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Polaris Identifies Patterns, Trends and New Markets with Oracle Sales Analyzer

Published
  • July 01 1999, 1:00am EDT
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BACKGROUND: Polaris Industries is a $1 billion company that designs, engineers, manufactures and markets snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft and Victory motorcycles for recreational and utility use. Polaris is the world's largest snowmobile manufacturer and one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of ATVs and personal watercraft products.

PLATFORMS: Polaris Industries uses the Windows NT operating system running on a Compaq Proliant 5500 system to power the Oracle Sales Analyzer product.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Polaris Industries wanted to improve their understanding of their customers. Polaris' customers are primarily independent dealers, some international distributors and a distributor in the Wisconsin/Michigan area. Polaris was interested in determining their customer inventories, sales trends and purchase behaviors to help create the foundation for targeted customer service programs. However, because volumes of disparate information were located on various systems throughout the organization, Polaris needed a solution that could gather all of the stored information for analysis of product sales and customer information

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Oracle Sales Analyzer (OSA) was created to identify trends, perform data analyses and validate particular streams of thought quickly and easily. It enables users to access, analyze and distribute information from their enterprise data warehouse or data mart without IS support; and it is capable of seamlessly accessing almost any data source, allowing the end user to focus on analysis rather than search and retrieval. OSA users can drill down to achieve greater detail. In the future, Polaris plans to use the Oracle Sales Analyzer to expand the corporate focus on retail behavior consumer (the dealerships' customers).

STRENGTHS: The built-in functions for calculating averages, totals, percent change, calendar and season year-over-year and year-to-date figures in OSA help Polaris perform marketing and sales intelligence. In addition, OSA allows users to easily create reports and graphs over the Web, saving IS resources and providing a simple and secure method for analyzing critical business information regardless of location. Finally, Oracle Sales Analyzer controls access to information, ensuring that the appropriate user obtains the right information, quickly and easily.

WEAKNESSES: There are occasions when certain users require detailed information from OSA. This translates into a need for in-depth reporting. This periodically exceeds the product's capabilities, resulting in longer response times ­ an example is querying for the inventory levels of all models for each dealership. To solve this increase in response times, OSA has limited the resultant query to 5,000 rows.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Polaris chose OSA to gather and analyze stored information, allowing users to identify patterns, trends and new and existing markets. In addition, because Sales Analyzer is Web-enabled, field personnel can leverage these business assets any time and from anywhere in the world, resulting in increased productivity and improved decision making.

DELIVERABLES: Polaris Industries uses Oracle Sales Analyzer to produce reports targeted at satisfying the individual requirements of different audiences including upper management, mid-to-high-level management and mid-level regional management. OSA is also frequently used to produce sales reports based on the performance of district sales managers.

VENDOR SUPPORT: When Polaris users call Oracle support with IT obstacles, they are greeted by staff who demonstrate considerable product knowledge and take the time to determine the source of frustration. Once the IT issue has been determined, staff then provide the critical steps toward resolution. In addition, Polaris recognized Oracle support for its ability to track and transfer calls while maintaining the customer's information throughout the support process.

DOCUMENTATION: To supplement OSA documentation, Polaris conducts a four-hour training session on OSA with employees.

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