Operational BI: Digging Deeper for Data

Businesses rely heavily on data they gather from the field to determine whether they’re meeting goals and customer expectations. Papa Gino’sis no exception.

The problem was gathering all that data caused some serious indigestion.

The Dedham, Mass., restaurant operator pulls in massive amounts of data–everything from statistics on how long it takes customers to receive pizza deliveries to how well restaurants stack up against the local competition.

Until May 2007, business managers culled together data, via e-mail, each day from sources like enterprise resource planning applications, restaurant point-of-sale systems and a slew of Excel spreadsheets. The process was difficult and time-consuming, taking hours as district managers, who are typically responsible for eight to 12 restaurants, accumulated data and passed it on to regional vice presidents for further analysis.

Then, Papa Gino’s invested in business intelligence software from IBM Cognos. The application not only enabled managers to receive data much more quickly–it’s now generally available to all key decision makers in the organization by 6:30 every morning–it virtually revolutionized how the company uses information to improve processes and better serve customers.

Papa Gino’s deployed what’s known as operational BI, which puts reporting and analytics applications into the hands of business users who can leverage information to work more efficiently and improve results. For many organizations, operational BI is taking data gathering and analysis to a new level of effectiveness. But it can also create new challenges.

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