We present three Indian enterprises
that have successfully deployed Business Intelligence
tools and solutions in their networks. These companies
are very clear about the reasons for deploying the solutions,
and have a definite path chalked out for receiving benefits.
The three organizations are the Reserve Bank of India,
BPL mobile, and Kisan Ratilal Choksey Shares & Securities.
We hope that these cases provide insightful reading,
and provide you a view of what these companies see in
the use of BI tools in their networks. Maybe someday
you'll begin to use it too.
The Reserve Bank of
India (RBI), the largest and most respected financial
institution in India, collects vital information
from more than 200 nationwide sources. Data comes
from various banks, non-banking financial institutions,
and government agencies.
And using the information
from the reports generated from these sources,
RBI provides the pulse to the nation's economy.
It performs functions like regulation, monitoring,
and formation of monetary policies.
other activities at this institution required
a lot of information to be collected and analyzed
on the fly. But information flowed into RBI in
disparate formats like MS-Excel sheets, Foxpro
files, Oracle databases, and other assorted formats.
Information came from disparate systems like mainframes,
low-level servers, and even desktop workstations.
Warehouse and BI
"We felt the need
to bring this multitude of information onto a
single platform. This would provide a single version
of the enterprise-wide picture. The idea was to
make relevant information available in a way that
policy-makers, and business users can make sense
without intervention of IT personnel," said Dr.
A.K. Nag, Director, RBI, Department of Statistical
Analysis and Computer Services.
RBI has now deployed
a data warehouse to collect, organize, and collate
information available within the organization.
This is one of the most complex if not the largest
data warehouse in India. And to take things a
step forward, the institution uses Business Intelligence
(BI) tools to access relevant information, run
analyses on them, and generate many pre-formatted
reports which are ready for use by operational
and research departments engaged in monitoring
and regulating various segments of the financial
"Although we have
a very large amount of data flowing in from multiple
sources, the unique and critical aspect was not
size or volume of data. We had to address the
issue of complexity of data," explained Dr. Nag.
To understand this
let's look at some of the sources of information.
- Credit and deposit
activities at nationwide banks and other financial
- P&L accounts
and balance sheets from all non-banking financial
- Statistical organization
generating GDP estimates.
- Other organization
generating figures like inflation estimates,
Wholesale Price Index (WPI), and Consumer Price
RBI has a number of
departments, which look after different operational
and business aspects like credit flow to commercial
sector, regulation of statutory norms, and monitoring
of health of various segments of the financial
sector. Information has to flow across different
departments regularly to coordinate these activities.
the challenges were to store and archive the information,
present it to the analysts and policy-makers in
a user-friendly way, derive intelligent value
from it, and create a single enterprise-wide store
of information and reports.
"We decided to use
a data warehouse because we wanted a single version
of the truth," said Dr. Nag. It would provide
- Provide uniform
organization of data.
- Enable decision-makers
to get information from one place.
- Reduce time and
resources spent to collate relevant information.
RBI set up a data
warehouse in its data center in Bandra-Kurla Complex,
Mumbai, and it has been in operation for the last
six months. "The warehouse gives us a multi-dimensional
view of the data, and provides a number of benefits,"
explained Dr. Nag.
Some of the benefits
- The data is collated
- Since different
sources of data have different coding structures
and representations, the data is transformed
to give it a unique representation within a
desired enterprise-wide data model.
- The data is subject-oriented.
Meaning, it can be accessed according to the
subject of interest of the end-user.
- The data is non-volatile.
- Information is
not stored as a simple time-series as done in
many central banks.
- After transformation,
the data is loaded using tools like ROLAP and/or
MOLAP. The information is represented as a multi-dimensional
object or a dimension of the user's choice.
Examples of dimensions are banks, spatial entities
like districts and centers, and types of instruments.
RBI performs a number
of functions, which provide the backbone to the
Indian economy. Being a central bank, the business
driver is to understand structural trends, and
changes in the entire economy, particularly in
the financial and monetary aspects. RBI performs
duties like regulation, supervision, monitoring,
tracking, and formulation of monetary policies.
These activities require
that information be analyzed to identify emerging
trends, and structural vulnerabilities. This helps
to make decisions on aspects like monetary policy,
credit delivery-related activities, and banking
BI comes in
The data warehouse
enabled RBI to bring discipline in its data. But
now, it needed to enable users in various departments
and sections to get the relevant information to
carry out the institution's activities.
