≡ Menu


  • Budgeting for higher education
    Last year I helped as a projectmanager the Erasmus University (EUR) with the implementation of a budgeting tool. In this linkedin message (Dutch) I announced the ending of my assignment. The goal of the implementation of a budgeting tool was to make the EUR more agile and effective by having a more streamlined budgeting process. […]
  • Presenting data effectively
    The previous week I went to the training ‘Presenting Data Effectively’ with Stephanie Evergreen in Amsterdam. For almost 5 years I have been subscribed to her newsletter from the website https://stephanieevergreen.com. I often have been inspired by the letters she writes. When I read in her newsletter she would be in Amsterdam to give training, […]
  • Selecting a budgeting tool
    For many organizations, Excel is still the main tool for supporting the budgeting and planning process.  Excel is very accessible and flexible, so there is a lot of freedom for the controllers in the departments to work with. The flexibility has a disadvantage as well. When the excel file becomes more complex, it is more […]
  • Snowflake
    This week I attended the hands-on sessions ‘Zero to Snowflake’ provided by Snowflake. One of the reasons for me to look into Snowflake is that the Erasmus University of Rotterdam (EUR ) is replacing their SAP BI stack with a combination of Matillion, Snowflake and Tableau. Snowflake is a data platform in the Cloud. In […]
  • Planning with SAP Analytics Cloud
    Recently I completed the Open SAP course “Planning with SAP Analytics Cloud”. I can really recommend this course because it gives a full overview and hands-on exercises for the main capabilities of SAC. Analytics Planning Application building The course focuses mainly on the ‘Planning’ capabilities of SAC, but the others topics are addressed as well, […]
  • Composites in SAP Lumira designer
    T he composite functionality in SAP Lumira designer is great. To illustrate this, I would like to demonstrate the capabilities with an example of a report I build using composites. In this example the financial department liked to see an actual/budget comparison for the different organizational units within the company. Based on sample data the […]
  • SAP Lumira designer
    SAP Lumira designer, the successor of SAP Design Studio, is on the market and in use for more than 2 years now. I have been using it for a while as well, and this is the tool I have been waiting for, ever since Design Studio came on the market. If you are looking to […]
  • BI Summit 2019 Dutch Universities
    T his year the BI Summit of the Dutch universities was held at the TUE (13 th September 2019). This was already the third edition, and it seems that every year it is growing in size and becoming more professional. There were a lot of interesting presentations and in this blog I would like to […]
  • Modern SAP BI solutions – is it time to upgrade?
    Last week I attended a SAP BI meeting hosted by the University of Utrecht, concerning the direction SAP is going with the BI solutions BW4HANA and SAC (SAP Analytics Cloud). BW4HANA The BW4HANA suite has a lot to offer and looks really promising. However, since the current BWonHANA systems are also pretty complete datawarehousing suites, […]
  • Tangible benefits of a good datawarehouse – part 2
    T he benefits of a datawarehouse are not easily quantifiable. Therefore I like to point them out when there is an opportunity, see also Tangible benefits of a good datawarehouse. Last week the UvA received a positive quality assessment of the NVAO (the accreditation organization tasked with providing an expert and objective assessment of the […]
  • Robots
    One of the topics that is getting more attention lately is ‘Robotics Process Automation’ (RPA). At Tacstone we build a new proposition on this service. In essence this is a new software service that allows to automate processes, without having to modify the existing software systems. The software can logon, simulate keyboard- and mouse input, […]
  • Scrum please!
