CDP transforms from startup to business intelligence specialist

CDP transforms from startup to business intelligence specialist

From a humble beginning in 1975, CDP Group has grown into a specialised business intelligence company with offices in Auckland, Wellington and London.

The company started out as a bureau, based around application development, says director Allan Keyte.

“Over the past 12 years we’ve been working on the field of business intelligence. I became associated with a very early version of BI more than 15 years ago. Cognos was one of the pioneers in that field, so we’ve worked with them for many years.”

CDP Group is the local agent for Cognos, as well as working with IBM, following Big Blue’s acquisition of Cognos more than a year ago.

“We talk about having expertise in performance management and data warehousing and that’s very much where we see our solutions in the market these days. We’ve got very good enabling technology from IBM and Cognos,” says Keyte.

“If you look within the information management group, Cognos is a pretty important area for them now.”

This association with IBM led to CDP Group entering the IBM Business Partner Awards last year.

The company won the Information Management award, for its work implementing a data performance management system for fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company TPF Group, which owns Burger King and Hell Pizza.

Before CDP partnered with TPF Group, its Burger King and Hell Pizza franchises relied on a data warehouse to provide management with insight into the business.

“We hadn’t had any association with the awards before and it was completely unexpected to win,” says Keyte. “They are important awards that IBM has been supporting for a while. It was great to put that solution together with TPF. We’re forever thinking about how we can leverage existing retail experience. FMCG is a whole sector in itself and has a massive retail component.”

Keyte says that having good enabling technology, great people and a diverse range of customers gives it an insight into business problems.

“I don’t think you would find many companies with the number of specialists we have. We have a tremendous amount of experience and I think that built-up knowledge over many years is a big differentiator. We entirely specialise in this field.”

The current economic climate makes business planning important due to rapid market changes, says Keyte. “Putting together a solution of the technology around how financial groups need to work together on a rolling forecast is pretty important. We know people have issues around adapting forecasts.”

CDP Group also specialises in data warehousing for companies such as the Customs Service.

It also works with the likes of Solid Energy, district health boards, Fletcher Building, Kiwibank, Victoria University and AMI.

“Other organisations that specialise find it hard to invest in performance management,” claims Keyte.

“We find that we work with a range of partners putting in applications.

“There is also a need in terms of business consulting around what the business problems are. If people are looking for a big group of specialists that can help them, that’s part of what CDP can offer and why we have a diverse range of organisations that we deal with.”

Keyte set up the Auckland office more than 10 years ago, and is now supported at the company by fellow director Craig Catley and managing director Simon Lawrence.

“We got together about five years ago and decided we’d worked in this business for a while now. It’s been a good mix of consulting and sales backgrounds.”

The London office was started by Lawrence, who was born in England.

“Simon and his wife decided to go back for a few years and it was a great opportunity to extend. The office has been going particularly well in the past few years. Simon is actively involved in the business, even though we’re here and he’s in London.

“It’s a different market and gives us a different perspective of growth and what’s happening in overseas markets.”

The company has 30 staff and Keyte says further expansion is possible.

“We’re pretty conscious of the current economic environment, but we’re exploring what might be likely in the US. That is a tough market to get into, but we’re always looking for opportunities to grow.”

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