AUSTAR turns static data into actionable business intelligence fast

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1 Overview Business Challenge AUSTAR wanted to eliminate the effort of paper and spreadsheet reports, and address the disconnect between online planning and its static reporting environment combining multiple data sources in a single view to support faster decision-making. Solution IBM Business Partner Certus Solutions integrated IBM Cognos Business Intelligence with IBM Cognos TM1 to deliver an easy-to-use extended reporting solution delivering graphical reports, drill down capabilities, and integrated with its planning system and other key data sources plus an online balanced scorecard to provide visibility over KPIs. AUSTAR turns static data into actionable business intelligence fast AUSTAR United Communications Limited (AUSTAR) was a leading Australian subscription television provider primarily offering digital satellite services to customers in regional and rural areas, recently merging with Foxtel to deliver a national subscription television provider servicing over 2 million customers. Established in 1995, its television subscriber base has grown to over 760,000 and is the largest subscription television operator in regional and rural Australia covering a third of Australia s total homes. It delivers over 180 premier channels, 13 HD Channels, a near video-ondemand service, and increased levels of interactivity, such as BOX OFFICE, Sports Active and SKY News Active. Since inception, AUSTAR has invested over AU$1 billion to establish its technology platforms, a state-of-the-art customer service centre and to provide innovative services to regional Australia. AUSTAR is also a significant investor in the development of Australian content to date committing and investing over AU$5.5 million to innovative dramas. AUSTAR had over 800 employees around 700 based at the company s National Customer Operations Centre on the Gold Coast, and the remainder in its corporate office in Sydney.

2 Business Benefits AUSTAR s new online reporting greatly reduced effort and time producing reports delivering the right data in the right place to provide input for quick decisions Resources previously tied up with data generation are now free to focus on analysis that informs decisions to take the business forward Managers now have the ability to drill down to all key data the organisation holds, regardless of source An online balanced scorecard provides visibility over the meeting of KPIs across the business Conventional reporting fails to meet demands AUSTAR saw paper-based reporting as limited both in the creation and management of information distribution which involved too many manual steps. Producing hard-copy reports was proving time consuming, and they were static and rapidly out of date. It also wanted to eliminate standalone Microsoft Excel reporting which was used throughout the organisation and involved a high degree of administrative and data entry processing for the Finance Department. With a decentralised and fragmented depository of historical data, there was a disconnect between online planning and the current static reporting environment. AUSTAR needed to combine several data sources into a single view combining information held within multiple key systems to extract the intelligence it needed to support better business decision-making. Finding the right partner AUSTAR had already implemented IBM Cognos TM1 to deliver online planning. Six months of detailed and quarterly planning were already available through TM1 web online which was accessed by a limited number of business users. It saw the next step as the design and implementation of an easy-to-use extended business intelligence and reporting solution that would deliver: Graphical reports The ability to drill down to extract detailed information Integration with AUSTAR s planning system to enable comparisons between actual and planned results 2

3 AUSTAR engaged IBM Business Partner Certus Solutions to help it integrate IBM Cognos 8.4 with IBM Cognos TM1 to integrate an environment that would seamlessly bring together its reporting and business planning requirements. In briefing these requirements, AUSTAR emphasised that fast performance was paramount. Solutions Components Software IBM Cognos TM1 IBM Cognos BI IBM Business Partner Certus Solutions Having 90% of the reporting complete in the first three days of each month, rather than the five or six days it took in the past, has been a massive benefit to the business. Certus worked closely with stakeholders carefully measuring and managing staff engagement, and building on their previous experiences with IBM Cognos TM1 to design and build a range of required reports then rolling them out for review and comment. Further revisions produced initial static reports (month-to-date and year-to-date) to inform time and data management, allowing further drill-down where required. As performance was a key requirement, the solution involved expert tuning to ensure integration between the IBM Cognos and IBM Cognos TM1 servers was optimised. Ben Brooks, General Manager Finance, AUSTAR Ben Brooks, AUSTAR s General Manager Finance, says that the integration was a success. Our chosen reporting platforms, IBM Cognos TM1 and IBM Cognos, are different technologies. Certus created an environment that integrated both seamlessly to maximise their combined benefits for our business. Certus also delivered an online balanced scorecard for the business which provides a single source of truth in an instant online format. Users have the ability to drill down to base data sourced from a range of systems, including PeopleSoft, subscriber records and AUSTAR s data warehouse containing details of how its different departments such as operations and sales meet their KPIs. 3

