Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence.




ACME Inc. is a multi-product company with business in liquor, groceries, petrol, insurance and DIY stores (each of these

business areas is also known as a channel). It has a large operation in Australia but recently, due to intense competition

and the high Australian dollar, the company is facing a number of sales challenges. Your company was hired to consult on a

number of problems and you were part of the consultancy team responsible for the BI aspects of the solution. The team and

you met with their executive team (i.e., CEO, CIO, COO, etc.) and he gave a short brief about the company’s situation.

After an hour of discussion with the executive team, your team managed to zone into a number of problems that they want you

to address. These problems span a number of areas in their business and your team leader has set out tasks for everyone.

Your task is to use your appreciation of IBM Cognos to suggest the most appropriate solution to each problem below (See

NOTE box on next page).


Fruits and Veggie sales are dropping and the ACME supermarkets wants to know which suburbs they should be targeting and the

type of households to target within those suburbs. The CIO reveals that the company has been collecting sales data and they

are able to link a large part of the sales to their customers through their loyalty rewards program “Walk-Buys”. Through

their data mining software, they were able to categorize households into six different categories

• Affluent buyers – families buys mostly high quality product offerings from ACME’s store;

• Lifestyle shoppers – families who buy mostly high quality products but are buyers of lifestyle products such as

chocolates and pet food;

• Busy families – families who seem to buy a lot of ready to cook items and ‘fast-food’ such as instant noodles,

can-soups, etc.;

• Budget conscious – families whose total spend are largely below $100 per week;

• Discount shoppers – families whose purchases include mostly home-brand items and discount items;

• Battling families – families who purchases include mostly necessities and have a low number of GST-applicable


Your team leader asked that you use Cognos to produce some reports to help the team present information to the stakeholders

next week.

Discuss in your submission

a. The type of reports you will produce from Cognos;

b. What attributes would you include in each of the reports; and
c. Explain why a particular report was chosen and why in a report, those attributes are present and laid out in the

fashion you proposed.

To ensure that you discussed (c) properly, you can include visual samples of the reports you will produce for your team,

and also include any assumptions that you may have made about the data warehouse.

One of the cross-selling initiatives of ACME is to clear products in one channel through another channel so as to keep

their inventory across the board “fresh”. One such example cited by the CIO is that any product buildup in their DIY stores

is promoted to families, often offering them discounts or incentives such as bonus “Walk-Buys” points. To do this

effectively, the DIY stores need a way to know

• When a product is selling well and when it isn’t; and

• If a product was cross-sold, how effective was the entire campaign.

The CIO went on to elaborate that the company at the moment deploys different ‘carrots’ for different family types. For

example, the “affluent” group is not so concern about discounts (targeted at budget conscious families) but are more

interested in incentives such as ‘VIP status’ or invitation to special events so you are to keep this in mind.

Discuss in your submission

a. What are the BI report(s) you will need to produce for the company to manage an effective cross-selling initiative;

b. What are the contents of each BI report; and
c. Explain why a particular report was chosen and why in the report, those attributes are selected and laid out in the

fashion you proposed.

Again include visual samples of the reports you will produce for your team, and any assumptions you made for this

particular problem.

The end of the financial year is approaching and this year, the CEO realized that the some of the channels are missing

their performance targets. Upon investigation, it was found that many of the reports produced in 2013 were figures that

lapsed by up to six months and so any response to the market conditions were very late and no longer appropriate. The

investigation also saw that the data warehouse actually contained the required information and could potentially deliver

the required performance indicators on time rather than a six-month lapse. As a result, the CEO has also asked your team to

propose a solution to improve on the company’s ability to track their performance in a more “up to date” fashion.

From your team leader’s discussion with the executive team, the following performance indicators common among the different

channels were developed for 2014. They include

• Sales revenue over each month, quarter and year for each state, region and suburbs

• Year to date sales versus last year and Year to date profit versus last year
• Top ten selling products (for each channel) and their sales revenue
• Sales for each product category as a proportion of total sales

• Average warehouse hours (for channels with an inventory) in product categories versus last year

Discuss in your submission

a. One BI solution that will meet the needs of this problem;

b. Express (in the form of a diagram) how this BI solution will look like and what components will appear in this BI

solution; and
c. Explain your choice of each component in the BI solution for the five performance indicators requested by the CEO

and COO. Assume your target audience of this BI solution to be the “sales directors” of each channel within the company.




Business Intelligence

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