ETL from Excel for Jedox 6

A quick update for those who have been using the Excel spreadsheet we posted a while back for running ETL processes. Due to some fundamental changes in Jedox 6, that spreadsheet requires some additional information (such as username and password) to run loads and jobs. You can find the latest one here.

Hope you like it. Please let us know what you think.

 

 

 

 

Reinventing retail performance – part 4

The courage to experiment

There is a basic assumption in marketing that you need to experiment with A/B testing. Do you get more conversions through the web page with the green “buy now”, or a red “compare price” button?

No experienced marketer ignores data that can improve campaign effectiveness.

A/B testing was popularized through advocates like John Merriam in the early 20th century, when mail-order catalogs were common. Advertisers then paid by word count and ad size. Sound familiar? Their focus, like with google adwords or sponsored facebook stories today, was to maximize effectiveness at minimum cost.

When it comes to planning, it is unwise to assume that investing money, time, and effort on new initiatives will automatically achieve the expected outcome.

That may be fine when your organization and people are doing things they’ve successfully done many times before.

When you’re innovating, trying new things, you have to be ready to sometimes fail. Marketers understand experimentation well.

So do modern IT departments where traditional highly structured ‘waterfall’ based projects have evolved into business-driven projects which agilely iterate towards achieving business goals. They expect to ‘learn’ while they ‘do’.

But strategic planning and annual budgeting often seems to continue planning more reminiscent of a 5-year centrally planned economy, than a dynamic retail environment.

There is the top-down planning, by the people who are paid to lead; the bottom-up planning by the people who are paid to do – and some kind of uncomfortable merging to make these fit.

It’s no wonder that they disconnect, when they don’t even start with the same value drivers.

Apparel retailer C&A use driver-based cost planning and variance analysis to measure performance against the actual value drivers – not just financial metrics.

900 suppliers from 40 countries and 37,500 staff provide for over 2 million customers daily across 1,500 stores in 21 countries.

Their key to success was to make it clearly-defined for store managers to understand in operational terms, through an on-demand, and easy way for stores to quickly communicate changes to management.

Management use the value-drivers to construct a compelling narrative for the organization to believe in and align around.

A critical consideration was empowering technology. C&A employed Jedox because it unified planning, forecasting and reporting so anyone could review KPIs and seamlessly adjust plans in one place. Critically, Jedox was easy to use. The modern platform available from any mobile device meant minimum training and support.

C&A stores are empowered to understand how they directly contribute to corporate performance. They communicate to store support and back office services with common language.

 

 

 


This is Part 4 in a series on retail value-drivers, how companies use them in planning, reporting and analysis and lessons for mid-sized retailers to punch above their weight and better share information.

Part 1 here
Part 2 here
Part 3 here


The gap between how a retailer (tries) to present itself, and how a consumer actually perceives it comes down to alignment. To provide a consistent experience to the customer, you must ensure business departments align with each other, and with your strategy.

While business divisions exist for different reasons, how they report, analyze and plan is very similar. By unifying these activities using and agile platform, departments can collaborate using common value drivers on shared data.


 

 

Reinventing retail performance – part 3

Essential new ways to unify your people, data, and process for unfair advantage

Why do you need value drivers?

In this an example, a retailer has around 200 stores, operating on slim margins. They’ve used strategies to reduce overheads and improve cross-channel selling, including using poorer performing stores as online fulfilment centers, and using pop-up stores to shift slow-moving stock.

These were fine strategies, but hit snags in execution. The information shared between management and operations, didn’t clearly articulate the plan, or provide enough feedback, so neither management nor operations really understood how they were going.

This year management are starting again.

Strategy Planning

The disconnect between strategy and execution played out again.

Existing divisions couldn’t change their existing practices, and work together effectively to bring about goals.

Each business department filtered and interpreted the goals into language they could understand. If the goal related to an area outside their business function, they ignored it. Departments didn’t understand or value what other parts of the business where doing, because the information they shared with each other used no common terms of reference.

It’s normal for operational budgeting and planning to be seen as a task based on prior year data, instead of an opportunity to communicate strategy.

If departments operate in silos and focus on their own business function, they have no common language in the retail value-drivers that they measure themselves against.

At best, they risk losing out on opportunities to work together to achieve common corporate goals.

At worst, they work against each other, measuring their own performance against conflicting KPIs while your laudable strategic goals end up diffused, delayed, and disrupted.

Withholding information hurts efficiency. It also hurts sales. In fact, information asymmetry often stops a sale. Not enough information is often why the shopper puts the product back on the shelf.

The gap between how a brand (tries) to present itself, and how a consumer actually perceives it comes down to alignment. To provide a consistent experience to the customer, you must ensure business departments align with each other, and with your strategy.

 

 


This is Part 3 in a series on retail value-drivers, how companies use them in planning, reporting and analysis and lessons for mid-sized retailers to punch above their weight and better share information.

