As published in Social Media Today
Agile Business Intelligence
Most of us know the company Citrix from that little GoToMeeting icon on our desktops. But the company does more than just collaborative solutions—a whole lot more. Citrix Systems designs and develops software and hardware solutions for a global customer base. In fact, more than 230,000 enterprises rely on Citrix solutions to deliver what the company reports are over 100 million corporate desktops, touching 75 percent of internet users each day. 75 percent!
Hardware is a big part of the Citrix business offering. When you think about hardware, there are a whole lot of components to consider, and supply chain management becomes a critical piece to delivering product. The company had a challenge coordinating all that at one point, and strived to make things better. They wanted to take all their data and get more visibility into sales forecasts, bookings and shipments, and product backlog.
The company figured that with real-time, proactive visibility across its supply chain, Citrix could improve customer satisfaction, product reliability, and gross margins. To cover the entire supply chain, this new insight needed to extend all the way from sales opportunities, through material planning, manufacturing, fulfillment, and post-sales support—and analyze data from a variety of applications including Siebel, Salesforce.com, and multiple ERP systems. When you’re talking volume like this, you’re talking big data.
The company estimated working with eight million spreadsheets from different organizations time frames—a massive feat. The company discovered that a lot of the technologies they considered appeared to be a mash-up of acquired BI technologies and not an end-to-end comprehensive solution. Enter, Birst business intelligence.
Using Birst, the Citrix team was able to digitize their entire Citrix supply chain, product reliability, inventory, material forecast, and more. In speaking to Wynn White, VP of Birst, there are two key elements that make this type of deployment particularly effective.
Keep Your IT Team Doing IT Stuff
One of the big selling points of the Birst solution is that it’s been designed for the businessman to use, not just the engineer. As business intelligence tools have evolved, and some cloud-based, the level of usability has necessarily improved. Explains Wynn, “As company that offers one brand of its solution as a cloud SaaS, you live and die by the renewal. “ Let’s face it, if your team isn’t using the tool because it’s too complicated or cumbersome, that renewal ends. This means you can’t have a business intelligence product that requires a company to pull away their IT team to work it each time they want a new report.
Birst understands this, and made its product highly usable by cross-functional teams. So much, in fact, the team lead at Citrix said, “Birst was a game-changer for us. We went live in less than 90 days with very limited involvement from IT and plan to have 2000 users up and running shortly.” Getting more people using the tool brings about internal efficiencies. In this case, Birst allowed the company to create a self-serve model for all order fulfillment information, greatly reducing incoming, order-related calls as the necessary teams all have access to the reporting capabilities.
Let Other People See Your Stuff
But the solution provides more than just internal insight. “Birst was designed to allow companies to extend BI reporting capabilities to key partners, as well,” Wynn continues. As a company dependent on a multitude of suppliers, Citrix made its reports sharable. External suppliers were given access to Birst so that they could easily view Citrix forecasts and plan accordingly. This creates massive supply chain efficiencies.
The next step for Citrix is giving customers online access to their data. With Birst, data-intensive companies can reduce customer service resources by opening the system to customers. And this helps with troubleshooting, as well, because if customers have greater visibility into system data, you can more easily work with them to resolve data issues.
The GoToMeeting guys and their partners have a whole lot of use of their Birst solution, and the results are proving it. Citrix has seen a 5-fold increase in inventory turns, helping lower costs and increasing profitability. And last report had the company’s business intelligence reach delivering insights to 2,000 sales reps, and 500 operations and support reps.