Getting Your Fizz to Pay Off with BI - Page 2

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For example, in a recent analysis of the Kroger grocery stores in southern Illinois, 80 percent of sales volume was attributed to advertised promotions, with only 20 percent of volume being moved in weeks lacking promotion.

Using that information, RC built a blended, low-price-everyday strategy for the grocery chain: a win for both RC and Kroger.

David Palmer, IT manager for RC Bottling, arrived at the company long after the decision to use Salients original technology had been made, back around 1992 or so.

But he was at the helm when RC updated from Margin Minder to Margin Minder Max, introduced last year.

UXT tracks commercial and operational data in real time, integrating billing, syndicated, survey, supply chain and causal information.

It organizes these data streams into a comprehensive accounting of an enterprises activity and delivers it in a form so that users can correlate their own actions to profit, growth, efficiency and productivity. Max shows the connection graphically, continuously, in real time.

RC was actually a beta site for UXT, so the company had input on much of the tools improved flexibility, additional options and views.

Compared to other products hes used for BI warehousing, including a long-ago product called Flagship, from Pilot Software, UXT is much easier when it comes to changing data, manipulating data fields and creating your own fields, Palmer said.

Other data warehouse/BI applications Palmer has used include Cognos Inc.s PowerPlay OLAP software and Cube, a product which, he said, likely doesnt exist anymore.

Compared to these, creating data is "reasonably easy" in Salients tool, Palmer said. Also, from a user standpoint, UXT has "wonderful pieces" called bookmarks and supermarks that allow RCs IT team to easily set up when they call daily business thumbnails.

In these thumbnails, all users—including about 30 managers from all RC branches, most of whom run distribution centers—log on every day to see the status of current business.

"They can go through them and dont have to spend an inordinate time manipulating data," Palmer said. "They can see what they want to see fairly quickly, but if they want to drill down, theyre capable, and UXT is conducive."

Usability is what Metten, as well, likes about the Salient tool, as compared with similar technology hes seen from SAP AG and others.

"SAP has a tool," he said. "There are lots of tools out there. But to look at all the information on one page, and to get it concise and have all information you need, and the maneuverability, its one click or up and down instead of cutting and pasting that you had to do in other tools.

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