Oco on-demand business intelligence solution smartens up SMB market
Bill Coyne, director of purchasing and logistics for Concord, Mass.-based Welch Foods , was looking for an affordable on-demand business intelligence (BI) tool that could assist him in better managing the company’s transportation and logistics operations. He was impressed from the start by the team from Oco Inc. , which came to conduct a profiling session aimed at specifying exactly what Welch’s needed.
“The Oco team came into the profiling session very well prepared for identifying what we needed. When they came back with the results of that session with draft reports, they were very close to what we were hoping for,” he says.
The results surprised Coyne. “We’re used to getting what we ask for, which isn’t necessarily what’s truly needed. Oco understood what we asked for, but they also understood what we needed—and gave us that.”
Oco started out in 1999 targeting retail-based small and midsize businesses (SMB) with its BI tool offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The on-demand delivery model resolved a critical problem many companies of all sizes encounter in implementing BI: ensuring adequate IT staffing with BI domain expertise required to see the project through.
Considerable thought also went into designing a technology platform with robust data source integration and mapping capabilities. Oco Connect finds, extracts, identifies, and normalizes data from disparate systems and automatically organizes it in a data warehouse.
Oco Intelligent Data Schema (IDS) fluidly maps the data in the warehouse, leading to rapid Oco Analytics and Reporting, the keystone component that feeds role-based dashboards and reports.
Recently Oco branched into other verticals, adding domain expertise to a variety of key functional modules, including the Transportation Module that Welch’s uses.
“Oco has taken a ‘game-changing’ SaaS approach to BI, addressing the business intelligence skill set that has been an inhibitor to adoption for many companies,” says David Hatch, BI director for Boston-based Aberdeen Group . “They’ve addressed the issue by enabling companies to outsource BI. Another big challenge centers around integrating data from disparate information sources—again, something many companies struggle with. Oco Connect takes that issue off the table because it models the data in the language the customers understands, making it much easier for end users to access it without the assistance of the IT staff.”
The ease of data integration was a big plus for Welch’s.
“The fact that we had to pull data from a number of systems to get real visibility into our transportation operations was a major factor for [choosing] Oco,” says Coyne. “We electronically transmit every piece of information on every bill of lading for every shipment, from every freight bill, and every order. [The solution] enables us to slice and dice information any way we want. Whatever Oco is doing behind the curtain, it works,” Coyne says. “We’re finding ways to save money with the visibility we now have—something we didn’t have before. There’s no need to talk about ROI. As soon as you start using Oco, you’re going to get payback.”