Area Travel Agency’s reporting solution enhances business travel monitoring

Published on 18-Mar-2013

"After the first client reports had been taken into production, we immediately saw the positive results. In fact, the whole reporting process was accelerated: whereas in the past it took four hours, we now are able to update the data cubes in 15 minutes – an improvement of 93 percent." - Mari Svahn, Travel Management Analyst, Area Travel Agency

Customer:
Area Travel Agency

Industry:
Travel & Transportation

Deployment country:
Finland

Solution:
BA - Business Analytics, BA - Business Intelligence, Enabling Business Flexibility, Information Integration, Transforming Business, Web Services

Overview

Founded in 1935 and headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Area Travel Agency is one of the country’s leading business travel agencies, with travel centres in Hämeenlinna, Oulu, Tampere and Turku. Employing 130 people, the company provides end-to-end business travel services for its clients at its travel centres and over the telephone, and develops open online services that respond directly to the needs of businesses. In 2012, Area Travel Agency’s total overall sales were around €127 million.

Business need:
Area Travel Agency wanted to enhance and modernize the way it helps its clients monitor their business travel – offering them the insights they need to address today’s travel management challenges.

Solution:
The travel agency upgraded its analytics software to IBM® Cognos® Business Intelligence 10.

Benefits:
Area Travel Agency is now able to give its clients clearer, more visual insights. The Cognos solution also enhances the company’s internal reporting capabilities.

Case Study

To read a Finnish version of this case study, click here.

Founded in 1935 and headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Area Travel Agency is one of the country’s leading business travel agencies, with travel centres in Hämeenlinna, Oulu, Tampere and Turku. Employing 130 people, the company provides end-to-end business travel services for its clients at its travel centres and over the telephone, and develops open online services that respond directly to the needs of businesses. In 2012, Area Travel Agency’s total overall sales were around €127 million.

Supporting client travel management
Today, business travel is becoming ever more goal-oriented and closely controlled. Regular monitoring and analysis of the overall costs of business travel, as well as regular follow-up to check that partnership agreements and travel policies are being correctly implemented, are the keys to efficient travel management.

Area wanted to modernize its reporting services to meet the needs of its clients and adapt to today’s trends. The objective was to make its reports more user-friendly and visual.

Summarising information
In addition to specific reports, Area Travel Agency’s clients wanted a consolidated summary that could provide a ‘big picture’ view of their business travel at a glance. The travel agency also wanted a quicker and more efficient way to provide the information to its clients.

Mari Svahn, Travel Management Analyst at Area Travel Agency, says: “In the past, the reporting process involved a lot of manual effort, which took time. Generating reports for different client groups could even take as long as four hours.”

Choosing IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10
After reviewing solutions from a number of vendors, Area Travel Agency chose to keep its existing IBM Cognos platform and upgrade to the latest version – IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10. IBM helped with the implementation process.

“We wanted an external partner that would bring fresh perspectives on the whole subject of reports and reporting processes – and a partner that could provide tangible help,” says Svahn. “We chose the IBM team because they had the latest business analytics knowledge and resources at their disposal. What’s more, the team’s experience with previous implementations gave us confidence in their ability to install and configure the Cognos solution quickly and efficiently.

“In every project, unexpected things happen that require flexible responses. Without a partner, it can often be difficult to see the big picture, and find realistic compromises or alternatives – this is exactly what the IBM team offered us. For a project like this to be successful, it is important that there is mutual understanding between the customer and the partner.”

When the implementation was complete, the travel agency organized tailored, hands-on training for different user groups with the help of IBM.

“Our philosophy is that people learn by doing, which means that training must happen in the workplace,” Svahn says.

Increasing efficiency by 93 percent
Using the high level of automation in IBM Cognos Business Intelligence, Area Travel Agency can now generate reports automatically without time-consuming manual work.

Svahn comments: “After the first client reports had been taken into production, we immediately saw the positive results. In fact, the whole reporting process was accelerated: whereas in the past it took four hours, we now are able to update the data cubes in 15 minutes – an improvement of 93 percent.”

Improving reporting services
Area Travel Agency now gives its clients access to their data through web-based Active Reports – accessible any time. Clients can log in securely via a web browser and get fine-grained information about their business travel expenditure – for example, the number of business-class tickets or the most frequently used airlines. The Active Reports in Cognos Business Intelligence 10 offer a simple way for the clients to explore their data to track costs and reservation behaviour.

In addition, Area Travel Agency can now offer its client managers reports that contain all the relevant data on a particular client. When an Area employee is about to leave for a meeting with a client, she or he can quickly grasp all of the relevant information and numbers that relate to that client, and even present them to the client face-to-face on site. All the information is now in one place, easily accessible and in an easily comprehensible form.

Cognos 10 also makes it possible for Area Travel Agency to create consolidated reports that combine multiple different business travel metrics on a single page. These reports can even be used offline.

Working more effectively
With the help of automated reporting, Area Travel Agency has been able to simplify its reporting processes and focus its attention on customer service.

“Updating the information has become a much faster process – I have noticed this in my own work,” says Svahn. “At the beginning of each month, I am responsible for updating the previous month’s figures. Before, this took me two days each month, but now it is handled automatically. So the IBM Cognos solution saves me two days manual work every month.”

Because of the time saved by automated reporting, Area Travel Agency can now focus on analysing the figures and developing the solution further to provide better information.

“Furthermore, evaluating our own operations with the help of the new consolidated reports gives us a more comprehensive picture,” Svahn says. “We are also still using the detailed individual reports.”

Conclusion
By implementing IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10, Area Travel Agency has gained new ways to enhance its reporting services. New, more visual reports provide clearer information that is easier to use, and address the business needs of Area Travel Agency’s clients. Modernising the reports has also improved process efficiency within the travel agency itself.

“The speed and versatility of the Cognos solution have been a positive surprise for us,” concludes Svahn. “For example, there are at least three different tools that we can use to generate a report, and we’re still learning about these new possibilities. IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10 is absolutely the tool of the future – it can be utilized and modified according to a wide range of needs.”

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.

For more information
For further information please visit ibm.com/business-analytics

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
Cognos Business Intelligence

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. Oy International Business Machines Ab, PL 265, 00101 Helsinki, Finland. Produced in Finland. March 2013. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and Cognos are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.