Tag Archives: Jedox

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

Jedox Apps in manufacturing & wholesale

Lean-BI

Recently we interviewed GWA on how Jedox initially highlighted source data issues and helped them drive a culture that took data more seriously. 
One of  my favourite quotes was the answer to how many people in the business supported their Jedox:  “One. Not even one full-time employee.”  We’ve heard of lean-manufacturing but what about when you apply this to your information-based business processes? To help illustrate how efficient GWA have been, we’ve summarised just some of the business applications they use Jedox for. 

Corporate Consolidations

Post organisational restructure meant reporting Financials for other businesses. The changes meant four businesses which require detail reporting in their own chart of accounts and complex mapping and consolidated reporting for the GWA Group for P&L Balance Sheet and Cash Flow.

Enterprise Budgeting and Forecasting

Comprehensive budgeting process from payroll, expenses, revenue drivers, sales and automatically calculating direct costs including customer freight accounts and line haul freight accounts.

Stock Management System

Monthly and Daily products claims, and information related to it, like customer, dates. The daily model is to support the operational view, including what is outstanding/pending, and what was closed yesterday. Every time a customer returns a product, this tracks the action. The monthly model generates KPIs by customers, warehouses, products, including claims by user, customer, processing days for each stage in the process, and days to be returned.

Inventory & Stock Management with Jedox

Inventory & Stock Management with Jedox

Sales & Inventory Analytics

The sales model details daily product analysis including by customer, currency, division, sales type.
By analysing historical sales pattern and stock consumption, you can improve their stock allocation in warehouses across the country. Stock turnover rates provide invaluable information on best-seller and order priorities.

GWA Caroma  Inventory & Sales Analytics with Jedox

Sales Forecasting

Based on customers’ historical purchases across various channel, forecasting algorithms produce a sales plan which would which becomes the input for the manufacturing schedule.

Users enter their monthly plans by product group. It enables collaboration across the organisation for sales plans and a group consolidated view. Planning is for both individual manufactured products, and for products collections sold as a separate product, called an ‘assembly’.

 
Jedox is flexible, so it often ends up streamlining all types of business processes in a way that is easy for users, because you don’t eliminate Excel – just the drawbacks. 
If you have some interesting ways your company uses Jedox, we’d love to hear from you!
 

Jedox and R – an interview

There has been excitement building around the upcoming Jedox 5.1.With so many new features it could be called Jedox 6. One ​very powerful addition is the upcoming marriage of Jedox and R.

 I’ve seen the enthusiasm among Jedox partners and clients​, ​but what benefits does R bring to the business place of a Jedox user? As a prelude to Chris Mentor’s technical articles on Jedox 5.1 (starting soon), I speak here with Vladislav Malicevic, Head of R&D at Jedox, on what happens when the world’ s most innovative and easy to use BI solution meets probably the world’s ​most powerful  statistical language.

Let’s start by looking at R. ​

​Sam Perrin: What is R?

Vladislav Malicevic: R is a language and environment for statistical computing used for complex predictive analysis. With a community of over 2 million, you find R used from credit risk analysis in financial institutions, to reducing customer churn and optimizing your marketing spend.

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Hitting the Sweet Spot

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Today was the second day of a Naked Data Bootcamp (basically a paid Proof of Value) at a client site. Even though I have been involved in many of these, it is always an extremely satisfying moment when you watch a client finally “getting it”, and understanding the range of flexibility and power that Jedox (and your solution you are building them) offers.

For me, getting the client’s penny to drop is and end game of a delicate process – we want to really deliver what they are looking for but at the same time steer them to a design and a model that will be robust and long lasting. The Sweet Spot.

The client wanted to be able to analyse down to a detailed level of granularity but the level they wanted in the model just did not make sense in a multi-dimensional world of a Jedox cube. It was just way too flat and transactional. I knew that if I built the model the way that the client was demanding, they would be left with a model that was sub-optimal in performance.

I convinced them that we should build a model with summary data (still with 30k plus elements in some dimensions), with drill through capability to their relational database for the flatter, transactional data. Although unsure at first, once they saw it in action, the client quickly agreed that this would more than satisfy their requirement.

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There was a fair bit of time white boarding and convincing the client that this was the way to go. Why bother? We could have easily built the model and finished in half the time if we initially agreed to their demands. From experience, however, managing expectations and communicating your rationale is critical in the long term success of a model and in forming a great relationship with your client. It basically is an exercise in building trust.

Sometimes you need to risk the relationship by backing yourself and your experience. Initial engagements mean that people come to the party with their own expectations and baggage. It takes them a while to understand that you may be offering them a new way of looking at their old problems.

