Olympus a leader in innovative medical systems, digital cameras as well as scientific solutions in the fields of microscopy and industrial inspection bases its new planning system on SSAS, Excel and an implementation by navida.
The solution offers increased usability and lowers cost for operation and maintenance.
The new system for “regional account planning” (RAP) is in operation since September 2014 and successfully employed by the Olympus Europe country subsidiaries for their distribution planning.
Prior to the introduction the Olympus European headquarter and the CIM department (corporate information management), that operates the application, used a proprietary solution based on IBM Cognos Planning.
The ambition to consolidate application infrastructure and software licences as well as new business requirements initiated the search for a suitable replacement product. The wide spread use of Excel and the existing Microsoft SQL Server infrastructure caused Olympus to further investigate the potential of SQL Server Analyses Services (SSAS) for this use case.
The business planning department of the consumer products division consolidated the requirements on the business side. In December 2013 Olympus decided to create a prototype in cooperation with navida. Within a few days the basic functionality of the application was implemented based on a simplified model.
The technology proved to be able to meet the requirements, yet in detail some challenges were also identified. Particularly these were caused by some limitations of the writeback functionality in SSAS and the implementation in Excel (What-If-Analysis). To resolve these limitations and increase usability Olympus agreed to extend the writeback module by developing a VSTO add in for Excel. Besides SSAS as OLAP service, the ETL jobs (IBM Data Manager) and the SQL Server relational database this added a fourth component to the system.
During the following months the business requirements were further specified and, in cooperation with CIM and navida, incorporated into a concept.
For the implementation phase Olympus decided to work with navida again. The project started in June with the technical design of the system. The implementation collided with two other projects: Parallel Olympus exchanged its ERP System and implemented a new enterprise BI system. Naturally both of these projects led to a high workload at the BI department as well as at the business side.
After the concept had been completed the main parts of the system could by implemented quickly and by midst of August a first test version was provided.
Testing was carried out by key users in various countries, which complicated the communication with central controlling and the project team. Mainly the testing revealed issues with data quality caused by the mapping rules between the enterprise BI system and RAP.
After the issues were fixed the new system was put into operation midst of September just in time for the next planning phase.
The application is now used by all seven European Olympus regional subsidiaries for distribution planning for the division consumer goods. Within the first four weeks of operation 15.000 figures where entered by users in 14 countries.
Primarily the use of Excel Pivot Tables and the good performance of the solution led to a positive user feedback. The cooperate information management department is also pleased with the results of the project and especially appreciated the good cooperation and smooth go live.
Olympus Europa is the headquarters for the region Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) of the Olympus Corporation, Tokyo. As a worldwide leading manufacturer of optical and digital precision technology, Olympus provides innovative solutions for state-of-the-art medical systems, digital cameras as well as scientific solutions in the fields of microscopy and industrial inspection. The company’s award winning products are instrumental in detecting, preventing and healing illness, driving scientific research and documenting life with artistic freedom. In the hands of our customers, Olympus’ high-tech products help to make people’s lives healthier, safer and more fulfilling. http://www.olympus-europa.com/