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TDWI Best Practices Awards: Recognition for Innovative Data and Analytics Implementations

TDWI Best Practices Awards 2009 Winners

TDWI’s Best Practices Awards recognize organizations for developing and implementing world-class business intelligence and data warehousing solutions. Below are summaries of the winning solutions for 2009.

These winners were chosen by a panel of independent judges who have expertise in BI and DW. Companies and sponsoring solution providers from many diverse industries submitted entries to be judged in a variety of categories.

Predictive Analytics

  • ARC

ARC is an airline-owned company that provides financial settlement solutions and data and analytical services to the travel industry. For years, travel agency fraud was identified at the physical travel agency location by performing an audit of paper coupons and weekly reports. It typically took two days to review the volumes of paperwork and prepare a report on findings drawn from patterns and trends from 13 weeks of data.

With the ARC industry data warehouse, along with the implementation of predictive fraud models, ARC can now analyze 39 months of data in minutes to detect patterns and trends across an entire industry.

ARC’s advanced predictive models are flexible enough to meet changing business and industry needs. Curtailing fraud involves predictive modeling of real-time data; ticketing anomaly monitoring; scrubbing data for known fraud schemes; providing information for taking countermeasures; and creating and promoting best practices for the industry. ARC now responds, in near real time, to emerging scenarios and identified trends, rapidly adapting and adjusting its predictive models to meet and counter new challenges.

Data Governance

  • BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is one of North America’s largest diversified financial services providers. In 2004, the Bank’s Board of Directors approved a policy that declared information a strategic asset. The policy includes all information media: paper and electronic. Data warehouses, marts, and unstructured data repositories are all within scope.

The bank instituted a multi-year program to develop and institutionalize the roles, standards, and processes to support the policy e governance program has focused on creating trust in the bank’s information through education and awareness; processes and supporting technology; monitoring and reporting; and emerging risk management. The program has evolved to become an ongoing department within the bank’s information management function with close ties to operational risk.

Defining great customer experience and meeting regulatory requirements both demand accurate and timely information collected from around the bank. BMO has demonstrated increased information management maturity and is realizing the benefits of a taking a formal, holistic, and integrated approach to managing information.

Government and Non-Profit

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
    • Solution Sponsors: Mariner & Microsoft Corporation

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is a consolidated citycounty school district that has been nationally recognized for academic achievement and business innovation. The district, North Carolina’s second largest, has more than 137,000 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, 19,000 employees, and 180 schools.

CMS decision making is guided by its Strategic Plan 2010: Educating Students to Compete Locally, Nationally and Internationally. Among the plan goals was the creation of a Data Dashboard as requested by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. The Data Dashboard, built in collaboration with Mariner and Microsoft, was launched in the fall of 2008. It has provided an accessible visual interface that allows parents, school administrators, and citizens to monitor district progress on the plan’s goals. The Data Dashboard has increased the district’s transparency and credibility by making available in-depth information about schools and academic progress.

The Data Dashboard helps administrators and the public proactively monitor district performance on strategic plan goals, as well as a wide range of academic and operations indicators.

Enterprise BI

  • Freescale Semiconductor
    • Solution Sponsor: Teradata Corporation

Freescale Semiconductor designs and manufactures embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, and networking markets. Freescale launched an enterprisewide data and analytics platform to enable faster and more informed business decision making. A first for the semiconductor industry, this joint business and IT enterprise business intelligence (EBI) program combines factory, engineering, and business data into a single data warehouse, enabling cross-domain analytics. EBI-enabled new analytic capabilities have cut business process cycle times from days to hours or even minutes.

Since going live in mid-2007, the EBI program has become the information and analytics backbone of Freescale’s business application programs. It has enabled the successful launch of re-engineering initiatives in supply chain, manufacturing, customer service, quality, and finance, and has improved yields, reduced customer quality incident-response times, improved sales and marketing’s pricing process, and consolidated financial data and reporting.

The EBI program has delivered significant business value by observing many best practices, including use of an enterprise data model, a consistent focus on providing end-to-end analytical capabilities, and effective leverage of ERP data for analytics.

BI/DW on a Limited Budget

  • IMPAX Laboratories, Inc.

IMPAX Laboratories, Inc., a technology-based specialty pharmaceutical company, applies its formulation expertise and drug delivery technology to developing controlledrelease and specialty generics as well as branded products.

IMPAX’s enterprisewide single data warehouse platform (SQL), single report tool (IBM-Cognos) integrated data from source ERP, operational systems, spreadsheets, and third-party data. The project was created to deliver one centrally located “version of the truth” and provide timely, accurate, and actionable information to all levels of the organization. It allows business users to modify existing reports and create new BI reports for themselves, saving an estimated 2,600 hours of labor monthly.

Portals or dashboards were key. The BI team asked mid- and upper-level managers for five key performance indicators; resulting dashboards delivered data relevant to each manager’s functional business area.

The implementation across an 800-employee company in four locations—from business requirements gathering and data modeling to reporting and training—were successfully completed by a three-member BI team, with assistance from outside consultants.

Radical BI

  • Ingersoll Rand, Industrial Technologies Sector

Ingersoll Rand Industrial Technologies Sector provides products, services, and solutions that enhance its customers’ energy efficiency, productivity, and operations. Products include complete compressed air systems, golf and utility vehicles, tools and pumps, as well as material and fluid handling systems and environmentally friendly microturbines.

