REVIEWER: Wade Anderson, director of business intelligence at KU Technologies.

BACKGROUND: KU Technologies delivers a wide range of IT services to the subsidiaries of Knowledge Universe, which include KinderCare Learning Centers and CCLC, serving 300,000 children across the U.S. The company’s enterprise business intelligence team is responsible for multiple products and projects that provide critical insight into financials and other operational metrics for more than 1,800 early education centers.

PLATFORMS: Oracle E-Business Suite.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In the fall of 2009, the BI team began examining methods that would enable them to better gather and access information from Oracle E-Business Suite for reporting and analysis purposes. For example, they wanted the ability to look at an individual education center and to analyze how annual revenue related to employee turnover and then to compare these metrics with other facilities. They also wanted to be able to determine food costs at facilities so they could negotiate lower prices with vendors. At the time, managers were using a variety of methods to come up with this type of information, from Excel spreadsheets to email compilation.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Noetix Analytics is built on a module-based approach, which allowed KU Technologies to select modules specific to what they utilize in Oracle EBS (general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, fixed assets, project accounting) and to expand to additional modules as the need arises. The information is consolidated in a near real-time, standards-based operational data store and a Kimball approach (fact table, dimensions) data mart. The BI team was live with Noetix Analytics within 90 days of the initial implementation. A few months later, they had a data warehouse populated with 1.3 terabytes of data available for operational reporting and analytics.

STRENGTHS: Noetix Analytics works in conjunction with existing BI platforms from a wide range of vendors, enabling KU Technologies to employ its existing Cognos 8.4 reporting tool to view information from Oracle EBS in a familiar format. The BI Team built a series of dashboards and has conducted extensive training to empower the end users to use the solution to create their own operational reports. The Noetix solution provides a lot of flexibility and a true enterprise-class tool that is a key foundation of the BI environment.

WEAKNESSES: In some cases, for an end user who knows nothing about technology, this solution’s business user layer can still be complex to master during development of reports containing more granular information, so having some technical background is important for success.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The BI team determined they needed a new, robust reporting solution for Oracle EBS, and after much research and due diligence, the team decided to purchase Noetix Analytics. The packaged analytics solution from Noetix would be used to augment the existing data warehouse and to do so in a way that enabled the team to quickly and accurately deploy a complementary solution, thereby reducing time to market and costs that would have been involved with a ”build from scratch” approach.

DELIVERABLES: Today, initial consumers in human resources, finance, legal and procurement are retrieving information from the new BI environment and creating their own operational reports – accessing information wherever and whenever they need it. The finance organization in conjunction with the BI team recently launched a balanced scorecard for one of KU Technologies’ major business lines. The information provided in Noetix Analytics played a key part in achieving this in 30 days time. Center directors and field management now have the ability to log in and retrieve a common set of information unique to their business area. We could not have implemented this balanced scorecard with its systematized approach without the solution pieces provided by Noetix. And when you imagine that this information will be available for the first time to 1,700 center directors and their staff, you can see that the impact on the business overall will be enormous.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor-support has been top notch and we have really enjoyed a collaborative relationship with Noetix.

DOCUMENTATION: Overall, the product has been very easy to use with complete documentation.

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