AA looks for 300% return on business intelligence

Motoring organisation the AA expects to achieve a return on investment of 300% over three years, after rolling out business...

Motoring organisation the AA expects to achieve a return on investment of 300% over three years, after rolling out business intelligence (BI) software for use in its datawarehouse, which stores information about its 12 million customers.

Analysts said the move reflects a resurgence in interest in BI software as firms facing increasing economic pressures, look to get the most value possible out of the data they store.

The Centrica-owned company, which deals with 4.2 million breakdown call a year, has identified savings of more than £1m it expects to make as a result of improved efficiency and cost savings.

The AA also hopes the Webintelligence software from supplier Business Objects will lead to customer service improvements - a key differentiator in the competitive roadside assistance market.

John Seymour, manager of management information at AA Road Services, said half of the £1m saving will be achieved because of the improved speed with which analysts can access, analyse and report on company information.

"With our previous system, which we selected in the late 1990s, reports were frequently taking up to 48 hours to produce," he said. "It is now a matter of hours."

Further reductions of more than £500,000 will be achieved through improvements in operational efficiency, by giving the company a complete picture of service performance, Seymour said.

"We have a complex data relationship with our customers. For example, each breakdown often involves more than one resource and we can now view this as one," he said.

This detailed view will allow the AA to highlight any particular problem, enabling the company to provide additional tools or training to address the issue and maintain service levels, Seymour said.

Helena Schwenk, business intelligence analyst at research firm Ovum, said the uptake of BI software has risen significantly in the past 12 months. "BI software is creeping up the corporate agenda because of the economic pressure companies are facing," she said. "Lots of companies are using BI to save money, by for example cutting product lines and tightening inventory."

Companies should be wary of software suppliers making extravagant claims for return on investment, warned Schwenk, although she added, that there is no reason why organisations like the AA should not make a 300% return if the implementation is carried out properly.

Read more on Business intelligence software