Bistrot Pierre adopts Power BI
26th February 2018
We’ve recently helped expanding restaurant group, Le Bistrot Pierre Ltd, to implement a management information system using Microsoft’s Power BI.
The group had previously reported performance by drawing data from a range of sources, but concerns about data consistency and the level of manual work involved led to a decision to move to a cloud-based solution, Microsoft Azure, with Power BI as the reporting and analysis tool.
According to Laura Cox, Commercial Accountant and Systems Manager, at Bistrot Pierre, “We recognised the importance of investing in a BI system that is scalable and can meet performance management information needs as the group expands. We’re confident that change++ has delivered a solution that can grow with the business and we are already reaping the benefits of improved insight.”
ThoughtSpot - a new partner for change++
3rd October 2017
We’re delighted to announce a new partner relationship with ThoughtSpot, the leader in AI-driven analytics. Built on the world’s first Relational Search engine, ThoughtSpot enables both business users and data professionals to build their own reports and dashboards from company data in seconds.
This tool can be complementary to other enterprise reporting products, meeting the needs of users who want to ask their own questions and get immediate answers from company data. No technical training is needed – it really is as simple as using Google – and avoids the need to ask IT or business analysts to run queries that may take days or weeks to deliver.
Call us on 01635 889222 for further information or to request a demo.
change++ develops Fare Table Conversion tool
12th May 2016
Traveline Cymru is a public transport information service funded by the Welsh Government. It works in partnership with operators and local authorities to provide public transport information across Wales and into the UK, for bus, coach and train routes, effectively offering a 'one-stop-shop' for travel information.
Providing fare information to service users for point-to-point bus journeys across Wales had required a manual, time-consuming process. Data supplied in different formats from the various bus operators had to be input into spreadsheets and would then need to be validated by the operators before uploading to the website’s Journey Planner. As a publicly-funded organisation with a limited budget, Traveline Cymru wanted to save time and costs and implement a more efficient solution. It asked change++ to develop a Fare Table Conversion tool that would eliminate much of the manual processing, and automate the conversion and calculation of fare information. Now, when a user selects a specific bus route, an accurate fare is calculated, regardless of how many operators are involved in the journey.
According to Graham Walter, Managing Director of Traveline Cymru, the Fare Table Conversion tool has delivered multiple benefits, “The Fare Table Conversion tool has enabled our business to take data in a variety of formats and convert it to one common language that can be interpreted by our systems. This has saved the business time and resource as this data would have had to have been manually translated. Another benefit to this is that it reduces the risk of human error and standardises the information, ultimately providing our customers with a slicker and more consistent result.”
20 years old and still growing!
21st September 2016
We recently celebrated change++’s 20 year anniversary with a memorable cruise on an historic Thames barge, through Tower Bridge – that opened especially for us! – to the Thames Barrier and back to London Bridge Pier. 30 guests joined us; major clients, partners and associates who have worked with us over the years.
Acknowledging past achievements in a toast to the team and guests, Managing Director, Della Payne, attributed the business’s success to great relationships, “Most of change++’s growth is the result of delivering a quality service, consistently, over the years to clients who value our commitment to them. While individuals may move into other roles in other businesses, they take us with them, and trust us enough to refer us to others. It’s wonderful to see how many people here we’ve been working with for 20 years.”
change++ continues to grow and this month welcomes Aris Koutsouras as a Graduate BI Developer, further strengthening the developer team.
change++ now authorised IBM Software as a Service Solution Provider
18th August 2016
Already an IBM Premier Business Partner and accredited Business Analytics Solution Provider for its ‘Business Intelligence for Restaurants’ solution, change++ is now an authorised IBM Software as a Service (SaaS) Solution Provider.
Delivering the simplicity of cloud without sacrificing performance this next generation of Business Analytics - IBM Cognos Analytics and IBM Watson Analytics - delivers guided and intuitive capabilities to change how we work with data. Business users gain deeper insight of their individual or team challenges by creating their own queries, dashboards and visualisations of information while IT can be confident of a trusted cloud provider.
To learn more about the benefits of self-service Business Analytics call us on 01635 889222 and we’ll talk you through the options.
Welcome Break accelerates performance management
28th May 2014
Motorway services operator, Welcome Break, has appointed change++ to enhance its performance management system and provide KPI dashboard reporting throughout the business.
Welcome Break is one of the UK’s leading independent motorway service operators, and has over 27 sites across the UK. Formed in 1959, Welcome Break attracts 80 million motorway customers a year with offers from leading hospitality and retail brands including Waitrose, Starbucks, Harry Ramsden’s, KFC and Burger King. It has a new partnership with the world’s largest specialist sandwich provider, Subway, and the first five branches have already opened.
All managers at each Welcome Break site will have access to a reporting system underpinned by IBM Cognos Enterprise. With head office included, over 200 managers will use the system. According to Welcome Break IT Director, David Willock, ‘This system will give everyone responsible for influencing performance in the business a flexible tool that will tell them at a glance where to focus attention. We’re giving unit managers more access to information than they’ve ever had and believe this will really support them in managing their businesses more effectively.’
