Published on 28-Sep-2009
"The Cognos Client Management team gave us outstanding support during the transition to IBM Cognos 8 BI. They were highly motivated and committed. The right specialists were on hand quickly to help us with every problem that arose, and they were able to find good solutions and to implement these quickly on-site. The people from Cognos also showed they were great at thinking outside of the box – that really impressed us. " - Adriena Greening-Scheuring, Lufthansa Cargo’s project supervisor and IT business analyst
Business Intelligence, Smarter Planet
Lufthansa Cargo conducts detailed evaluations of its operations.
Crucial to the carrier’s success in today’s highly competitive air-freight market is its ability to access business-critical information fast. To maintain a lead in this volatile market, Lufthansa Cargo relies on BI tools to conduct detailed evaluations of its operations.
• IBM® Cognos® 8 BI • IBM Cognos PowerPlay® •IBM Cognos Impromptu® Web Reports (IWR)
• Improved performance • Greater ease of use • Data presentation and formatting without additional editing
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With its commitment to speed, reliability, and value, freight carrier Lufthansa Cargo has earned itself a reputation for quality service across the transport industry. The company’s standards are no less exacting when it comes to analyzing and evaluating business processes. Crucial to the carrier’s success in today’s highly competitive air-freight market is its ability to access business-critical information fast. And to ensure that it can continue to meet this challenge successfully, Lufthansa Cargo has moved its reporting to IBM Cognos 8 BI.
Formed in 1994, Lufthansa Cargo AG is one of the largest freight carriers in international aviation: with 1.76 million tons of cargo and mail—equivalent to 8.1 billion freight-ton kilometers sold—the company reported sales of EUR 2.48 billion in 2006. The carrier’s core competency lies in the airportto-airport cargo business. Lufthansa Cargo’s route network spans more than 500 destinations, which it serves with its own fleet of freighters, plus a number of chartered aircraft. The company is also responsible for marketing the entire freight-carrying capacity on Lufthansa Group passenger aircraft.
As well as the standard and express freight services, Lufthansa Cargo’s product portfolio includes specialty services for hazardous goods, temperature-sensitive products, live animals, valuables, and theft-endangered goods. With a workforce of 4,600 people worldwide, Lufthansa Cargo ensures that freight is carried reliably and rapidly around the world.
As globalization advances, the demand for transport services is increasing worldwide, driving rapid growth throughout the air freight industry. Industry experts predict that the world market for air cargo could expand by an average of 6 percent annually over the next five years. However, Lufthansa Cargo and other freight industry incumbents face mounting competitive pressure as other airlines and Eastern European and Asian operators gradually widen their freight capacity.
To maintain a lead in what will inevitably become a hotly contested market in years ahead, Lufthansa Cargo conducts detailed evaluations of its operations—and uses IBM Cognos business intelligence (BI) tools to do the job. These evaluations enable the carrier to identify scope for improvement throughout its business processes, to take initiatives to optimize these processes, and to track the success of these initiatives. The IBM Cognos tools also support budget planning, earnings control, and the tracking of target achievement Lufthansa Cargo first deployed an IBM Cognos solution to analyze its operations in 2001. The company used the solution to monitor the entire value chain—from bookings and sales figures to the transportation of goods and final billing of services—and to review the information in reports. For example, Lufthansa Cargo works with IBM Cognos BI to analyze quality performance indicators, not just for customers and partners but also for in-house purposes, and to encourage continuous improvement.
The process begins with the tracking of quality performance indicators, something which Lufthansa Cargo began doing enterprise-wide two years ago. The company gathers data at different points along the transport chain and saves it in a data warehouse, creating a comprehensive base of information. This data is used to determine whether the actual transportation of an item of freight proceeds in accordance with the planned scheduling and routing. Information collected over specific periods went into reports created with IBM Cognos PowerPlay® and IBM Cognos Impromptu® Web Reports (IWR) to document the meeting of compliance requirements. The goal is to accurately measure the quality, transportation times, on-time performance, and freight delivery at the point of arrival in an effort to make transportation processes more reliable.
Over the years, though, the business challenges facing the freight carrier have grown, and so have the company’s expectations regarding its BI system. Latterly, this prompted Lufthansa Cargo to review key aspects of its IBM Cognos solution critically, including the presentation of data, ease of use, and overall performance. At the time of the review, the reporting and analysis capabilities were delivered through IBM Cognos PowerPlay and IBM Cognos IWR.
