Critical to a successful business is the ability to understand today’s business performance, combined with the ability to predict future trends in order to effectively act on new opportunities as they arise.
No exception to this rule, Gen-i’s Professional Services group needed a solution to supersede its existing performance monitoring solution, and one that would put the group ahead of the pack in terms of monitoring and measuring business performance as well as identifying trends in order to target new opportunities.
As a result of deploying Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (Office SharePoint Server 2007) with PerformancePoint Server (PPS), Gen-i’s Professional Services group can now monitor, analyse and report on business performance providing detailed, secure information to any organisational level within the group.
Being able to effectively and efficiently track business performance and pinpoint issues within the business by drilling down into information has meant that Gen-i can act quickly on effective resolutions, which increases the ability to allocate more time to developing new professional services or working with new customers to develop their core business solutions.
||Our ability to monitor and measure our performance using Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Server with PerformancePoint Server functionality means that we can now excel in acting on opportunities and ensuring our business operates at its full capability
||Patrick Kouwenhoven, Head of Software Solutions, Gen-i New Zealand
Monitoring, measuring performance results and acting on information are key functions of any successful business.
The Gen-i Professional Services group needed to improve its business reporting capabilities as well as the visibility and management of key business unit metrics in order to grow the business.
Gen-i’s previous business intelligence solution pulled information from a number of disparate systems into Excel. This provided limited and inflexible group level reporting capabilities.
Patrick Kouwenhoven, Head of Software Solutions at Gen-i, outlines his overall business expectations.
“I wanted a solution that accessed almost real-time data from multiple systems; with reporting and trending capability that allowed us to identify the right levers to pull to optimise our business quickly. Another requirement was quick, easy and understandable reporting for our staff and our executive team,” says Patrick.
“We needed a single consolidated view of our business which could only be created by accessing data contained within multiple applications. Our operating budget for this solution was minimal, so one of our key requirements was automated data integration,” says Patrick.
“We needed significant depth in terms of visual appeal so that staff at all levels could easily understand our current service delivery performance – as it relates to our ongoing business performance metrics. For example, we needed day to day business reporting as well as monthly management reports, delivered across all locations,” says Patrick.
Looking at the Professional Services group’s requirements and knowing that Microsoft solutions had worked for them in the past, Gen-i chose to deploy SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft PerformancePoint Server 2007 while consolidating its multiple data files into a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 database using SQL Integration Services.
Gen-i then deployed its solution in a simple four phased deployment.
“We detailed our business requirements, built a proof of concept, loaded the historical data into the system while we finalised the executive dashboard and, after selling the idea to the wider business, we deployed the solution,” says Patrick.
Understanding the value of providing appropriate business intelligence information to staff at multiple levels, Gen-i looked to SharePoint Server 2007 and PerformancePoint for flexibility, user familiarity and scalability.
“We needed to provide staff at all levels with the ability to measure and understand company performance. The PerformancePoint component of SharePoint Server 2007 has given us the ability to excel in measuring our performance because each person can have an individualised scorecard which is aligned to our objectives. Having this detail available on a web-based service through SharePoint Server also means people can access it anywhere, anytime increasing efficiency and providing them with easy, secure access to one true source of business intelligence information,” says Patrick.
Rich visualisation and up-to-date performance dashboards and scorecards help Gen-i staff to align their actions with the company’s strategic goals.
“The system had only been in place for two weeks before we noticed that staff were using PerformancePoint to create their own graphs and data grids as well as using the visualisation functionalities. These capabilities have helped us quickly identify trends and opportunities for our business that would otherwise have taken weeks to see through the minefield of data,” says Patrick.
In addition, Gen-i’s decision-making abilities have improved because of the ability to present information more visually and in a way that reflects how Gen-i want to see the business measured.
“PerformancePoint provides us with the ability to scroll up and down data as well as drill into information for a deeper understanding of our business which is invaluable. Within a few weeks of implementing SharePoint and PerformancePoint, we were able to identify areas that we needed to focus on and find resolutions,” says Patrick.
Automation leads to cost savings through time efficiencies
Gen-i is now experiencing time savings and cost efficiencies through the automated data capture functionality in PerformancePoint.
“As a result of the automated data source capture and load in PerformancePoint, I would estimate that we save approximately eight hours each week in data entry time and have reduced monthly reporting preparation by another eight hours,” says Patrick.
In addition, with the ability for users to quickly set up their own performance dashboards and scorecards, IT staff have been freed up to focus on their core tasks.
“With users establishing their own performance reports, we’ve noticed that the IT team is increasingly able to focus their efforts more on core business rather than providing business intelligence information. We’ve effectively saved the equivalent of one-half of a person’s salary in freeing up this time,” says Patrick.
Distribution and Security
Gen-i has also realised the importance of managing data securely through SQL Server Report Manager.
“We can manage the analytical views of each report in SQL Server Report Manager. Also, because PerformancePoint is web-based, the right people can access the right reports at the right time, saving administration time and enabling us to act quickly on one source of information,” says Patrick.
Going forward, Gen-i is planning to further develop the analytical components of PerformancePoint.
“With further customisation of SharePoint and PerformancePoint, we’re aiming to be able to understand why certain aspects of the business are occurring, not just that they are,” says Patrick.
Microsoft PerformancePoint Services
Microsoft PerformancePoint Services is a component of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise and is delivered through Microsoft Office. This tool enables businesses to articulate goals, monitor business activity, identify and analyse issues, collaborate and take action. It also enables users from across the organisation to have ready access to business intelligence.
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: www.microsoft.com
For more information about Gen-i products and services, call +64 4 4984600 or visit the Web site at: www.Gen-i.co.nz