Hero MotoCorp’s BI implementation fuels future growth

When Hero Honda’s reporting systems proved insufficient to abet business endeavors, a SAP Business Intelligence (BI) implementation made the difference.

If business could be called war, then business strategists are the commanders of it. What is the next step? How is the organization to provide for the ever-growing demand of customers? How can business leaders be aided to decipher the numbers and trends that emerge out of the company’s records and the market? Such questions constantly surface in before businesses, as they find themselves surrounded by unending pools of data. Leading Indian two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp was no exception.

Business heads at the two-wheeler company were constantly flooded with data they needed to interpret and analyze. This led to Hero MotoCorp’s business intelligence (BI) implementation. The business needs and the technology solution were identified based on regular interactions with business users who discussed their pain points. Based on these and looking at the business goals and requirements, it was felt that a BI implementation would be very appropriate.

The company zeroed in on SAP Business Intelligence (BI) Data Solution to ensure that the right information was provided to the right decision makers at the right time in order to make the right business moves. Prior to the BI implementation, Hero MotoCorp had in place a combination of ERP (SAP) and homegrown reporting systems and Excel-based reporting formats. But this did not fit the bill anymore. The main objectives that they sought to achieve through the SAP BI implementation were reliable presentation of information (‘one version of the truth’), assistance in quicker, fact-based decision making, simplified graphical presentation of KPIs and other metrics, combination of multiple data sources (ERP, DI, spreadsheets, legacy, etc.) and faster collection and dissemination of information using portals, SMS, e-mails etc. as means.

Vijay Sethi, Vice President-IS and CIO, Hero MotoCorp, says, “For example, we have robust systems for capturing transactional data which include SAP ERP, dealer portal, vendor portal, SAP CRM, and SAP SRM etc. Each system has a lot of relevant data and some amounts of native reporting”. While these met Hero MotoCorp’s basic requirements, the business was looking for help in things like aggregating from multiple sources, analyzing, graphical representation of data, and exceptional reporting to help leaders take better as well as quicker decisions. It was this need that led to the BI implementation.

The company selected SAP’s BI solution on the criterion that it was already using SAP Business Suite as part of its strategy. Due to this exposure, Hero MotoCorp felt that SAP BI was a good contender.The team also evaluated the product’s features and its future roadmap. Satisfied that the product was able to meet the organization’s requirements, Hero MotoCorp chose to implement the same. Choice of SAP BI also led to negligible integration issues and it became easier for the company to implement it with speed.

The implementation began in March 2008. “We progressed with a mission of ‘Empowerment of business through delivery of ‘right’ information to the ‘right’ business decision makers at the ‘right’ time and of highest ‘quality’ data with appropriate level of formatting, timeliness, history and  other details helping them to achieve the organization’s business objectives and goals,’” says Sethi. The company started small with a sample set of users and certain functionalities to obtain business feedback. The team then worked on this feedback to enhance the solution with an iterative and collaborative approach.
Over a period of time, Hero MotoCorp added more functionality, and gradually access was given to more users. The implementation followed the building of new functionalities and enrolling users for training, testing, and hand-holding thus enhancing their analytical skills. As of today the company has 700 SAP BI users.

Addition of Oracle BI

While SAP BI was gaining wide user acceptance, in the year 2009, a demand for intelligent and real time reports had also started coming in from Hero MotoCorp’s dealers. They wanted BI to help them grow their businesses. This was when the company decided to augment its existing BI system with Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE).
The customer-facing teams and dealers extensively used Oracle Siebel CRM and dealer management system, both Oracle platforms, that produced 95% data needed for analysis. Implementing Oracle tool to address the needs of these users therefore became a natural progression as these applications could be integrated with ease. As of now, OBIEE is used by Hero MotoCorp’s 2,700 external and internal users including the company’s marketing and channel teams and its dealers.
Prior to implementation, OBIEE was tested with generation of 10 reports, two offices, and five dealers for two months. The project team chose frequently used reports such as sales conversions; the offices and dealers chosen were those who showed willingness to experiment with BI.

Implementation bottlenecks

All IT projects have their share of change management, technical and other issues. Some of the problems faced by Hero MotoCorp during this BI implementation were:

• Usage of applications: People were so used to Excel formats that they wanted to see the same interface in the BI solution. Effort was involved in changing their mindset and getting them used to the fact that this was an on-line reporting and analytical system with various drill down and other query features—not a mere collation of data from multiple sources that was being circulated in a particular format. This was resolved with the help of extensive training and open communication between the BI implementation team as well as the users.

• Timely data updates: In some cases, data was not updated in time in the systems feeding information to the data warehouse. This discipline was brought in by intervention of the senior management, as broadcasting information was started from the system at a particular time.

• Change in user requirements leading to changes in data model: Modification of the existing data model posed certain challenges depending on the extent of changes. A trial and error method was employed to finalize these changes to meet Hero MotoCorp’s requirements from the BI implementation.

• Security of information: There were concerns raised that after getting collated information would be shared across the organization. However, these were mitigated when role-based authorization and access was brought in.

After resolving these hassles, the BI implementation was carried out and managed by Hero MotoCorp’s in-house team, while technical support was received from the vendor.
Even though no RoI figures were made available, the above noted objectives were accomplished through the BI implementation at Hero MotoCorp Motors. BI is now integrated across the organization and users are quite reliant on this system now. In the near future, Hero MotoCorp plans to enhance the system based on user feedback. It is clear that Hero MotoCorp’s BI journey has only just begun.

Benefits of BI

• Reliable data for decision making: With implementation of BI system there is a 100% reliability of data as it comes from reliable sources. As the decisions are now based on factual details the management is confident of its decisions.

• Real time analysis: With implementation of the new BI system, business users get insightful data on aspects such as inventory, production, and sales in real time.

• BI for all: With the drill down features users can now capture every minute detail and dashboards allow data to be exported to MS office and HTML. This simplifies the reporting task and improves information handling.

• Centralized information generation: BI gathers data from various source systems and presents it as a single repository, thus eliminating the need to move from one system to another. Users can also create dashboards connecting to multiple OLAP systems.

For Hero MotoCorp, BI hasn’t been just a onetime implementation but an ongoing journey. The company now plans to bring the benefits of BI to every department going forward.


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