CASE STUDY - Revol Wireless Dials in Key Company Strategies, Competitive Advantages with Business Intelligence Solutions
Commentary by George Mehok,Chief Information Officer, Revol Wireless
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Independence, OH, Revol Wireless is a regional provider of wireless communications. The company leverages its high-quality, all digital wireless network platform to offer truly unlimited calling at industry-leading pricing. Enjoying tremendous growth, Revol has more than 400 employees and retail locations in Ohio and Indiana.
Revol’s strategy for winning in a highly competitive climate relies on proactive churn management and on creating a corporate culture stressing performance management, accountability, and internal competitiveness. Revol sees business intelligence as crucial to supporting these strategies.
As is typical for fast-growing enterprises, Revol was plagued with disjointed, frequently inconsistent information “silos.” “But to measure performance adequately,” says George Mehok, CIO, “we needed to analyze consistent data along various dimensions, including store, region, associate, project, and others.”
To meet these needs, the Revol IT team began to engineer a single, reliable source of truth: a data warehouse and BI solution to be accessible to as many business users as possible, company wide. Dashboards would facilitate performance monitoring and operational reporting to track key performance indicators (KPIs), while analytics would help uncover churn factors.
Choosing Business Intelligence Technology
Because several operational applications were Oracle based, Oracle was chosen as the data warehouse platform. The team evaluated business intelligence solutions from four proprietary vendors and a pair of open source providers; requirements included solid integration/ETL tools, flexible reporting, easy-to-build dashboards, and ad hoc query features.
Self-service usability was also critical, since wide-deployment goals demanded that end users be able to define reports and dashboards without help from IT. Pricing was key, and because Revol was already using other open source technologies such as Apache, Linux, and PHP, an open source BI solution was determined to be a good fit, promising flexibility as new technology initiatives arose later.
Revol chose the commercial open source Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite for its ease of use; its low-cost, per-server subscription pricing model; and its modern, open architecture and support for Web 2.0 user interfaces. Rich APIs and easy access to source code would facilitate fast, easy customization, and user adoption would be enhanced by flexible output options including mobile device–friendly reporting.
Other positives included the consistent high marks given to Jaspersoft in independent industry surveys, as well as the community support, ease of integration, and ongoing source code access advantages of the open source software model.
Except for data extraction from a few Oracle-based operational data sources, all tasks—ETL, reporting, report design, report scheduling, dashboarding, and ad hoc query—are managed with Jaspersoft tools. To create a pervasive BI environment, Revol has also initiated data governance processes and has incorporated Web 2.0 UI tools.
“We’re visibly moving the company strategy forward. We’ve built a strategic asset, and we’re a better company because of this work. And that makes everyone feel good.” —George Mehok, Chief Information Officer, Revol Wireless
More than 100 employees use Jaspersoft to access Revol’s data warehouse, enabling the company to boost market share and improve sales effectiveness—and to enjoy other interesting advantages.
Historical sales information in the data warehouse, combined with demographic data from state government sources, has fueled traffic studies for optimizing store locations. Real-time monitoring, coupled with reports and dashboards, enables competitive sales analysis across stores, regions, and even sales associates. It also facilitates quick responses when unusual patterns suggest problems or opportunities.
“We’re also having good success reinforcing the cultural changes we want,” says Mehok. “Just about every report or dashboard with a KPI or other metric compares performance to targets—and that keeps us all focused on accountability.”
One final reward: The new data warehouse and BI capabilities are viewed as a strategic asset—a positive for the IT team along with the rest of the enterprise.
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