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Board M.I.T and Snaidero Group: A Recipe for Good Decision Making

Published
  • May 01 2003, 1:00am EDT

CATEGORY: Analytic Applications and Performance Management

REVIEWER: Pierangelo Snaidero, CIO of the Snaidero Group.

BACKGROUND: Look to the future, stay ahead of the market and offer customers excellent products – these goals are the foundation upon which the Snaidero Group is based. The Snaidero Group is an international network of companies with a common aim: European leadership in the production of kitchens. With nine plants spanning several European geographies and consolidated revenues of more than 300 million Euros, Snaidero sells its range of medium-high quality kitchens through 2,500 sales outlets in 50 countries around the world. Snaidero makes big investments in technology and research to constantly improve the quality and ergonomics of its kitchens, which are the result of cooperation with designers of international fame.

PLATFORMS: The Snaidero solution comprises several modules that are split between internal and external applications. The internal solutions provide decision support and reside on a high-performance IBM server running Windows 2000. This environment is fed with data from multiple data sources and company departments, such as company transaction systems and distributed departmental systems, which manage manufacturing and other processes. The external applications support extranet applications for our suppliers and resellers, and are located off-site in a Web farm. Board WebServer (Orenburg's flagship Web- based product) runs on a high-performance IBM server with Windows 2000, and is part of a cluster of application servers, Web servers and database servers in a mixed Linux and Windows 2000 server environment.

PROBLEMS SOLVED: Orenburg's Board Management Intelligence Toolkit (M.I.T.) system is based on the extended enterprise vision, which was adopted first by the Italian group and then by the entire organization. A mixed team of Snaidero managers and SDG (Board reseller) consultants developed and deployed the solution in several phases. The most important and challenging need was to create a common, shared repository of all information used to support the management and control of company processes. Within the decision support area (DSA), every manager and every process owner has an integrated and distributed system to monitor and analyze performance across sales, marketing, quality, supply chain, customer service, budgeting and cost control. Through this, we have fully implemented the concept of corporate performance management, in addition to planning support. The solution also delivered Web-based business intelligence. We already had a complex environment comprised of two extranets, which was developed to serve the large and distributed communities of sales reps, resellers and suppliers. Board M.I.T. allowed a seamless integration of analysis and performance monitoring functionalities fully tailored to each user group's need.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The capability of managing a single, integrated repository of all indicators and information has made it possible to provide effective support to the extended enterprise management. The flexibility and richness of the toolkit approach, combined with its brilliant support of simulation and "what-if" scenarios made it possible to satisfy the diverse needs of multiple departments and processes with a single software tool.

STRENGTHS: Strengths of the solution include the capability to integrate and manage large volumes of heterogeneous data, speed of application development, and flexibility and ease of development of complex analysis.

WEAKNESSES: In previous releases, the integration with the network security for user authentication was limited. The recent release of the single sign-on for the Web server and the planned integration with Windows security will clearly overcome this limitation. We would also like to have the product available for the UNIX platform.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose Board M.I.T. because of its ease of application development, deployment and maintenance in addition to its scalability, minimal hardware requirements, outstanding price-performance ratio and the competence and experience in world-class projects of SDG consulting.

DELIVERABLES: Board M.I.T. produces a wide variety of outputs within the following categories: dashboards, management reports and charts, operational reports and charts, simulation models, cost control models, Web reports and charts which are fully integrated in the extranet, and output data that is exported to ASCII files to feed other systems.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We especially appreciated the continuous vendor support and the flexibility in changing the software license configuration to satisfy the evolving needs of different companies within our group.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is more than adequate for different user profiles, although we would appreciate a wider reference guide.

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