Continued growth creates graduate opportunity
26th January 2015
Increased client business means we’re looking for a graduate in Computer Science (or similar discipline) to join our team developing applications using IBM Cognos and Microsoft BI tools. Based at our Newbury office, the successful candidate will receive full product training and an attractive starting salary. See here for more information and details of how to apply.
Helping CollectPlus with Big Data
15th July 2015
CollectPlus, the UK’s largest independent store-based parcels service, has been working with change++ to develop a reporting system to interrogate its data sources and provide the detailed information its growing client list demands.
Founded in 2009, CollectPlus offers a simple and convenient way for people to collect online purchases from or return items to more than 300 high street and online retailers, including ASOS, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Very.co.uk – all at their local convenience store.
It is also possible to send parcels through CollectPlus’ network of 5,800 conveniently located parcel stores across the UK, nearly all of which are open early ‘til late seven days a week. In June 2015, CollectPlus delivered its 50 millionth parcel.
CollectPlus needed a highly sophisticated reporting capability, and they selected IBM Cognos Enterprise as their preferred platform. change++’s Della Payne comments, “There are particular reporting challenges when working with large data sets and IBM Cognos has a range of capabilities that are designed to deliver speed of thought analytics over terrabytes of enterprise data. We understand the service levels that CollectPlus has agreed with their clients and how important it is for them to be able to monitor and report performance on a daily basis. The solution we’ve delivered meets those needs and will give CollectPlus significant analysis capabilities.”
Upgrade to IBM Cognos Express delivers self-service reporting
20th June 2016
As proof that software upgrades don’t need to be disruptive and time-consuming we recently installed IBM Cognos Express for Bracknell Forest Council in – according to one observer - “less time than it takes to download the software!”
Bracknell Forest Council has been using IBM Cognos tools for reporting for several years but their Series 7 version was going out of support. A move to a new server presented the opportunity to upgrade. Cognos Express was selected as most appropriate toolset; its flexibility means that ad hoc reports for management can be easily generated, while regular reports can be preset and saved. But “it’s the ability to manipulate large datasets and really drill down into them quickly on the fly that I love about Cognos”, confirms Neville Dougall, System Support Officer at Bracknell Forest Council. Much of the data relates to Leisure Centre usage so the capability to investigate trends and patterns is invaluable for the development of new service offerings in a competitive market.
See more information about IBM Cognos products here
We're Microsoft Silver BI Partners
10th February 2014
We’re delighted to announce that our team’s advanced Microsoft SQL Server BI skills have been further recognised with the award of Microsoft’s Silver BI Partner status. This award can only be achieved if developers gain accreditation across a range of skills, including SSIS, Analysis Services and SSRS. Call us if you’d like to maximise your investment in Microsoft SQL Server and we’ll help you explore some valuable BI benefits.
Prezzo appoint change++ to develop their EPoS reporting
19th August 2013
Restaurant group, Prezzo, which operates 160 branches in the UK casual dining market, has asked change++ to propose a solution for business users wanting to report on and analyse EPoS data. As data is currently off-site the first requirement is to build a robust and scaleable database to store data needed for reporting and change++ have recommended Microsoft SQL Server.
Alan Millar, Prezzo’s Financial Director, confirms, ‘We’re still expanding, so have briefed that any solution must be fit for the group’s future needs, not just today’s. Although EPoS data is our main focus at present, we’ll want to include other data sources in our reporting. The Microsoft SQL Server BI stack includes tools that can draw data from a range of sources so we’re comfortable we’ve chosen the right solution.’
change++ sponsor Travelodge ‘room with a view’
1st July 2013
For the first time in a century, a budget hotel room has been built at the highest point in Britain, Ben Nevis. The ‘room with a view’ was constructed by a team of intrepid adventurers from the UK’s leading budget hotel brand, Travelodge.
change++ was one of the sponsors of the 36-strong team led by Paul Harvey, Travelodge Managing Director for Property & International, that climbed the 1,344 metre peak carrying the contents and furnishing of Travelodge’s new room. This included: room walls, a bed, duvet, sheet, four pillows, a chair and a picture.
This unique quest was undertaken in a bid to raise £50,000 for the Company’s nominated charity Macmillan Cancer Support.
Welcome to our latest team member
21st October 2013
We’re delighted to announce the addition of a new member to the consulting team, Connie Robinson, who joins us straight from Warwick University Business School. Connie gained an MSc in Business Analytics and Consulting to complement her BSc in Business Information Systems. She is currently supporting our senior consultants on a variety of projects while developing her capabilities in IBM Cognos BI and Microsoft SQL Server.
Says Della Payne, change++ Managing Director, "We're always looking for good candidates to join our consulting team as our senior guys are constantly in demand. By recruiting graduates we can train new people in the products we most often use to deliver the service our clients expect. Connie will be busy!"
