Published on 05-Jan-2010
"Everyone who uses IBM Cognos 8 BI loves it – they appreciate the graphical representation and the ability to take a ‘quick glance’ to see accurate, up-to-date business metrics. Furthermore, we’ve created dashboards for operations, engineering and aeronautical fleet-wide engineering, which now enable users to drill down into information for faster and smarter decision-making." - Rebecca Jolley, DSS Project Manager in the Information Systems Division of the U.S. Coast Guard ALC
U.S. Coast Guard’s Aviation Logistics Center
The U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) uses IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence (BI) because of its ability to quickly and cost-effectively get reports out over the Web to more than 13,000 users. The previous version, Cognos 7, proved to be a reliable tool that effectively supported its information management requirements. The improved capabilities of Cognos 8, made it an obvious choice to support the organization’s expansion and growth.
In 2007, as a result of a Coast Guard-wide initiative to modernize its business practices, the U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) recently expanded its logistics management IT system to include Naval operations. This created a need to consolidate its reporting and modernize its overall IT infrastructure to be more agile and responsive to support the transformation of the organization.
The Coast Guard Asset Logistics Management Information System (ALMIS) is in the process of migrating more than 300 reports and 60 cubes to the new IBM Cognos BI system. This will enhance users ability to produce financial reports, as well as manage procurement, contractors, aviation and naval stations and depot supplies. It also improves the data driven management of operations for aviation and naval asset maintenance.
One cohesive data system for supply chain and logistics management; Half a million dollars saved in the first year due to improved visibility into the status of part orders; an increase in the ability to readily build and distribute reports over the Web without overtaxing IT.
The U.S. Coast Guard is a military, maritime service with a mission to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests in the nation’s ports and waterways along the coast, and on international waters. In times of peace, it operates as part of the Department of Homeland Security, and in wartime, it comes under the Navy Department. Peacetime duties for its nine districts include law enforcement, search and rescue, marine safety, and environmental protection.
The Aviation section of the U.S. Coast Guard, headquartered in Washington, D.C., was founded in the 1920s, and currently includes 26 aviation stations in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
Prior to the implementation of IBM Cognos, the U.S. Coast Guard Asset Logistic Management Information System (ALMIS) presented a number of logistics challenges. It was burdened with two legacy systems that didn’t communicate with each other. These systems also lacked a Web presence. Because the legacy systems offered limited functionality, users constantly resorted to their help desk and IT support to develop required custom reports. This was extremely labor intensive and led to unnecessary delays.
Another critical problem area was the inability to track the precise location of parts in the supply chain through the ALMIS system. If a part was needed quickly and hadn’t arrived, fleet wide authorized maintenance personnel would re-order the item on a high-priority basis because there was no way of knowing where the part was in the supply chain. Ultimately, ALC ended up paying more for unnecessary parts that would sit in a warehouse, tying up valuable space and resources.
Once ALC started using IBM Cognos solutions in 2000, these problems became virtually obsolete. They were able to turn the two legacy systems that comprised ALMIS into a single cohesive system with better data integrity and greater efficiency.
“We had a requirement for operations information to be Web-based. Operations personnel – including pilots, coxswains, and crew – would fill out itineraries, asset status, and scheduled and unscheduled maintenance,” says Rebecca Jolley, DSS Project Manager in the Information Systems Division of the U.S.Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center (ALC). “We had to get the reports out to everyone over the Web, so we decided on the IBM Cognos solution because we knew it could do that quickly and cost-effectively.”
In 2007, the ALMIS staff was tasked to expand its data management of 26 air stations and it’s supporting logistics center to include naval assets and personnel. The expansion was monumental, counting 36 sectors, 249 standard boat stations and it’s supporting surface fleet logistics center.
In an effort to optimize performance, the department deployed new Linux® and Windows® 2003 hardware, and migrated from an Ingres database to an Oracle database. As part of this modernized IT infrastructure, ALC also purchased IBM® Cognos® 8 BI. In 2008, the ALMIS staff started migrating more than 300 reports and 60 cubes over to the new BI system. They also began to develop and deploy dashboards and scorecards throughout the organization, taking its decision support to the next level.
In addition, private industry vendors, who sometimes own parts on Coast Guard assets and maintain their own components, can log into the IBM Cognos Web portal to manage their own areas. In these cases, the Coast Guard has complete security, and control over what a vendor sees on their Intranet Web site. Jolley points out that managers located within the Aviation Logistics Division at ALC in Elizabeth City, NC, also use the IBM Cognos solution for short- and long-term trend analysis and reporting of their supply chain, leading to greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
In addition to Coast Guard Headquarters, the Operations System Center in West Virginia can pull data directly from the database at any time so that users throughout the Coast Guard can view and analyze the information via the Web. The department’s more than 13,000 users can self-serve as required, saving IT support and the help desk the work of having to specially generate customized reports. As people become more familiar with how to pull the data and develop their own reports, the number of IBM Cognos users continually increases.
Power users include Engineering Officers at the Coast Guard stations and members of the Aviations Logistics Center who want to look at parts demand and forecast when parts are needed, determine how many are essential to keep in stock, and perform a multitude of analytical analysis critical to the effective management of Coast Guard resources. Jolley indicates that the IBM Cognos system has garnered significant ROI thanks to its providing improved visibility into the –Coast Guard’s supply chain. In June 2005 the United States Coast Guard won the Technology ROI award from Nucleus Research and CIO Decision Magazine. The U.S. Coast Guard was recognized for the successful implementation of its Asset Logistics Management Information System (ALMIS) initiative, which is powered by IBM Cognos BI.
“In just the first year, we estimate that the IBM Cognos solution was able to contribute toward a half a million dollars in savings. By automating an important requisition status report using IBM Cognos BI— and linking it to FedEx for real-time delivery status information— we were able to significantly lower our re-order rate for unnecessary parts. This was a major process improvement for U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center.”
In the near future, ALMIS plans to roll out a newly-developed scorecard to high-level managers that will help them to better align tactics with strategy, communicate goals consistently, and monitor performance against targets – thereby, continuing to drive the department’s efficiency and success.
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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