Dr. Nag explained
this need, with an interesting analogy. "A doctor
needs to run a patient through a number of tests
and view the reports in order to prescribe medicine
and plan a health map. Similarly a regulatory
supervisor like us must understand the constituencies
under its fold. This understanding comes from
the intelligence generated from various relevant
structured information. And BI tools facilitate
RBI deployed BI tools
from Business Objects in its Data Warehouse and
it offered features like Relational OnLine Analytical
Processing (ROLAP), SQL-based query, and ad-hoc
queries. It is using Hyperion ESSBASE and Hyperion
Analyzer for accessing MOLAP databases. RBI also
uses Cognos BI tools for a few departmental data
How BI helps RBI
Although the use of
BI tools is rather new, RBI has derived a number
of benefits from it. Some of them are inflation
tracking, nationwide financial institutions' credit
and deposit tracking, Government revenue tracking,
and merchandise export data.
Here are some of the
- Earlier, smaller application programs were used
to calculate different inflation measures like
contribution of individual commodities or that
of a group of commodities based on official WPI.
These measures were used to track different aspects
of inflation. The use of BI tools has now provided
a lot of flexibility. They allow business analysts
at RBI abilities like:
- A look at the
list of commodities that have contributed most
- A group-level
look at the commodities that contributed most
- The behavior of
inflation over a certain period, and the likelihood
institutions' credit and deposit tracking - RBI
acts as a regulatory and control body for banking
and financial sector organizations nationwide.
BI tools have allowed:
- The most significant
performers to be viewed and listed.
- The best performing
branch of any state, region, or banking group
to be identified in terms of deposits, assets,
and credit growth.
tracking - BI tools can help track the collection
of revenue from various states. It can spot specific
revenue-rich locations and identify potential
RBI's business analysts,
decision-makers, and policy-makers can use this
automated information to carry out their respective
BI is an ongoing
RBI has created an
internal project team, which actively guides the
business users, on ways to use and benefit from
the use of the tools. "The data model we had to
build for our institution was unique, and was
not based on an existing readymade model to follow,"
said Dr. Nag.
"We are on the learning
curve and are evolving with time. More departments
and users are catching on to the use of BI. This
ongoing process will inject more and more value
to our institution."
|BPL mobile, one of
the largest mobile telecom providers in India, has
over 1.2 million customers nationwide, and rightly
believes that its customers are the company's largest
non-replicable asset. It uses BI tools to help deliver
focussed services and generate better value from
its existing subscriber base.
Using BI, the company
can identify new business segments, cross-sell
and up-sell services, identify user needs in particular
segments, create retention strategies, and empower
its business users with timely relevant information.
Among the mobile telecom
providers, aspects like products, tariffs, and
network elements can be duplicated and offered
easily by the competition. Other than voice, all
mobile telco's in the market offer most of the
services like SMS, MMS, GPRS, and WAP. The tariff
structures are quite the same among the competition
in most cities. If an operator reduces tariff,
others are quick to follow. And since all telecom
equipment-makers offer the latest technology,
all mobile telecom operators are technologically
"We've come to
a crossroad where the only long-term key business
differentiator from other mobile telecom operators
is customer service," explained Deepak Varma,
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer,
BPL. "Since the customer is our most valuable
asset, it makes perfect sense to understand this
asset in detail."
|“With BI tools we can
look across usage tabs and identify potentially
beneficial segments in a remarkably short
time” Deepak Varma, Senior Vice President
& Chief Operating Officer, BPL mobile
How does BPL differentiate?
The company has a
strategic and philosophic organizational intent,
called SLRP (Strategic Long Range Plan). From
SLRP comes its Corporate strategic Objectives,
and an annual operating plan. These strategies
focus on the customers and aims to be the differentiating
"We have to understand
the customer, give them value, and build a long-term
relationship. Since communication is a product
needed by a cross-section of society, the customer
can enhance his/her quality of life with it. So
why don't we use tools and applications that will
make the use of our service more meaningful to
our customers," said Varma.
BPL mobile's customers
are from a vast cross-section of society. They
may be travelling businessmen, busy executives,
academics, housewives, and students. The idea
is to understand their needs.
The needs are varied.
- Some subscribers
prefer to control expenditure and hence use
- Some subscribers
have bill cycles on the first few days of every
month but their salary cheques hit the banks
in the first week, and takes four days to credit.
- Many subscribers
lose their handsets and may need to insure against
- Some subscribers
call a particular city very often.
- College students
generally call more in the evenings.
"If we can understand
these needs from our database, we can give our
subscribers more value. This way we will optimize
and maximize returns from these customers,"
The BI in BPL mobile
The company uses BI
tools from SAS to help perform customer asset
management. Customer needs are tapped at various
touch points and put into a warehouse. The BI
tools are able to identify sections, pick up sub
sections, and provide cross-tab information/data.
"With these tools
we can look across usage tabs and identify potentially
beneficial segments in a remarkably short time.
The marketing and sales teams can pro-actively
create the necessary strategies and execute the
same. Cross-selling beco-mes easy, and up-selling
becomes a win-win proposition," said Varma.
