Each year, our sister publication Computer Dealer News hosts the Channel Elite Awards to recognize IT Solution Provider for their innovation, leadership, and commitment for creating value for their customers. As Canada’s leading IT channel publication, CDN invited solution providers to submit their best work to nine different categories for 2013’s awards. Here, we present the case studies these award nominees put forward to us. Find out who the big winners are on Sept. 11 when CDN presents them at the CEA Awards Gala.

Learn more about CDN’s Channel Elite Awards 2013

Nominee: International Financial Data Services from Toronto, ON

Mobile Solution description

International Financial Data Services (IFDS) worked with Information Builders, a leader in business intelligence and analytics solutions, to create IFDS Insight, a comprehensive customer-facing BI app for executives and sales officers. The cloud-based app is a “sales intelligence” engine that compliments existing CRM systems, giving users an information advantage to make more informed business decisions that help them achieve their sales strategy. IFDS Insight provides clients with access to fund sales, products, dealers and advisors, with the goal of improving every day decision-making. The app integrates customers’ CRM sales team data, reduces manual data input and manipulation, and provides the ability to access specific details with just one click. IFDS Insight helps clients grow top line revenue, improve the customer experience, and win new business.

What type of mobile architecture was deployed and how were these decisions made with security in mind?

International Financial Data Services (IFDS) worked with Information Builders, a leader in business intelligence and analytics solutions, to create IFDS Insight, a comprehensive customer-facing BI app for executives and sales officers. The cloud-based app is a “sales intelligence” engine that compliments existing CRM systems, giving users an information advantage to make more informed business decisions that help them achieve their sales strategy. IFDS Insight provides clients with access to fund sales, products, dealers and advisors, with the goal of improving every day decision-making. The app integrates customers’ CRM sales team data, reduces manual data input and manipulation, and provides the ability to access specific details with just one click. IFDS Insight helps clients grow top line revenue, improve the customer experience, and win new business..

How does this solution push the boundaries of a typical mobile computing solution and qualify as innovative?

Companies today require the flexibility of mobile solutions. Whether employees are in the office, at a client meeting, or working remotely, they need the same access and resource material at their fingertips to compete in today’s mobile world. This allows for more flexibility for the workforce and encourages better BI, analytics and general data use, no matter where a person is based. The mobile framework encourages better control and business integration with a greater percentage of information available to answer any query that comes up. In addition, IT service departments don’t have to be tied down to their network in the office and become freed up to focus more on revenue-generating and corporate growth activities onsite and off. The mobility and accessibility also allows the development of better CRM. IFDS sets itself apart by integrating CRM sales team data into its analytics through interactive and easy-to-use interfaces.

Why was this type of mobile solution the right choice for this business case?

From the start, IFDS knew it wanted to design a mobile solution that works on tablets, such as Apple’s iPad, to address accessibility. IFDS customers’ require metrics from wherever they may be working. Companies don’t have the time to waste searching through data and reports to find the information that is relevant to their specific needs. Instead, IFDS decided to deliver information to its customers in the context of their day-to-day activities. Developers used the event-notification capabilities of WebFOCUS to devise a subscription-based alerting system that permits users to receive information and reports as critical events occur or when stated business conditions are met, such as when total trading volume reaches a preset threshold. Automatic scheduling, publishing, e-mail distribution, and archiving functions through WebFOCUS ReportCaster ensure that the right information gets to the right person at the right time. The mobile scope of IFDS Insight breaks out from the restrictions of traditional IT architectures and meets today’s business standards.

How was the success of the system measured and what were the results?

In order to compete in today’s fast-paced, mobile business world, companies need the flexibility of having their BI and analytic information accessible from any mobile environment they choose. However, companies often find it difficult to find a solution that can be accessed on mobile devices without restrictions. With the IFDS Insight application, there are no restrictions on mobile devices. Companies can allow employees and customers to choose any mobile environment and still maintain the same high-level access to necessary information. In addition, having remote access allows employees to utilize key documents in their business efforts on scene and in the moment. IFDS Insight is set apart by its ease of use – no previous knowledge base of the product is needed. IFDS Insight exceeds client expectations by providing sales reports, active reports, information dashboards with graphical presentation, alerts, professional services, and executive services to any mobile environment with ease.

How did the design and implementation of the solution break new ground for you as a solution provider?

IFDS Insight was our first application delivered to customers through the mobile channel. The company gained mobile competencies as a result. For example, IFDS client-facing professionals gained knowledge of tablets and how they can make sales professionals more effective in their roles; IFDS client-facing professionals also now complete all demonstrations to potential customers using the tablet. The company’s IT department gained knowledge with development of the user interface and testing features on various tablets (i.e.,iPad, Samsung Tablet and Blackberry Playbook). Prior to IFDS Insight, IFDS could not offer any reporting solutions that could be accessed via the web, or formatted for use by mobile devices (tablets or smartphones). Many features and functions that have been historically deemed as consumer oriented have migrated to the business-to-business world. Business users are also consumer shoppers when outside their work environments. As a result, business users have to expect an “Amazon-like” experience with every online encounter. In our specific deployment, the online performance for our customers (regardless of size) needed to match an “Amazon-like” experience. This required IFDS to think differently and create a specific data mart as well as aggregation layers for IFDS Insight. We implemented a performance benchmarking service (APM) to measure client requests and track response by different mobile devices. This service allows IFDS to compare queries based on mobile device for performance, as part of a pre-production validation, and to support ongoing service levels.

How does the solution further your client’s green or environmentally friendly plans?

This solution can be accessed on any mobile device or environment. Therefore, clients can work remotely and still maintain the same level of connectivity without producing commuting related pollution. Reports are generated online and no longer require wasteful printed materials to inform customers of important information. Customers can essentially self-serve their business intelligence. In addition, by moving to a cloud-based platform, the need for ongoing maintenance and disposal of IT networking computer products can be significantly cut down.

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