Published on 04-Jul-2012
"From our experience with the Cognos software internally, we’ve found that getting access to information about our business is thousands of times easier – and we expect our clients to see the same benefits as soon as they move to the latest version of Pronto Xi." - Stefan Crisp, Product Manager, Pronto Software
BA - Business Analytics, BA - Business Intelligence, Enterprise Resource Planning
Pronto Software provides highly configurable ERP solutions and associated services to more than 1,500 clients in its native Australia and around the world.
To provide its clients with an all-in-one solution for ERP and analytics, Pronto Software decided to replace its existing reporting tools with a more flexible and user-friendly platform.
Pronto Software embedded IBM Cognos® Business Intelligence into its Pronto Xi ERP solution and developed several packages of standard reports to help its clients get up and running quickly with the new analytics tools. Pronto also uses the combined solution internally to manage its own financial, sales and CRM processes.
Provides clients with a highly intuitive and versatile analytics platform that helps them gain new insights into their data and easily develop new reports to meet their needs. Helps Pronto assess the effectiveness of marketing activities such as trade shows – enabling it to invest its marketing budget in the most effective events. Allows Pronto to monitor the introduction of new products to the market, identify areas where sales are beneath targets, and improve marketing efforts accordingly.
Pronto Software provides highly configurable ERP solutions and associated services to more than 1,500 clients in its native Australia and around the world. Its Pronto Xi solution uses a modular architecture to give companies of all sizes the ability to manage their core business processes more effectively – whether that means managing financials, customer relationships, supply chains and inventory, point of sales solutions, projects, assets or facilities. The solution is industry-agnostic, and has been deployed successfully by retailers, mining companies, logistics specialists and many others.
For more than 20 years, Pronto and IBM have been working in close partnership. Pronto Xi utilises the IBM Informix database platform to manage its data, and recently Pronto decided to embed IBM Cognos Business Intelligence into the solution to provide an out-of-the box reporting and analytics solution.
“By integrating the Cognos software into Pronto Xi, we would be able to offer our clients much more modern, dynamic and flexible analytics capabilities,” comments Stefan Crisp, Product Manager at Pronto Software. “Instead of static reports that needed deep technical knowledge to develop and update, Pronto Xi would be able to provide a much more configurable and user-friendly approach, without any need to invest in a separate analytics solution. And since we use Pronto Xi ourselves, we would also be able to use it to gain new insights into all our own core business processes.”
An easy entry-point for analytics
Working closely with IBM, the Pronto Software team began developing a reporting framework consisting of the data models and standard reports for each of the Pronto Xi modules. The idea was to help customers get up and running quickly by doing the integration for them – for example, if they were using the financial module of Pronto Xi, they would immediately be able to access preconfigured reports on areas such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and the general ledger.
“We’re using Cognos Framework Manager to create the data models for each module, and Report Studio to develop the reports themselves,” says Stefan Crisp. “We’ve already created a large selection of reports for sales, inventory and financials, and they should really help our clients get a head start and start realising the value of analytics. Even if they don’t have any analytics specialists in their own IT teams, it’s not a problem because features like Cognos Business Insight make it easy for users to assemble and share their dashboards and reports that give them access to the data that’s most relevant for them.”
Seeing the benefits internally
Pronto Software has now been using the embedded Cognos solution internally for over nine months, and has already seen a transformation in the visibility of data and level of insight its users can obtain.
“In the finance department, we now have flexible dashboards that users can personalise with Business Insight,” explains Stefan Crisp. “For example, the accounts payable team can populate their dashboards with one set of analysis tools, while the accounts receivable team can choose a different set – so each only sees the data that is most relevant to their role. They can use the dashboard to drill down from high level KPIs to greater levels of detail – so if one of the KPIs indicates that we have a large number of unpaid invoices, they can simply click through to find out which invoices are outstanding, and who they need to chase up. As a result we’re able to monitor our financial situation more easily, and take action more quickly.”
Deeper insight into sales performance
For the sales department, the solution has similar benefits. Dashboards enable C-level executives and sales managers to slice and dice sales data for different territories and gain keener insight into which products are selling best in which areas, whether sales targets are being met, and how different sales teams are performing.
“One area where sales analysis has been particularly valuable is new product introductions, or NPIs,” says Stefan Crisp. “When we launch a new product or module, it’s important to get it to market effectively. By combining the standard sales reports that we’ve developed for Pronto Xi and a few other custom reports, we can break down NPI sales by territory and monitor the success of the launch.”
With greater insight into sales across the whole product portfolio, the marketing team can also locate any weak areas in its go-to-market strategy and design new marketing campaigns and collateral to support domestic and international sales.
Saving thousands of dollars through more effective marketing
“The marketing team is also making good use of a tool we’ve developed to track the profitability of trade events,” adds Paul Goepfert, Marketing Manager at Pronto Software. “We attend many trade fairs and shows each year, but we never used to be able to measure the difference each of them made to our business. Now we use Cognos to track the new contacts we made at each event, how many of them became sales leads, how much potential revenue they have added to our pipeline, and finally why the lead was successful or unsuccessful. This allows us to calculate a return on investment figure for each trade event, so we can compare them and decide which are the most profitable. This should potentially save us tens of thousands of dollars by focusing on the most valuable events.”
He concludes: “From our experience with the Cognos software internally, we’ve found that getting access to information about our business is thousands of times easier – and we expect our clients to see the same benefits as soon as they move to the latest version of Pronto Xi. Best of all, what we’ve achieved so far is just scratching the surface of the new analytics capabilities on offer. As we start to utilise Cognos’ mobile features and work offline with the Active Report capability, we’ll be able to deliver even more flexible access to the latest data, whenever and wherever users need it.”
About Pronto Software
To learn more about Pronto Software, please visit www.pronto.net
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© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012. IBM Australia Ltd, Level 13, IBM Centre, 601 Pacific Highway, St Leonards NSW 2065. Produced in Australia. July 2012. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and Cognos are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. Pronto Xi is a product of Pronto Software. IBM and Pronto Software are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Pronto Software makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.