Federal Equipment Uses “BlueSky Business Intelligence Portal” to Increase Sales and Employee Productivity

 

PRODUCT MANUFACTURER:  Relational Solutions, Inc.  24601 Center Ridge Rd., Suite 110, Westlake, OH  44145

Phone:  440-899-3296    Fax :  440-808-0645     www.relationalsolutions.com

 

PRODUCT NAME:  BlueSky Business Intelligence Portal

 

REVIEWER:  Karen Kurtzweil, Sales Manager

 

BACKGROUND:  Federal Equipment is dedicated to providing its customers -large and small- with quality pre-owned equipment, outstanding service and competitive prices.  With warehouses in Cleveland, Ohio, Federal Equipment maintains one of the largest inventories in the industry.  More than a supplier, Federal Equipment also offers a complete range of specialized services.  These include the liquidation and auction of process lines and manufacturing facilities as well as equipment appraisal and leasing.

 

HARDWARE PLATFORMS:  Microsoft NT, SQL Server & DTS

 

PROBLEM SOLVED:  Prior to using BlueSky, we were unable to easily track sales and understand whom our most profitable customers, sales reps and products were.  In addition, we were not able to proactively market new products to those customers who had requested information or quotes for products that we no longer had.  We did not understand who our customers and prospects were, and which product categories they were most interested in.

 

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY:  BlueSky is running flawlessly.  It has extensive analysis capability that we are only just discovering.  In the future, we will be using BlueSky’s ability to publish any type of documents and reports to each other.  We may also allow our partners to have access to the portal so we can publish reports and documents to them.  In addition, BlueSky has security built in so that we can eventually allow partners to query the database to get certain information that would be relevant only to them.  For example, they may want to search and find out who their top 5 customers are and what they’re buying most often.

 

STRENGTHS:  The strengths of the product are considerable. It gives us access to information in a way that was never before possible.  It is extremely easy to use so the learning curve is minimal.  Also, we looked at other query tools and they were extremely expensive for only the interface.  For less than the cost of the query tool alone, Relational Solutions built the data warehouse and included the BlueSky Business Intelligence Portal.  It was a venture that a mid-sized company like ours would never have been able to afford.

 

WEAKNESSES:  The weakness of the portal is probably in the publishing capability. Its great for publishing any type of document, but there is currently no versioning of the documents.

 

SELECTION CRITERIA:  Functionality, ease of use, completeness and price.  Not only was BlueSky’s functionality expansive, but we were extremely impressed by the underlying architecture that pulled the data from the sources into another database for querying.  BlueSky Analyzer then allowed us to query the database without affecting the performance of the transactional system.  The underlying database is designed to optimize query performance.  Finally, price was very important.  In implementing an application that’s intended to help you understand and manage your business better, it makes no sense to implement something that is going to take you 3 or more years to regain your investment.  In addition, the Excel integration made it easy to use.  Relational Solutions’ BlueSky Business Intelligence Portal was extremely cost effective.  Other vendors quoted us prices 3 times as much for the user interface alone!  And even at that, they wouldn’t allow us to have unlimited users.  Relational Solutions was truly interested in the value they brought to Federal Equipment.  They tried hard and succeeded in providing significant value to Federal Equipment with BlueSky.

 

DELIVERABLES:  The application can easily be modified for every company so some of the reports we get will vary from the reports of other companies.  We are able to get cost information, price information and quantity information on product categories, sub-categories and items.  We can get profitability by sales rep.  We can compare the number of sales reps’ quotes to the number of closed deals to get a percent closed number.  We can look at sales by region, by rep, by customer, by product, by year, by month, by quarter, by day, etc.  We can trend sales over time.  We can easily compare sales of product X last quarter to sales of product Y.  Or compare sales of product X last month to the same month last year.  We can see the quantity sold in category A quarter to quarter.  We can see sales for “Joe Smith” last week at the click of a button. Information that used to take weeks (if we could get it at all) now takes minutes.  In addition, I can proactively market new products to customers who have requested information before through BlueSky.

 

VENDOR SUPPORT:  Relational Solutions not only lived up to the commitment of the contract, but we’ve been extremely impressed by their responsiveness to questions.  We do not have an extensive IT staff at Federal Equipment so on a couple of occasions when we had problems, Relational Solutions actually sent someone out at no charge to take a look for us.  Both times they fixed the problem even though it wasn’t related to BlueSky.  In addition, they were very helpful training the users and answering our technical calls.

 

DOCUMENTATION:  The product is very easy to use. The actual server runs on its own.  The analyze tool has a nice cheat sheet for users to follow.