A Texas grocer engages PREDICTif to deliver a flexible financial and operations reporting solution
A regional chain of grocer, pharmacy and retail.
Manage financial and operation reporting with different rules for different accounts, as well as for different business units; but with one final standardized output. Handle multiple hierarchies, centralized security and quick response times.
Operating over 100 supermarkets in both metropolitan and rural areas of Texas and Louisiana, the customer faced numerous challenges related to its financial and operational reporting as the company became reliant upon an inefficient, highly customized reporting application. The application was based on an antiquated and unsupported technology, Query 2000. Further compounding the difficulties associated with reporting on a customized system was the fact that the customer had no dedicated vendor support or experienced technical resources which in and of itself resulted in multiple technical limitations:
- Difficult to create and maintain the reports;
- Manual process required to generate reports;
- No scheduling capabilities;
- Reports couldn’t be published which causes duplication and inaccurate reports;
- Was difficult to modify and reuse existing report templates;
- Lack of templates resulted in longer cycles to develop new reports;
- Generation of reports was slow as they were directly processed out of AS400 Mainframes;
- There was no alerting and bursting capability to detect and manage business significant
- Legacy solution was burdensome as it related to the creation of ad hoc reports;
- Did not support the customer’s data retention schedule and data cleansing; and
- Newly developed reports can not be tested by users to ensure accuracy.
The objectives were to provide the customer the capability to accurately report on a timely basis, reuse templates and achieve self sufficiency after the project.
- Deliver a financial reporting solution that leverages the TM1 9.4 OLAP engine and Cognos BI 8.4 report studio;
- Automate the report process and make it easy for business users to create new and ad-hoc reports;
- Provide training and knowledge transfer so that business users are self independent in terms of support and enhancement; and
- Implement alerting and bursting capabilities to manage critical business events and support data retention process
The customer acquired IBM’s Cognos BI 8.4 and TM1 9.4 to address the constraints of the legacy solution. The IBM Cognos suite provided the customer the flexibility to generate and reuse reports as well as the ability to automate report generation and alert/burst functionality for significant events.
After a thorough vendor selection process, PREDICTif was selected to implement an end-to-end reporting solution for the customer. The project encompasses the entire life cycle of software installation, configuration, customization, testing, implementation, user groups training and knowledge transfer. PREDICTif delivered the solution under budget and before the planned completion date.
- Developed a comprehensive project plan with detailed scope and timelines;
- Created business requirements documentation and technical requirements documents for the project;
- Installed and configured Cognos 8.4 on DEV, QA and Production with QA and production being multi-server environments to improve performance and ensure redundancy (3 application servers, 2 web servers and 1 content server);
- Converted all existing Query 2000 reports to Cognos reports using Report Studio, Query Studio, Analysis Studio and built cubes using Framework Manager Models;
- Created 45 additional complex reports;
- Developed and delivered the ability to create Ad hoc reporting;
- Completed ETL Mapping (Fact builds and Dimension Builds) function using Data manager;
- Designed and implemented a Datamart for the customer’s HR Department;
- Consolidated/replaced a quandary of spreadsheets into one single company wide data entry by utilizing TM1;
- Used F5 load balancers to conduct thorough load balance and fail-over testing to ensure the performance and robustness of the BI solution;
- Provided thorough documentation of all the reports and user manuals; and
- Offered training to both power users and end users on Query Studio, Report Studio and Analysis Studio.
PREDICTif’s TM1 solution streamlines the customer’s financial and operational reporting process and enables the customer to have accurate information at hands in order to make critical and timely business decisions.
- The number of hours spent generating consolidated financial statements was reduced substantially allowing more time for analysis;
- Multiple disparate business units were brought together under one streamlined reporting process, with a standardized company-wide output;
- The comprehensive training and detailed documentation that the customer’s personnel received equipped the customer with the knowledge to support and maintain their system with minimal assistance from its IT support; and
- PREDICTif helped establish best practices and project methodology within the customer’s organization that will benefit the customer in its future BI implementation projects.