Start with Part 1 here


The gap between how a retailer (tries) to present itself, and how a consumer actually perceives it comes down to alignment. To provide a consistent experience to the customer, you must ensure business departments align with each other, and with your strategy.

While business divisions exist for different reasons, how they report, analyze and plan is very similar. By unifying these activities using and agile platform, departments can collaborate using common value drivers on shared data.


 

jedox retail

Reinventing retail performance – part 2

Essential new ways to unify your people, data, and process for unfair advantage

How you communicate

Value drivers literally measure the activities that create value.

Value drivers help you reinforce strategy. They are more intuitive and meaningful than traditional financial measures.

Lagging indicators like GM ROI (Gross Margin, Return on Investment), current value, and tangible assets are conventional performance management indicators. These describe company-wide performance, but mean little to HR, Stores, IT and Merchandise – basically anyone outside of senior management or Finance.

Financial measures show the effect of strategy, but say nothing about why you are performing the way you are – or how each department might improve.

By focusing on underlying value drivers, you measure, plan and improve the activities that impact sales and profitability – wherever people sit in the organization.

The best performing retailers draw insights from past performance into forward-looking targets that align business results with corporate strategy.

Drivers like footfall (number of people who walk into a store) are intuitive enough to be understood by anyone in the organization. When you target increasing conversion rates, (turning lookers into buyers), every department has a different job to achieve the goal. This means innovation. HR for example, might change recruitment focus from store managers, with a focus on inventory management to ones which are sales trainers.

The essence of value drivers is not new. Strategy Maps and Balance Scorecards translate high-level goals into measurable operational outcomes across different business functions. And what gets measured, gets managed – Lord Kelvin said back in 1883 “if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”.

What’s changed is availability of data – lots of data.

There are three prerequisites to align on value drivers.

  • Select the right value drivers
    It’s not about picking the most obvious ones. Use modelling and sensitivity analysis based on historical and external data to identify which drivers make the highest impact.
  • Correlate relationship between functional activity and value drivers.
    The crucial translation from the past to the future. This means more data, and more modelling. Working from your gut, or what people already know, means you only repeat the past.
  • Frequent feedback loops to measure and adjust performance.
    Value drivers must be measurable (ideally derived from operational system data) and made available to everyone in easy-to-understand and easy-to-use formats, like mobile apps.

 


This is Part 2 in a series on retail value-drivers, how companies use them in planning, reporting and analysis and lessons for mid-sized retailers to punch above their weight and better share information.

See Part 1 here


The gap between how a retailer (tries) to present itself, and how a consumer actually perceives it comes down to alignment. To provide a consistent experience to the customer, you must ensure business departments align with each other, and with your strategy.

While business divisions exist for different reasons, how they report, analyze and plan is very similar. By unifying these activities using and agile platform, departments can collaborate using common value drivers on shared data.


jedox retail

Reinventing retail performance – part 1

Essential new ways to unify your people, data, and process for unfair advantage


 

Data is at the heart of new retail. Consumers are walking, tweeting, data distributors.

The online channel is no longer separate. In a world where shoppers are online, all the time, the retailer must provide a unified experience across every consumer interaction.

Analytics and channel optimization is at the heart of new retail. Agile technology enables channel-specific and context-sensitive customer engagement. While online retailers briefly had the advantage, in-store analytics now give bricks-and-mortar the tools to fight back and bring more traffic to stores, higher shopper engagement, and deeper loyalty.

Not that it’ easy, because the environment keeps shifting. Disruptive new business models, from subscription commerce, to consumer-to-consumer and on-demand, are based on loyalty to retailer, loyalty to brand, and on convenience. Consumers now seek convenience and personalization at every stage of the shopping journey. The world has changed.

Or has it? If you’re the CEO of a medium sized retailer, it’s nice to hear Amazon invests 6% of sales in technology to compete on analytics, but how can you keep up?

As a medium-sized retailer, chances are that there are a few fundamentals needed in aligning strategy with execution. You need to unify data and business processes along your networked supply chain. Before you optimize your price, promotions, ranging, space, stock, customer lifecycle, and marketing mix, you need to align goals and behavior between your business departments.

To create alignment, you need to start talking the same language based on a common understanding of value-creation.

 


This series introduces retail value-drivers, how companies use them in planning, reporting and analysis and lessons for mid-sized retailers to punch above their weight and better share information.

Read Part 2 here


 

 

Unifying cloud Planning and Analytics – CEO insights on BI in 2015

How to unify visual analytics with planning is a growing question in business intelligence. I find out in this CEO interview with on how Jedox are solving this and bringing innovation in the cloud.

Former Microsoft exec Kay-Ingo Greve came on board as Jedox CEO early 2015. I discover how they are focussing on professionalization and solutions to sustain alignment during their rapid global growth.

