CATEGORY: Business Intelligence

REVIEWER: René Spietschka, department manager IT&O of Manpower Germany.

BACKGROUND: Manpower Inc. is a world leader in the staffing industry, serving customers through more than 3,900 offices in 63 countries. Founded in 1948, Manpower is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and provides employment to 2 million people worldwide on an annual basis. The company's core business is providing temporary employment services for administrative, industrial, call center and professional positions. Manpower is the industry leader in employee assessment and training, which differentiates the company from its competitors worldwide. The subsidiary Manpower GmbH runs more than 180 offices.

PLATFORMS: IBM iSeries Intel-based Server on Windows 2000. All order management data from the Manpower application Powerbase is transferred to SAP-SD and SAP-HR. From there, data is passed to the DKS accounting software running on IBM's iSeries. Orenburg Board M.I.T., running on a Windows 2000 Server, automatically collects all relevant application data ­– via the direct client-server access ­– into its integrated multidimensional database. At that point, all functional users gain access to the information using Board's Client-Master-Server (CMS) architecture.

PROBLEM SOLVED: A comprehensive and precise knowledge of the business status is an important requirement. With the introduction of Board M.I.T. in Germany, we have set a good basis for our reporting strategy. With the help of Board M.I.T., the German Manpower organization is now able to detect the profitability per order and visualize the information hierarchically at all aggregate levels. P&L analysis has been realized for order, employee, recruiter, customer, subsidiary, business unit, region, work type, contract type, project and more. As a first step, Orenburg Solution Partner UBL used Board M.I.T. to model the international Manpower Reporting System for the EMEA region based on new Manpower requirements. Originally implemented in Q1 of 2003 for top management, the system has since proliferated to the 12 regional directors of Manpower Germany using Board's CMS technology, which has allowed for a quick implementation of the full Windows front end over all networks, without requiring any additional server-based computing software. We expect the implementation of Board M.I.T. to have an immediate positive effect on our overall profit due to the fact that there is now immediate control of gross profit over all relevant dimensions.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Board M.I.T. offers several options to freely navigate in and across the dimensions and attributes of information. Especially interesting is the capability to automatically link several objects on one screen. Geographical functions, such as drilling down from a country map to the region level, are used frequently.

STRENGTHS: For the first time, Manpower Germany is now easily able to detect customer- and order-related profitability with the click of a button. The advantage of Board is that we can model a completely new reporting system in a very short time. Board M.I.T. is the right solution at a time of low budgets and a strict need of short-term ROI. Because of the many functionalities integrated into one easy-to-handle product, we see good investment protection and growth into other areas of management decision and planning support. The application's performance has been solid with no stability issues to date.

WEAKNESSES: The interface has a fairly simple design, which can be a benefit. However, after our initial implementation and use, it would have been nice to utilize more differentiation in the interface.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The focus of our BI tool selection process was ease of use with no programming effort. After comparing various BI tools, we can confidently state that Board M.I.T. simply provides the best available cost/performance ratio. Another important factor in the selection process was the speed of implementation, which proved to be very short ­ a mere four months.

DELIVERABLES: Board M.I.T. allowed us to model a new reporting system that provides us with important information that was not available before, such as gross profit control for all hierarchical levels. Using the implemented cockpit objects, top management and regional directors can now immediately detect where a management action is required. After integrating the data into the multidimensional database, Board M.I.T. proved to be very useful in optimizing the processes and data quality on the business applications, such as SAP.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Our vendor, UBL, in partnership with Orenburg, showed their ability to be very flexible in meeting our tough deadlines. UBL also provided a very well-organized hotline with fast response times.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is easy to understand and helped to run Board M.I.T. independently when necessary.

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