BACKGROUND: Case Corporation is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of construction and agricultural equipment. The company was established in 1842 in Racine, Wisconsin, and is still headquartered there. Its products are sold through a network of approximately 4,900 independent dealers and distributors in more than 150 countries. Case has sales revenues of over $6 billion and employs over 18,000 people worldwide in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Brazil and France.

PLATFORMS: Case uses a Sybase database on a UNIX platform.

PROBLEM SOLVED: As a global company with over 20 manufacturing locations, Case's three major regions, North America, Europe and Australia, wanted to combine their parts division data systems and enhance their information structure to gain a more consolidated view of the business. Case embarked on a worldwide data warehousing initiative. The goal of the project was to use marketing, sales and inventory data to better understand the parts division, make better business decisions and positively impact the bottom line. Case's parts division had been relying on a complicated, outdated reporting method for drawing vital information from mainframe data. This system required IT to run paper reports, which were often several thousand pages, and manually distribute them to the field staff. The reports were time-consuming to prepare and difficult to understand. The vast amount of data and the inability to view it in a meaningful way was a daunting combination. Case saw the data warehouse project as a way to extract greater value from its data resources.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Cognos BI solutions ensured Case that users could quickly and easily access, analyze and report on pricing, inventory and marketing data. Case uses Cognos PowerPlay Web, an OLAP solution, to provide its users with the ability to view data multidimensionally. Case decision-makers use the PowerPlay cubes to determine the success of marketing initiatives, product upgrades and sales methods. Case is also using Impromptu Web Reports, a query and reporting solution, to electronically distribute interactive reports to a broad spectrum of users. While the integration of these two products is intriguing, more development work must be done by Case before a decision can be made regarding the deployment of drill through to detail information from a summary cube.

STRENGTHS: The Web deployability of the Cognos solution was attractive to Case and proved to be the foundation for a smooth implementation. The application's ease of use also allowed for quick and speedy acceptance by all its users. PowerPlay Web enabled managers to spot trends and anomalies in the data, capitalize on profitable activity and address problems quicker and with greater efficacy. Having this strong understanding of corporate data is very powerful to Case because it allows them to predict customer and distributor needs, giving them the ability to react quickly to changing market conditions.

WEAKNESSES: Case was working with a version of PowerPlay Web with limited flexibility when it came to adapting the look of printed reports. Additionally, Case was interested in the ability to pick specific categories at a drill-down level for special reporting needs over the Web. These issues are addressed by Cognos in upcoming product releases.

DELIVERABLES: By using Cognos PowerPlay Web, Case enabled users to view their information in a timely manner and with minimal training from the IS department. Based on the information users can gather from drilling down into the multidimensional data, they have quickly reported a significant improvement in getting the information they need to make intelligent business decisions. After the deployment of the Cognos BI solution, a Case manager said, "This is night vision ­ I can see on the battlefield where I wasn't able to see before."

VENDOR SUPPORT: Cognos was very responsive and supportive during deployment.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is available in hard copy and online and is thorough, simplifying implementation and use.

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