ITS’s BI initiative began in response to impaired visibility and timeliness of information across discrete systems. BI was expected to radically accelerate the access and transparency of information across the globe. By having the flexibility to source data from multiple disparate legacy and strategic data sets, staff could focus on performance improvements days earlier rather than data collection.

Today, IR ITS has an enterprise BI solution that spans four geographic regions, five market channels, eight disparate data sources, and 137 product categories. It includes analysis on pre-sales, order management, services, procurement, supply chain, and operations. The solution’s agility, breadth, and rapid implementation are proving invaluable given the volatility and turbidity in the current market. BI has reduced the time to benefit for both visibility and decisions.

Master Data Management

  • National Instruments
    • Solution Sponsor: Initiate Systems, Inc.

National Instruments (NI) transforms how engineers and scientists design, prototype, and deploy systems for test, control, and embedded design applications.

NI’s customer-centric master data management platform (CDI hub) project addressed duplicate and disparate customer data. Without a single, trusted, and complete view of its customers, NI was unable to deliver excellent technical support; NI employee productivity was decreased; and the company could not fully understand its customers.

NI implemented Initiate Organization and Initiate Consumer from Initate Systems, Inc. Source system customer contact records are loaded into the CDI hub in near real time utilizing SOA. Initiate’s comparison algorithm identifies and links together duplicate customer contacts.

NI can now consistently deliver the correct level of service (technical support) to its customers. Users now have a 360-degree view of each contact: leads, opportunities, quotes, orders, service requests, installed products, and notes, associated with all the duplicate contacts. The new internal search leverages Initiate’s probabilistic search and match capabilities to find contacts on the first try with 99 percent accuracy.

Dashboards and Scorecards

  • RBC Wealth Management
    • Solution Sponsor: Birst

RBC Wealth Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada, is one of the nation’s largest fullservice securities firms with more than 2,300 financial consultants and 5,000 employees.

RBC WM had been delivering a reporting and sales development tool to their field advisors, but delivered information was stale; was Excel-based (labor intensive); and reports had to be run manually.

RBC WM implemented the RBC Dashboard to provide greater visibility to its business, customers, and revenuegrowth opportunities. After a brief implementation period, financial advisors saw immediate value in the information and positive business impact from the dashboard. Delivering the right information to the right people who can use it daily empowers its financial advisors and their clients.

RBC Dashboard has been live for over three years, exceeded its targets, and is now used by hundreds of financial advisors. RBC Dashboard has become a core operating platform that an ever-increasing user base considers essential to their success and profitability.

Customer Intelligence

  • Spokane Teachers Credit Union

Established in 1934, STCU is the Inland Northwest’s largest and most successful credit union. With more than $1 billion in assets, STCU is a full-service financial institution with more than 350 employees serving 80,000 members through 13 branch locations.

An ambition of every progressive retail financial institution is to provide employees with the tools to help optimize members’ financial lives. By leveraging its data warehouse as the analytical engine behind a simple front-end programmed in house, STCU is achieving this objective with its “Conversation Engine” Solution.

The tool studies each member’s individual portfolio of services and transaction behaviors, and identifies specific opportunities for members to (1) improve their rates or lower their fees by adjusting their product mix, (2) save time by adding member services that deliver greater convenience, (3) improve the quality of member data to bolster accuracy and security, or (4) recognize and celebrate the individual members. The tool’s radical simplicity was critical to its highly successful adoption in the company, and its rich source of information has been paramount to a service revolution for STCU.

Enterprise DW

  • Telenor Pakistan
    • Solution Sponsor: T-BIRD

Telenor Pakistan is the world’s seventh largest mobile operator, with 164 million mobile subscriptions in 13 countries. In just four years, the company has become the fastest-growing mobile operator in Pakistan.

The initial DW solution suffered from serious granularity and history restrictions. The BI team realized it was inadequate for Telenor Pakistan’s long-term BI road map and market ambitions. Three months after launch, the team started to plan, design, and build a state-of-the-art, Teradata-based enterprisewide data warehouse.

The EDW is based on the Teradata Communication Logical Data Model; it integrates information from all major network and IT sources (13 months of call detail records, customer data, billing and payment information, customer interactions, and more) to build a 360-degree view around the customer—a challenge for a company with 20 million subscribers and huge traffic volumes. Multiple applications are running on the EDW (campaign management, revenue assurance, Google Earth, dashboards, customer portals, etc.) to fully capitalize on this rich information resource and 360-degree customer view. This fully integrated EDW will be one of the key differentiating factors that will help the company to outperform and be a leading service provider in Pakistan’s dynamic telecom market.

Operational BI

  • GE Rail Services

GE Rail Services (GERS), a North American transportation and leasing service provider, provides repair and maintenance services for leased railcars.

GERS uses a variety of IT operational systems and interfaces with external partners and industry service providers. One of its most powerful BI applications to date is Shoptimizer, a real-time operational analytics tool that finds the optimal shop to provide railcar repairs subject to over 20 constraints and dynamic parameters.

Prior to Shoptimizer, repair shop selections were made by customer service representatives without critical knowledge of shop capacity, shop capability, railcar movement patterns, and overall railcar condition. Railcars could wait weeks for repair or be transferred to another shop. Now, Shoptimizer calculates shop capacity dynamically and allocates capacity based on railcar type and predicted work requirements. It displays other recent repairs and predicts the full scope of likely required repairs based on just one defect reported by the customer. It also predicts the probable destination for the railcar upon completion. In addition, constraints are applied for international moves and overall transit distance and route probabilities. These features are critical in eliminating unnecessary GERS shipping and leasing costs.