Two New Data Management Systems Help Miles Kimball Get Nimble.
Miles Kimball, a multi-title catalog company in Oshkosh, Wis., has employed a two-pronged technological approach that gives it a clearer, real-time vision of the company’s front- and back-end operations. Armed with these tools, managers now can make business decisions—on everything from marketing campaigns to staff scheduling—by using data available on their own desktop computers. Managers no longer have to ask other departments such as IT for lengthy reports that often can take days to generate. Instead, a question, such as how many returns it’s getting on one particular SKU listed in the latest catalog campaign, can be answered by the merchandise manager after only a few key strokes on her computer.
“These systems have helped us to get the right data into the hands of those who need it,” says Vicki Updike, vice president of marketing at Miles Kimball, mailer of the Miles Kimball, Miles Kimball Cards and Exposures catalogs. “We’ve been able to break down the barriers of information, so those who need data have them and can make timely and accurate decisions.”
The company has employed a business performance management (BPM) system and a custom-built marketing database. Taken together, these two systems enable Miles Kimball managers to drill down to the finest grain of detail, data they then use to streamline and fine tune marketing and operational practices. That is, these two systems help them fulfill the modern-day mandate to do more in less time.
Miles Kimball shares with Target Marketing the benefits it is accruing from these systems, the challenges it faced in implementation and some of its plans for future integration.
Transparent Data at Their Fingertips
BPM systems can be used for functions such as financial budgeting and reporting, general ledger, data warehousing and other operations-related tasks. The market for such solutions grew about 20 percent in 2003, according to John Van Decker, vice president, technology research services at Meta Group. And consolidations in the market are heating up. Comshare, the company from which Miles Kimball purchased its BPM system, has since been bought by Geac, an Ontario-based enterprise software developer. Other BPM vendors include Cognos, Hyperion Solutions, Lawson Software and SAS.