Farmindustria SA

Farmindustria SA
Printed: March 2003
Microsoft Office XP and Discovery-View:
Business Intelligence
Farmindustria is a leading company in the pharmaceutical industry in
Peru. For the sales and marketing executives, everyday information is of
vital importance. The demanding market requires fast decision-making.
Until very recently, the company had a system that was far from being a
business intelligence application. Obtaining information was a long and
onerous task. A request from the system would take an average of 25
minutes, and the result was plain data without any type of chart. Today,
thanks to a powerful data warehouse-type solution created using Office
XP, users are one click away from accessing detailed sales information
with charts, anywhere they want.
Executive summary
With more than 1500 direct customers and 2000 distributed items, FARMINDUSTRIA is the
second pharmaceutical lab in Peru. The company processes hundreds of transactions everyday.
There is so much information that Sales Executives, Product Managers, Office Managers, and
Market Analysts, until very recently, employed their time searching data in the old system. The
search process was long: first, because the system was complicated and it was necessary to
memorize line codes and products, and they needed some knowledge in computing to use the
data from the text files and put it into a spreadsheet. Then, the information they obtained was
plain text, it had no charts or graphs, and the average time for a search was 25 minutes.
An average user would spend 90 percent of his time searching for information and 10 percent
analyzing it. Even then, it was impossible to know information such as sales per channel to
assign a fair sales budget for the salespeople, or measuring the impact of advertisement on sales
to optimize an investment.
The challenge at FARMINDUSTRIA was to provide the users from the Sales and Marketing area
with a tool to obtain reliable and detailed information instantly.
Solution Overview
Customer Profile
industrial branch of an important
Peruvian conglomerate. In its big
and modern plant, pharmaceutical products, perfumes and
personal care products are made
and commercialized. It is Peru’s
second largest pharmaceutical
laboratory, with a 6.62% share
over the total of units sold and
5.29% in securities (source: IMS,
Dec. 2002).
The data in the company was
abundant but its processing was
complicated and the results were
not satisfactory enough. Users
needed these tools to exploit the
data by themselves and obtain
reliable information for decision
Microsoft products used:
Microsoft Office XP
Microsoft Access
Microsoft Visual Interdev 6.0
Microsoft Visual Studio
Microsoft SQL 7.0
Microsoft Front Page
Internet Explorer 5.5
Business Challenge
Sales and marketing executives need to monitor the key variables of the business constantly:
sales, products and most important customers, the impact of advertising strategies on sales, use
per product line, etc.
If Marketing received a financial support request from a customer, Market did not have a way
of knowing whether the customer’s sales justified the need for support or whether the
investment would be profitable or not.
New products would be launched without an instrument to measure results.
Difficulty in the performance evaluation for the sales force.
It was difficult to identify the most important customers to take particularly good care of them.
All the above represented a higher probability of making late decisions, losing business
opportunities, creating opportunities for the company’s competitors and running few resources,
among others.
A year ago, Luis Damián from FARMINDUSTRIA took up the challenge of creating a business
intelligence tool to handle large volumes of information with a minimum response time. Luis’s idea
included a data warehouse with sales information providing as much detail as possible and a
wide range of possibilities for flexible, multiple-variable analysis including graphs and allowing the
final user to write the final report based on his own needs. Luis was aware of the fact that the tool
needed to be friendly and easy to operate, but the high cost associated with a data warehouse
solution did not allow him to develop this idea.
Some time ago, Luis noticed that the new Office XP was the platform he was looking for to
develop his idea at a low cost. With a new set of technologies, Office XP provides the companies
with the possibility to build solutions faster using pre-built components.
Discovery View: Sales Management Portal was the name given by Luis to the solution developed
using Office XP. Discovery View is a business intelligence tool that delivers detailed sales
information from the last 3 years. Since it is developed on Office XP, the environment is highly
user friendly. The need for training and support has been has been minimal. Another
characteristic is that this development has been achieved without implying a high development
time and cost for FARMINDUSTRIA, normally associated with such a data warehouse
development. In fact, the entire development took only one month!
