REVIEWER: Andy Mai, vice president of IT for Elephant Bar Restaurants.
BACKGROUND: Elephant Bar Restaurants have steadily grown into an extremely successful chain of 35 restaurants in seven different states across the U.S., with more than 4,500 employees.
PLATFORMS: Dell Server, EMC SAN Windows 2003 SQL Server 2000.
PROBLEM SOLVED: When the business first began, analysts were able to manage and analyze the organization's data manually using Microsoft Excel and Lotus 123. However, as the company grew, so did the amount of operational data it accumulated. As a result of Elephant Bar's rapid success, coupled with an aggressive future growth plan, the company needed a more efficient and effective business intelligence (BI) strategy. It was imperative that the company take steps to effectively analyze and manage the business; Elephant Bar needed BI technology that would provide insight into the performance of the entire organization.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Utilizing Microsoft SQL Server 2000, Elephant Bar is able to pull data from various sources, including Great Plains (financial information) and a restaurant industry back-office software package called Hula Software (sales, inventory, purchasing and labor information). The company currently has five power users who manage the majority of the organization's daily, in-depth analysis and reporting requirements. Prior to the ProClarity implementation, the company never had a robust resource to dynamically analyze their data and, therefore, had limited visibility into how the organization was performing. ProClarity gives Elephant Bar that insight.
STRENGTHS: The ProClarity data visualizations have played an important role in the dissemination of information. Executive-level decision-makers rely on advanced visualizations to identify trends in sales, costs, promotional programs and overall company performance. ProClarity's Performance Map, for example, allows users to compare performance of different menu items. This enables the company to identify correlations between sales and contribution margins and helps R&D understand how to refine menu items and recipes, allowing the company to operate much more cost-effectively. With ProClarity, data becomes information, and everything about the business is much more visible.
WEAKNESSES: One of ProClarity's opportunities to enhance the product would be allowing drag-and-drop functionality onto its grid.
SELECTION CRITERIA: In our pursuit for better BI, Elephant Bar test drove several competitor solutions before finally selecting the ProClarity BI platform. ProClarity's integration with Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services made it much easier to filter the company's information, and patented and patent-pending visualizations offered a more intuitive interface and superior analytic capabilities.
DELIVERABLES: Because the majority of end users are restaurant veterans who don't have extensive technology experience, power users perform in-depth analysis of the business and provide them with an intuitive overview that helps them make better decisions throughout the organization. Information is currently exported to Excel and is tightly integrated into Microsoft Reporting Services. Information is also relayed to company decision-makers via BlackBerry and Good Link reports as well as published through the company's intranet. The organization plans to implement ProClarity dashboards in the near future to further disseminate information. Prior to the ProClarity implementation, Elephant Bar Restaurants simply did not have visibility into the performance of the business. We are now able to view the company in a completely different light, which allows decision-makers to more effectively manage the growth of the company. In the end, the company went from waiting days for a report to having it in seconds.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Initially, there were some challenges in finding the right provider with knowledge of the restaurant industry. Once Elephant Bar partnered with OLAP Business Solutions, a BI and consulting firm, their efficiency and technical expertise yielded extremely quick results.
DOCUMENTATION: The technical documentation allowed administrators the ability to easily understand and support the different processes of building and distributing cube information. The nontechnical user documentation provided a solid foundation for the users to get started and also serves as reference material whenever needed.
ProClarity Analytics 6
500 S. 10th Street
Boise, ID 83702
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