 

Sam Perrin, Naked Data: What was it that attracted you to Jedox?

Kay-Ingo Greve, CEO, Jedox: Jedox is a fast growing, energetic company, with a lot of innovation in its DNA and in a market which is growing. Jedox has some fairly unique and advanced technology and now the strong business-driven focus is a perfect complement to provide greater value for customers. Coming on board gives me the opportunity to help grow Jedox internationally and expand its customer and partner reach.

You’ve been here almost four months now. What are your impressions of the culture at Jedox?

Kay-Ingo Greve: We’re young, energetic, and diverse. There’s an ambitious, glass half-full, can-do attitude. That’s my first impression. My second impression is that there’s a real desire here to bring our clients clarity, focus and empowerment – by not only making BI easy but also my making working with Jedox a unique experience.

It’s been a huge year already – with our Production Intelligence 4.0, our SAP Business Package, Social Analytics and acquiring the mobile analytics reboard platform.  And that’s just the first half . We’ve got big things to come.

By this point you’ll have reviewed Jedox’s position in the BI landscape quite well. What are Jedox’s greatest strengths?

Kay-Ingo Greve: It’s a strong, highly scalable platform. Companies invest in analytics to reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve compliance. Jedox helps you achieve all three. That’s the first strength – profound flexibility. You can look forward, with planning as well as understand  the past. This enables clients to get the solution that they really want, not just the best that they can manage, which is often the harsh reality with more traditional BI.

The second strength is time-to-value. It starts with pre-sales being able to deliver a PoC (Proof of Concept) in hours rather than days. This is because Jedox is designed from the ground-up to be easy to use. And Jedox is unified – you can plan, report and analyze seamlessly. So there’s the power of consulting being able to implement solutions in a matter of weeks rather than in months. That’s what differentiates us from the slower, more monolithic competitors.

We also have strengths in being able to deliver what the customer wants on-premise as well as in the cloud, which differentiates us from the innovative, but less experienced, cloud-only players.

You started at Microsoft in 1993. How do your first few months at Jedox compare to those at Microsoft?

Kay-Ingo Greve: It’s a different role, but in many ways it’s similar to when I joined Microsoft.

Jedox CEO Kay-Ingo Greve

Jedox CEO Kay-Ingo Greve

We’re on a steep acceleration curve, and we need to keep ahead of the rapid growth. I can see a lot of creative people in the company working very hard to help us scale. And everything is being done from scratch. When I joined Microsoft everything had to be done from scratch, as nobody had done it before. It’s the same here, Jedox being a very innovative company with new approaches. We need to make sure we keep pace, and continue to be creative at the same time.

The Jedox partner ecosystem includes over 140 partners worldwide. What are its biggest strengths?

Kay-Ingo Greve: The breadth of the partner ecosystem. We have partners in so many regions with so much professionalism and domain expertise. It’s a great accomplishment of our sales team in the past few years who have been able to attract so many dynamic, ambitious partners. Leveraging and activating that ecosystem will enable us to be very aggressive in key markets. In the US and Europe, where we are already very strong, as well as in Asia, where we have a lot of potential to grow and expand our ecosystem.

APAC, North America and Europe are the big geos. And within these geos we’ll be very focused, and make sure we don’t lose scope. We need to win in APAC. When I think APAC, I think China and South-East Asia. Empowering companies with unified planning on the Cloud is key there.

Japan as well. It’s a highly mature market and different from the Chinese market, which is increasingly cloud-driven. So we have different go-to-market strategies, and leverage.

Where would you like to see Jedox in two years in Asia?

Jedox Social Analytics

Jedox Social Analytics

Kay-Ingo Greve: We should have multiple times the revenue we have today. For example, China’s market is very favorable towards German innovation. I would say that the single biggest player there is IBM, and we should never lose against IBM as they are selling mainly their consulting teams.

So German engineering is still highly respected?

Kay-Ingo Greve: Yes. Now I’m not saying that because I’m German, I’m saying that because I’ve lived and travelled around the world and have done business with a great range of people from different cultures and countries. I’m always surprised at the respect and gratitude for the way German companies act. A handshake is a handshake. That integrity counts for a lot in many cultures.

What are some of the key strategies you’re looking to bring to Jedox?

Kay-Ingo Greve: Three core strategies. One is professionalization. We’re a company that is growing very rapidly, so the challenge is to ensure our business processes keep up. We need to be rigorous in really being professional. We need to keep operating as a company as a whole, even as we expand globally, making sure we keep our different entities unified in a way which in non-disruptive to our clients and employees.

The second strategy is solutions. This builds on our “business-driven” approach which empowers the line of business. We need to maintain a solution focus, a customer focus, a value-proposition focus. This means having the next layer of innovation in our platform on one hand, and how we go-to market and engage clients on the other.

