SOURCE: Information Builders

Information Builders

October 19, 2009 08:00 ET

Ace Hardware Remodels Its Enterprise Reporting Capabilities With Information Builders' Business Intelligence

National Retailer Builds on WebFOCUS as Its BI Standard

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 19, 2009) - Information Builders, an independent leader in business intelligence (BI) solutions, today announced that Ace Hardware Corporation has standardized on the WebFOCUS BI platform for enterprise-wide reporting, analysis, and information delivery. Ace Hardware has 10,000 WebFOCUS users in merchandising, marketing, finance, advertising, international, paint, rental, retail operations, and supply chain accessing more than 300 WebFOCUS reports. Each department has its own dashboard where users can launch reports and analytic applications.

WebFOCUS helps Ace manage its internal operation while enabling retailers and wholesalers to boost revenue and streamline their supply chains. For example, retail managers use WebFOCUS to identify their best customers and target them with specific marketing campaigns. They can monitor the top-selling items at each retail location, ensuring those items are in stock and maximizing sales opportunities. Marketing personnel use WebFOCUS to gauge the effects of specific promotions on sales and to improve the Ace Rewards customer loyalty program.

In addition, 1,500 people throughout Ace depend on a WebFOCUS dashboard, which tracks daily sales at the retail and wholesale levels. This information helps the company gauge how various items are selling by region, division, and product category. About 1,800 vendors use WebFOCUS to track how individual products are selling by region and time of year. This visibility helps these vendors to forecast production needs, optimize product selection, and develop better sales plans.

"We have yet to hear anybody say 'WebFOCUS can't do that,'" said Tim Brynda, a software engineering analyst at Ace who is spearheading many of Ace's current BI efforts. "WebFOCUS has served us well as an enterprise standard. We couldn't be happier with the results."

According to Brynda, WebFOCUS can easily join data from disparate sources into a single report, opening up new avenues of inquiry. This has motivated BI stakeholders to use WebFOCUS as part of an enterprise-wide business transformation project that centers around implementing SAP R/3 applications. For example, the merchandising team is analyzing wholesale information from the SAP sales and distribution module to identify quick-selling, high-margin products that retailers might want to carry. This information will also be valuable to vendors researching a product's sales history, retail managers checking inventory levels, and many other internal and external users. Other SAP reporting initiatives are planned.

Ace plans to use WebFOCUS Active Reports to offer portable analytic options to its field staff. These dynamic PDF reports will enable remote workers to analyze data without having to be connected to Ace's intranet. Ace also plans to use WebFOCUS InfoAssist to expand the number of power users in each department, easing the pressure on skilled programmers who currently handle most of the custom reporting services. InfoAssist helps non-technical people create queries, reports, charts, and dashboards. Finally, Ace plans to explore WebFOCUS Quick Data to allow business professionals to create ad hoc reports within Microsoft Excel. An Excel add-in file, Quick Data connects directly to the WebFOCUS reporting engine to let these users build reports that are automatically refreshed from enterprise data sources and combine multiple reports into a single worksheet.

"At a time when leading retail organizations nationwide are coping with flat or declining sales, Ace is demonstrating how BI can have a positive impact on the bottom line," said Gerry Cohen, president and CEO at Information Builders.

About Ace Hardware

Throughout its 85-year history, Ace Hardware has been known as the helpful hardware store by both customers and communities. In 2009, Ace ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Home Improvement Stores for the Third Consecutive Year," according to J.D. Power and Associates. With 4,600 locally owned and operated hardware, home center and building materials stores that generate annual retail sales of approximately $12 billion, Ace is the largest hardware cooperative in the industry. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace currently operates 14 distribution centers in the U.S. and one in Shanghai, China, and its retailers' stores are located in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. For more information on Ace, visit www.acehardware.com.

About Information Builders

Information Builders' award-winning combination of business intelligence and enterprise integration software has been providing innovative solutions to more than 12,000 customers for the past 30 years. WebFOCUS is the world's most widely utilized business intelligence platform. It provides the security, scalability and flexibility needed at every level of global extended enterprises. Its simplicity helps create executive, analytical, and operational applications that reach dozens to millions of users. Information Builders' iWay Software suite provides state of the art, multi-purpose, pre-built integration components that address all SOA, application, data and information management requirements. Its integration adapters have been adopted by the leading software platform providers. Information Builders also offers solutions in the performance management, business activity monitoring, and enterprise search markets. The company's comprehensive enterprise product offerings give Information Builders' customers the ability to grow and innovate according to their needs.

Information Builders' customers include most of the Fortune 100 and U.S. federal government agencies. Headquartered in New York City with 90 offices worldwide, the company employs 1,450 people and has more than 350 business partners. More information is available at informationbuilders.com.

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