Key attributes for the solution
Discovery View exploits one of the most fascinating new technologies in Office XP:
components. Web components allow building personalized business intelligence applications
online, taking advantage of Excel’s powerful analysis tools.
Web components use dynamic, interactive spreadsheets, graphs and charts that can be updated
from web applications such as a Corporate Intranet. Web components can be used to upload
interactive data on the Internet, perform complicated analyses from a Web browser and recover
data from the Internet for local use. In FARMINDUSTRIA, they have made it possible to
manipulate and analyze sales information from the Corporate Intranet.
Discovery View resides in the Company’s Intranet. It exploits sales data from the last three years.
It uses Access as a data repository and Internet Explorer as a browser. Using Office XP’s web
components, users can access different Excel spreadsheets to use dynamic tables, generate
charts, etc.
Discovery-View also includes OLAP technology, a powerful business intelligence tool that users
can access to create, manipulate and access data cubes. A data cube is a way of showing data
in a multidimensional way for user to select his own views. Any type of corporate information
stored in a database can be transformed into a multidimensional data cube. Cubes store different
views and combinations for data. In Discovery View, cubes can be created based on queries or
pre-defined requests. This way, response time is minimal (less than 1 minute). Analysis is
normally graphic and interactive, as well as very intuitive. Users are one click away from
searching and using data and numbers, accessing the core of the information and going from
general to specific information (drill down) and vice versa (roll-up). (see Chart 1 and 2).
Chart 1: Channel Sales
Chart 2: By clicking on the “Chain” channel bar,
the details of this channel’s sales are shown
Solution is portable; cubes can be carried in a CD, can be sent by e-mail or FTP, and can work in
any Windows 98 or Office XP-based PC. This portability allows regional managers to access this
Thanks to Luis’s vision, and investing minimal developing costs, FARMINDUSTRIA has now a
powerful business intelligent application, based on the familiar Office XP interface, which allows
users to exploit existing data and generate their own reports instantly, with the level of detail they
need, on the friendly Office environment.
Office XP solution provides agility to the business
Agility is key to respond to the demands of the market. Using Discovery View in
FARMINDUSTRIA, a search that would have normally taken 25 minutes is now done in just a few
Discovery View has also allowed an extraordinary decentralization of knowledge, from the
analysts to the executives responsible for the decision-making process. They can now
immediately access information and create as many views or reports they need on their own,
using detailed information to create charts suited to their needs. Information can also be
accessed online, anytime, anywhere.
The solution allows the user to personally monitor critical variables for the business: daily and
monthly sales; the impact of marketing advertising strategies on sales; profitability per product
line, etc. It provides executives with instant access to the information, which allows them to make
the right decisions on time. This is vital in such a changing market.
The development of the solution in Office XP has translated into less development costs, due to
how fast the application was developed, as minimum training and support costs, since it is built
over a platform that is completely familiar to the user.
The implementation of the solution has been successful. Some examples include:
Today, FARMINDUSTRIA is investing its marketing budget with a full knowledge of its effects
and making the right decisions.
The company can now quickly correct its product penetration strategies, reducing costs or
reacting quickly towards competitors.
Has increased the motivation and productivity of the sales force.
Its resource management is more focused on the customer satisfaction and business
opportunity development.
“Unlike other data warehousing
solutions, this system did not
have a costly development
process because it is built on
Office XP.”
Luis Damián
Systems Manager
For more information
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If you need more information about Microsoft’s products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information
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If you need more information about FARMINDUSTRIA, visit:
This case study is for informative purposes only. MICROSOFT HEREBY DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY
Microsoft Office XP, the Office XP logo, Microsoft Office XP, Access, Microsoft Visual Interdev 6.0, Visual
Studio, Microsoft SQL 7.0, Front Page and Internet Explorer 5.5 are registered trademarks of Microsoft
Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of products and companies mentioned
above may be registered trademarks of their respective owners.
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