Macmillan Publishers Enhances Business Intelligence with IBM Cognos Analytics

4:31 am
August 30, 2023

Macmillan Publishers, one of the leading English language publishers globally, has relied on IBM Cognos Analytics to manage its operational reporting needs for over a decade. With an increasing demand for faster access to data and insights, the publisher realized the need for a modernized approach to data analytics and business intelligence. By implementing a self-service model and leveraging the latest features in IBM Cognos Analytics, Macmillan has empowered its users to source and share key data, leading to more timely and accurate decision-making. The company has also seen a significant reduction in administrative and hardware costs. Moving forward, Macmillan plans to gather user feedback to further refine its analytics model and explore additional AI-based features in Cognos Analytics.

Data Analytics in the Publishing Industry

The publishing industry heavily relies on data analytics to drive business operations. Macmillan Publishers, with its extensive global operation, invests in technology to gather analytical information about sales, inventory, and transportation of their titles. The data collected helps make informed decisions regarding printing quantities, pricing, and other strategic considerations. However, as business processes grew more complex, data transparency and visibility suffered, leading to an increased demand for analytics from users.

A New Strategy for Data Analytics and Business Intelligence

To meet the growing demand for analytics, Macmillan Publishers adopted a self-service model, allowing users to access and analyze data independently. The company implemented the enhanced self-service capabilities of IBM Cognos Analytics, migrating its operations to IBM’s hosted and managed SaaS platform. Macmillan also provided in-house training to users, empowering them to easily find relevant data, build reports, share insights, and leverage the latest features of Cognos Analytics. The transformation resulted in a 50% reduction in administrative costs, a 100% reduction in hardware costs, and improved decision-making capabilities across the organization.

Creating a User-Driven Data Analytics Model

Macmillan Publishers worked with technology partner Sterling Technology Group and IBM to redesign its analytics platform with a focus on a user-driven model. This collaboration helped ensure a successful migration to the Cognos Analytics SaaS environment, leveraging the platform’s latest features. Additionally, Macmillan recognized the importance of building a robust data culture alongside its revamped BI strategy. Cognos Analytics’ Data Modules allowed users to connect to multiple data sources, apply business rules, and generate customizable reports, providing valuable insights for tracking orders, title performance, and other key metrics.

Macmillan’s Future with Cognos Analytics

Currently, around one thousand employees at Macmillan Publishers consume data from IBM Cognos Analytics. The company encourages user feedback to improve the system and increase user adoption. Macmillan has already seen a 20% growth in the number of users authoring their own reports and plans to roll out Dashboarding on a broader scale. The company also aims to leverage AI-based Cognos Analytics features, including subscriptions, AI-based explorations, and Natural Language Processing (NLP), to further enhance its analytics capabilities.

The Key to Successful Business Intelligence Projects

Achieving success in BI projects requires understanding an organization’s data challenges and fostering a robust data culture. Macmillan recommends starting small, identifying key issues and pain points, and building prototypes in an on-premises sandbox environment. Collaboration between key stakeholders and the analytics team is crucial to setting project goals and developing an effective action plan. By taking this approach, organizations can gain a true understanding of their business community’s needs and drive success in data and analytics initiatives.

FAQs

1. What is IBM Cognos Analytics?

IBM Cognos Analytics is a business intelligence and data analytics platform that allows organizations to access, analyze, and visualize their data to make informed business decisions.

2. How has Macmillan Publishers enhanced its business intelligence?

Macmillan Publishers has enhanced its business intelligence by adopting a self-service model enabled by IBM Cognos Analytics. This model empowers users to access and analyze data independently, resulting in faster decision-making and improved operational efficiency.

3. What benefits has Macmillan Publishers seen from implementing the self-service model?

Macmillan Publishers has experienced a 50% reduction in administrative costs, a 100% reduction in hardware costs, and a 40% reduction in overall administrative maintenance tasks. The company has also achieved more timely and accurate decision-making at all levels of the organization.

4. How does Macmillan Publishers plan to further enhance its analytics capabilities?

Macmillan Publishers plans to gather user feedback to refine its analytics model and expand the use of dashboarding on a broader scale. The company also aims to leverage AI-based Cognos Analytics features, such as subscriptions, AI-based explorations, and Natural Language Processing (NLP), to add value to various user groups.

5. What advice does Macmillan Publishers give for organizations considering adopting cloud-based analytics and AI-based features?

Macmillan Publishers recommends starting small to identify key issues and pain points. Building prototypes in an on-premises sandbox environment and evaluating them with production in-house application data can help assess the effectiveness of cloud-based analytics and AI-based features. Collaboration between key stakeholders and the analytics team is also crucial for success.


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