Ace Hardware uses Information Builders’ tool for enterprise-wide reporting

New York City Ace Hardware Corp. has standardized on Information Builders’ WebFOCUS BI platform for enterprise-wide reporting, analysis, and information delivery.

Ace Hardware has 10,000 WebFOCUS users in merchandising, marketing, finance, advertising, international, paint, rental, retail operations and supply chain, accessing more than 300 WebFOCUS reports. Each department has its own dashboard where users can launch reports and analytic applications.

WebFOCUS helps Ace manage its internal operation while enabling retailers and wholesalers to boost revenue and streamline their supply chains. For example, retail managers use WebFOCUS to identify their best customers and target them with specific marketing campaigns. They can monitor the top-selling items at each retail location, ensuring those items are in stock and maximizing sales opportunities. Marketing personnel use WebFOCUS to gauge the effects of specific promotions on sales and to improve the Ace Rewards customer loyalty program.

In addition, 1,500 people throughout Ace depend on a WebFOCUS dashboard, which tracks daily sales at the retail and wholesale levels. This information helps the company gauge how various items are selling by region, division and product category. About 1,800 vendors use WebFOCUS to track how individual products are selling by region and time of year.

"WebFOCUS has served us well as an enterprise standard,” said Tim Brynda, a software engineering analyst at Ace who is spearheading many of Ace's current BI efforts. “We couldn't be happier with the results."

Ace plans to use WebFOCUS Active Reports to offer portable analytic options to its field staff. These dynamic PDF reports will enable remote workers to analyze data without having to be connected to Ace's intranet.

Ace also plans to use WebFOCUS InfoAssist to expand the number of power users in each department, easing the pressure on skilled programmers who currently handle most of the custom reporting services. InfoAssist helps non-technical people create queries, reports, charts and dashboards.

Finally, Ace plans to explore WebFOCUS Quick Data to allow business professionals to create ad hoc reports within Microsoft Excel. Quick Data, an Excel add-in file, connects directly to the WebFOCUS reporting engine to let these users build reports that are automatically refreshed from enterprise data sources and combine multiple reports into a single worksheet.