Published on 18-Feb-2010
"Requirements have increased and they will continue to do so in the future. Thanks to IBM Cognos, we feel safe in relation to any eventuality." - Controller at NICI GmbH
NICI GmbH gains valuable insight into sales, inventory and financial information with the IBM Cognos solution
As part of a redesign of its ERP system, NICI GmbH was seeking a professional BI controlling solution to optimise management of its data, reporting and information. The main requirements for the new solution included a high level of data quality and user-friendly operation.
The IBM Cognos 8 BI solution enabled flexible analyses, planning, reporting and consolidation.
Standard reports; a high level of data quality and security; real-time reporting; shortened response times despite highly complex queries; reduced administration effort, more effective implementation of planning criteria; an evolving tool for real-time management of sales activities.
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Since its creation in 1986, NICI has grown to become an international operator in the gift items sector. Based in Altenkunstadt (Bavaria, Germany), the company’s main activity is the production of original and creative, high-quality stuffed toy characters. Its best known products include “Sam”, “Paula” and “Otto” the frog. NICI also markets a wide range of modern acessories, from bags and pencil cases to stationery and cups. The company currently employs around 400 staff and is the market leader in the cuddly toys/gift items sector in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. It operates a network of 35 shops in Germany and 11 more in Asia. On an international level, NICI is represented in 75 countries, distributing mainly via general importers.
In 2002, NICI decided to implement a new ERP system in order to secure its future growth and competitiveness. In 2003 and 2004, it embarked upon a complete reorganisation of its flows of goods, replacing multiple isolated solutions and interfaces with an integrated ERP system. As part of the redesign of this ERP system, the company decided to implement a professional BI controlling solution to optimise management of its data, reporting and information.
The requirements for NICI’s new BI system included high data quality (consistent data), integrated technology and user-friendly operation (fast access times and flexibility in answering individual requests). The technology also needed to keep pace with the company’s growth (infrastructure and staff). And ongoing support and optimisation were also needed to ensure a long-term solution. After a detailed evaluation, NICI decided in favour of the IBM Cognos solution because it fulfilled all of the company’s complex requirements – from flexibility and multiple functions to daily updates, access to detailed information and an intuitive user interface. The company initially filled all of these requirements with IBM Cognos PowerPlay, and later upgraded to IBM Cognos 8 BI.
NICI began the implementation of the IBM Cognos solution in their sales controlling, with the generation of applications for each division (company), along with the creation of a data model including dimensions, hierarchies and management ratios. Using the IBM Cognos solutions, within the space of a few weeks, sales controlling was able to map all of its business and quickly access detailed information through standard and ad-hoc reports.
After implementing the solution in sales controlling, the next phase was to implement it in financial accounting. The creation of a cube in IBM Cognos provided flexible access and analyses of data by posting area, account type and cost centre. Importing planned data by account also allowed the rapid comparison of targets against actual data, and provided the ability to perform variance analyses for controlling and management. All of these capabilities helped to improve the management of cost variables.
Finally, the solution was implemented in purchasing with NICI ASIA. With this, the mapping of their entire import business could be performed with the IBM Cognos system, including reporting on goods received and floating stocks that generate container notifications. Another new option opened up by the IBM Cognos solution was the analyses of purchase prices by manufacturer and quantity, as well as the linking of inventory analyses to open orders to trigger orders automatically, as required.
The implementation phase was successfully completed with the creation of consolidation cubes in each area. The solution was implemented by IBM Cognos partner BI Plus GmbH. At the moment, 21 employees are able to access and filter the information they need from the system.
The IBM Cognos reporting environment is flexible in every respect. It can be used to generate standard user-friendly reports containing tailored information, along with ad-hoc queries that ensure a rapid response to special requirements. Thanks to its easy-to-use, intuitive and cleverly designed user interface, acceptance is high among NICI employees.
Cross-classification tables or graphics can be created individually or in combination, while data can be easily filtered and sorted for output in aggregated or detailed format. Each query can of course be saved as an Excel-csv or PDF file. The IBM Cognos solution was seamlessly integrated in NICI’s existing infrastructure and was installed and configured in record time. Thanks to the new system, administrative tasks, ongoing maintenance and amendments to additional functionality can be handled quickly and easily, reducing the burden on IT staff.
The IBM Cognos system allows the company to implement technical modifications and amendments without outside help, representing a huge saving in terms of time and cost: from user rights, schedules and portals to settings, languages, performance options and licence roles.
Partner Vienna-based BI plus GmbH, with regional branches in Wörgl and Graz, offers IBM corporate performance management solutions in line with its motto: “We take you to the next level”. Its a close strategic partnership with IBM and use of only with IBM-certified consultants and technical experts with years of practical experience provide a guarantee of quality and the efficient implementation of your project. Covering the entire portfolio from business intelligence and planning to consulting, design, implementation, training and support.
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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