REVIEWER: Brian Kelsey, applications support lead for ABB Grain.

BACKGROUND: ABB Grain's core business is the provision of storage, processing, logistic, marketing and trading services in agricultural commodities along an integrated supply chain. Based in South Australia, the company accumulates grain from grain-growing regions around Australia and New Zealand and exports commodities to about 40 countries from storage facilities across Australia.

HARDWARE PLATFORMS: Servers: HP Proliant 585 Servers with 4 x dual core processes and 32GB of RAM, with the data storage in a Sun FLX380 SAN iSeries model 520 with 2800 CPW (CPU processing units) running DB2 on OS/400 V5R3. Typical user systems: HP Compaq dc7700, with Intel Core 2 Duo processes and 1GB of RAM.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Storing and transporting grain across large land areas requires careful logistical planning. For ABB Grain, the need for up-to-date information is extremely critical at harvest. During that time, up to 20 members of ABB Grain's harvest management team meet daily. They want answers about what happened yesterday or what's happening today. However, the company's stock management system could never provide the required depth or timeliness of information. After years of relying on ad hoc reports, ABB Grain realized the need to provide its decision-makers with more consistent, timely information.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Hyperion System 9 BI+ delivers daily, weekly and monthly reports on how much grain has been delivered, stored, handled and traded. Stock-on-hand information comes from 120 storage sites, and trading data for 50 to 60 different clients is captured daily. We compare the amount and quality of grain that each farmer delivered to us year-to-year. We look at usage to figure out which sites are the most cost-effective places for us to store grain.

STRENGTHS: Hyperion System 9 BI+ delivers information quickly, giving ABB an edge in maximizing its harvest intake. In meetings, we use laptops to answer volume questions instantly and use that information to make decisions. The solution gives our marketing team a better idea of where our grain is going. For example, if a lot of grain is being warehoused, we can drill down into possible reasons for why we aren't selling more to clients and quickly resolve any challenges. Hyperion System 9 BI+ makes interactive reporting so easy that IT is no longer writing custom and ad hoc reports and has reduced its workload by 25 percent.

WEAKNESSES: The look and feel of the help screens need to be updated.

SELECTION CRITERIA: ABB Grain searched for a system that would provide immediate answers to questions. The solution needed to be flexible and responsive to deliver daily updates during the harvest. With Hyperion System 9 BI+, we're meeting people's information needs quickly.

DELIVERABLES: ABB Grain uses Hyperion System 9 BI+ to produce 10 daily reports that provide department managers and operational groups with up-to-date harvest information. Grower receivable reports keep track of when farmers deliver wheat or barley. Stock-on-hand reports show available commodities by site. Other reports track grain movement across different sites and grain ownership. During harvest season, ABB Grain runs approximately 300 reports on all aspects of the business to satisfy the information needs of managers from the storage and handling, marketing, trading and quality divisions of the business.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Starting with the initial implementation of Hyperion Performance Suite and our later migration to Hyperion System 9 BI+, Hyperion has helped answer all of our data access, report development and upgrade questions. The support we receive from Hyperion has met our needs.

DOCUMENTATION: While the product is very intuitive and easy to use, there were times when the help functionality could have been more informative, and we would have liked some written documentation.

Hyperion System 9 BI+ Hyperion Solutions
5450 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95954
(408) 588-8000

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