IBM Supreme winner positioned for boom in predictive analytics

IBM Supreme winner positioned for boom in predictive analytics

Business intelligence (BI) specialist Cortell aims to accelerate its future prospects by continuing to deeply mine local companies’ information, as it did in its IBM Business Partner award-winning project for fast food chain Wendy’s.

Managing director Belinda Johnson says Cortell’s expertise is in complex system deployments and it sees predictive analytics as the way ahead.

“A lot of business people define BI as reporting. For us that’s just the start of BI. It’s about understanding what drives the business, the metrics, the strategy and the planning. What generates your revenue? Which customers are likely to stop using your product? The next step for us is that predictive analytics.”

Companies are overloaded with information, but fail to make the best use of it, says Johnson.

“For a lot of people it’s just about generating reports, but for us it’s about really mining the information to predict what is likely to happen in an organisation.”

Cortell prefers to work with customers who have complex and intricate requirements, such as multiple cost centres and currencies, says Johnson. “We’re not so passionate about the basic reporting applications.”

She says Wendy’s has been able to save time and enhance its decision making, as a result of the Cognos TM1 and Executive Viewer system implemented by Cortell that taps into Wendy’s Aloha point of sale data.

“It was taking them hours each week to just process information and generate reports, so it was very laborious. Information used to come once a week, but now they have it at their fingertips every day. It helps them see where the issues are every day in each store.”

Wendy’s New Zealand CFO James Irvine recently presented on Cortell’s system at the US-headquartered company’s annual conference in Singapore. As a result it is now being considered by other Wendy’s franchises around the globe.

Among Cortell’s recent projects is one that enhanced the Animal Health Board’s budget planning process, which Johnson describes as being previously laborious and Excel-based. Another was a TM1 implementation for NZ Blood which has reduced the need for a large team of financial management staff.

Established in South Africa in 1992, the Auckland office was openened in 1996 to serve Australasia, with the Wellington branch established in 1998. Locally, it now employs 25 staff and Johnson says each country office focuses on its own market.

“The company used to operate as one group across South Africa, the US, Australia and New Zealand, but in the past two years we’ve split the organisation. We’re very much focused on growing the New Zealand community.”

Cortell New Zealand has a strong base of government customers in Wellington and among the corporate sector in Auckland, says Johnson. Most customers are medium sized or large firms, she says. Among its 120 local customers are Telecom, New Zealand Post, the Ministries of Defence and Health, AUT, AgResearch, Affco and two large port companies.

Cortell offered TM1 when it was owned by software maker Applix, which was acquired by Cognos in 2007. The following year Cognos was acquired by IBM. Johnson says Cortell was one of the top global Applix TM1 partners.

Cortell was presented with the Supreme Award at the annual IBM Business Partner Awards ceremony, held this year at Auckland’s Heritage Hotel. It also won the New Intelligence category and was pitted against the winners of the Dynamic Infrastructure, SmartWork, and Green and Beyond categories for the top award.

Johnson says her company was overwhelmed to win, particularly as it is a niche player being recognised by a large, global company.

One hundred and seventy IBM partners and staff attended this year’s function.

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