis will potentially have to be put into question.
The following article provides an overview regarding the fundamental requirements of the GDPR and the obligations arising for companies and for the data protection officers, and outlines a possible approach to comply with these requirements. In addition, the impacts of the regulation are discussed in the business intelligence context and it is shown, based on the example of the Microsoft SQL Server platform, how the requirements of the new EU Directive can be covered by features of modern database management systems.
Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) is a query and modelling language for SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) Tabular, Power-BI, and Excel Power Pivot. Calculated columns, tables, and user-defined Measures can be created at a very sophisticated level.
How useful DAX is in business practice is impressively illustrated by a development in the area of the Development in Pay Act. This relatively new law provides employees with the right to demand valid proof from their employer for the commensurability of their own remuneration in comparison to employees with similar activities. With the help of the HR-Analytics solution of noventum, which also relies on the DAX formula language, companies can comply with this obligation.
Due to the oftentimes extensive available data space, the areas of application of HR-Analytics are varied and range from reports and analyses to human resources master data, staffing structure and movement, as well as human resources measures all the way to analyses of time management and salaries. As reporting and analysis tool, HR-A traditionally conduces to human resources management. However, report recipients are also increasingly located at all levels of management and in other areas of the company: from production, via logistics and commerce, all the way to internal marketing and PR departments. As such, the increasing technical possibilities are turning noventum HR-Analytics (HR-A) into a future-oriented analysis and planning instrument.
The family-owned company BRITA, based in Taunusstein, Germany, is a leader in the field of drinking water optimization and is represented on all five continents. It operates a complex data warehouse to meet its diverse commercial requirements. By upgrading its SQL Server software to the latest version of 2016 SP1, the company is now able to use the various new functions of the Standard Edition and to remain technically up to date with justifiable effort.
An intelligent analysis of customer and online user data enables targeted and customer-oriented marketing. The prerequisite for this is that the implemented data structures and selected analysis methods and BI tools are coordinated with each other and fit together well. A medium-sized publishing company used the DWH and BI architecture introduced in 2013 to expand its data-based marketing activities. As in the previous BI projects, noventum's consultants were also responsible for developing a data model for marketing, which will also serve as a central basis for future analytics requirements.
Today, most companies have already had experience with the cloud: applications, IT capacities or individual processes are sourced from a wide range of cloud providers. Agility, innovation, cost reduction, flexibility and scalability are the most common reasons for moving to the cloud. The practical questions are: which provider has the right services? Which parts of the corporate IT are suitable for outsourcing? How does a migration into the cloud actually work? How does it pay off and are the costs the only trigger for moving to the cloud? The question is usually no longer, "are we going into the cloud?" Rather, it is about questions such as "when and how?" or "which services are possible?". Not only beginners in the cloud topic ask themselves the question of the correct procedure.
Using the concrete example of the relocation of an HR analytics application to a cloud environment, some special features of cloud computing in the BI environment are presented here.
From the construction of the first prototype in their own garage to becoming one of the world market leaders for combined heat and power plants (CHPs) – that's the interim balance of the 2G Group from the Münsterland region. The rapid growth and increasing internationalisation bring along new challenges for control and operation, as well as, in particular, for the Controlling specialist department. In order to also satisfy all future requirements in this dynamic environment efficiently, the company started the enterprise data warehouse project "2G-Facts" in late 2014 with the support of the IT management consulting firm noventum consulting GmbH. Today, 2G is already using the new business intelligence platform in select application cases in various commercial and technical specialist areas and is therewith excellently positioned also for future requirements and for increasing demand for information.
MicroStrategy® Incorporated, leading provider of enterprise software platforms worldwide, invited to Cologne (Germany) on April 6th 2017 for a one-day symposium. In addition to the new functions of MicroStrategy 10.7, which has been available since March, as well as industry-specific and discipline-specific solutions, best practices application of customers and partner companies were also presented at the symposium. noventum consulting, partner and sponsor of the event, introduced its analysis and presentation platform "HR-Analytics" for management, designed for executive management and HR department.
noventum consulting has been a partner of the Swabian software producer Persis since 01.01.2017. The modular HR software from Persis supports the personnel management of more than 500 medium-sized companies and groups from the DACH region. The HRM team of noventum, as a reliable and competent HR management consultant, supports clients in the implementation, adaptation and expansion of their Persis solution. Noventum Persis is a sales partner for Hessen, Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland.
