BACKGROUND: Dade Behring is a worldwide market leader in clinical testing, which aids in diagnosing and monitoring a wide range of medical conditions. The company was created by the October, 1997, merger of the former Dade International with the Behring Diagnostics unit of Hoechst AG. Dade Behring has sales of approximately $1.4 billion, 8,000 employees and operations in 31 countries.
PLATFORMS: Dade Behring uses an Oracle database on a UNIX platform.
PROBLEM SOLVED: As a global company born of a merger, Dade Behring was faced with large amounts of scattered data in incompatible and proprietary systems. Information gathering proved to be time- consuming and ineffective. The company generated paper reports sporadically from various divisions, but users were unable to manipulate the data or quickly query the various databases to make fact-based business decisions. Information consumers needed to be able to drill through data to spot trends and determine the underlying causes for irregularities. For instance, sales managers could not adequately utilize the paper reports to compare sales over time, product lines or specific customers. In 1998, Dade Behring decided to embark on a worldwide data mart project to deliver information to decision-makers' desktops. Dade Behring began transferring data into its SAP system and building a series of data marts with Cognos' BI Applications to gain greater access to vital corporate information.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Cognos BI Applications provided Dade Behring with an out-of-the-box solution that could be deployed in less than five days as compared to more than 30 days for many traditional data mart products. Unlike other out-of-the-box solutions, BI Applications was easy to customize to meet the company's needs. More than just a data mart, BI Applications packages the tools that comprise Cognos' complete enterprise business intelligence solution. These include an ETL tool to extract SAP data (Cognos Accelerator), a query and reporting tool (Cognos Impromptu) and an OLAP tool (Cognos PowerPlay). BI Applications also provides an operational framework that enables multiple data marts to work together to deliver reporting capabilities across the organization. Built into BI Applications are powerful management and analysis techniques such as key performance indicators.
STRENGTHS: Once data had been moved into the ERP system, Dade Behring wanted one product to rapidly solve both its SAP and non-SAP data access and reporting needs. Cognos best fulfilled this requirement. BI Applications offers an integrated, packaged solution that enables users to leverage data quickly and effectively. The solution was embraced by both computer-savvy and computer-phobic employees because of the intuitive, graphical user interface. Dade Behring began its worldwide project with a data mart for sales and distribution information, but knew it would be adding marts for other categories in the future. Therefore, the company needed a product that would seamlessly fit into future IT plans. BI Applications modules (sales analysis, financial analysis and additional models to be announced at a later date) are designed to work together, ensuring that Dade Behring will be able to access, analyze and report on data across the enterprise, regardless of how many modules are added.
WEAKNESSES: Dade Behring began its implementation of BI Applications with the sales analysis module and wanted to build a mart for its financial data. However, the company decided that the BI Applications' Financial Analysis module offered far more functionality than was needed. Therefore, Dade Behring is using Cognos Accelerator to extract financial information from the SAP system and load it into a proprietary data mart.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Dade Behring selected Cognos BI Applications for its rapid deployability, flexibility and all-in-one functionality. End-user ease of use was also a factor in the company's selection of Cognos.
DELIVERABLES: BI Applications sales analysis module has greatly increased the amount of information available to Dade Behring's 800-plus sales representatives around the world. These employees can now quickly determine how completely products have penetrated various markets, which customers return the greatest profit and how customers' buying patterns evolve over time.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Cognos was very responsive during development.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was thorough, simplifying implementation and use.
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