Anderson Clayton Corporation (ACC) is a diversified agricultural company, offering cotton farmers all services related to the processing of cotton, including ginning, financial services, warehousing, brokerage, planting seed and wholesale seed supply. The company, owned by Queensland Cotton of Brisbane, Australia, knew it needed to resolve a common problem in the ginning industry: getting vital information into the hands of its customers in a timely manner.

The solution ACC has now, in the form of a SQL Server data warehouse and arcplan's business intelligence platform dynaSight, has come as the company phases out its legacy COBOL systems. The 98-year-old cotton services company now has the capability to quickly produce relational and OLAP reports with filtering and drill down. Internal and external reports that once took hours to complete are now done in minutes.

Prior to using dynaSight, growers had to request reports on an individual basis by either calling or stopping by their gin. Often, by the time they received this information, it would be out of date. Today growers can be working in the fields and notice environmental factors such as pests or soil conditions that may impact the price of the cotton. They can go back to their field offices ­ or in many cases, even check their laptops in the field ­ and make adjustments to their operations on the spot. That's real-time decision support. ACC's growers have been uniformly supportive about the implementation of dynaSight ­ it's very intuitive and user-friendly.

Anderson Clayton is using arcplan's dynaSight as a reporting interface to company and industry data stored in several Microsoft SQL servers and data warehouses. With SQL Server, ACC collects data into one common area from three different subsystems. ACC can now track bales from ginning to warehousing and marketing with one reporting system. A mouse click provides real-time access to all relevant data, making complex end-user tools or training obsolete. Powerful internal functionality and flexibility empower developers to easily create unlimited analytical reporting applications without additional programming. dynaSight enables the seamless integration and presentation of multiple data sources on the front end, ensuring standardization and integrity of information.

Internally, ACC's managers use dynaSight to access and benchmark key performance indicators for the company. While the conversion to dynaSight has created dramatic internal productivity increases, ACC is most enthusiastic about the platform's benefit to its growers.

Today, growers not only get reports more quickly, but they can also access four predefined reports on ACC's Web site: Grade Recap, Grower Ledger, Ginned/Unginned Loads and Bale Book. The information contained in these reports can have a critical effect on grower's operations and pricing strategies. Before incorporating SQL Server and dynaSight, the old company Web site was static, offering only low-level information such as a daily market report.

More than 60 growers that currently represent 30 percent of their growers tap into ACC's Web repository for real-time market information. Growers really like the service. The reports are provided at no extra charge and the growers can get the reports whenever they want.

ACC has also internally realized benefits. Prior to introducing SQL server and dynaSight, it was a cumbersome and complex process for the MIS department to create specialized reports ­ whether for the growers or for internal users. Now ACC not only has many preconfigured reports, but should a user request a special report, it's effortless for staff to create an application in inSight. This helped ACC to become more responsive to internal and external customer needs.

ACC sees this service as a way to improve communications with the growers and, thus, retain growers. Once you lose a grower it can take three to five years to win them back. This information delivery service enables ACC to be a more effective ­ and innovative ­ strategic partner. Growers can now print reports or export data to be used in their own computer systems. The response from growers has been tremendous and ACC is adding growers weekly.

Looking toward the future, ACC will have ongoing meetings with growers in both states to continue bettering services. The goal is to provide growers and cotton mills the data and service they need in real time.

arcplan Inc. is a leading vendor of front-end analytic solutions for the OLAP and RDBMS market. arcplan's dynaSight permits direct access to many types of data sources, as well as quick and simple analysis and professional visualization of data for every hierarchical level. It fulfills the diverse requirements of any information system and can be applied in any IT infrastructure to create seamless and powerful analytical solutions.

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