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Subsets : Hierarchy Filters

The Hierarchy filter is a major subset type that  is usually used in Jedox Web. The Hierarchy filters elements in a dimension based upon definitions around a hierarchy.

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As the meta-data (dimension structures) change in your system, the changes will be reflected wherever you use the subset. Download the sample file here.

There are 2 examples in this file.  On tab 1, there is a straightforward hierarchy filter. A Hierarchy filter allows you to filter the subset list based on hierarchical arguments. For example, you can specify to only return elements at a certain level, or elements under a certain parent. Hierarchy Filters are fantastic for when you want to display a particular tree of a specific hierarchy on a report:

h-filter1

On the first tab of the examples, I have basically exposed all the variables on the h-filter. Play around and see how they work. You will notice that some of the variables are values in @Value format. These are Jedox Web variables. They are user and session related variables that you can populate and share between reports. More on those later.

h-filter2

The second tab illustrates the flexibility of Subsets and Dynaranges. The ‘Show Parents Beneath Children”  is manually set on the General tab, but it is not a variable option. You can, however, set a flag in the subset formula that gets generated.

What we are doing here is generating the base subset in the Subset Editor, and then changing the DynaRange type to Formula. We can now modify the formula manually to allow the user to toggle between showing parents above and below the rows:

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The finished report now allows the user to toggle between having totals at the bottom at the top of the row elements:

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Council planning with Jedox

Sunshine Coast Council optimise long-term planning with Jedox

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Located south of the glorious Great Barrier Reef, Sunshine Coast Council formed in 2008 in Queensland, Australia after the amalgamation of three separate councils. Each individual council had a separate ledger in separate Financial system. It was difficult to access the information required to report and drive their planning process. Here we speak with Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance at the Sunshine Coast Council on their recent Jedox project with Naked Data consultant, Halim Joe.

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Naked Data: What was it about Jedox that initially got your attention?

Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: The number one thing about Jedox was that it was built around an Excel interface. This meant no translation into an unfamiliar environment. It was easy to migrate across from our current systems, and this certainly grabbed our attention. For reporting and data analysis, we wanted Jedox so we could to get a more holistic view of the data and be able to spot trends in the data coming from payroll and finance.

Naked Data: Which other options did you consider?

Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: We already had a home-grown attempt at using Microsoft SQL Server. We didn’t have the budget for TM1, but still looked at Cognos Express in detail. We found it to be clunky by comparison, and with a restricted budget couldn’t look at a full Cognos implementation. We were already more than happy with the Jedox tool, and Cognos Express simply didn’t stack up.

We understood Jedox’s fast implementation time early on and this made it attractive. As part of our diligence, we had done our research, including speaking and visiting other organisations using Jedox. This confirmed we had a quick implementation process, and Jedox didn’t involve specialised IT training. 

Naked Data: How was this initiative considered within the business?

Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: Finance had started a project for BI [Business Intelligence] reporting and monitoring. As Finance, we had particular objectives, such as being able to identify information which would assist management to get a snapshot of the business in terms of KPIs, so that they could take immediate action where necessary. Finance needed something simple and easy-to-use, but IT had something different in mind. IT was trying to build something that wouldn’t be available for a few years, but we wanted something we could use now.

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Naked Data: Was it easy to find common ground between Finance and IT? 

Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: At the start, we needed to work to get our IT team on board. Initially they had their own preference. Their project was homegrown – they had been building from scratch, using SSIS [Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services] to pull data from other systems into a SSAS [Analysis Services] cube and then run Sharepoint over that. It was a complex process to try develop and it took a lot of input from IT and specialised technicians.

At Sunshine Coast Council, Finance depend on IT for access the data from finance, payroll, and property management systems.  Our main interest was IT support for our initiative. We needed a long-term financial model that we could manage and securely existed within the IT operating environment – trust and open communication made things run more smoothly.

Naked Data:How did you start?

Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: We began with a one-week Naked Data Bootcamp.  Working with [Naked Data consultant] Halim onsite was great. We felt very comfortable and confident that Halim understood exactly what we were looking for. He was able to provide advice and deliver exactly what we wanted.

IT had been developing an ad-hoc reporting systems – 6 months on a particular report, and Halim was able to replicate that in a day. This was showed us that Jedox could play a significant role in the organisation’s future.

Naked Data: Are you planning to expand Jedox in the future?

Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: Certainly. Low ongoing costs and rapid implementation time were initial drawcards, and we’ve been very happy with Naked Data’s support. From our Finance perspective, we initially needed something we could be confident in pulling through data, and doing forecasting and scenario analysis in front of senior management, and Naked Data with Jedox have certainly delivered that.  There is every chance that Jedox will expand to more budgeting and reporting in the future.

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Source: GL: Technology One – Finance One, SQL Server
Project: Long-term planning model