Published on 26-Nov-2012
"Cognos has made a huge difference to our business by enabling us to analyse how our products and sales teams are performing in different markets." - Nicolas Fontan, Business Intelligence Manager, Ambu
Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Enabling Business Flexibility, Information Integration
IBM Business Partner:
Ambu is a leading innovator in the healthcare sector, and develops products in three main fields of excellence: anaesthesia, emergency care, and patient monitoring and diagnostics. Headquartered in Denmark, Ambu manages operations in 12 countries across Europe, North America and Asia; it also sells its products via a network of distributors in 77 other countries worldwide. It employs approximately 1,700 people, generates annual revenues of more than 1 billion Danish kroner ($175 million US), and is listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange (AMBUB:Copenhagen).
As a creator of innovative solutions for the healthcare industry, Ambu continually invests in the development of new products. Launching these products effectively and understanding their impact on sales, the supply chain and overall financial performance, are critical to Ambu’s success.
Ambu relies on IBM® Business Analytics software to provide deep insight into sales, marketing, finance, supply chain and production processes. To maximise the performance and flexibility of this analytics landscape, Kapacity, an IBM Business Partner, helped Ambu upgrade to the latest version of IBM Cognos® Business Intelligence.
Provides deep analysis of the performance of products and sales teams in different territories. Enables Ambu to make more informed decisions about up-selling, cross-selling, and marketing new products. Replaces laborious spreadsheet-based reporting processes with automated daily reports based on a single version of the truth.
To read a Danish version of this case study, click here.
Ambu is a leading innovator in the healthcare sector, and develops products in three main fields of excellence: anaesthesia, emergency care, and patient monitoring & diagnostics. Headquartered in Denmark, Ambu manages operations in 12 countries across Europe, North America and Asia; it also sells its products via a network of distributors in 77 other countries worldwide. It employs approximately 1,700 people, generates annual revenues of more than 1 billion Danish kroner ($175 million US), and is listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange (AMBUB:Copenhagen).
Ambu’s current strategy revolves around four key focus areas: developing new and improved products; strengthening its position in the USA, Europe and Asia; making strategic acquisitions to boost its market share in the single-use medical products sector; and enhancing business processes and improving efficiency through IT and lean manufacturing.
Nicolas Fontan, Business Intelligence Manager at Ambu, comments: “Analytics is a common factor across all four of these strategic focus areas. For example, we need a deep understanding of how our current product lines are performing in order to launch new products successfully and make the right acquisitions. To strengthen our position in different international markets, we need to gain insight into how our sales teams are performing in each territory. And to ensure that we can provide this information to our business decision-makers in an efficient and timely way, we need the right IT systems to support our analytics processes. This is where IBM Cognos software comes in.”
Analytics at the heart of the business
Ambu has been using products from the IBM Cognos family for more than five years. Over the course of this long-term relationship, it has developed a wide range of reports, scorecards and dashboards that support almost every key area of the business, from finance through sales and marketing to supply chain management and manufacturing. Ambu’s senior executives, sales managers and business analysts are all users of IBM Cognos Business Intelligence, while IBM Cognos Planning is utilised by the dozens of stakeholders across the business who contribute to the company’s budgeting and forecasting processes.
“We chose Cognos because of the palette of tools available: Planning for budgets; Analysis Studio, Query Studio and Business Insight Advanced for cubes and ad-hoc analysis; and Report Studio for designing advanced or standard reports,” says Nicolas Fontan. “The integration of the tools is a clear advantage: they complement each other, and they all utilise the same data, so they can provide a single version of the truth.”
Staying at the leading edge
Recently, Ambu decided to upgrade to the latest version of the software – IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10.
“With the growth of the business, we needed to upgrade the infrastructure that our Cognos environment was running on – moving from a single server to a multi-server environment,” comments Nicolas Fontan. “At the same time, we took the opportunity to upgrade to the latest version of Cognos, which gave us access to new features such as Active Report and Business Insight Advanced, which have quickly become indispensable.”
Exploiting new features
The Active Report feature allows Ambu to create interactive reports that enable users to drill down into data even when they are not connected to the main Cognos system. This is particularly valuable for sales teams and managers who are often on the road, and may not always have an internet connection available. With Active Reports, these users can keep track of all sorts of useful information – such as actual versus budgeted turnover per month, top 250 customers by region, and sales by product family. As well as top-line figures, the reports allow users to drill down into the underlying data – providing a much greater depth of understanding than a traditional static report could deliver.
Business Insight Advanced is a key feature for the company’s more advanced users – giving them the power to create dashboards and reports for themselves by combining data from different sources and applying a wide range of analytical tools. The feature puts self-service analytics in the hands of business users, empowering them to gain the information they need without requiring support from the company’s IT team. It also helps the IT team work with the business to develop more complex standard reports: a prototype can be designed quickly and easily in Business Insight Advanced, and then converted into a standard report using Cognos Report Studio.
An excellent partnership
The implementation of the new solution was supported by Kapacity, an IBM Business Partner that specialises in data warehousing and business analytics technologies.
“Kapacity has been an excellent partner for Ambu,” says Nicolas Fontan. “The professionalism and flexibility of Kapacity’s consultants helped us move to our new analytics landscape in a smooth process with no major issues. They demonstrated great knowledge of the Cognos products, and provided specialist resources for every aspect of the project – from the infrastructure through the software migration to the development of new reports.”
Developing new analytical tools
With the upgraded solution up and running, Ambu has been able to develop a number of sophisticated reporting tools that offer new ways of understanding the way its business operates. In addition to updated versions of the company’s existing sales and financial analysis cubes, the business intelligence team has created a new report for the marketing department, which gives product managers greater insight into the purchasing behaviour of new customers.
“This new report uses data from the past two years to show the types of products that new customers are buying, and highlights opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling,” says Nicolas Fontan. “As a result of this analysis, our marketing team has decided to extend one of our product ranges, giving customers more choice and providing products that fit their needs more precisely.”
Monitoring and improving business performance
Nicolas Fontan concludes: “Cognos has made a huge difference to our business by enabling us to analyse how our products and sales teams are performing in different markets. With daily analysis of a single version of the truth, we have the insight we need to make better business decisions, follow them up with appropriate actions, and then monitor the outcomes. By tracking a set of clearly defined key performance indicators over time, we can clearly see the positive results of this strategy.”
Kapacity is a Danish consultancy firm with expertise in business intelligence and data warehousing solutions. With many years of technical experience and deep corporate awareness, Kapacity has demonstrated its core competences in a diverse range of public and private sector organisations.
To learn more about products, services and solutions from Kapacity, visit www.kapacity.dk
About IBM Business Analytics
IBM Business Analytics software delivers data-driven insights that help organisations work smarter and outperform their peers. This comprehensive portfolio includes solutions for business intelligence, predictive analytics and decision management, performance management, and risk management.
Business Analytics solutions enable companies to identify and visualise trends and patterns in areas, such as customer analytics, that can have a profound effect on business performance. They can compare scenarios, anticipate potential threats and opportunities, better plan, budget and forecast resources, balance risks against expected returns and work to meet regulatory requirements. By making analytics widely available, organisations can align tactical and strategic decision-making to achieve business goals.
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Products and services used
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012. IBM Danmark ApS, Nymøllevej 91, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. Produced in Denmark. November 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. 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.