Senturus at NADITA: Integrating Data Sources to Drive ROI

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We recently did some great work with Wagner Equipment Co., a Caterpillar sales, service and rental business. On April 27 at 9am, we’ll be taking part in a break out discussion at the NADITA show in Las Vegas, Caterpillar’s annual dealer conference. During this session, we will discuss how well-executed data prep and BI architecture saves tremendous reporting time, leads to faster insights and allows IT to directly support and drive its business performance. We will review common challenges faced by data driven organizations and the benefits delivered by BI. Can you relate?

A common challenge: disparate sources, messy data, long report cycles, frustrated users

Many operational systems in the Caterpillar dealer network have grown organically over time. Data is spread out over various operational systems such as DBS, Rentalman, DSI, Ultipro, Infor, IAS and Salesforce, and modifications have been made to suit individual dealerships. It’s not uncommon to find that data is defined differently across systems, or worse, that multiple definitions exist within the same system. In the case of Wagner, the knot got even more tangled: equipment rental data was being tracked by two entirely different systems, from different manufacturers. Imagine how hard it would be to understand sales across all products!

The bottom line: having data spread out over disparate data sources creates a significant burden when it comes to data access, data consistency and visibility into business performance. These issues, and many others, need to be rectified before you can rely on your data to make well informed business decisions.

The beauty of BI and synchronized data

A well architected BI solution provides a “single source of the truth” that supports data visibility. It allows organizations to seriously leverage the information captured by source systems and turn it into business-critical insights. And because analytics tools and data types are constantly changing, a well architected BI solution should not need to change as the dealership modifies or replaces the ERP, or other operational system. Updating information on the back end and performing the required data translation is all that is needed.

With a good BI solution in place you can:

  • Develop reports that are easily understood across departments
  • Significantly reduce the time spent in report creation
  • Perform ad hoc queries and self-service reporting
  • Easily maintain and adjust reports to reflects changes in the business environment
  • Report on trends over time to understand the evolution of customer relationships and needs

Effective BI provides insight to business-critical questions

  • What does each percentage point in our rental equipment utilization mean to our bottom line?
  • How much are we giving away in discounts?
  • Are discounts going to the right customers on the right equipment at the right time?
  • What if we could reduce the downtime on our most popular equipment?
  • Do we have the right equipment in the right place at the right time?
  • Are we effectively minimizing our transportation costs?
  • Do we have a consistent approach to tracking our KPIs?
  • Are we making decisions based on data or on gut feel?

The challenges encountered working with multiple, non-synchronized data sources are not unique to CAT dealerships. While most organizations today are “data driven,” more often than not they struggle to get a fast, accurate bead on their KPIs. By integrating data sources, IT helps their organizations achieve the reporting accuracy and automation that leads to significant ROI.

Staging your data is often the backbone to integrating data sources. Our CEO, John Peterson, spoke about the 29+ reasons why you still need to properly stage your data.  Hear the recording to learn more.