Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence

Order Description

In the two Cognos demonstrations by the industry speakers, we saw how the

product interacts with a data source (e.g., data warehouse) to produce reports

and dashboards for managers. This assignment requires you to demonstrate your

understanding of such a product as a BI tool.


ACME Inc. is a multi-product company with business in liquor, groceries, petrol,

insurance and DIY stores (each of these business areas is also known as a

channel). It has a large operation in Australia but recently, due to intense

competition and the high Australian dollar, the company is facing a number of

sales challenges. Your company was hired to consult on a number of problems and

you were part of the consultancy team responsible for the BI aspects of the

solution. The team and you met with their executive team (i.e., CEO, CIO, COO,

etc.) and he gave a short brief about the company’s situation.

After an hour of discussion with the executive team, your team managed to zone

into a number of problems that they want you to address. These problems span a

number of areas in their business and your team leader has set out tasks for

everyone. Your task is to use your appreciation of IBM Cognos to suggest the

most appropriate solution to each problem below (See NOTE box on next page).

Question 1

Fruits and Veggie sales are dropping and the ACME supermarkets wants to know

which suburbs they should be targeting and the type of households to target

within those suburbs. The CIO reveals that the company has been collecting sales

data and they are able to link a large part of the sales to their customers

through their loyalty rewards program “Walk-Buys”. Through their data mining

software, they were able to categorize households into six different categories

•    Affluent buyers – families buys mostly high quality product offerings

from ACME’s store;

•    Lifestyle shoppers – families who buy mostly high quality products but

are buyers of lifestyle products such as chocolates and pet food;

•    Busy families – families who seem to buy a lot of ready to cook items

and ‘fast-food’ such as instant noodles, can-soups, etc.;

•    Budget conscious – families whose total spend are largely below $100 per


•    Discount shoppers – families whose purchases include mostly home-brand

items and discount items;

•    Battling families – families who purchases include mostly necessities

and have a low number of GST-applicable purchases.

Your team leader asked that you use Cognos to produce some reports to help the

team present information to the stakeholders next week.

Discuss in your submission

a.    The type of reports you will produce from Cognos;

b.    What attributes would you include in each of the reports; and
c.    Explain why a particular report was chosen and why in a report, those

attributes are present and laid out in the fashion you proposed.

To ensure that you discussed (c) properly, you can include visual samples of the

reports you will produce for your team, and also include any assumptions that

you may have made about the data warehouse.


•    You need NOT produce the actual visuals in Cognos. .

•    Select the best presentation method and use it to present the required

information for each question.

•    For example, if you think the best presentation above is to use a pie

chart, then discuss using a pie chart and indicate what the pie chart would

show, why you picked the pie chart, and so on.

•    Do this for each question.

•    It may be useful to review the various presentations, readings and also

do some research about what Cognos is capable of doing. If you do utilize any

research material, keep in mind to cite your source(s).

Question 2

One of the cross-selling initiatives of ACME is to clear products in one channel

through another channel so as to keep their inventory across the board “fresh”.

One such example cited by the CIO is that any product buildup in their DIY

stores is promoted to families, often offering them discounts or incentives such

as bonus “Walk-Buys” points. To do this effectively, the DIY stores need a way

to know

•    When a product is selling well and when it isn’t; and

•    If a product was cross-sold, how effective was the entire campaign.

The CIO went on to elaborate that the company at the moment deploys different

‘carrots’ for different family types. For example, the “affluent” group is not

so concern about discounts (targeted at budget conscious families) but are more

interested in incentives such as ‘VIP status’ or invitation to special events so

you are to keep this in mind.

Discuss in your submission

a.    What are the BI report(s) you will need to produce for the company to

manage an effective cross-selling initiative;

b.    What are the contents of each BI report; and
c.    Explain why a particular report was chosen and why in the report, those

attributes are selected and laid out in the fashion you proposed.

Again include visual samples of the reports you will produce for your team, and

any assumptions you made for this particular problem.

Question 3

The end of the financial year is approaching and this year, the CEO realized

that the some of the channels are missing their performance targets. Upon

investigation, it was found that many of the reports produced in 2013 were

figures that lapsed by up to six months and so any response to the market

conditions were very late and no longer appropriate. The investigation also saw

that the data warehouse actually contained the required information and could

potentially deliver the required performance indicators on time rather than a

six-month lapse. As a result, the CEO has also asked your team to propose a

solution to improve on the company’s ability to track their performance in a

more “up to date” fashion.

From your team leader’s discussion with the executive team, the following

performance indicators common among the different channels were developed for

2014. They include

•    Sales revenue over each month, quarter and year for each state, region

and suburbs

•    Year to date sales versus last year and Year to date profit versus last

•    Top ten selling products (for each channel) and their sales revenue
•    Sales for each product category as a proportion of total sales

•    Average warehouse hours (for channels with an inventory) in product

categories versus last year

Discuss in your submission

a.    One BI solution that will meet the needs of this problem;

b.    Express (in the form of a diagram) how this BI solution will look like

and what components will appear in this BI solution; and
c.    Explain your choice of each component in the BI solution for the five

performance indicators requested by the CEO and COO. Assume your target audience

of this BI solution to be the “sales directors” of each channel within the


Marking rubrics

There are three questions in this assessment. Each question will be marked using

the rubric outlined below. A grade will be awarded to each of the question and

then an overall mark determined for the entire assessment task. The rubric below

gives you an idea of what you must achieve to earn a certain ‘grade’.

As a general rule, to meet a ‘credit’, you must first satisfy the requirements

of a ‘pass’. And for a High distinction, you must first satisfy the requirements

of a ‘distinction’, which must of course first meet the requirements of a

‘credit’, and so on.

Your final grade will be decided based on the grades for each component in the

assessment. It is not a simple average but rather, a final consideration of how

you performed as a whole informed by the grades of each component.

Pass    Credit    Distinction    High Distinction
Question 1 and 2    The right BI report(s)    The right BI report(s)    A good

proposal that    A proposal that meets
is/are suggested along    is/are suggested along    addresses all three

the distinction criteria
with some attributes    with most attributes    points and having met

and has nothing a
identified in each    identified and located    the need for a Credit.

marker could fault.
report and that some    in the right report(s). A    The type that

acceptable explanation    good amount of    team leader will be
to support the    explanation given to    impressed with
proposed report(s) is    the proposed report(s)    because you have
given.    type(s).    demonstrated deep
understanding of the
problem and delivered
the BI reports as a
clear solution to the
problem. Assumptions
are valid and support
the solution proposed.
Question 3    The right BI solution is    The right BI solution is

An excellent BI    Clearly the outstanding
suggested and the    produced with the    solution is proposed

design from the rest of
basic components in    right components    with high level of

the class. In addition to
the BI solution is    inside the proposed    details of how each BI

meeting the
outlined in the report.    solution. An    component is    requirements of

appropriate    presented and why a    distinction, the
explanation to the BI    particular presentation    solution is hard

solution is given to    would address the    fault.
support the proposal.    problem scenario.
Assumptions if any are
valid and the design is
backed with
appropriate discussion.


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