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Business intelligence in action

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9th Jun 2008
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Stuart Lauchlan looks at some recent business intelligence deployments - and the issues that organisations hope BI will address.

By Stuart Lauchlan, news and analysis editor

BI in action: ICICI Bank

The dependency on information is particularly critical in the financial sector and in a bid to create a competitive advantage through fast accurate access to trusted information, India's second largest bank, ICICI Bank implemented an Informatica PowerCenter solution earlier this year.

For a unified view of transactions and customers, all relevant data has to be reliably combined and made available at a central place - independent of the originating IT systems, whether mainframe computers, web servers or workstations. With demands for up-to-date, accurate information in its data warehouse, the bank opted for Informatica based on its scalability, automation and flexible delivery capabilities.

Together with a team of Informatica's professional services consultants, ICICI Bank software developers designed, tested and deployed PowerCenter to extract source data from disparate systems, including ATM and internet transactions, loans and bonds.

The deployment has greatly improved ICICI Bank's ability to ensure the integrity of data and minimise errors as compared to the previous manual scripting approach, which suffered error-handling issues.

"With our previous manual scripting technique, it used to take a long time to make any changes in the extracts or the fields that needed to be added," said Gurnam Saini, assistant general manager of ICICI Bank. "PowerCenter has given us the capability to make changes swiftly and improve our flexibility to respond to new data demands from business or IT as they arise. We have benefited from greater data immediacy for business users and more reliable information, which results in quicker analysis and timely reporting."

Satisfied by the developer productivity and ETL performance gains realised through the PowerCenter deployment, ICICI Bank officials are now looking to extend the Informatica data integration platform to more thoroughly leverage the power of business information across the enterprise.

BI in action: Bank of Ireland

Elsewhere in the world of finance, The Bank of Ireland is looking to respond more quickly to market changes and has been searching for a system that enables it to analyse information more easily and distribute that data throughout the firm. It has now selected Business Objects technology as its standard business intelligence platform across the company.

The BI system will interface with Bank of Ireland's existing SAP investment. SAP said that Business Objects, combined with SAP's enterprise resource planning (ERP) application, SAP ERP and SAP for Banking, will provide executives and line of business managers with transparency into performance data from across the organisation. It will also enable the bank to automatically distribute performance reports to managers in branches and trading desks on a daily or weekly basis.

"As our bank continues to grow, we need complete visibility into our business performance," said Vincent Lattimore, manager of IT procurement services. "With our expansion, we needed to centralise all information related to operations and give our management a 360-degree view across our distributed business units. Selecting the business intelligence platform from Business Objects was the logical choice to help extend the value of our SAP deployment. Business Objects has the functionality to support both our current and future information needs."

BI in action: Royal Mail Group

As part of its plans to modernise its systems, make them more flexible and lower costs, The Royal Mail Group has awarded IT and business services company Logica a five year contract to install and support two centralised business intelligence systems for the Post Office. These will replace two current systems with information management products Master Data Management (MDM) and Dynamic Intelligence (DIW), both supplied by Kalido.

The systems will be implemented early next year. Once live, Logica will provide applications management services for five years. The move is part of the Post Office’s plans to modernise its systems and services to become more “responsive to market conditions and changing business needs” as well as lowering costs.

MDM is designed to hold and manage all reference data, including office addresses and products for sale such as travel insurance and stamps, updating other systems each night, while DIW stores updated information about number and types of products sold daily.

“The new business intelligence system will deliver major improvements in consistency, efficiency and access to information,” said Keith Graves, head of business partnership at the Post Office. “It will also allow us to move away from our previous disparate systems by having integrated, standardised methodology, resulting in up-to-minute information.”

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