Published on 27-Jan-2010
"By integrating the IBM Cognos solutions into our SAP BW system, we can react to our customers’ wishes. The flexible and efficient usage of the solution also helps us to respond quickly and smoothly to the requirements of our individual departments. In addition, with the IBM Cognos reporting portal we are able to distribute the developed reports enterprise wide very easily. " - Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Häusler, head of Business Warehouse at Mainova AG
Energy & Utilities
Mainova consolidates its heterogeneous application architecture.
To consolidate its heterogeneous application architecture, Mainova constructed a datawarehouse. The aim was to offer a user-friendly interface enabling customer data to be analyzed on a company-wide basis. Mainova also needed a reporting system through which standard reports could be distributed company-wide, as and when required.
• IBM Cognos 8 BI • IBM Cognos Professional Services
• Predefined reports and convenient editing • Proven user interface • Central access to information • Service oriented architecture (SOA)
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Tradition and innovation form the basis of the corporate philosophy of Mainova AG. As a reliable service provider, Mainova delivers consistent quality to its customers. To ensure that it has current data available at all times, and to enable financial and business management planning and tracking with sustainable control, the company has been using tried and tested the IBM Cognos business intelligence (BI) solutions for many years. Mainova has now migrated to IBM Cognos 8 BI, ensuring that it keeps pace with state-of-the-art technology.
Mainova AG is one of the largest regional multi-utility companies in Germany providing electricity, water, natural gas and heating to one million people in Hessen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Thuringia. In addition, business clients are provided in the domestic market as well as on an increasing degree throughout Germany.
One of Mainova’s largest business customer is the Frankfurt airport. Mainova subsidiaries also supply 16 towns and communities in Hessen, Bavaria, and Thuringia with electricity or gas. Thanks to the wide-ranging know-how of the 2,800 employees in all of the supply areas and its many years of business experience, the energy supplier is able to provide products and services according to customers’ requirements. For this, the company uses innovative approaches to ensure individual and safe energy supplies. To satisfy the requirements of the deregulation of the energy market and to comply with the new regulations, Mainova depends on sound information about customer groups and company results: which products are having success on the market? What customer groups are using them? Which products are not doing so well?
Here too, the company has shown its innovative strength and pioneering spirit: eight years ago the energy provider introduced a BI solution to assess the consumer behaviour of customers on the basis of sales statistics. The SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) is used as the source system, and traditionally the IBM Cognos reporting tools are used at the front end. This combination provides the Marketing, Controlling, Sales and Distribution, and Accounts departments in particular with the necessary information. But the company’s technical sections, including those involved with capacity planning, also benefit from the BI solution.
In order to consolidate its heterogeneous application architecture in 1999, Mainova started to construct a data warehouse. In parallel with the introduction of SAP ERP and the branch solution SAP Utilities, the system was extended the following year with the implementation of SAP BW. At this time, the company already had the solutions IBM Cognos Impromptu, IBM Cognos PowerPlay, and IBM Cognos DecisionStream in use. The aim was to offer a user-friendly interface enabling analysis of customer data on a company-wide basis. Thanks to the Web-based architecture of the IBM Cognos solution, SAP BW was integrated and connected to the IBM Cognos analysis tools already in use without any problems. Little by little, Mainova built up a reporting system which was initially implemented through the IBM Cognos Upfront Web portal. Standard reports could now be distributed company-wide, as and when required.
Mainova has continually extended and updated the BI platform in recent years. So, for example, the portal application IBM Cognos Upfront has been superseded by IBM Cognos ReportNet with the portal interface IBM Cognos Connection. And development of the SAP system has not stopped either. At the beginning of 2007, with the latest SAP BW release, SAP BW 7.0, Mainova introduced components of the SAP Netweaver BW platform. Since the new version of Business Warehouse included some technology changes, Mainova decided to migrate from the existing Cognos platform to IBM Cognos 8 BI.
Using the IBM Cognos solutions has become a tradition at Mainova. With the implementation of IBM Cognos 8 BI, the energy provider is counting again on the proven quality of the BI provider.
“We have had very good experience with the IBM Cognos solutions,” says Andreas Häusler, head of Business Warehouse at Mainova AG. “Our users are comfortable operating the system, the product is well established in our company, and can also be integrated into the future strategic platform, the SAP portal. It was important for us to ensure the compatibility of the new SAP solution with the IBM Cognos platform.” Mainova is one of the first companies in the world to work with IBM Cognos 8 BI on SAP BI 7.0. IBM Cognos 8 BI is based on Web services and service oriented architecture (SOA), an architecture that has already been proven in IBM Cognos ReportNet. IBM Cognos 8 BI is also certified for integration with SAP BW, thus ensuring speedy, smooth implementation of the new solution at Mainova. Within a very short time the migration was complete, and the reports were transferred to IBM Cognos 8 BI. Mainova can now access data in the SAP BW and use IBM Cognos 8 BI on the SAP Web application server. To make this possible, the IBM Cognos Professional Services team set up an interface that enables the SAP Web application server to communicate directly with IBM Cognos 8 BI. This link ensures stable performance and data transparency.
With the combined BI solution, Mainova provides its employees with central access to the information that is relevant to them, whether they are in Sales and Distribution, Marketing, Accounts, or Controlling. Specifically, IBM Cognos 8 BI completes the SAP NetWeaver BI solution in three ways. Firstly, it provides convenient distribution of standard reports through the IBM Cognos Connection portal. Secondly, it enables automatic updating of customized reports. For example, there may be around 100 reports available to accounts management, with predefined criteria such as customer groups, sector, or credit-worthiness, which can all be called with one click—without any waiting time. And thirdly, IBM Cognos 8 BI is ideal for providing well prepared attractive reports—including those on paper.
Have the users noticed the release change and the modifications? ”No, not really—and that is good,” says Andreas Häusler. “This is just what we wanted. With IBM Cognos 8 BI the employees have a proven and convenient user interface, as well as the tried and tested functionalities. For us, this kind of continuity saves a considerable amount of time and expense, both for training and familiarization. The administrative expenditure also remains manageable.”
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.
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
Cognos 8 Business Intelligence
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