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Posted: 12/21/2012
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Auckland Airport Airport Improves Business Agility with Near-Real-Time Reports and Self-Service BI Tools

Auckland Airport wanted better business intelligence (BI) tools to optimize operations, so it replaced existing Oracle and Cognos products with a BI solution that includes Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. As a result, the airport has improved business agility and profitability with near-real-time access to analytics information. In addition, it has simplified and strengthened regulatory compliance and significantly reduced reporting time.


Business Needs

More than 70 percent of New Zealand’s visitors use the Auckland Airport. Served by 20 international airlines, it is a major transport hub and the second-busiest regional airport after the one in Sydney, Australia. Millions of passengers pass through the airport each year, taking advantage of services such as parking and duty-free shopping. To manage its business operations more efficiently, the airport wanted better BI tools.

Using IBM Cognos software and an Oracle data warehouse, a central department generated reports and published them each month in PDF files. The system had worked well in the past, but managers wanted more flexibility and faster access to information. “Monthly reports were fine at one time, but the world has moved on,” says Cameron Brill, Business Technology Manager at Auckland Airport. “Nowadays, our business units—particularly car parking, retail, and property divisions—need daily, interactive reporting to optimize operations.”

However, finding better BI tools was only part of the challenge. In addition to its commercial business units, the airport also manages heavily regulated aeronautical systems and operations such as baggage handling and engineering. A new solution would need to integrate all of those data sources as well as sensitive information from external systems.

Auckland Airport sought a BI solution that would not only improve business agility, but also ensure that data would be accurate, consistent, and traceable across multiple applications. “Data lineage was a priority,” says Peter Scott, Applications Manager at Auckland Airport. “We get a lot of information from various government organizations such as customs and immigration, and it’s important that we respect the privacy of passengers and the trust of those agencies.”

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* By using SQL Server 2012, we can look at dynamic and near-real-time reporting alongside weekly and monthly static reports. Our goal is to improve business agility and optimize our offerings with faster access to analytics. *

Cameron Brill
Technology Manager        
Auckland Airport

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Solution

Auckland Airport began evaluating Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise software in 2011. It was initially drawn to SQL Server2012 Reporting Services, which employees found easier to use than Cognos tools. Next, the airport asked Datacom, a leading regional provider of IT services, to implement a proof of concept. A Microsoft partner with multiple gold competencies, Datacom had worked with Auckland Airport on earlier projects and was known for its expertise in Microsoft technology.

The three-month proof of concept included interactive dashboards created with PerformancePoint Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, as well as multidimensional cubes built with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services. The solution runs on the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system.

In production since March 2011, the solution now includes 25 dashboards and more than 120 interactive charts and scorecards used by multiple business units. The solution handles 13 million transactions each month from duty-free sales alone, and it includes 100 million rows in the largest table. The airport also plans to roll out the tools to its aeronautical services division, including air traffic control towers.

In addition, the airport has implemented SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services, which it can use to ensure that data is accurate and traceable throughout the organization. The solution will also help business users to manage data.

Benefits

Auckland Airport is increasing business agility and revenue, simplifying regulatory compliance, and accelerating performance with a self-service BI and data warehouse solution from Microsoft.

Improves Business Agility and Access to Data

With the new solution, business managers can avoid waiting for specialists to generate monthly reports. Instead, they can quickly create reports themselves and make better business decisions with faster access to data.

“In the car-parking area, we were really interested in using daily analytics,” says Brill. “By using SQL Server 2012, we can look at dynamic and near-real-time reporting alongside weekly and monthly static reports. Our goal is to improve business agility and optimize our offerings with faster access to analytics. For example, we can increase revenue through more targeted promotions and reducing the average cost to park.”

Enhances Data Oversight and Compliance

The airport looks forward to using its new reporting capabilities to strengthen regulatory compliance. “We have to report in detail to the Commerce Commission. It was quite difficult to pull together data from our disparate sources,” says Scott. “However, with SQL Server 2012, it will be easy to produce and audit an exact and very prescriptive report.”

The airport can also ensure data accuracy and consistency. “To map data before, it would require a DBA to enter information directly into the Oracle database,” says Brill. “Now business users can be responsible for managing their own information.”

Simplifies Reporting with Self-Service BI

By replacing its existing Cognos products with self-service BI tools from Microsoft, Auckland Airport has both simplified and accelerated reporting. Now, business units across the airport can easily use a wide array of interactive dashboards, charts, and scorecards. “It used to take specialists a great deal of time to produce Cognos reports,” says Brill. “But with SQL Server 2012, it takes business users just minutes. This solution has really changed the playing field.”

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Solution Overview



Organization Size: 300 employees

Organization Profile

New Zealand’s Auckland Airport is a major regional transport hub that serves 20 international airlines and 13 million passengers each year.


Software and Services
Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Vertical Industries
Transportation

Country/Region
New Zealand

Business Need
  • Business Intelligence and Reporting
  • Business Productivity
  • Data Protection and Recovery

IT Issue
  • Data Warehousing
  • Regulatory Compliance and Controls

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Datacom

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