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Sun 5 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Axiom adopts a smarter outlook

Axiom Telecom is implementing business intelligence (BI) tools from Cognos to help underpin ambitious expansion plans.

Axiom Telecom is implementing business intelligence (BI) tools from Cognos to help underpin ambitious expansion plans. The company, part of Al Bannai Enterprises, is looking to increase its number of retail outlets from its current 200 to 500 next year, and Axiom will use the Cognos tools to improve its reporting functions.

For Axiom, the problem it faced was that margins on its mobile phone products could change very rapidly, as phones are replaced by new technology or new fashion trends. With the average renewal rate on a mobile phone in Kuwait being as low as four months, mobile phone sales are heavily dictated by fashion, with older items having lower profit margins.

“We have a very rapidly expanding, very dynamic business where information is key but our margins can change from day to day,” said Paul Green, chief financial officer at Axiom Telecom. “We felt it was critical to have timely, accurate information regarding our performance in all aspects of our business.”

While Axiom has an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in place, Vision, which is based on an Oracle database, Green said it didn’t have a very agile reporting system. “A lot of it is based on static reports, which need a certain amount of man hours to change,” he said. “We needed to have a strong BI tool sitting on top of our ERP system, which had to have the ease of use for an ordinary line manager who is not a technical guy.”

Axiom therefore looked at the BI market and decided it was a choice between offerings from two vendors: “As we looked at the market, we saw that there were two clear leaders: Cognos and Business Objects,” said Green. “In terms of functionality and capabilities they were very similar.”

After looking at implementation partners, Axiom chose to work with Performance Systems, which is a Cognos partner. “The key thing for me making an investment of this size is that I feel confident in getting what I need to be delivered,” said Green. “Performance Systems came across very professionally, they’ve got a very good team there.”

Performance Systems has implemented Cognos ReportNet and Cognos PowerPlay BI tools at Axiom, with final validation now almost completed. The tools will allow Axiom to access and evaluate business performance more quickly, with managers being given the ability to create self-service reports and access them while they are travelling. Information they will be able to access on a daily basis includes stock and sales performance, profitability analysis and stock ageing reports.

“This will allow us to reduce our stock levels considerably, improve our pricing and our ability to trade at higher margins,” said Green. “It will have very significant profit improvements that will vastly outweigh the cost of the system,” he added.

That cost is around US$70,000, with the implementation taking ten weeks to complete. Axiom is taking a phased approach, with the initialimplementation being for its wholesale and retail business. The next stage will be to roll out the reporting tools for its customer service units.

For Cognos, the Axiom win represents a useful customer reference as it looks to close other deals in the region. “It’s great that a growing company such as Axiom is willing to put its trust and confidence in our solution,” said David Brierly, regional manager for Cognos Middle East.

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