Published on 21-Aug-2009
Validated on 17 Feb 2011
"With IBM Cognos Planning, we’ve been able to produce more accurate forecasts, and the speed of execution has improved dramatically. Additionally, with IBM Cognos 8 BI, we are able to update our forecast in real time, and make informed business decisions from it, which was difficult before." - Dan Vaagen, Director FP&A, Sciele Pharma Inc.
Sciele Pharma, Inc
The IBM® Cognos® solution had a “well-established track record of success” in the business intelligence industry.
Sciele needed to unite disparate hardware and software in an integrated, enterprise-wide planning and business intelligence system.
A comprehensive IBM Cognos 8 BI and IBM Cognos Planning system that has changed Sciele’s focus from compiling data to analyzing it for improved business efficiency.
Easy-to-use, user-friendly analysis of information; executive dashboard; quick and easy report generation; forecast updates in real time for informed business decisions .
Founded in 1992, Sciele Pharma, Inc® specializes in sales, marketing, and development of branded prescription products that are focused primarily on cardiovascular health, diabetes, women’s health and pediatrics. The company’s success lies in its ongoing goal to place the needs of patients first, improving health and quality of life, and executing its business platform, which consists of entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, speed, simplicity and teamwork.
With 900 employees, the pharmaceutical company was growing at a rapid pace and needed to align its users on a common IT framework. Sciele wanted to deploy an enterprise-wide system that would unite disparate software and hardware, and develop an IT system that incorporated comprehensive business intelligence (BI) software. The company chose an IBM Cognos solution to enable its sales and finance departments to gain full, real-time access to the information in its database and provide organized reports for better forecasting.
The sales and finance departments at Sciele were accustomed to using Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheets to document and record all transactions, yet it soon became clear that an established and detailed IT financial planning and reporting system needed to be implemented as the company grew in size. This request came from the finance department, and the challenge remained in trying to get the IT department on board.
Since Sciele used solely Microsoft products in its IT department, it was difficult to encourage IT to look into a planning and BI product from a different vendor. The department had a long, existing comfort with the current Microsoft technologies. Yet, they realized although they had solved specific problems, it became problematic to keep the processes and information in real-time format as the company grew.
“There was a preference in IT for Microsoft-based solutions, so we had to demonstrate that this was a completely different paradigm,” states Dan Vaagen, Finance Director, Sciele Pharma Inc. “To align our users quickly into a common planning and reporting framework, we needed to convey to IT that they would be expected to help only in the initial deployment. Once the foundation was established, the users would determine the course.”
With plans in place to upgrade its existing forecasting tool and implement a planning solution that was the foundation for an enterprise-wide reporting platform, Sciele evaluated Adaptive Planning, Clarity Systems, IBM Cognos and FRx Forecaster solutions. The company was looking for a scalable tool that would not only keep up with expansion but also assist in keeping pace with future growth.
Ultimately, Sciele chose an IBM Cognos solution for its “well established track record of success” in the industry. The company originally selected IBM Cognos 8 BI and then IBM Cognos Planning. The decision was made to begin with the planning solution in order to address a more immediate need to tackle forecasting and move away from spreadsheets. Once IBM Cognos Planning was in place, Vaagen and his team felt it would be logical to introduce a more enterprise-wide solution, which would lead to the deployment of IBM Cognos 8 BI.
“Once we implemented IBM Cognos Planning, it was just logical to move ahead with IBM Cognos 8 BI because it was an easy segue onto an IBM Cognos platform,” recalls Vaagen. “Before we purchased IBM Cognos Planning, we couldn’t get the right traction to align on a particular product or process. So I used the planning tool as a catalyst to push BI to the forefront because we needed a new forecasting tool that was intuitive and gave us reporting capabilities.”
With the transactional, detail-oriented features of IBM Cognos Planning, Vaagen was looking for a way to encapsulate and display the results in an executive dashboard for user-friendly access. “We knew we needed to couple the planning solution with a BI tool that could be easily integrated, which really accelerated the BI push and prompted a quicker deployment.”
With several groups involved in the different elements of planning, and now that IBM Cognos Planning and IBM Cognos 8 BI are successfully deployed in the finance department, Sciele is expanding its use of the IBM Cognos system into its sales operations to use for incentive compensation planning, sample optimization, supply chain and forecasting inventory purchases.
Now, the finance and sales departments at Sciele have one version of the truth when they view their data. The company has already cut down on the amount of individually updated and non-integrated spreadsheets that are shared throughout the company, with the assistance of both IBM Cognos Planning and IBM Cognos 8 BI. “When you head into a meeting with the same interactive data that everyone has contributed to, you have a consistent version of the information,” states Vaagen. “So, everyone is singing off the same sheet of music, much more so than we were five or six months ago.”
Additionally, with the old Excel spreadsheets gone, users are now able to create more clearly defined, interactive reports that reduce human error and enable insightful analysis. “It gives us the ability to spend a lot less time compiling data and more time analyzing it, which is probably the biggest advantage from a human resource perspective,” notes Vaagen. “We’re not spending time keying in data, or cutting and pasting. We’re actually spending time identifying ways to make the business operate more efficiently.”
This capability has also made its way to Sciele’s executive management. The team is now able to manage the edits and modifications that are made during board meetings in real time, emphasizing the difference between the previous method of just compiling data rather than analyzing the information for an enhanced business impact.
Vaagen sums up the benefits he’s been able to achieve for the company through his IBM Cognos experience by saying, “With IBM Cognos Planning, we’ve been able to achieve more accurate forecasts, and the speed of execution has increased dramatically. Additionally, with IBM Cognos 8 BI, we are able to update our forecast in real time, and make informed business decisions from it, which was difficult before.”
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
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