At the end of 2013, the Herne-based publishing house NWB Verlag, too, reached the point of completely rethinking its current BI solution approaches. Jointly with the BI team of noventum consulting GmbH, a fundamental renewal of the BI architecture was achieved in the process. Subsequent to the implementation of an enterprise DWH as basis for reporting and analysis, the quality improvement of the planning processes was scheduled for 2015. Due to the successfully completed project, the comptrollers of NWB Verlag are now able to present more detailed and more flexible planning results that are of higher quality, and can do so at considerably reduced effort.
Steady growth and mergers present human resource departments with enormous challenges. On the path from "administrating" to proactive consulting in terms of human resource management, the requirements posed to modern human resource management processes as well as analysis and planning functionalities are growing. As such, AGRAVIS - with the help of noventum consulting - initially started to look for an HRM standard solution with the objective of being able to take care of a large share of current and expected future requirements. Once the fitting solution was found with PERSIS, additional requirements were implemented, for instance with the "digital personnel file", the "employee life-cycle" process, and the integration of processes that are usually foreign to HR. Today, the AGRAVIS human resource department works with a modern solution for the quite often automated mapping of the human resource management processes.
The IT infrastructures of companies of different industries - in particular of those in the financial sector - must adhere to an increasing number of internal and external requirements. Among them are requirements from statutory rules and regulations (Sarbanes-Oxley Act), standards (PCI DSS, COBIT), norms (ISO/IEC 27001), and internal requirements. These must be taken into consideration on the strategic level as part of IT governance and have to be implemented via corresponding processes, resources, and guidelines on the operational level.
The BRITA family company, headquartered in Taunusstein (Germany), is represented on all five continents as globally active provider in the area of drinking water optimisation, with subsidiaries, shareholdings, and partner companies. Corresponding to the structure of its group of companies, the company needed a central reporting, analysis and - in the future also - planning solution for the quick, automated mapping of the monthly financial statements of the whole group of companies.
The creation of data warehouses allows for relying on standardised elements at different spots. Depending on the project, there is a high degree of standardisation in some layers while others contain customer-specific business logic throughout. To implement the standardised layers as quickly as possible and in high quality means – for each project – a stable basis and motivation for the often difficult individual aspects that have to be worked on subsequently.
WGZ BANK, Geno Bank Consult and GAD did, with the support of noventum, jointly develop a new solution for credit risk reporting. In this, it was possible to show that an automated data management system and a standardised report template do not necessarily have to represent a contradiction to bank-specific requirements.
„Standardisation in the actual meaning of the word means a unification of metric, types, methods or other things. The objective is the creation of joint standards respectively parameters (for instance in case of tools, production components or software components)." That‘s what Wikipedia has to say. What significance does standardisation have in a highly customer-specific consulting environment such as the setup of business intelligence solutions?
In companies, the HR indicators gain more and more importance as a strategic instrument. As such, meaningful strategic indicators are presented to executive management in an appealing fashion. In this, indicator reports are not to be considered compliance documents but rather an organisational communication tool. Only when the recipient received an informative and coherent document can strategic measures be derived therefrom and/or objectives pursued.
Originally interconnected via the proximity to the MicroStrategy BI tool, the tool provider Thinking Networks and noventum consulting are growing closer and closer together as a homogeneous solution provider. After first joint project successes and a joint presence at MicroStrategy World in Barcelona (Spain) in July of this year, noventum has considerably driven forward the integration of the two best-of-breed tool providers for business intelligence and planning. The result of this activity: the „CPM Excellence Suite“.
A growing number of companies have been integrated into domestic as well as international company group structures. These days, the increased complexity of the business landscape can only be managed properly with automated IT architectures, because the quarterly and/or annual reports of the parent company and those of the subsidiaries as well as the consolidated financial statement of the company group are closely intertwined with one another and must comply with complicated domestic and international regulations.
In certain specialised areas, classic corporate performance management tools successfully perform their duties. For this reason, the current solutions in the marketplace include numerous specialised CPM tools that have been designed to fulfil the requirements of a certain area of specialisation or a specific BI Task.
The partners have already completed the first successful joint projects, and another prominent IT outsourcing project, in which both companies are involved with their consulting expertise, is currently heading towards completion. Now, Diapharm and noventum consulting have sealed their cooperation with a cooperation agreement.
