The IBP Group Case Study

IBP delivers a new BI solution and improves development speed with m-Power


Case Study

Overview

The IBP Group is a global business encompassing the design, manufacture, and supply of plumbing fittings and valves. Headquartered in the UK and with European production facilities serving commercial offices across the globe they employ just under 1000 staff.

Challenge

IBP's management team use the JDE ERP system to run their business. However, they had found that their old reporting solution couldn't keep up with the demands of their management team. They needed better information and needed it faster than ever before.

IBP's previous reporting solution was limiting their capabilities. It was old, had a restricted number of users, and poor response times at their many sites around the globe. The communications links to branches outside the UK meant reports could take well over 5 minutes to load on users' devices. They also had older apps in the business that relied on certain browsers and particular browser settings. They just had to get smarter.

IBP's Senior Technical Specialist, Matt Craig, sums up the situation "There'd been a massive investment in our IT systems in the previous 2 years and we were now ready to move on to choose and deliver a new BI solution. With just 5 staff in the IT team at our head office, we needed to be more efficient and needed a better basis for serving our global business. It was a very high-profile project, we had to get it right".

Solution

"We've completed a worldwide implementation in under 12 months, with minimal training. Success was instant."

The implementation was a big undertaking which affected all areas of their business. The selection process involved many parts of the business and a thorough assessment of the potential solutions. Matt found that "Right from the start of looking, m-Power was the clear leader, we saw the power it offered and also the potential speed of development".

Having chosen and installed m-Power, Matt describes their initial experience: "We rolled out the first business unit in 2 months, then approximately 1 month per business unit. We've completed a worldwide implementation in under 12 months, with minimal training. Success was instant. In reality m-Power was very easy to develop with and to implement, its flexibility enabled us to provide BI reporting to any area of the business. The take up by our users is brilliant, I am shocked at the speed our users have adapted to mPower."

The work isn't finished, but they have kept pushing forward: "We have already moved on to address finance reporting, contract support, board-level reporting, are developing a budget & forecast system and also a purchase requisition system. The original purchase system in the UK was written in Access, we're now re-writing it using m-Power for our UK and international business units with it working directly from our corporate database."

Value

With m-Power, IBP sees immediate time savings with every new report. Matt points out that "previously we would always have to build a new cube, which would take 2 days and then you'd need to explain it to the users how to use it. With m-Power you just get on with it, you can just build the report and give it to the users, they don't even need any training. The savings are massive with every new report".'

In the past, creating certain reports was laborious. Users would need to go into the ledgers and copy/paste their information to spreadsheets. In one example users had to copy and paste 25 pages into Excel for the one report.

"Previously we would always have to build a new cube, which would take 2 days and then you'd need to explain it to the users how to use it. With m-Power you just get on with it, you can just build the report and give it to the users, they don't even need any training. The savings are massive with every new report."

Now they can get the information they want directly with just a few clicks. Matt notes how this has transformed how users work: "Previously we didn't have real-time visibility of information, now we can do real-time reporting directly from JDE. One report alone shows the savings we are making - the Trial Balance report for our Spanish Finance team saves half a day's time every month".

Performance was also a key concern during their BI tool selection process, due the large scale of their business. In their first year with m-Power they've now written over 100 applications for each of their 12 business units. Matt describes how their new m-Power solution performed: "The speed of our network had been a problem with our older reporting solution, especially for sites outside the UK. With m-Power that problem has just disappeared. For example, reports that used to take 5 minutes to run, now run instantly. Another benefit is that reporting email traffic has been cut by a third".

This high-profile implementation has been a big success, and has involved all areas of the business. Matt describes a key application suite delivered for their most senior user: "The Managing Director has an overview dashboard of the whole business, so he can see at an instant what is going on". It has changed the way their people work; running reports on mobiles and tablets is also proving very popular.

Conclusion

m-Power is both a BI tool and also an agile application development tool. IBP is using this capability more and more: "m-Power is more wide ranging than you think it is. We are experienced programmers and with m-Power we can find ways around anything the business wants. Our Budgeting and Forecasting system that we've used for the last 15 years is being re-written in m-Power. This would be a 2-year development project, but we have tackled it in 3 months with m-Power".

"It is so much more than a BI tool--you can write a whole new system with m-Power."

Matt's confident they made the right choice: "Overall it's a big success. We have lots of information available now that just wasn't possible beforehand. It is so much more than a BI tool--you can write a whole new system with m-Power. Basically, we can deliver anything now".

To learn more about The IBP Group, you can visit their Web site at: http://www.ibpgroup.com/index.php

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