    Last week I had the pleasure of attending a Scrum Master training, given by Zilverline. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first about Scrum. I am a trained Prince2 Practitioner, so I figured, this is probably “just old wine in new bags”, as we say in Holland. And in a way that is […]
  • Enterprise deep learning with TensorFlow
    An interesting course offered by openSAP is Enterprise deep learning with TensorFlow, which is currently running in its last week. I found this a great insight in the current state of machine learning possibilities. It was a very hands-on training where it was possible to play with TensorFlow Applications, an open-source library for numerical computation. […]
  • Getting Started with Data Science
    O n March this year I enrolled in the open sap course ‘Getting Started with Data Science’. It was a great insight in the business value a data scientist can have and how SAP can make their life easier. Some elements I like to point out. Project methodology What I really liked in the course […]
  • SAP Lumira and Tableau compared
    SAP Lumira and Tableau are both data visualization tools that can be used to explore data. Recently I did small projects in both tools, so I am finally able to make a comparison. Tableau Based on my experience of working with Tableau (version 10.3) I found that the tool is amazingly rich. There is great […]
  • HERUG 2017
    Last month (April 2017) I had the pleasure to attend the Higher Education & Research User Group (HERUG) conference in Amsterdam. I was also an presenter at two sessions. On Tuesday I was presenting together with Pieter-Jan Aartsen of the UvA about the project we did with the implementation of the IMR. Partly this has […]
  • Integration of SAP Lumira in an existing environment
    SAP Lumira is a great tool with a lot of possibilities. However, when it comes to the integration in an existing environment, there remain a few inconveniences. Imagine an existing environment where several connected applications have been built with SAP Design Studio, based on SAP BW, which is reached through a SAP Netweaver portal, using […]
  • International Business Communication Standards: first baby steps
    This week I brought a report live that uses the International Business Communication Standards (IBCS) as the guideline in presenting information. Although this report can only be considered as a small baby step, still the benefits of using standards are clear. In the begin of this year I was at the book launch of the […]
  • SAP BW/4HANA – the next step towards simplicity
    Last month SAP has announced the next generation of SAP Business Warehouse, BW/4HANA. This logical step in the evolution of the Business Warehouse is completely dedicated to the HANA platform, and as such, can do without millions lines of coding to support other databases. Also, it has unloaded the heritage of previous SAP BW versions […]
  • Text Analytics and Text Mining with SAP HANA platform
    Last month I finished the Open SAP Course Text Analytics with SAP HANA Platform. This was a nice opportunity to get a grip of the concepts involved. So in this blog, I give a short overview of the concepts I learned about Text Analytics and Text Mining. Text Analytics Text Analytics can be used to: search […]
  • SAP BO Design Studio – release 1.6 is out
    In April 2015 I wrote an evaluation about the experience we had with SAP BO Design Studio 1.3, after being live for 5 months. The general feeling was that the new application was a huge substantial improvement, but we were also waiting for some enhancements to come. So now, with the new release of Design […]
  • Correlation and causation
    These days I am reading the new book of Stephen Few, Signal. As always with books of Stephen Few, it sets my daily work in a new perspective and is inspiration for several ideas. One of the chapters I particularly like is about ‘correlation and causation’. To summarize the conclusion: it is important to always […]
  • Build Your Own SAP Fiori App in the Cloud
    Yesterday I submitted my SAP Fiori UX Design and Build Challenge as part of the open sap course: Build Your Own SAP Fiori App in the Cloud. I joined the course to learn more about Fiori. In this blog I write about the experience I had and the assignment I submitted. There are three parts […]
  • Live with SAP BO Design Studio – an evaluation
    Just before Eastern we did in an evaluation on our experiences with SAP BO Design Studio, now that we have been live for 5 months. In this blog I like to share the results of our evaluation. About the project This project concerns an upgrade from about 100 WAD 3.5 reports. Over the years investments […]
  • Tangible benefits of a good datawarehouse
    The benefits of a datawarehouse are not easily quantifiable. It is therefore good to see, that the UvA, winner of the prestigious Deloitte Kordes Annual Report Award 2014 in the category Education, refers to their datawarehouse as an important element for winning this award. Click here for the full message (Dutch). In conclusion: A good […]
  • The UvA live with UvAdata!
                                     The University of Amsterdam is live, for several months now, with the new major release of UvAdata, the management information system of the UvA. As external project manager and BI consultant I had the pleasure to contribute to the success of this project.                                                                   Introduction UvAdata is an enterprise datawarehouse that consolidates data […]
  • The UvA goes live with UvAdata!
    The University of Amsterdam is live, as of today, with the new major release of UvAdata, the management information system of the UvA. As external project manager and BI consultant I had the pleasure to contribute to the success of this project. The goal of this release was to support the UvA management by: Easier […]
  • SAP BO Design Studio – what about release 1.3?
