Technology

Using SAP BusinessObjects Explorer software to create high fidelity sales reports

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B&W

 

B&W Group Limited is a small company with a wide reach. From its humble beginnings as a two-man hand-assembly shop in Worthing, B&W now provides innovative high fidelity and home theatre speakers to distribution chains, retailers and consumers in key regions of the world. Audio quality – rather than price – is a key differentiator.

With an emphasis on quality and craftsmanship, B&W has established a solid reputation among demanding customers. Yet despite its reputation for well-crafted products, B&W’s sales team was having trouble accessing the data it need to prepare for sales calls and interact with customers.

Putting the right data in the right devices

A long-time user of SAP Business All-in-One solutions, B&W has highly integrated applications that support its finance, inventory, design, and production processes while yielding excellent source data on logistics, product availability and sales. However, the firm was struggling to make this data accessible to field sales people in a format they could understand and manage.

Another hurdle was the need to supply data via the iPhones and iPads used by virtually all members of the sales team. Equally troublesome was the effort required to access relevant data prior to customer meetings. B&W’s salespeople, seldom in their offices, were struggling to prepare reports from remote locations.

The problem wasn’t the data itself, but the cumbersome way in which reports were packaged and distributed to sales teams.

Tapping the power of business intelligence software

B&W selected SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, one of the many SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence (BI) solutions. Paul Fryer, business systems manager for B&W and his team were particularly impressed with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer – software that gives business users self-service access to relevant information.

“We looked at several different alternatives,” says Fryer, “but we felt that the capabilities around SAP BusinessObjects Explorer made it more compelling and more powerful.”

For B&W, with its far-flung sales force, ease of access was a primary concern. “Our people are heavily dependent on the iPhone and the iPad,” notes Fryer. “And what really sold us on SAP BusinessObjects Explorer was the ability to closely and quickly integrate sales data into both these products.” Ease of use was another important consideration. “Our salespeople want to pull up client data and sales data very quickly and very easily,” says Fryer, “and we felt that SAP BusinessObjects Explorer was the only solution that enabled us to do that.”

With help from Birchman Systems Limited, a systems integrator and SAP partner, B&W managed the overall implementation process in about eight weeks. The solution was configured to supply data on sales history, global planning, and sales forecasts.

Turning up the volume

Although the implementation reduction in IT efforts needed to furnish sales data to field personnel, Fryer points out that the real benefits are found elsewhere. “The project wasn’t really about IT cost savings,” he says. “It was about being able to give our people what they want.” In this case, what the sales team wanted was a simplified interface that provided an intuitive, Google-like search experience, and self-service access to relevant information. “With SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, I can sit down with our people and teach them how to use the software in 15 minutes,” says Fryer/ “It’s very simple for our IT department and very simple for our end users.”

The flexibility of being able to run reports anywhere in the world, at any time, and on any device, has made the sales team more productive and more effective. Not only do they spend less time preparing and running reports, they also have needed information at their fingertips.

Looking ahead

Building on the success and rapid adoption of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, B&W is planning to extend use of the solution to its quality assurance and new product development organisations. Having the right information at the right place – and in the right format – is critically important as B&W look to fend off competitors and grow its business.