Co-op Food ask change++ to support Business Intelligence review of business
7th January 2013
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned by its six million members. Co-op Food is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer and the leading convenience store operator with 3000 food stores and supermarkets around the UK. When a decision was made to review Business Intelligence (BI) in the business to provide a “road map for the future”- culminating in enterprise-wide adoption of a single BI strategy - change++ were asked to contribute at the earliest stage and make recommendations regarding the process.
Andrew Gayne, Head of Business Information at Co-operative Group, believes that initial consulting with the internal team led by change++ established a framework for the BI project, “Della and Matt made a valuable contribution to our planning process. I valued their pragmatic, flexible approach and willingness to share insight and knowledge. I would recommend getting them involved in any BI project at the earliest possible stage.”
change++ install Cognos Express software for Puma Hotels
11th December 2012
Luxury hotel group, Puma Hotels, has just bought IBM Cognos Express software from change++.
Puma Hotels, which counts the Lygon Arms, Broadway, the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate, and the Imperial Hotel, Torquay, amongst its 21 regional properties, is change++’s latest hospitality sector client to select IBM Cognos Express for performance management reporting. Paul Nisbett, Puma Hotels’ CEO, acknowledges, “The comprehensive reporting capabilities of Cognos Express are impressive, but what represents real value for money is the inclusion of TM1, the modelling and planning software for finance that we want to use to manage forecasting.”
change++ is an IBM Advanced Business Partner and accredited to implement IBM Cognos solutions.
IBM Cognos provides single view of merged group’s finances.
28th Aug 2012
When businesses merge they frequently find account headings and financial calendars are out of alignment, requiring data to be manipulated to provide one view of performance. When Stonegate Pub Company acquired the Yates’ and Slug and Lettuce brands from our long-standing client, Town and City, we were asked to combine data from Stonegate’s existing Coda finance database with Town and City’s finance data. We used tools from IBM’s Cognos suite as it allows the restructuring of data from a range of sources to meet new reporting requirements. Hazell West, Head of IT at Stonegate, says, “We have ambitious growth plans and choose partners we know can support us. change++ have proved themselves over many years and we rely on their expertise in business intelligence.”
NSL draw on change++ expertise to report to Transport for London on taxi licensing.
19th Jul 2012
Expert outsourced services provider, NSL, has been appointed by Transport for London to manage the taxi and private hire vehicle licensing and inspection service, from initial licence application through to vehicle inspection tests. Having worked with change++ to develop a flexible reporting and analysis capability from their Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) processing system, NSL asked their advice on the most effective solution for reporting the status of processes in the licensing project. IBM’s Cognos toolset has been recommended.
change++’s Della Payne, comments, “From our ongoing work with NSL we know they find IBM Cognos BI tools deliver the standard reports they need quickly and conveniently but it’s the analysis tools their expert users need that make IBM Cognos so attractive.”
Merged hotel group consolidates finance information for minimal cost.
27th October 2012
Akkeron Hotels acquired two hotel groups in just over 6 months making it one of the UK’s largest regional hotel operators. A key challenge for any business during the merger and acquisition process is often the consolidation of financial information across the enlarged estate. Akkeron Finance Director, Alan Murray, wanted a seamless and low cost transition from existing systems to more sophisticated reporting capabilities for the enlarged group. change++ recommended IBM Cognos Express as the optimal tool for consolidating financial information, installed it onto their servers and helped transfer the necessary data, making the process essentially an in-house exercise. With IBM Cognos Express Akkeron now have a platform that allows planning and forecasting, budgeting, dashboard reporting – effectively whatever performance management activities they want to pursue.
change++ work with Fiberweb to report on European sales.
9th Jun 2012
Fiberweb nonwoven materials are found in many applications: filtration, civil engineering, medical products, railways, aerospace, buildings and agriculture. The business has major operations in North America and Europe and is headquartered in the UK. change++ were briefed to recommend a reporting system that would draw data from seven European Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to report on consolidated European Sales Performance data.
We used IBM Cognos tools to develop a sales dashboard with summary reports on up to six information areas, with drill–through to more detailed data if required. For sales analysis a cube will be developed for users to create their own simple reports and perform data analysis.
change++ work with EIPC on performance monitoring programme.
9th Jun 2012
EIPC (European Independent Purchasing Company) was established in 2001 to enable SUBWAY® franchisees to benefit from the discounts that come from large-scale purchasing and supply contracts. It now manages £1.5 billion worth of such contracts on behalf of 3000 franchisee stores in Europe.
We’ve already launched the first phase of a “Master Database” system and are currently working in both a consultancy and development role with the UK lead responsible for implementing a KPI performance monitoring programme across Europe, the US and Australia. The KPI system will show how well the IPCs are delivering against their core mission of improving franchisee profitability and competitiveness now and in the future.
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