    In May 2014 SAP made Design Studio version 1.3 general available. On time, as promised. But is this the release we have all been waiting for? In short: unfortunately no. It is definitely an improvement, but still there is a lot to desire. There is quite some ground to cover before the tool is as […]
  • SAP BO Design Studio – use a template
    Design Studio can be used to build BI applications. To make sure that the applications have a consistent look and feel within an enterprise, it is necessary to work with templates. Also, since Design Studio is still being developed, a template helps incorporating new functionality in a consistent manner. And finally, a template speeds up […]
  • SAP BO Design Studio – deploy on Netweaver BW or BO BI platform?
    Deploying Design studio on a server can be done on two platforms. Integrated with SAP Netweaver BW and integrated with the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform.  When the BI applications have been mainly build on the Netweaver BW BEX environment, and Design Studio is planned to replace the Netweaver BEX WAD reports, both options are possible […]
  • SAP BO Design Studio – where do we stand
    Last year I wrote a blog about the successor of the BEx WAD reporting tool, SAP BO Design Studio. Just now, I reread my wish list for the functionality to be implemented. I have been working with the 1.2 version for a few months now, in a project that aims to replace 100 WAD3.5 reports […]
  • Innojam Amsterdam 2013
    At the Teched 2013 in Amsterdam I participated in the Innojam. Before the Teched, I was little aware of the impact and possibilities of the new direction SAP is taking when it comes to user interfaces. With the choice for SAPUI5, eclipsed base technology, SAP is making a huge step in the right direction according […]
  • It is all about embedding
    Last month I did a co-presentation at the EAIR (European Association for Institutional Research) forum 2013 in Rotterdam, with Marc Dolman of the Maastricht University. In this presentation we were talking about the success of the project Be Informed compared to other BI projects that had been done at the university. Marc and I were […]
  • Case study presentation at EAIR
    This summer I will be co-presenting a case study regarding the implementation of the management information system Be Informed at the Maastricht University at the EAIR (European Association for Institutional Research) forum 2013 in Rotterdam. See below for the website summary: Qoute: Project be informed; implementing a management information system at the Maastricht University – […]
  • HANA: smart data management technology
    Today I finished the MOOC at open.sap.com about “In-memory Data Management”. For me as a not too technical guy this was very enlightening. For one thing, when talking about HANA, there is always the mentioning of the compression of the database, thus less HANA hardware needed. I can understand that once you have HANA, it […]
  • SAP BO Design Studio – time to move on?
    For a long time SAP BW customers have been waiting for a tool that was able to replace the Web Application Designer (WAD). Of course, there are several tools available in the BO portfolio that do parts of the WAD. Mostly with a better front-end as a result. But on the downside, not better integrated […]
  • SAPon HANA; end of SAP BW?
    With the announcement of SAP on HANA, the debate has started if this would mean the end of SAP BW. In this blog are my views on this topic. First of all, I am excited about the idea of SAP on HANA. Imagine a transactional system with this type of response time. Also the performance […]
  • SAP BW business content; how useful is it?
    One of the main advantages of using SAP BW as a datawarehouse in an SAP ecosystem is the way it connects with the SAP source system. This is established with the use of so-called Business Content (BI Content). But how useful is it? BI Content is a preconfigured set of consistent metadata in SAP BW […]
  • The UM goes MAD!
          The University of Maastricht has announced the Project closure of the successful SAP Business Intelligence project Be Informed. See UM news.   As external project manager I had the pleasure to contribute to the success of this project. “Over the past year the project has focused on the delivery of (strategic) management […]
  • Always go MAD!
    When working with reports using a BI tool, the discussions are often not about the value of the measure. But rather about the validity of the data or the definition used. One of the best ways to avoid this discussion is to use the ‘go-MAD’ framework.   When reports are built with the go-MAD framework […]
  • SAP BI: How to push information gently?
