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The Way Business Is Moving

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Issue Date: October 2008

Data visibility

October 2008

The deployment of a robust business intelligence solution for the local arm of leading international medical technology company, Smith and Nephew is complete.

The first phase, which has been two years in the making, involved the development and implementation of an advanced querying and reporting solution for Smith and Nephew’s large and disparate sales-force in South Africa.
The solution answers to the company’s need for improved access to important sales information for its sales teams and, to facilitate faster, more accurate reporting and, informed decision-making.
Meaningful intelligence
“We chose Business Objects as a preferred solution because it enables easy access via the web and gives our sales-force the ability to run their own reports and drill down to answer questions about the data themselves,” explains Mark Elliott, system’s analyst at Smith and Nephew,
“Management was also looking for a way of tapping into the vast information they had stored in various systems across its business units and, turn it into meaningful intelligence,” he adds.
Smith and Nephew approached ASYST Intelligence towards the end of 2005 to assist in the development and implementation of a BI solution that could address these challenges. ASYST Intelligence, which is a South Africa-based Business Objects Platinum Partner, used Business Objects XI Release 2 and WebIntelligence to migrate the necessary reports and created a customised web-based business intelligence portal.
The powerful BI solution allows the Smith and Nephew sales-force to access information via a secure web-based portal from any Internet-connected PC, draw relevant reports, prepare specific reports and analyse data in a no-fuss, user-friendly manner no matter where in the country they are. The solution also allows them to provide management with the required scheduled reporting and delivers a dashboard view of activities.
“The solution offers advanced functionality to help reduce report proliferation and maintenance. But, more importantly, it makes it easier for users to answer any business question competently and accurately wherever they may be.”
Connecting the disconnected
“This is particularly useful for sales personnel who are usually on the road most of the time and are largely disconnected from the rest of the business. It is up to the sales personnel to answer client queries, most times on the spot and, provide feedback to the business on what is happening in the market. This solution ensures that they have the right tools and information at their fingertips, empowering them to make informed decisions and be more proactive.
“From a management perspective, the solution provides a single view of what is happening in the field, facilitating more informed business decisions,” explains Elliott.
Commenting on the solution, Paul Morgan, managing director of ASYST Intelligence, says: “We spent a considerable amount of time with Smith and Nephew to gauge a proper understanding of the business, the challenges it was facing in terms of information management and what their expectations of BI were.
“The fact that Smith and Nephew is a global organisation and that it has a vast infrastructure, with different formats and types of information stored in numerous different systems, meant that we needed a solution that is easy to deploy and integrate with the different systems already in use across the business.”
Paul Morgan, managing director of ASYST Intelligence
Paul Morgan, managing director of ASYST Intelligence
Opinion
Morgan: “The solution meets these requirements and at the same time retains the granularity and flexibility needed in complex global deployments. Training end-users was a key aspect in the successful deployment of the project. Our team spent time up-skilling Smith and Nephew’s sales personnel and management team to ensure that they understood how to use and manipulate the solution for maximum benefit.”


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