Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

arcplan Customer BI Best Practices: Spotlight on DFS


We have so many best practice customers to spotlight that it's hard to keep up! This time I'd like to introduce you to Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS), an air traffic control corporation with 5,600 employees in charge of the safe navigation of about three million flights across German airspace. In addition to managing the control towers of 16 international airports in Germany, DFS is also a global provider of consultancy and training services, and develops, markets, and implements air traffic control, tracking, and navigation systems. It's for this purpose that DFS implemented arcplan in mid-2009 as a decision-support system for the prioritization of sales projects.

What is DFS doing with arcplan Enterprise that makes their solution one to emulate?

1) Their BI solution answers questions.

It may seem simplistic, but really, isn't business intelligence, first and foremost, about getting your questions answered? In the case of DFS, their primary question was "How do we proactively and systematically develop the market, rather than wait for potential customers to come to us?" This led to a Market & Competitive Intelligence System (MCIS), created with arcplan Enterprise, where all sales and marketing information is stored. DFS employees can now get the answers to any conceivable question, from "What are the planned investments at this particular airport?" to "How many competitors have installations at this airport?" The answers to these questions help staff to prioritize projects so that the ones with the highest probability of closing are at the top of the list.

2) Their BI comes to them.

You may have heard someone say "sure, your BI does take-out, but does it deliver?" Any BI system can crunch numbers and wait for you to come along and get them (take-out). But not all BI is created equal when it comes to data delivery. DFS' arcplan solution (in fact, any arcplan solution) allows users to schedule the delivery of reports and dashboards, removing the need to run the application or pull up a URL on your browser. Employees on the go – especially road-warrior sales people – need their BI delivered to them at a certain time. You may want a particular report emailed to you every other day at noon – that's possible with arcplan, and DFS takes advantage of it.

3) The right KPIs improve decision-making.

DFS spent a lot of time determining the most important information to house in arcplan and track in daily reports and dashboards. Choosing the right metrics – including a mix of leading and lagging indicators – is imperative for optimized decision-making. Since DFS's MCIS is, at its core, about seizing opportunities for revenue, the information that is tracked includes: the provider of each airport's current air traffic control software, its installation date, each airport's flight statistics, and traffic forecasts by airport and country. Based on this data (and more), arcplan Enterprise prioritizes the potential opportunities that the sales team should pursue further. Employees can make their own determination, but their BI system can also make the determination for them based on facts.

4) Their BI extends to an often-neglected department.

Maybe it's not fair to say that Sales is often neglected when it comes to business intelligence. After all, what company is not tracking revenue (generated by Sales), customer data (for customers brought in by Sales), and departmental budgets (like Sales'!)? But what about the time before a sale is actually made? Salesforce is a widely-used system for tracking opportunities and working out a sales forecast, but Salesforce is not suitable for every organization. DFS used arcplan in place of a CRM system to keep track of the valuable information about opportunities, win/loss analysis and competitors that was previously stuck in the sales team's heads. Giving the entire sales and marketing team access to that information helps them make informed choices. Anyone that has used Salesforce knows the limits of its reporting – the inability to slice and dice according to any parameter you need, the frustration of having separate Lead and Contact reports ...I could go on. In DFS' case, they decided to utilize a tool they had already invested in – arcplan Enterprise – since it can do everything Salesforce can in terms of data storage, and it far surpases Salesforce's reporting capabilities. In this way, the company is able to track all the useful data that comes in before a sale is actually made and can influence future sales opportunities.

For a more in-depth look at why we think DFS is a best practice customer, check out this case study [PDF] – no registration required.

Markus Gisske

About Markus Gisske

I'm a Senior Marketing Manager at arcplan. I've been at the company for almost 10 years and work out of the Langenfeld, Germany office.
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