    When it comes to management information, it is not always clear when the data is needed. A question can arise all of a sudden, and to answer that question, flexible reports should be available. However, certain information needs to be seen frequently. An example can be a situation where  an internal controller or external accountant […]
  • BI’s biggest threat: not the right context
    W hen implementing an BI system where part of the expected user group is located in the higher echelons of the organsiation, there is always some fear that these casual users will misinterpret the information. This is usually based on past experience. The level of fear is determined by the hassle the misinterpretation has been for the organization in […]
  • SAP BI, transparency and confidentiality
    Business Intelligence transforms data into information that can be used to monitor the performance of a company and the smaller entities within. There is a balance needed in the amount of transparency offered, versus the privacy and confidentiality of information. For the individual entities, it can be useful to benchmark against other entities. For example, […]
  • SAP BI and Solvency II
    Insurance companies are facing a lot of changes in the coming years. Apart from topics as need for cost reduction, new products and new concepts, they also have to deal with the implementation of Solvency II. A solid BI architecture, as SAP BI, can support these needs. Solvency II is the updated set of regulatory […]
  • BI user documentation: why not build a WIKI?
    As for every application, relevant and up to date user documentation is essential to support the users. For a Business intelligence application it is even more important, since a lot of user, i.e. management users, are not using this daily. And proper user documentation helps to prevent discussions about the definition of Key Performance Indicators, […]
  • Extracting data from SAP ECC: what are the options?
    Extracting data from SAP ECC for analyses and reporting purposes is usually done using BI ETL tools, for example SAP Business Warehouse. However, when data is needed for a regular robust maintainable process, and there are no ETL tools available, what options are there? In general, there are four options available that all have a […]
  • Business Intelligence in Higher Education
    In recent years governmental organizations are demanding more transparency on performance and financials from Higher Education institutions. Also internally, with funding becoming more difficult, the information need is increasing. This requires for institutions to focus on their  business intelligence solutions and when needed, integrate them and set up an adequate support organisation. Business Intelligence at Higher […]
  • SAP BI support: what is successful?
    Running successfully SAP BI at your company will always require thee lines of support. One for daily operations, one for changes and one for projects. Within these lines you require different skill sets which sometimes can be combined. Dependant on the size of your organization you need to determine how to deal with these requirements. […]
  • SAP Financial Consolidation: which tool to choose?
    For the Financial Consolidation process SAP offers several tools. Since the acquisition of Outlooksoft, two of them are BW-based. In this blog I would like to discuss what the considerations are to be able to make a choice between them. In 2003, SAP presented SEM-BCS as the SAP BW based financial consolidation solution. The benefits […]
  • BI Acceptance criteria: what is important?
    Accepting a BI system can only be properly done when acceptance criteria have been specified and tests have been conducted to verify if these criteria are met. There are several ways of determine the acceptance criteria, i.e. product risk analysis. For a BI system, on a high level, the acceptance criteria can usually be grouped […]
  • SAP Business Warehouse; when to use it?
    In the days before the acquisition of Business Objects, the SAP answer to Business Intelligence was simple: SAP Business Warehouse, later known as SAP Business Intelligence. ETL, Datawarehouse, Datamart and BI tooling, all in one integrated environment. Implementing SAP BW was therefore always a complex task. Nowadays SAP has several tools available, including options where […]
  • Xcelsius using Bex queries; time to upgrade your dashboards?
    As of beginning this year, Xcelsius can run directly on SAP Netweaver BEx queries. This is a huge improvement, since it cuts out several layers of technology, without losing functionality. From an architect point of view, this is a step closer to IT heaven. The implementation and maintenance effort will reduce drastically with this new […]
  • Currency conversion: what is the impact?
    In these times the Euro is under pressure, the conversion rate is volatile according to the financial experts. So that raises the question, what will be the impact on your business intelligence application if you need to change your default reporting currency? In this blog I will conduct a short exploration of the impact. In […]
  • Web reporting with BW, still an option?
    For those companies who started with SAP BW early on, BEx analyzer is still the main tool. However, web reporting in BW is available when there is a need for more user-friendly BI tooling. In this blog I write about the approach for realizing this. The best feature of the BEx Analyzer is of course […]
  • Prototyping: Can a Business Intelligence project do without it?
    How often does it happen that a new Business Intelligence project is build according to well documented specifications, only for the business user to find out that the result doesn’t meet his needs? In SAP Business Intelligence projects, this is still quite often the case. Most of the SAP clients are accustomed to working with […]