Woolworths standardizes BI and reporting platform

Woolworths is standardizing the platform for its corporate-wide business reporting and query analysis procedures.

This move follows the supermarket chain's first phase of consolidating its business reporting functions to achieve further efficiencies from its supply chain.

While Woolworths wouldn't put a dollar figure on the deal, the selected provider Business Objects confirmed the agreement is for a seven-figure project.

When completed, the standardization program will bring just-in-time inventory one step closer to ensure the ready availability of merchandise.

Woolworth's general manager of IT services Daniel Beecham said that, in a highly competitive market the company has a consistently sound strategy and realized after the completion of the first phase of the project that there were savings to be made by standardizing on Business Objects.

Woolworths has deployed Business Objects solutions to give 500 users direct access to existing corporate databases and the capability to generate ad hoc queries and reports.

Previously, the retailer used Oracle B1 (Discoverer) to report from Oracle databases and import data into Access. It then used a custom-built solution for reporting in Excel.

By standardizing, Beecham said users have drastically cut the time to process and generate reports, which had been a time consuming exercise that involved accessing various databases and reformatting data for different purposes.

Information isn't just easy to access, he said, the company has monitoring procedures in place to check performance against KPIs (key performance indicators).

Under the old system, users from the company's buying and marketing department had to manually send out reports to its user community of buyers, inventory analysts, business analysts and senior business managers, which often amounted to more than 500 e-mails a week.

A Web-based delivery platform replaced the system and enabled individual users to directly log into a portal giving access to the right information at the right time.

"The [new] solution immediately delivered increased data accuracy and security. It has also boosted our decision-making process significantly through access to timely and accurate information across the supply chain," Beecham said.

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