Providing staff with self-service business intelligence

Tuesday, 30 July, 2013

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Cosmetics Cubed, a company in the Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) beauty industry, has implemented a business intelligence solution on a Debian Linux virtual machine. Staff can now conduct self-service data analysis.

Established in 1997, Cosmetics Cubed encompasses three brands - Mecca Cosmetica, Mecca Maxima and Kit Cosmetics - with 41 stores across ANZ offering make-up, skin and hair care, bath, body and fragrance brands.

Cosmetics Cubed has experienced substantial growth across its three brands in the past few years. As a result, the company found itself using an increasing number of different software packages to capture and collate a growing pool of data from across its various business functions and operations.

As the number and type of data sources grew, so did the complexity of the reporting requirements and environment, as well as the time required to gather and present all the disparate data sources in a meaningful way.

The company previously relied on Excel for data analysis and reporting, dumping data from its POS and ERP systems into spreadsheets. This practice was not only time consuming, but also complex and error prone. As a result, many decision-makers felt unable to access the accurate data they needed, in the time frame required, to make crucial business decisions.

The company implemented a Yellowfin Business Intelligence solution, installed onto a Debian Linux VM running on a Citrix XenServer. The solution generates reports from multiple data sources including MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL, Firebird SQL, Access databases, flat files and a primary in-house data warehouse built using MySQL and Pentaho ETL tools.

The solution allows Cosmetics Cubed to combine its multiple data sets together to conduct meaningful data analysis and produce actionable reports. The company can now gain faster and better insight into its business operations, while eliminating the burden of the reporting process.

“With its open architecture and flexible approach, [the solution] easily accommodated our more unique reporting requirements,” said Cosmetics Cubed IT Manager, Lloyd Shanks.

The solution allows Cosmetics Cubed decision-makers, from executives to store managers, to conduct self-service data analysis, equipping them with the knowledge to make accurate and timely decisions, and continue growing their business. Cosmetics Cubed can control data access based on department, job function and store.

Users can independently view and explore data on a dashboard interface. Decision-makers are able to keep abreast of critical business operations, from supply chain to store metrics.

Users are able to streamline business processes by analysing, tracking and comparing metrics such as sales by product type and combination, sales by store, staff productivity, customer capture rates, customer transactional details and stock-on-hand figures.

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