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Accolades and Innovation

Downturn-era BI and EPM projects earn honors for three Oracle customers.

by Tony Kontzer, February 2010

Now in its third year, the Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Innovation Awards have become a barometer for measuring the impact of the Oracle Fusion Middleware family of products. Perhaps no year has offered more resounding evidence of that impact than 2009. Despite operating in the second year of economic recession, more than 100 companies from around the globe submitted success stories.

“What really jumped out at organizers was the business impact customers are achieving with BI and EPM solutions,” says Neela Chaudhari, group product manager at Oracle. Many nominated customers described their solutions as key to improving profitability, driving market share, and gaining competitive advantage.

“The nominations demonstrated that BI and EPM are critical to customers’ success in today’s economic environment,” says Maria Forney, director of customer programs at Oracle.

Indeed, three award-winning Oracle customers raised the bar by tapping those technologies to power their businesses: Pernod Ricard, NetApp, and Continental Airlines.

Pernod Ricard Distills Customer Data with BI and EPM
With the acquisition of companies such as Seagram, Allied Domecq, and Absolut Vodka, Pernod Ricard tripled in size and transformed into a maker of premium spirits. Along the way, management had to learn about a slate of new customers while navigating the complexities of a new financial environment.

In order to accommodate these changes, Pernod Ricard managers significantly improved IT resources in the areas of financial reporting and BI. This process began with a solid EPM foundation built on Oracle Hyperion Financial Management and the Oracle Essbase online transaction processing server, deployed in 2002 and 2003, respectively. This system replaced a web of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets previously used to store and manage financial data. The new platform provided management with new reporting capabilities, organized by brand, across all of the 70 countries in which Pernod Ricard operates.

Starting with EPM provided a logical segue to Pernod Ricard’s most pressing issue—the need to assess opportunities facing the growing lineup of premium spirits. After an exhaustive evaluation, Pernod Ricard selected Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition Plus as the heart of its BI competency center and the standard for any affiliates interested in availing themselves of BI.

Since its deployment in 2006, Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition Plus has delivered a new level of financial analysis that Pernod Ricard affiliates use to monitor the flow of money through the company. By presenting data from transactional systems before loading it into the Oracle Hyperion Financial Management/Oracle Essbase platform, Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition Plus simplifies a complex undertaking and delivers powerful answers to basic business questions.

“Who are our most profitable customers, and what are our most profitable brands? Am I spending enough time and money on those guys, and not spending too much time on less profitable customers?” says Vincent Meunier, group IT business solutions director at Pernod Ricard. “That was the kind of stuff that was quite difficult to get on a regular basis without BI.”

According to Meunier, BI helps management understand how customers interact with brands in specific geographies: employees use information about where premium brands are selling best to strategically deploy marketing budget. “What is really key is being able to assess more efficiently what are the opportunities within each market for each brand,” Meunier says.

That market-specific approach to BI has helped to distinguish Pernod Ricard’s implementation. “There is lots of buzz about BI competency centers,” says Meunier. “The fact that we managed to build a kind of competency center for a decentralized group was seen by Oracle as being unique.”

Although Meunier says Pernod Ricard, like many French companies, doesn’t focus on measuring the impact of technology on the bottom line, total cost of ownership has decreased by sharing reusable processes, speeding the retirement of legacy BI resources, and sharing system maintenance and enhancements among affiliates.

Management at Pernod Ricard plans to add BI functionality to other business domains—including logistics and supply chain—and expand its geographic strategy into a number of countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. “The way we are operating is really to take decisions as close to the market as possible,” says Meunier.

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