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SA's top BI projects shortlisted

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The final nominees for the inaugural ITWeb Business Intelligence Excellence Awards are in. The three finalists are Metropolitan Life, The South African Revenue Services (SARS), and Engen Oil.

The awards, sponsored by BI Practice and Microsoft, will run alongside the ITWeb BI Summit, being held at The Forum, in Bryanston, from 23 to 25 February. The winner and runner-up will be announced at the official awards ceremony, which will be hosted on the evening of 23 February.

Metropolitan Life entered its Cognos Now project. It says Cognos Now was implemented to deliver real-time reporting on production business, across product lines, and to replace the existing real-time reporting. This was being provided manually in Excel spreadsheet format on a two-hourly basis to executives, explains the company.

SARS entered a project which saw its enterprise data warehouse being integrated with BI capabilities. In so doing, the company was able to align strategic, tactical, operational reporting, and advanced analytics with data, information and knowledge across the organisation.

Engen Oil entered its Engen Project Portfolio Management (PPM) initiative, which was adopted to provide an aggregated view of planned capital investments and to ensure an appropriate investment pattern is followed throughout the organisation, offers Engen.

On making it through to the final round, Engen Oil PPM project manager, Vaughn Cooksey, says: “We are delighted to be named a finalist as our team has put in a colossal effort and it is great to give people recognition for the work they have done.

“So often we work within our companies doing what we believe adds value to the business, but it can be quite introspective, even though the benefits are tangible. To have an external panel recognise the value of the project is a real honour.”

“Opportunities to firstly enter the awards and then to be nominated as a finalist go a long way to boosting team morale and help drive the value which the BI team have to offer the Metropolitan Group,” states Sean Woodley, Metropolitan Life.

SARS' Eugene Wessels agrees: “Our thoughts are two-fold. Firstly, the honour of being selected as a finalist serves as recognition and motivation for a large team of competent and committed resources that have matured BI in SARS over many years.

“Secondly, SARS's selection will hopefully contribute towards a positive image of SARS, and ultimately inspire other public institutions to pursue the same achievements.”

Getting motivated

ITWeb's BI Summit & Awards

More information about the ITWeb BI Summit & Awards, which takes place on 23-25 February 2009 at The Forum in Bryanston is available online here.

The BI excellence award recognises outstanding BI practice in SA, and the finalists recognise the need for such an event in the local ICT landscape.

The event will help drive awareness around the importance of BI within the IT industry and the value it provides to organisations, comments Woodley. “Knowing that there is a platform to obtain industry recognition helps BI teams to deliver on their solutions and projects,” he adds.

“The BI Awards will positively impact the industry as both a catalyst and reactor,” says Wessels. “As a catalyst, the BI Awards will recognise and promote the value of business intelligence in organisations. As a reactor, the BI Awards will stimulate competitiveness between organisations in the ultimate pursuit of excellence in the field of information management.

“At the very least, the BI Awards should prompt organisations to continuously evaluate the return on investment of their BI implementations,” he concludes.

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