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Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS)is a medium-sized specialty retailer (annual sales $200 million) selling via over 80 physical

stores, a mail order catalog, and online. Operating in a very competitive environment, the company uses leadingedge IT technologies and lately has introduced a complementary set of Web 2.0 tools in order to increase collaboration, information sharing, and communication among stores and their employees, suppliers, and customers. Lets see how this works. The business intelligence strategy and system During the last few years, the company implemented a business intellingence (BI) system that includes business performance management and dashboards. A BI system collects raw data from multiple sources, processes them into a data mart, and conducts analyses that include comparing performance to operational metrics in order to assess the health of the business The attached figure illustrates how the system works. Point-of-sale(POS) information and other relevant data, which are available on an IBM computer, are loaded into Microsofts SQL server and then into a data mart. The data are then are then analyzed with information Builders business and analytics tool (BI analytics). The results are presented via a series of dashboards that users can view via their Web browsers; they are invited to make comments via blogs. This way users can access a unified, high-level view of key performance indicators (KPI) such as sales, inventory, and margin levels, and margin levels, and drill down to granular details that analyze specific transactions. Communication and collaboration is done mainly via blogs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools that are described next with the process. The web 2.0 collaboration, sharing, and communication sytem The company createda multifunction employee workbench called E-Basedcamp. It contains all og the information relevant to corporate goals, integratted with productivity tools (e.g. Excel) and role-based content, customized to each individual user. Then, it added a set of Web 2.0 tools (see the attached figure). The system facilitates collaboration among internal and external stakeholders. EMS is using 20 operation metrics (e.g. inventory levels and turn). These also include e-tailing where e-commerce managers monitor hour-by-hour Web traffic and conversion rates. The dashboard shows deviations from targets with a color code. It uses the following Web 2.0 tools: RSS feeds. These are embedded into the dashboards to drive more focused inquiries. These feeds are the base for information sharing and online conversations. For example, by showing which items are selling better than others, users can collectively analyze the transaction characteristics and selling behaviors that produce the high sales. The knowledge acquired then cascades throughout the organization. For instance, one manager observed an upward spike in footwear sales at store X. investigating why revealed that store X employees had perfected a multistep sales technique that included recommending (both online and instores) special socks designed for specific uses along with an inner sole. The information was disseminated using the RSS feed. As a result, sales of footwear increased 57 percent in a year.

Wikis The wikis are used to encourage collaborative interaction throughout the company. Dashboard users are encouraged to post a hypothesis or request for help, and invite commentary and suggestions, almost like a notepad alongside the dashboard. Blogs Blogs were created around specific data or a key metric. The blogs are used to post information, and invite comments. Then tools are used to archive, search and categorize blogs for easy reference. For example, store managers post an inquiry or explanation regarding sale deviations. Keeping comments on blogs lets readers observe patterns they might have overlooked using data analysis alone. Going to business partners externally In the next phase, suppliers have been added. For example, suppliers can monitor the return rate of their product on the dashboard and invite store managers to provide explanations and suggestions using wikis or blogs. Assuming proper security of data is installed, suppliers can get almost real-time data about how well their products sell so they can prepare a better production plan. The objectives are to build a tighter bond with the business partners. For example, by having store managers attach blogs to the suppliers dashboards, the suppliers view current sale information and post comments to the blogs. Product managers use a wiki to post challenges for the next season, such as a proposed percentage increase in sales, and then ask vendors to suggest innovative ways to archieve these goals. Several of the customers and other business partners subscribe to RSS feed. Called extreme deals (big discounts for limited time), blogs are also embedded into the EMS product management lifecycle (PLM) tool. This allows vendors to have virtual conversations with the product development managers. The major impact of the web 2.0 collaboration tools is that instead of having conversations occur in the hallway (where you need to be in the right place at the right time), convesations take palce on blogs and wikis where all interested parties can participate.