REVIEWER: David Clothier, controller for Pilot Travel Centers LLC.

BACKGROUND: Pilot Travel Centers LLC is the nation's largest retail operator of travel centers, catering to the professional driver and traveling motorist in 40 states with 270 retail interstate properties. Customers will find nationally recognized fast-food restaurants serving hot meals 24x7 and many travel conveniences such as showers, ATMs, Internet kiosks, check cashing, money orders, laundry, game rooms, public pay phones with data ports, wireless Internet, audio book rentals, Western Union, prepaid phone cards, truck washes, repair shops and CAT Scales. Pilot Travel Centers LLC is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and employs 14,000 people nationwide.

PLATFORMS: Microsoft SQL Server 2000.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The biggest business challenge for Pilot Travel Centers was that paper-based execution reporting resulted in time-consuming review periods for managers where critical store-level issues often went unnoticed, impacting performance, sales targets and budgeting. Pilot needed a one-system, one-way solution to automate ordering, simplify department analysis, increase reporting visibility, track performance and project sales in a more timely, efficient and accurate manner.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Pilot implemented BI solutions from Panorama Software to enable exception report delivery and presentation over the Internet through its portal. The company saw significant and immediate benefits from the implementation of Panorama NovaView. It automated reporting and analysis, improved efficiency and speed of report review, improved trending capabilities, proactively identified issues quickly and acted upon them immediately, and ultimately increased the bottom line by $1.8 million.

STRENGTHS: The primary strength for us was that the product was able to seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Analysis Services. However, its flexibility in report design and exception reporting also make this product quite strong. Ultimately, Panorama gave us the option to either create custom dashboards or choose from a set of predefined templates with a variety of visualization options to show performance indicators. The product also is exceptional because it facilitates communication and collaboration and enables the end user to move seamlessly from performance monitoring to analysis and reporting with a single click.

WEAKNESSES: If there were anything Panorama could consider for improvement with Panorama NovaView, it would have to be to continue to strive to keep speed and upload time a priority to maintain their market-leader position. We have found that the greatest area of improvement is speed, as screen resolution time can be up to one minute on the pages where we have included 20-plus portlets.

SELECTION CRITERIA: After evaluating several BI solutions, Pilot chose Panorama for publishing and presenting data on its Web portal. We were impressed by Panorama's ability to build on the capabilities of Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services because having a BI solution that leverages a Microsoft product was a key differentiator to our selection process. Panorama enabled us to extend our technology to deliver benefits to our business.

DELIVERABLES: With Panorama, Pilot can now analyze overall sales and compile year-over-year performance statistics. We have noticed significant benefits from implementing Panorama NovaView. Primarily, our strategic goals have been better aligned to corporate actions because NovaView is able to monitor results and communicate challenges and trends proactively. By doing this, it sets a benchmark for performances relating to our established goals so we can continuously improve across the enterprise. The bottom line for Pilot Travel Centers is that Panorama NovaView has been integral in facilitating daily decision-making and proactive action.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Panorama has supported us exceptionally well. They visited once to outline a speed/efficiency game plan, which helped significantly.   

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is complete and easy to understand, but we continue to look to Panorama Software for implementation and support if and when needed.

Panorama NovaView 5
Panorama Software Ltd.
164 Eglinton Avenue East
Suite #400
Toronto, ON M4P 1G4
(416) 545-0990

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