Putting managers in the cockpit

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French IT integrator and consultancy Atos Origin is pushing a new model in business intelligence management to Australian ERP customers, ahead of a major global merger.

French IT integrator and consultancy Atos Origin is pushing a new model in business intelligence management to Australian ERP customers, ahead of a major global merger.

Atos Origin Australia has signed a deal with US business intelligence software vendor Crystal Decisions to sell the latter's SAP-based enterprise reporting and analysis software here. A stand-out feature of the push will be the incorporation of an SAP Management Cockpit, of which Atos Origin is the preferred implementation partner globally.

Darryl Morris, general manager of sales and marketing at Atos Origin Australia, said the management cockpit model -– a bricks-and-mortar way to present and monitor IT-based business intelligence data and systems -– had proved successful overseas but was new in Australia.

'There are a couple of organisations that do that overseas ... but I'm not aware of any here,' he said.

A management cockpit is a room set up on the customer's premises to improve monitoring and reporting of data via business intelligence software. Instead of a standard office-type set-up, with rows of PCs monitored by staff, screens are displayed on the walls.

The idea is that staff can monitor what's going on more effectively, since the screens of information produced by the various business intelligence applications are presented side-by-side and can be viewed concurrently.

'In current times, customers aren't stepping out and spending big money. They're looking to enhance their investment. This gives them the ability to get information that's more useful and readily available and accessible,' Morris said.

Key performance indicators and other business intelligence is supported by a six-screen online system, to provide further detail if needed. 'We see [Crystal Decisions] software as an integral part of the different applications we can use to extend our service to customers and we have a Management Cockpit in our Sydney operation, which takes a balanced scorecard and actually shows it to the team,' Morris said.

He admitted it was hard to quantify any benefits achieved by the management cockpit-based system, but gave the example of an organisation in Asia that had to manage its business aspects to match constantly changing and complex government policies and regulations.

'Their requirement is to continue to ascertain that their KPIs meet government requirements. This [management cockpit] enables them to keep their balance with the regulatory environment quickly,' Morris said.

That organisation had gained improved business processes leading to greater flexibility and responsiveness to customer needs, he said.

Paris Bourse-listed Atos Origin is in the process of acquiring European oilfield and information services vendor Schlumberger's core IT services business, SchlumbergerSema. The buyout is expected to create a 'leading global IT services' company with combined annual revenue of more than five billion Euros.

Morris said due diligence should be completed January 2004. 'I can't say any more as we won't have full details on what will happen in the region until then, but there is a substantial team in the Asia-Pacific,' Morris said.

So far, SchlumbergerSema parent Schlumberger has agreed in principle to enter into an IT services agreement with Atos Origin for at least US$700 million, subject to final agreement on pricing and service levels. Atos Origin is expected to have net debt of around 750 million Euros when the deal is closed and to sell off 'a number of non-strategic assets' next year as a result.


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