4 Business Benefits for AUSTAR AUSTAR s new online reporting solution has greatly reduced the effort and time involved in producing reports throughout the company. Information is now timelier, allowing the business to make decisions more quickly. We now have everyone working within the same environment. We have the right data in the right place providing the input needed to make quick decisions. Ben Brooks, General Manager Finance, AUSTAR Ben Brooks says that having reports online enables the business to review them instantly and empowers them to drill down into source information. This removes the burden from our management accountants of having to find the time to run reports and do queries. This used to involve a lead time of a day or more, depending on how busy they were. Essentially, having 90% of the reporting complete in the first three days of each month, rather than the five or six days it took in the past, has been a massive benefit to the business enabling them to make timely decisions that can be actioned in the current month and make a difference faster, he adds. Now rolled out to nearly 70 users, the new system delivers significant benefits: Online access to graphical and detailed reports eliminating the need for paper and Excel reports Minimal effort in creating new reports The ability to drill down to all key data the organisation holds, regardless of source An online balanced scorecard providing visibility over the meeting of KPIs across the business A flow-on benefit is that resources previously expended in generating data have been freed up allowing staff to spend more time on analysing that data. This offers Austar more value, by informing decisions that will take the business forward. According to Ben Brooks, We now have everyone working within the same environment. We have the right data in the right place providing the input needed to make quick decisions. 4

5 About Certus Solutions Certus has a reputation for excellence, the highest quality staff, and the delivery of true business value to more than 600 customers. These organisations appreciate its end-to-end services that include the widest range of IBM-based solutions in Australia and New Zealand from collaboration, information and assets, to the web, infrastructure and the most complex business analysis. About IBM Collaboration Solutions Businesses are built on relationships, both within and outside your company. Social businesses understand that those relationships must have fluid interactions between employees, customers and partners to drive maximum business value. IBM social collaboration solutions can help your business become a social business. Let IBM and our expert business partners help you connect your employees, customers and partners so they can share their knowledge and expertise to improve and accelerate the pace of business and deliver unprecedented return for the time invested. For further information from IBM If you would like to speak with an IBM Sales representative please call (in Australia) or (in New Zealand) or visit us at: For further information from Certus Solutions Contact Certus Solutions on (in Australia) or 0800 CERTUS (in New Zealand) or visit IBM Australia Limited ABN Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 All Rights reserved IBM Australia 55 Coonara Avenue West Pennant Hills NSW 2125 Printed in Australia IBM, the IBM logo, IBM Business Partner logo, Cognos and TM1 are registered trademarks or trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol ( or ), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at Copyright and trademark information at ibm.com/legal/copytrade. shtml. Microsoft Excel is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Peoplesoft is a trademark of Oracle Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product and services names may be trademarks or services marks of others. References in this publication to IBM products and services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. References in this publication to IBM products and services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. This customer story is based on information provided by the AUSTAR and illustrates how one organisation uses IBM products. Many factors have contributed to the results and benefits described. IBM does not guarantee comparable results elsewhere. * Business Partner is used informally and does not imply a legal partnership. Important Privacy Information: If you or your organisation would prefer not to receive further information on IBM products, please advise us on: (Australia) or (New Zealand). If you would like IBM Australia Limited to refrain from sending you commercial electronic messages you may send an unsubscribe message to The sending of this message was authorised by IBM Australia Limited, and IBM Australia Limited can be contacted at ibm.com or on (Australia) or (New Zealand). IBM may store data on international servers used by it. Please Recycle

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