At a Glance:
• IBM Cognos TM1 helped Wendy’s fully utilise its Aloha point of sale data
• TM1 provides a framework for future applications including supply chain, human resources and financials
• Wendy’s management has taken charge of the solution and is creating its own analyses
“Wendy’s was ready for business intelligence (BI) and advanced analytics but they didn’t really know how powerful a solution like IBM Cognos TM1 could be,” says Belinda Johnson, director of Cortell New Zealand, winner of this year’s IBM Business Partner Supreme Award. “Like many organisations, they thought that they would need different packages from different vendors and that implementation would be a long, drawn out process. But once we showed them what was possible and how easy it would be, they immediately saw the benefits and gave us the green light to proceed.”
Usually a BI implementation has a long sales cycle as it typically takes detailed planning and budgeting. “They wanted to fast-track the TM1 implementation,” continues Johnson, “so we helped them arrange financing in conjunction with IBM to provide an interest-free package so they could move quickly. We had already installed Microsoft SQL Server and they had plenty of data from their Aloha point of sale system so all the pieces were in place.
“The first task was to look at the Aloha data to see what information would be available,” says Johnson. “We had already extracted some key metrics from Aloha as part of our demonstration so we had the ETL [extract, transform and load] functions in place. We held a series of scoping sessions with the key players and went over the various data sets. We showed them what they could have on their Executive Viewer dashboards and how it would be displayed. They told us what they wanted to see and we went away and designed the prototypes.”
Cortell developed specific dashboards for senior management and role-specific dashboards for the line managers. “It was an iterative process,” says Johnson. “We showed them what we had developed and they gave us feedback until they had what they wanted. Now that the solution has been in place and the team is more comfortable with it, financial controller James Irvine and marketing manager Fay Stretch have really picked up on the benefits and are designing their own dashboards for specific tasks.”
Cortell provided full training. “TM1 and the Executive Viewer are very easy to use,” says Johnson, “so we could train users in a four-hour session with follow-up sessions to answer specific questions. It’s quite rewarding to see how the team has picked up on the benefits and to see them actually get excited with the results.”
IBM’s New Zealand managing director Jennifer Moxon says Cortell’s project had an exceptional focus on business value.
“Cortell has not only helped Wendy’s manage their information more intelligently, but they have also helped them operate more effectively by using near real-time analysis of massive amounts of information to optimise critical business activities.”
The project used IBM’s business intelligence tool, Cognos TM1, to provide sales information that was previously unattainable, she says.
Moxon says Cortell’s project with Wendy’s also delivered a clear return on Wendy’s business investment. Wendy’s has been able to reduce cost, create new revenue opportunities, improve decision making and differentiate itself from its competition, she says.
“We are seeing a growing demand for business intelligence and analytics, as its ROI-focused approach makes the offerings very appealing to clients in times of economic uncertainty,” she says. “This trend was highlighted in our recent CIO study, where 94 percent of ANZ CIOs identified business intelligence and analytics as the next best way to enhance their organisation’s competitiveness.”
Wendy’s says having all this information has enabled it to make faster, more informed decisions. “It’s not that we didn’t have the data we needed,” says James Irvine, responsible for Wendy’s information systems.
“The difficulty was extracting the data in a timely and useful fashion. Aloha records every transaction, telling you how the customer paid - cash or Eftpos - and every line item of what they ordered. The problem was, despite being able to store a year’s worth of transactions, there was no automated way of accessing and analysing them. It was difficult to select and drill down to individual stores or compare sales week by week, day by day.” No longer.
A feature of the quick-service hamburger business is that the better information you have about the product combinations customers like, the more targeted the promotions you can come up with. “If a person orders a hamburger,” says Stretch, “what did they order with it - a coke or an orange juice? For us it’s a matter of trying to understand customer order patterns.”
TM1 enables her to see the effect on sales within a day of a promotion beginning. “It gives me the ability to analyse many aspects of the business that I couldn’t look at previously so I can make more robust decisions,” she says.
Reports are displayed by the Executive Viewer dashboard in a highly visual, easy-to-read way and the dashboard can also be readily customised. As financial controller, Irvine has an alert set up to highlight cash variances between store takings and recorded sales. District managers, for their part, might want to be alerted when speed-of-service targets aren’t being met.
Having successfully deployed IBM Cognos TM1 in marketing, sales and operations, early next year Wendy’s will extend it to human resources, the supply chain and deeper into the financial side of the business.
Moxon adds IBM has continued to invest in business intelligence and analytics, citing as an example the company’s recent acquisition of SPSS. This acquisition is expected to further expand IBM’s Information on Demand software portfolio and business analytics capabilities, including the range of offerings available through IBM’s recently-announced Business Analytics and Optimisation Consulting organisation and network of Analytics Solutions Centres, she says.
Highly Commended: Solnet Solutions
IBM has also given a Highly Commended award to Solnet Solutions for its project that upgraded the Ministry of Health’s Cancer Registry system. The project achieved productivity increases, enhanced alignment with business processes and more stringent validation rules for higher data quality.
“We congratulate Solnet Solutions for their outstanding efforts in delivering a large, complex, integration project at the Ministry of Health,” says Moxon.
“Solnet has clearly delighted their client and they certainly impressed the judges.”