The BI tools provide
information about subscriber calling behavior,
usage pattern, payment patterns, and history of
his/her getting in touch with the company. This
behavior pattern is matched with other subscribers
to identify potential voluntary or involuntary
Mr. Varma said that, the company uses business
applications like the billing engine from Schlumberger
Sema, called the BSCS, and a financial package
from Oracle. These have not presented any integration
Here are some specific
benefits that the BI tools have created for the
company and its customers.
In Tamil Nadu, a number
of people called their contacts in Chennai, which
is in a separate license circle. These users called
up their business associates, children, parents,
and friends. BI tools helped identify this behavior
and now the company offers a special scheme called
'Hello Chennai.' Users in Tamil Nadu can pay a
nominal charge every month and can call Chennai
at local call rates.
The BI tools also
helped identify a segment of users who wanted
to switch off their phones when they did not have
a need to call. The use of voicemail service was
also perceived to be expensive. As a solution,
the company looked for a system to alert the user
in case of a missed call. BPL mobile tied up with
Sabir Bhatia's Navin Mail for a product, which
gave, combined voicemail and alert services. It
was ideal for those persons in a meeting or for
those travelling outside their networks, who wanted
to know who called while they were busy.
Coimbatore has a large
number of gold and jewelry traders who called
Mumbai every night to find out the current rates
and prices of gold. This would help them plan
the next day's purchases and sales. In a quick
survey, one such trader who was calling Mumbai
regularly was asked why he preferred to do so.
On understanding his behavior, the BI tools were
able to identify others showing the same usage
pattern. BPL mobile started a service targeted
exclusively at this segment of traders.
BPL mobile has relationship
teams, which look after corporate and platinum
customers. These customers provide high usage
and are classified as 'Platinum customers' numbering
around 32,000. BI tools can identify which of
these customers use a particular service regularly
and which ones don't, although they may be in
the same segment. They can now be grouped into
sub-segments and the low users of a particular
service can be targeted with awareness campaigns.
"The BI tools
can bisect and dissect data and information like
customer usage, behavior, and calling patterns.
It can give it to us in cross-segments and cross-tabs,
allows us to look at it, and make strategies on
how our subscribers and we can benefit from a
particular insight," explained Varma.
The company knew that
such segments and sub-segments did exist, but
did not know how large they were and whether they
were profitable. Without BI, it would have taken
a long time to get the relevant data from the
systems. And by the time a business user could
identify a behavior, it would perhaps be too late
for the opportunity. These benefits fit very well
with the strategic intent of the organization.
Making new partnerships
BPL mobile launched
a product called Mobile Security in Pune. BI tools
identified a base of 20 percent users who would
like to insure their handsets. So the company
made a strategy to protect its
It tied up with Bajaj
Allianz and provided customers three types of
policies at nominal rates. One of them offers
Rs.10, 000 as handset insurance in case of loss
with no questions asked, and accident insurance
cover of Rs. One Lakh, in case of death. This
policy comes at an annual premium of Rupees 200
a year. The other two offer a combination of these
and hospitalization cover.
The customer needed
security, BPL mobile needed to serve its customers
better, and a third party (Bajaj Allianz) needed
to create more customers. All three entities benefit
from this partnership. The insurance company benefited
from a ready set of worthy customers, the user
benefited from insurance at low rates, and BPL
mobile benefited from better customer service.
The company offers
a BPL Mobile - ICICI Bank co-branded credit card,
because it identified a need among many users
of having more payment options including the one
of 'rolling' their money. Here, the third party
(ICICI Bank) wanted more credit-worthy subscribers
for its credit cards business, the users fulfilled
a need, and the company won customer satisfaction.
Currently BPL mobile has, over 48,000 subscribers
who use this co-branded credit card.
BI screenshot at BPL mobile
Making good BI
The company took utmost
care in strategizing & implementing the BI
project to ensure the best possible returns.
the solution, Mr.Varma had asked the vendor for
a 'proof of concept'. This can be explained with
an example. Findings from a BI tool should provide
actionable and relevant data. The BI tool shouldn't
churn out data that is voluminous and irrelevant.
It should list the most probable cases for up-sell,
cross sell, or turnover. It should help the operating
teams with a focused list that can help them act
on a cost effective manner. The vendor agreed
to deliver the desired 'proof of concept'. Markets
and environments change. To keep pace, a company
must re-train its knowledge. The BI tool and the
data warehouse are trained and re-trained dynamically
so that it's ready to provide intelligence for
is very critical, because the environment is evolving.
Subscriber behavior and the regulatory environment
are changing. Competition is making the market
change and new information is pouring in. If we
don't regularly update new market information
into the tools, optimum results can't be obtained,"
|Kisan Ratilal Choksey
Shares & Securities (KRCSS), a financial service
and broking house with over 14,000 customers needed
to introduce a number of positive developments in
It needed to enable
informed decision-making by eliminating hunch-based
decisions; enhance communication and joint planning
across functions and lines of business; and respond
more quickly to changes in financial conditions,
customer preferences, and supply chain operations.
