Manufacturer deploys data integration software to create key business indicator portal
Westboro, MA August 26, 2003 International Truck and Engine Corp. has deployed enterprise data integration software from Ascential Software in a bid to improve its competitive position and market responsiveness amid rapidly changing business conditions.
Using Ascential's DataStage software, International created and deployed a key business indicator (KBI) portal that for the first time provides managers with near-zero-latency, consolidated business information on company performance. The KBI portal provides information about order status, budgets, suppliers, employees, dealers and more than 100 other performance metrics.
International, the largest producer of medium-duty trucks, school buses, chassis and mid-range diesel engines with $6.8 billion in sales, is using DataStage to transform data from a wide variety of International systems into a consistent format and load it into International's IBM Informix enterprise data warehouse. The warehouse feeds a business intelligence portal application that provides more than 450 employees with customized sets of key business indicators at a glance.
"The key business indicators portal project was a strategic initiative we undertook in large part to transform our business monitoring and reporting from a slow, labor- intensive, paper-based process to one that's automated and highly accessible," said Jim Rappe, the company's enterprise data warehouse group leader.
"Ascential Software solutions provide near-zero-latency data in the formats we require, ensuring our business intelligence is current, accurate, timely and a true reflection of how the company is operating," added Mike Gohl, International's enterprise data warehouse team leader. "The result is better decisions made earlier, smoother operations, less waste, tighter cash management, more responsive customer service and continuous improvements in manufacturing."
To obtain these benefits, the 101-year-old company used DataStage to meet the challenge of integrating data from legacy systems and enterprise applications many older than 15 years, some as old as 28 from across the company's truck, engine and financing divisions. The DataStage extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) tool connects warehouse data to key business performance metrics for all end users, from the executive level to line-of-business managers and analysts.
For example, the KBI portal provides analytics that let International employees drill into details on any truck in dealer inventory, revealing which configurations sell the best. Project managers now have timely access to engineering cost breakdowns, supplier performance metrics, materials management information, individual employee performance and safety. Individualized employee portals include green, yellow and red "traffic light" indicators to advise employees about the status of important business goals. Each metric is hyperlinked to launch an AlphaBlox online analytical processing (OLAP) application, fed by the data warehouse, that lets employees view, "slice" and "dice" the underlying information.
In the process of creating and deploying the KBI portal, International eliminated complex, manual data searching, validation, certification and double checking. Financial analysts and other professionals now spend more time applying their specialized business knowledge and less time on administration. International plans to further rely on Ascential Software as the manufacturer phases out legacy systems and replaces them with improved systems and architecture.
"International trucks are an icon in the transportation industry because of the company's exceptional global business management practices," said Mike Cassettari, Ascential Software vice president and chief marketing officer. "Today, global business management means tightly linking technology to business processes to ensure valuable, accurate business information gets to the right people exactly when they need it. International is achieving this with the assistance of Ascential DataStage."