Finally, globalization. Globalization means we operate in a consistent, but localized approach to take the global clients from one region and support them equally as we move from one country to another. It means supporting global partners. Being able to translate and expand our presence within the companies we work with.

Now many larger organizations that are starting to move away from traditional monolithic BI and are opting for more dynamic solutions like Jedox. Why do you think this is gaining momentum?

Kay-Ingo Greve: IT and business users had different expectations for solutions. Traditional solutions addressed corporate standards, but weren’t flexible enough to help smart people in companies get their job done. IT and end users diverged in how they delivered business value across the organization. That’s the number one factor.

The other is simple – the world has changed. It’s the digitalization of business, and not just IT. Every business leader has a very deep connection to the internet, the cloud, to software and data-driven processes. Business users have very specific, well-articulated demands on what they need, what they don’t need, and when they need it. They can’t wait for two years for implementation, while their competition gets in front. They need to be fast and agile – and vendors need to deliver.

As consumers, we like products that are convenient, and personalized, at a fair price. It’s not so different when we go to work in corporations. By focusing on ease of use, Jedox are changing something that used to be only accessible to a few technical experts. Ultimately people bring BI into their work and make it successful.

Jedox Excel PLUS

Jedox Excel PLUS

Jedox empowers business users by ensuring they own the solution. How do we confirm with IT that Jedox also makes their life easier?

Kay-Ingo Greve: We help ensure IT are comfortable with how the technology platform works. This may be security, single sign-on, data-privacy and protection related, or data-integration and operating-environment related. These topics aren’t so relevant for business users, but are critical for IT managers. We’re helping IT, ensuring that the checklist in bringing a solution into the company is fulfilled.

We’re even strengthening IT in introducing a platform which enables multiple technologies to integrate seamlessly. That’s what IT wants, they don’t want any disconnected, siloed solutions. Jedox helps IT consolidate infrastructure, security, data intelligence, cloud and mobile BI.

There’s no need for a separate planning system and a separate data discovery platform when you can use the same tool, the same user interfaces and the same unified security model. Jedox is really tightly unified which makes it a lot more robust than a lot of traditional solutions which have integrated multiple software bases over the years. We have a lot of support for IT people, we can empower them to deliver a fast and quick solution for the business user.

Years ago, if you had put a solution like Jedox next to IBM or SAP, a CXO might have selected the company rather than picking the best solution for the job. This has changed. What do you think has caused this progress?

Kay-Ingo Greve: If you had asked IT or a CSO years ago to implement a cloud-based CRM system like Salesforce, and Siebel was the alternative, it was the same kind of conversation. The question is what’s the value for the customer at the end of the day?

If someone picks IBM based on their balance sheet, they need to consider that BI is a tiny

Twitter with Jedox

Twitter with Jedox

percent of IBM revenue, and an individual product can be acquired and quietly removed from the market. We’ve seen this many times. When you have an organization like us, we live and breathe planning, reporting and analytics and support the highest standards of BI to innovate every year for our clients. Our clients stay with us because they love our solution, and because we provide great support.

Changing solutions isn’t as much of a financial risk as it once was. When we can demonstrate results in weeks, the Return on Investment is high. 98.7% of our clients recommend Jedox.

So it’s not a risk you’re taking any more, to adopt a more agile solution. It’s actually a smart approach to realize the business benefits and ROI. We are superior compared to the big guys, who are still putting a lot of consultancy tax on top of the solution. We have a very small consultancy footprint to be able to make the solution really work.

Where would you like to see Jedox in 2 years?

Kay-Ingo Greve: An even stronger presence in multiple markets, with or own sales team supporting a strong partner ecosystem. We will have a big chunk of our clients in the Jedox Cloud, supporting and even bridging between on-premise and cloud. And we will be an even more global company, founded on a German engineering excellence, yet truly embracing our global nature.

Can you see any roadblocks or inhibitors?

Kay-Ingo Greve: None whatsoever.

BARC Jedox

About Jedox: Jedox is a leading provider of Analytics and Performance Management. Jedox unifies planning, reporting & analytics so business users can manage corporate performance.

Jedox consistently rates the easiest to use and provides unique big-data capabilities for planning using massive parallel processing GPU acceleration. Jedox supports over 140,000 happy users in 125 countries, with a 98.7% customer recommendation.

For further information on the Gartner Cool Vendor, visit: http://www.jedox.com

ETL From Excel – an update

An update to the last post on running ETL via Excel.

We have modified the combo boxes to List boxes for clarity and updated the code. Note that the current release only runs on 5.1 – there are security changes coming in Jedox 6 which will mean the code will have to change in the VBA module.

2015-05-14 09_15_10-ETL-v7.xlsm - Excel

 

You can download the excel file here and the vba module (for customising your own files) here.