It deployed Business
Intelli-gence (BI) tools and can now make timely
risk management, payments, and delivery decisions.
It has increased efficiency in its working environment
and introduced a simple and effective decision-making
system. The solution provides online alerts and
comprehensive user access to relevant data across
to handle business has increased three-fold since
we started using BI tools. We also did not need
to add any new manpower to support the resulting
business growth," said Deven Choksey, Managing
|“The BI solution would
integrate various data sources and centralized
maintenance and administration” Deven Choksey,
Managing Director, KRCSS
Staying ahead in the
The company provides
financial solutions to high net-worth individuals,
corporates, and NRIs. It provides services like
broking, depository, insurance, fixed income,
e-trading, and equity research. It publishes around
900 research reports every year and has extended
most of these services to the Web. Timely and
relevant information is a compulsory requirement
for the company to stay ahead of competition and
exploit existing and new business opportunities.
KRCSS observed that
between 1995 and 2000, events like deregulation
and restructuring of financial markets, had introduced
a few trends into financial services companies.
The trends were:
- Globalization and
- Complexity in go-to-market
- Explosion in data
- The need for more
sophisticated customer understanding.
and broking organizations have to deal with more
complex environments due to globalization and
consolidation of markets. And the need to manage
complex product/service portfolios for a growing
number of customers has resulted in an explosion
in the amount of data. Organizations have to make
business sense from a very broad range of customer
activity and respond accordingly.
"In order to
face this growing set of challenges, we required
a BI solution that would allow shared and defined
access to relevant information. The solution would
integrate various data sources and offer centralized
maintenance and administration. This would enable
our account teams, risk and relationship managers,
and others interacting with customers manage the
wide range of products and services offered in
increasingly widening geographical frontiers,"
BI solution and the benefits
The company deployed
Computer Associates' CleverPath Forest & Trees,
and chose Pranali Consultants to design, develop
and implement the BI applications. It provided
the following solution components and benefits:
and Analysis: Performance monitoring helps the
company to monitor the entire business as a whole
with graphical and tabular views of information.
It offers easy drill-downs to details for proper
assessment. It helps assess and identify cross-selling
opportunities. Targets and past performance are
monitored with the help of KPIs.
The exception, violation
and threshold indicators are displayed so that
decision-makers can focus on such indicators and
manage by exceptions.
Risk Monitoring: KRCSS
looks at risk management in two dimensions. First,
in relation to the client on whose behalf the
transactions are entered. And second, with respect
to the exchange.
In order to control
the above risks this BI module monitors aspects
- Mark to Market
positions of each client by scrip for a settlement.
- Client-wise margin
deposits, bank guarantees, and exposure utilized.
- Client-wise ledger
balance and clear balance.
- Share delivery
discrepancies from depository transactions.
Alerts are generated
based on preset business rules. Tickers are used
to display the urgency of management attention
and the scale of violation or risk.
CRM: This module allows
analysis of active, inactive, and new customers;
displays customer involvement by product/segment;
and can make ad-hoc queries to the customer database.
This module provides a comprehensive measurement
of sales performance at a group and an individual
level. It compiles a complete 'sales profile',
which includes KPIs to monitor individuals' targets,
initiatives, dependencies, risk parameters, costs,
and benchmarks. Star performers and average performers
can be easily identified based on performance
This module allows to track profit, compare profit/costs,
analyze costs and assess critical trends in cost
in relation to organization, division, location,
profit-center, and business segment.
and Schedules: This module generates financial
statements along with the corresponding schedules
as required by the accounting standards. Comparison
with previous years' performance is presented
in tabular and graphical forms to enhance subjective
analysis and judgment.
Accounts and Operations:
This module helps to generate reports to be printed
and circulated based on user-specific needs. Some
of the key reports cover areas of financial analysis,
sector analysis, trades, turnover by client segment,
and refund due.
This module allows reports and graphs to be broadcasted
to customers or employees as e-mail or predefined
important to an organization. But the relevance
of the technology to an industry's environment
is just as crucial. The combination of functional
requirements and technology when collectively
defined, implemented correctly and effectively
utilized will create a competitive advantage for
the organization," said Deven.
"BI has provided
us an information retrieval system that helps
our agents provide customers with data they couldn't
see before. The flexibility of the solution can
provide customers a wide range of customized reports.
This has resulted in greater customer satisfaction.
The managers can devote more time in planning
and consulting instead of the various tasks previously
associated with creating reports. It is a big
change as we find more time to do business with
greater surety of the decision taken."
Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached