Intelligent thinking

du, the second UAE telecoms provider, hopes that its latest business intelligence software investment will help it to boost customer service levels.

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By  Administrator Published  December 31, 2006

du has selected Business Objects XI as its enterprise business intelligence (BI) standard. Having positioned itself as a ‘converged’ telecom provider, the company aims to become the first choice operator in the UAE and challenge incumbent operator Etisalat. Providing voice, data and multimedia services across fixed and mobile networks, du wants to position itself as a provider that is renowned for ‘uncompromising’ levels of customer service - and the implementation of a BI solution forms a core part of this strategy.

“Customer needs are the focus of all of the company’s services. We plan to offer new and innovative services that deliver a better customer experience.

Business Objects XI will play a strategic role in helping us achieve that goal,” commented Mohamed Saleh, senior data warehouse manager at du. Providing mobile and fixed calling services, fixed broadband and high-speed mobile data access for individual consumers as well as integrated mobile solutions for large business corporations, the standardisation of the company’s BI platform was not only a necessary endeavour, but one that du believes will deliver a significant return on investment (ROI).

“Business Objects and du have worked hand-in-hand to develop a long-term BI strategy for the company that is translating into proven BI ROI in a very short timeframe," said David Brierley, regional general manager Middle East at Business Objects.

Companies such as du, who rely on BI from Business Objects, know that BI offers a low-cost, high-value path to achieving business performance on an entirely new scale.”

du has followed the lead of global telecommunications companies such as AT&T, British Telecom, Orange, STC, T-Mobile and Vodafone in implementing a Business Objects BI solution. The vendor’s business intelligence suite, BusinessObjects XI, claims to offer an advanced and comprehensive solution for performance management, planning, reporting, query and analysis, and enterprise information management.

The solution also includes reporting and data visualisation software.

Currently in the deployment stage, features like standard reporting and query and analysis tools are being rolled out across the different departments within du. The company is also implementing BusinessObjects Crystal Reports XI, Web Intelligence XI and Desktop Intelligence XI. It is also looking into the potential use of BusinessObjects XI Dashboard and Performance Manager in the next project phase. To deliver on its customer service promise, du believes that standardised reporting is essential to managing its existing systems and will also allow the company the necessary business and IT agility for future projects and expansion plans.

As a fledgling company - albeit with lofty aspirations to become the number one telecoms provider in the UAE - the Business Objects intelligence suite deployment was a relatively straightforward implementation in as much as du represented a greenfield project with no existing legacy systems in place.

“We don’t have any existing systems,” explains Saleh. “We’ve implemented everything at the same time. We used to have a fixed line operation for some years but the company had an initiative to put everything under the umbrella of our implementation, including the fixed line operation and the mobile integration project. Our staff will tackle all the reporting.”

With over 39,000 customers worldwide, including 80% of the Fortune 500, Business Objects’ has solid global credentials. The BI solution provided to du offers a solution that can be utilised as a trusted foundation for decision-making, according to the vendor, allowing the new operator to gain better insight into its business and optimise performance. Evaluation of the options available to the company, coupled with analysis of the ROI and business benefits offered by the Business Objects solution, were the driving factors behind the new operator’s supplier selection.

With du looking to expand aggressively into the provision of mobile and internet services while simultaneously consolidating its existing fixed line services, the implementation of the BI solution has allowed the company to centralise its reporting facilities. Creating interoperability between departments and standardising the flow of information within the company were important priorities from the outset.

“The company has an initiative to have standard reporting across the company from day one of operation.

Our IT team is composed of around 160 people and under this umbrella we have three major departments,” says Saleh.

Consolidating data analysis at a centralised department allows the company to monitor the flow of data from a single site - a solution that is conducive to effective business management. “We have a centralised reporting department so we can see all the data that is going in and out and we are centralising all our business requirements and data feeds around this,” continues Saleh.

Implementation of the business suite did provide a few problems for the firm on account of the Business Objects XI being new and relatively untested by other companies. However, strong support from Business Objects enabled du to overcome initial teething problems and help the system meet its initial requirements.

Saleh explains that although the business suite is still a work in progress the company is optimistic that it will meet its objectives and by assuming a long-term outlook, du understands that its requirements are liable to change as the business develops.

“It’s difficult to have well defined requirements at the beginning and we have to cope with it as part of the business. This is a long-term operation and we know the issues that might happen over time so are prepared to fix them. We have a complicated infrastructure with a great deal of inbuilt security and multiple procedures and change management policies,” continues Saleh.

du is confident that its BI solution will deliver upon its objectives in 2007 and provide the company with a solid foundation for future business initiatives. Plans to implement CRM and data mining are also expected to expand its data management abilities.

Project details




Business Objects XI, a business intelligence suite




To create a reporting infrastructure based on a standardised BI platform that would allow du to centralise its data management.

Features such as standard reporting and analysis tools have been rolled out across different departments within du.

” Customer needs are the focus of all of our services. We plan to offer innovative services that deliver a better customer experience .”

“We have a complicated infrastructure with a great deal of in-built security, procedures and change management policies.”

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