Knosys showed us that this solution would enable us to move the data so quickly and at such a low cost of maintenance and ownership that it would solve our problems.
Business Decision Makers
Manager, Consumer Products
Resellers Key HP Customers
Business Analysis Group
With approximately 80 percent of HP's consumer products volume sold directly to top national accounts such as CompUSA, Best Buy, and Office Depot, each of these resellers is as important a "customer" as the end user who plugs in the printer. In the past, HP's brand recognition and reputation for reliability were enough to ensure that a reseller would carry HP products. Today, while those factors are still important, in an increasingly competitive landscape, they're simply not enough. Hewlett-Packard Company
"To be successful in our business, we have to come up with solutions for the reseller," explains Greg Stanley, Manager of HP CPBO's Business Analysis Group, which is responsible for aggregating and analyzing the market data—including information on ad spending, market share, pricing, demographics, econometrics, and channel spending—that CPBO uses to run its business. "Resellers have specific needs and wants just as individual users do. To maximize their profitability, they're focusing on the expense and inventory investment side of the profit equation. We have to share information that will help them maximize their efficiency and profitability. If we don't, the competition will walk in and do it for us."
Easier access to information needed
As a technology company, HP has done a superb job of capturing and storing the information its resellers need, both from primary research and from third parties—vast quantities of it. But the information exists in huge pipelines or reservoirs that don't communicate with one another. "When it comes to connecting all the data in the reservoirs to the people who need to use it, they can't get to it," Stanley comments. "It gets so difficult to extract information from the system and put it in a meaningful context that a lot of our users just aren't willing to do it."
The Business Analysis Group decided they needed a system that would provide market metric data to help field sales force managers or account teams make brand and channel management decisions. And, at a higher level, the group wanted a unified analytical environment that would allow HP decision-makers to clearly see the complex trends, patterns, and relationships that impact their business—including such data as how advertising affects sales and who is capturing market share and why.
Because of its small size and limited IT expertise, the group needed help evaluating potential solutions. "We wanted a system that was low-cost, low-maintenance, and as simple to administer as possible," Stanley explains. So the group turned to Knosys Inc., a Boise, Idaho-based software company that has developed a business analysis/online analytical processing (OLAP) package called ProClarity. Having built its software from the ground up for the Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 data mart/data warehouse environment, Knosys recommended that HP adopt the SQL Server 7.0 relational database and ProClarity solution.
At first, Stanley's group was opposed to creating yet another data store. "But Knosys showed us that this solution would enable us to move the data so quickly and at such a low cost of maintenance and ownership that it would solve our problems," he says. "We would be duplicating data, but the new system would bridge the gap between users and data. This was very compelling." But the group also wanted to evaluate other potential solutions, so they brought in a leading OLAP consulting company called Symmetry Inc. With over a decade of OLAP consulting experience, Symmetry offered the product and industry knowledge to effectively evaluate the Knosys and Microsoft approach.