REVIEWER: Adheesh Budree, marketing information manager, British American Tobacco.

BACKGROUND: British American Tobacco is the world’s second largest quoted tobacco group by global market share, with brands sold in more than 180 markets. The company’s Middle East and North Africa group operates through a combination of subsidiary companies, branch offices and business partners in the following 19 markets: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

PLATFORMS: Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, SQL Server 2000 relational database management system.

PROBLEM SOLVED: KCI CONTROL has enabled us to unify our performance management processes - budgeting, monitoring, reporting, analytics, modeling and forecasting across business units and locations and eliminate discrepancies. Today, all regions adhere to a common metadata model and process. Just as important, all of our business areas now work with the same set of numbers. In the past, our marketing people compiled sales volume information from one set of data while our financial people performed budgeting and reporting from a separate set of numbers. CONTROL equips us with one set of numbers from which we manage our enterprise. Doing so enables our management team to focus on optimizing decisions rather than on chasing down and validating data.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We use CONTROL as a financial tool that strengthens our sales and operational planning activities as well as our strategic planning efforts. Our sales and operational planning activities are extremely complex. We run scenarios on CONTROL that give us much more visibility into demand and sales volumes as well as the degree to which demand and sales are affected by marketing promotions and an array of external factors. We use the information CONTROL generates as the foundation for unit costing and pricing, which are essential for our determinations of profit and profit margins.

STRENGTHS: The application is user-friendly and intuitive. From a planning perspective, CONTROL is valuable because of its ability to slice and dice data while running numerous different scenarios very quickly and easily. While that’s the application’s primary strength for us, CONTROL also serves as a strong communications tool. If somebody has a specific need for information, he or she can access that at the click of a button. Our effectiveness and responsiveness are strengthened because we are assured that we are all working from the same information.

WEAKNESSES: Initially, monthly sales reports with multiple scenarios were slow executing. However, we quickly resolved that difficulty and increased performance to mouse-click speed after consulting with our implementation consultant.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Prior to implementing KCI CONTROL, our group struggled with an unwieldy patchwork of Excel-based data repositories. More than 90 percent of our data existed on multiple spreadsheets dispersed throughout our organization in numerous locations. As a result, employees in different locations frequently worked with different numbers, which reduced the effectiveness of our sales and operational planning processes. We selected CONTROL based on its ability to strengthen our sales and operational planning processes.

DELIVERABLES: CONTROL is predominantly focused on our sales analysis and planning activities. We use the application as the organization’s single touchpoint for all of the information that we use on a day-to-day basis to make business decisions. CONTROL tracks and stores all of our historical sales data and then lets us run scenarios and analyses that we use to produce our monthly forecasts and our three-year strategic plans. All of that information is also used by our sales and marketing teams to help adjust unit costing and pricing on an ongoing basis.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We use Summit Solutions, the local representative for KCI, based here in Dubai. We rate Summit Solutions very highly because they provide us with an account manager and always respond immediately to any question we have or enhancement to the application we want to adopt. They regularly check on the degree to which we’re leveraging the application’s functionality.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is self-explanatory, and the help functionality within the application is particularly thorough.

KCI Computing, Inc.
3625 Del Amo Boulevard
Suite 100
Torrance, CA 90503
(310) 921-6222

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