Although both are comprehensive and enormously flexible solutions, they required too much manual editing of the analyses and reports. The answer was to move existing reports to IBM Cognos 8 BI. As Adriena Greening-Scheuring, Lufthansa Cargo’s project supervisor and IT business analyst, explains, the freight carrier had two key concerns, “When we decided to implement IBM Cognos 8 BI, it was especially important that we wouldn’t lose our current reports, but would still be able to benefit from the new Cognos software’s capabilities.”
Lufthansa Cargo set an ambitious target for its entire reporting system: to migrate from IBM Cognos Series 7 IWR to IBM Cognos 8 BI in just six months. The company embarked on the project in April 2007 and in spite of a limited 7-member team, succeeded in taking it live on September 10—due in part to the IBM Cognos Client Management Team. Says Adriena Greening-Scheuring, “Thanks to committed efforts by the Cognos consultants, we were able to keep to our tight schedule.” The new solution went into full production operation on October 1, following a 3-week trial period in which Lufthansa Cargo users had the chance to put the IBM Cognos 8 BI platform through its paces.
“The transitional period was extremely valuable for us. It gave our people the chance to use the new solution while continuing to work on the old system, and we had plenty of time to deal with any problems that arose,” recalls Greening-Scheuring.
As the project progressed, the implementation team, comprising Lufthansa Systems advisors and IBM Cognos consultants, moved the entire previous solution built on IBM Cognos Series 7 IWR over to IBM Cognos Viewer. IBM Cognos PowerPlay, however, was left in place and integrated into IBM Cognos 8 BI.
“We kept the IBM Cognos PowerPlay models because our users find them really useful,” explains Greening-Scheuring. “The models are fast, perform well, and allow analyses in multiple dimensions.” The old portal application, IBM Cognos Upfront, was replaced by a new IBM Cognos Connection portal. IBM Cognos Connection provides users with central access to reports and the functionality they need to manage user views and send reports by e-mail. As part of the migration of the IBM Cognos 8 platform, Lufthansa Cargo upgraded its IBM Cognos PowerPlay server to the current release, switched from the UNIX® operating system to Microsoft® Windows®, transferred its batch processing, and upgraded its Oracle database management system to Oracle 10.
The IBM Cognos Client Management team provided Lufthansa Cargo with valuable support during the migration project’s implementation phase, and also helped up-front with the project planning and application design. The team played a crucial role in solving specialized challenges, including how to install single sign-on, how to lock reporting during database housekeeping tasks, and how to display report names in IBM Cognos PowerPlay reports, using the IBM Cognos 8 BI Software Development Kit (SDK) to customize the software.
“The migration went quickly and, by and large, very smoothly,” says Greening-Scheuring. “In spite of the detailed analysis we’d done at the outset, we did run into a number of unexpected difficulties during the project. But the Cognos consultants on site were able to find quick and pragmatic fixes.”
It looked as if the new solution would get off to a positive start, and it has. The previous IBM Cognos 8 platform had already been an extremely popular resource among Lufthansa Cargo employees. And now, thanks to IBM Cognos 8 BI, the 720 users have an array of powerful unctions at their disposal that can help them meet new challenges and expectations with ease.
Thanks to the numerous evaluation and analysis options available within IBM Cognos 8 BI, salespeople are comprehensively briefed before consultations with customers. At the same time, users are considerably more productive with the new solution. Reports are delivered to users, ready formatted, at the click of a button, which means there is no need to spend time on complex editing tasks. And there is an additional plus: users can now display reports on different topics on a formatted sheet without having to spend time querying data in separate applications and editing the results. Employees can also use a search engine to find reports fast.
“Ease of use and performance are both much better in IBM Cognos 8 BI,” says Greening-Scheuring. “With the new application, our employees get a clear picture of operations, faster and with less effort.”
Now, having rolled out IBM Cognos 8 BI successfully, Lufthansa Cargo is planning to clean up and restructure its data. “We now need to design a new data warehouse with Cognos Framework Manager so we can make better use of the Cognos products’ functionality,” says Greening-Scheuring. “We hope that this will enhance the transparency of the underlying data as well as reducing maintenance and ongoing development effort.”
About IBM Cognos BI and Performance Management
IBM Cognos business intelligence (BI) and performance management solutions deliver world-leading enterprise planning, consolidation and BI software, support and services to help companies plan, understand and manage financial and operational performance. IBM Cognos solutions bring together technology, analytical applications, best practices, and a broad network of partners to give customers an open, adaptive and complete performance solution. Over 23,000 customers in more than 135 countries around the world choose IBM Cognos solutions.
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