Schneider National is a transportation and logistics company with a customer base spanning North America and Europe, which generated over $2.7 billion in annual revenue last year. When the Wisconsin-based company initiated their enterprise information strategy, Schneider National wanted a business intelligence solution that could move business-critical information across the company fast.
Not long ago, most of the firm's corporate information was scattered across the company within an array of legacy databases. Managers were forced to leaf through heaps of hard copy reports that often took weeks or even months to produce. Senior executives within the company realized they would be unable to keep pace with changing market conditions unless they found a way to increase the rate and effectiveness of decision-making across the enterprise.
"Our principal objective was to increase the velocity of information in our organization. We needed to empower our managers with a solution that enables fast, consistent and effective decision-making at all levels of our business," said Bill Braddy, Schneider National's director of knowledge services. He went on to explain that the Cognos solution had been chosen for its robust multidimensional analysis and reporting capabilities needed to navigate the business through an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Schneider National deployed the first phase of the Cognos Enterprise Reporting solution in May. "Our first priority was to get this solution into the hands of the people who manage the 'value centers' of our companythose places in the organization from which we spend or collect revenue," said Braddy. Schneider National will roll out the solution to business analysts and senior managers in every department from Sales and Marketing to Customer Service to Finance by January 2000. The company will deploy the web-based solution throughout the rest of the company over the following year.
Schneider National has deployed the Cognos solution to several distinct levels of users. The solution's analysis and reporting capabilities enable individual users to access and work with the data in a manner that best suits their business needs. For example, business analysts use the multidimensional OLAP tool to track "empty miles" - the time and distance trucks travel without freight. By drilling down and examining the data over time, by geography or by customer, these analysts are able to better allocate resources toward specific routes or anticipate the shipping needs of a particular customer. "When Schneider National launched this solution, we were determined to measure the project's success by its ability to shorten and strengthen our decision cycles," said Braddy. "We received 100 percent return on our investment within the first six months since the date of purchase.