Stamp of Approval for Business Intelligence
Pitney Bowes organized its sales group around Siebel Analytics—and it paid off.
by Carol Hildebrand, May 2007
Forward-thinking companies such as Pitney Bowes are reaping benefits from deploying business intelligence (BI) in new ways. The firm, which is a US$5.5 billion company with 25,000 employees in the U.S. and 2 million customers worldwide, wanted to extend BI beyond its use as a tool to analyze historical decisions. Now, BI is being deployed in the enterprise to provide up-to-the-minute, actionable data that can be used to inform on-the-fly decisions. Further, embedding BI tools into business processes makes it possible for Pitney Bowes to achieve significant rewards in terms of time and money saved and business generated.
Pitney Bowes' William Duffy has overseen a six-year-long analytics effort at his company that started with Oracle's Siebel Marketing and has since extended to sales, marketing, field service, and call centers. Since 2002, Pitney Bowes has deployed Siebel Marketing, Siebel Call Center, two Siebel Sales modules, Siebel Analytics, and four Siebel Field Service deployments for its 1,500 field service agents.
Learn how an upgrade to Siebel Analytics 7.8.4 in early 2006 has helped Duffy streamline IT chores. As an illustration, in the past, the extract, transform, and load (ETL) process took 10 hours each night, leaving no time to produce user-requested reports overnight. With the upgrade in place, ETL runs in under 3 hours, and reports are ready for users by 6 a.m.
Business intelligence (BI) has been viewed as a specialized skill, the province of business analysts and data miners. But companies that continue to use that narrow definition of the role of BI will find themselves lagging behind their competitors when it comes to getting real business value from the information that is collected every day, in every transaction with customers.
"Business intelligence has traditionally been positioned as an IT initiative that limits the use of information to reports and ad hoc querying," says Nancy Williams, vice president of business intelligence and data warehousing at DecisionPath Consulting in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and coauthor, with Steve Williams, of The Profit Impact of Business Intelligence. "It's not being thought of as a strategic tool to improve business performance," she adds.
But that view is gradually changing. More and more, forward-thinking companies see BI as more than a tool to analyze historical decisions. Instead, BI that is deployed more pervasively in the enterprise can deliver up-to-the-minute, actionable data that can be used to inform on-the-fly decisions. Companies that successfully embed BI tools into their business processes can reap significant rewards in terms of time and money saved and business generated.
BI Gets Around
One such company is Pitney Bowes, where Data Warehouse Project Manager William Duffy has been preaching the benefits of analytics for six years—and successfully integrating BI into an entire business function. "Business analytics is 10,000 times more important than it was a few years ago," says Duffy.
Pitney Bowes, a US$5.5 billion company with 25,000 employees in the U.S. and 2 million customers worldwide, wanted to end its overreliance on IT as the provider of BI data. Instead, by giving one view of customer data to employees working on the front line, the office and mailing technology and services company hoped to improve the overall customer experience—creating one version of the truth for data analysis and reporting.
Duffy has led a six-year-long analytics initiative at Pitney Bowes that started with Oracle's Siebel Marketing and has since spread through sales, marketing, field service, and call centers. Since 2002, Pitney Bowes has deployed Siebel Marketing, two Siebel Sales modules, Siebel Call Center, Siebel Analytics, and four Siebel Field Service deployments for its 1,500 field service agents. "We are very heavy users of business analytics," says Duffy. "The ability to marry all these systems together lets us speak intelligently about how we're interacting with customers, as well as why and where."
How it Began
Pitney Bowes started down the business analytics path in 2002. Company executives wanted to address the business challenges that prevented them from creating "one voice of the customer." "When a call center person takes a call, they should see sales, service, and customer history data integrated into one screen," says Duffy. "But we couldn't do that in our existing environment."