Fellowes, Inc. has made business intelligence reporting and analytics a key priority for more than a decade. Back in 2000, the company embarked upon a transition from an existing IBM Application System/400 (AS/400) to Oracle E-Business Suite. The IT team had purchased Oracle and hired a consulting firm to assist with the implementation. As the implementation progressed, Fellowes determined that hundreds of existing reports that had been written on AS/400 would be lost. IT grasped this opportunity to choose a new reporting solution that would simplify and speed up the development of reports.
“We looked at a couple of tools that would have enabled us to build the reports in house, but decided to go with a tool that would speed the development of the reports within Oracle,” said John Fitzpatrick, manager of Business Intelligence. “And that’s how Noetix came to be our main reporting tool. At that time, Crystal Reports was our main front-end, so a majority of the reports were run from a NoetixViews-Crystal Reports combination. Even today, we still have well over 150 Crystal Reports that point directly against the views.”
During the move from AS/400 to the Oracle-based system, Fellowes IT staff had to configure the entire new system with security definitions assigned according to end user job responsibilities. They were thrilled that Noetix automatically took those configurations into account when the product was implemented, ensuring that end users had access to the appropriate information.
Today, Fellowes’ four person IT reporting and analytics staff pulls data from different sources around the world and consolidates it within an enterprise data warehouse. This team also manages a Cognos platform, the Crystal Reports platform, and Noetix. One full-time person is dedicated to reporting and primarily supports three departments: Accounts Payable, Inventory, and the Product Data Group.
“When you have a small IT department with limited resources, you want them working on the reports that are getting the biggest bang for the buck, not the one-off reports or the one-time queries, and that’s where Noetix helps out the most,” said Fitzpatrick.
NoetixViews has transformed the complex attributes within Oracle into user-friendly values that Fellowes’ 30-person user community is able to leverage to create their own reports. Technical terms like “SEGMENT 1” are renamed with a descriptive business term like “Item Number” that enables end users to find what they are looking for.
From the IT team’s perspective, Noetix has helped to drastically reduce the number of reports in the queue, particularly simple reports that need to be updated with new timeframes.
“With Noetix our top efficiency has been improved time to market for the user community,” said Fitzpatrick. “Because, again, we have a small staff, so if users have reports that need to get done in a certain time frame, they are empowered to go out and possibly create the whole report, or at least a majority of the report. And then they come to us with either a half worked report that we finish or they’ll be able to get their information just straight from using the views.”
Fellowes is currently involved in a global ERP implementation of Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 with a go-live date of February 2013. The company plans to leverage Noetix’s upgrade protection during the transition. Noetix solutions protect reports from database structural changes inherent with enterprise application upgrades, ensuring established reports remain operational through upgrades. This eliminates rework and disruptions by providing metadata consistency across new application releases.
Manager of Business Intelligence
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