At the end of May, two intense days of joint business development and planning of future activities brought together Thorsten Schmidt and Thorsten Nimbs of noventum consulting with their partners of MicroStrategy and Thinking Networks in Warsaw. The place of the meeting was the Global Delivery Center of MicroStrategy Poland (GDC). Motivated by numerous successful projects, both parties intend to expand and intensify the partnership of many years already.
The dibera consulting company, a subsidiary of the LVM insurance company, and noventum consulting have made plans for a consulting partnership for the insurance industry. dibera, which is established in the insurance sector, as well as noventum consulting with its technical and strategic BI consulting approach, want to jointly put their expertise to use in future projects. Uwe Rotermund, managing director of noventum, and Thomas Koschlig, managing director of dibera, emphasised at a meeting the good fit of both companies. Thorsten Schmidt, who has technical responsibility for BI consulting at noventum, is happy about how well the companies complement each other. „At noventum, to date, we have successfully completed very sophisticated and large BI projects. With the intimate insurance know-how of dibera, we are jointly the ideal consultants for the insurance industry.-
The asset management unit of a power utility bears responsibility for guaranteeing the security of the supply as well as for the long-term development and maintenance of the grid. In this, the focus is, on the one hand, on the development of maintenance and investment strategies that require an assessment of the grid components and a determination of their condition. On the other hand, budgeting and the planning of measures in coordination with the overall business planning comprise the second focal point.
Independent of the management system used, the requirements posed to a tool for business management are the same. The purpose always is to support a corporate performance management cycle (PDCA cycle = Plan -- Do -- Check -- Act). The challenge is to ensure an overall picture for executive management.
An interview with Carsten Fröning, Thorsten Schmidt and Otto-Jörg Schröder
novum: Mr. Schröder, you have been a part of the management of noventum consulting in the area of SAP consulting since November 2012. What is your specific focus and how does this change the noventum consulting Portfolio?
In November 2012, SAP released the first version of Design Studio as the successor to the Web Application Designer (WAD) for customers. With the Design Studio, report applications for web browsers and mobile end devices can be created using an Eclipse-based graphical user interface. After the merger of SAP and BusinessObjects in 2008, the utmost efforts were made to integrate the worlds of SAP BW / Business Explorer (BEx) and BusinessObjects. With the introduction of the BI Platform 4.0 (BIP) and the BI Consumer Services (BICS) interface, a significant breakthrough was achieved. Still, when it comes to tools such as Web Intelligence using the BICS interface the integration with SAP BW leaves a lot to be desired in some areas.
In the implementation and consolidation of data warehouse (DWH) solutions, the decisions regarding a specific architecture, the software to be utilised, and BI governance are of strategic significance. Nevertheless, this issue is often considered very subjectively and the decision is influenced only by a few people – e.g., is software manufacturer ABC market leader in this industry.
In-Memory Technology currently is one of the most interesting technical topics in information technology that will surely bring about several changes in the near future. At present, its main area of application is analytical systems that achieve an enormous performance gain from using In-Memory Technology. Additional areas of application are presently being tested and piloted at large manufacturers. Here, SAP is taking a very systematic, innovative path with its In-Memory solution HANA.
In 2007, SAP acquired the then market-leading (based on market shares) BI provider „BusinessObjects“, aiming with this at providing its own, high-performance BI solution. But the devil is in the details and the adaptation to the SAP world turned out to be more difficult than expected. It was only in September 2011 that the Walldorf company brought „SAP BI 4.0“ to the marketplace which is considered an important step for the integration of the SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions into the SAP BW world.
What does a performance measurement system have to do with quality? Anyone who intensely deals with this topic will soon find out: a great deal. Performance measurement system that is the new term for an indicator system. For a long time already, indicators and/or statistical measured values have been the undisputable proof for the quality of a product or process that is specified in advance.
The Controlling Profitability Analysis provides indicators that traditionally have been utilised for business management. Since companies are in this area also exposed to huge dynamics and an onslaught of information that has to be faced flexibly, traditional methods are increasingly reaching their limits. The question is, what could alternatives look like.
noventum consulting is conducting Business Intelligence Maturity Assessments based on a methodology that is utilising the Information Evolution Model to identify and measure an organisation’s current level of BI maturity. With this information, you can increase the value driven by Business Intelligence Investments and also achieve a competitive advantage.
Business decisions are based on data. It is quite a challenge to manage data cross-departmentally, to protect it, to use it profitably, and while doing so, to adhere to statutory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), Basel II or HIPAA. According to a 2008 Gartner study, only 10 % of all businesses succeed in their first attempt to implement efficient processes that master this challenge.