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A Modern Parable

The Problem

The people at Widget Solutions, Inc. (WSI) are awash in data, but suffer from a shortage of information.  "Why are our sales up this month?"  "Which products are profitable and how profitable are they?"  "Which sales people are responsible for the most profit, not just the highest gross sales?"  "Our customers are complaining about quality.  Is it really worse?  If so, why?"  "Accounting's numbers for April sales are 10% different from Sales.  Who is right?"  "Why is it so hard to get the reports that I need?"

The data to answer these questions already exists--the numbers in paper documents, in the ERP system database, in spreadsheets on personal computers--but not in a way that any one person can easily get answers.

The Solution

WSI decided to build Business Intelligence system using a data warehouse.  This provides them with several advantages.

  • There is a single place for information about the company with consistent definitions for the data.  Accounting and Sales will have consistent reports on sales because both are using the same definition for "what is a sale" and "how do you know a sale is in a particular month." Both organizations are using the same basic data for their reports.
  • Information that was previously available to a few people--or sometimes just one person--is now available to others.  For example, sales territories are not in the ERP system, but are defined on a spreadsheet kept by the Sales Manager.  The data warehouse makes territory information available to the entire company.  When the Sales Manger redefines the territories, everyone sees the change instantly and consistently.
  • WSI management can act on information that spans systems.  Management now has a report that correlates customer complaints collected in a separate Customer Service database to the data collected by the shop floor quality system and also to the sales order data in the corporate ERP system.
  • Employees can create their own reports since the data has been restructured into a format that makes reporting much easier.  Complex reports may still need assistance from the IT department, but simple reports can be done directly by the person needing the data.  The priority in the IT backlog is no longer an issue.

Pine Tree Data Systems

Pine Tree Data Systems specializes in turning your numbers into the knowledge you need to keep your business competitive.  We can build a Business Intelligence System to extract computer data from your existing ERP, Quality, Purchasing, HR, and other company systems and integrate the data into one source for reports that span the entire enterprise.  We can use our business knowledge to help you fit the data into your existing business processes and identify both potential opportunities and potential problems.  A Business Intelligence demonstration is available for you to try.

We will train your developers and business people in business relevant reporting, data warehouse design, and a cooperative software process. 

We have extensive business and software experience, understand business goals, and can deliver complete and effective business processes as well as software.

For more information contact Bill Moore, President, Pine Tree Data Systems
at 207.200.7023 or bill@pinetreedata.com