Business Intelligence Software at SYSCO
1. What will be the biggest obstacles faced by the business intelligence implementation as
it expands throughout SYSCO?
SYSCO is an included in a one of the larger companies. It has over 420,000 customers
ranging from huge chain restaurants such as Wendy’s and Chili’s to “mom-and-pop”
diners. In fiscal 2002, the company generated sales of $23.4 billion. SYSCO has 8,000
marketing associates worked directly with customers and unload over 1 billion cases of
product each year. More importantly, as of December 2002, SYSCO had 45,000
employees. Companies often struggle with determining the “right” amount of software
licenses to buy. In the case of SYSCO, it would also be difficult decision to make how
many licenses to buy. It was mentioned in the case article that the vendor would give
SYSCO a better deal with a more discount, if they decide to buy a lot at once, many more
than what they need at the moment. It is a big challenge for SYSCO to decide whether
they should go for the vendor’s offer and buy a lot more than they need in order to get a
better deal, or buy only what they need for now and see how the implementation goes
with the new software. Deciding on which one of the two would bring more benefit to the
company would be the key decision to make.
2. Why did SYSCO decide to initially address only two questions with its new BI
software rather than using it as a more general analysis tool in operating companies?
According to Day, she felt that the initial implementation of BI in each operating
company should focus the software, the training, and the users only answering the two
questions. The two questions are; What additional products could we be selling to each of
our customers?, and Which of our current customer are we most likely to lose?. Day
believe that by addressing only these two questions, she can show the employees how
effective the new software was and how effective it was for the new software provider to
answer the two questions. Moreover, the companies could explore BI’s broader
capabilities as they gained familiarity with the tool over time.
3. Will effective use of BI software ever be a competitive differentiator for
SYSCO? Wouldn't it be easy for another food service company to also purchase and
implement similar software? -Minh
The effective use of the BI software ever will be a competitive differentiator for SYSCO.
The BI software seems to be very efficient in its role of helping the company to address
its issues. First of all, the software helps the company compare a given client's activity
what is typical for a customer of it size, type, geography then generate them.
Consequently, the company can know what customers are actually ordering, so that they
can gain the understanding about the customers' need . Also, this work would be a big
problem if it was done manually. However, with BI software it seems much more easy
for a SYSCO marketing associate in one operating company to access date from another
Besides that, BI software plays an important role in SYSCO's service. It helps the
company to examine customer's ordering pattern over time, hightlighting instances where
a historically loyal customer is reducing its order volumes. The process helps the
company to indicate the customers' satisfaction about SYSCO's service so that they know
whether they are on the right track of serving their customers then they can adjust in
order to provide a good service.
In my opinion, it would easy for another food service company to purchase and
implement similar software because the software is designed to not for any particular
groups or firms. However, the price for software structure and the license fee are kind of
high so that it not easy for small firms or company to obtain the product. As well as large
companies, they also consider the volume of software they need to purchase so that they
will not face the problem of overbuying.
4. How much software should Day purchase at this time?
Day should go ahead and purchase a "middle of the road" amount of software. It sounds
like the software will work very well throughout SYSCO and it will find new, relevant
information for many of the companies involved, eventually paying for itself. From a
cost point of view, it doesn't make sense to purchase only a small amount of software,
because in the long run it will take much more time, money, and effort from the
company. However, it may also be a mistake for SYSCO to purchase a massive amount
of software because there may be problems with implementation, user-interface, or
resistance from employees.
By purchasing a medium amount of software, Day can be sure that she won't be spending
too much money, but she will still be able to implement the software with a substantial
amount of effectiveness. This will also provide her with a good argument to her
superiors on why this amount of software should be purchased. It also keeps risk low,
while giving SYSCO the company-wide implementation that they are looking for. This
is why I think it is best that SYSCO purchases a medium amount of software.