Summit 2016: It's All About Customer Innovation

Terri White
June 15, 2016

We say it all the time at Information Builders: Summit is the highlight of our year. Being surrounded by customers eager to learn and share ideas in an atmosphere of camaraderie and education just makes you feel good. It’s the feeling of a mission being accomplished.

Yesterday Michael Corcoran closed out his opening keynote with a quote from Thomas Edison: “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” He reminded us that we all have the opportunity to be inspired and to be creative. To do something that will change the world.

Our customers do amazing things with our technology and they continue to inspire us with their inventive and even revolutionary applications of data and analytics.

At our customer innovation panel, we heard from three customers: Nageswara “Nagesh” Goteti of Vantiv, Peter Antonucci of Pershing, and Mike Muenzing of Ace Hardware.  We’re very proud of our customers and this was great way to showcase their achievements.

The panel was moderated by Forbes columnist Meta Brown who began by commenting that the panelists represented a diverse mix of B2B and B2C requirements and were dealing with different ways to leverage analytics in a style to suit their users’ needs. This became a strong theme: building a community of users, listening to them and understanding their requirements for better decisions, for better insights.


Part of the BNY Mellon Family, Pershing manages 1.5 trillion in global client assets and provides solutions to 100,000 financial professionals and millions of retail clients. Founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784 (who managed to win 10 Tony’s and remain on the $10 bill, quipped Peter), Pershing is proud to be a part of this rich heritage.

Vantiv is the 2nd largest payment processor in the US with 20-25 billion transactions a year, tens of thousands of merchants, and lots and lots of data. They are pushing the technology envelope with data analytics and data visualization for two key reasons: They simply require solid reporting solutions on operational data to drive the right decisions. The other side is to offer a value-add to customers and merchants, to bring powerful information and insights to them.

Ace Hardware has three core values: convenience, service and quality with the vision to be the most helpful hardware store on the planet. Its 4,900 retail stores in 61 countries are independently owned and operated.  Ace has $4.6 billion wholesale sales. One of the key drivers for better data and analytics is the digital disruption to the retail landscape. They are looking for new efficiencies, more personalized service to customers,  and competitive advantage.

For Pershing, the drivers are about helping advisors prove value to customer. They are dependent on analytics to help them see and understand risk. Their internal users demand persona-based analytics. With 100,000 people and different roles such as advisors, associates, branch managers, compliance managers, you can’t have a one-size fits-all dashboard approach. It creates some complexity, but with the WebFOCUS platform, they can gives users exactly what they need in a variety of role-based dashboards.

Vantiv also deals with complexity as do most large enterprises. They have many internal teams all looking for efficiencies across the business. They have 30-40K reports and are in the process of addressing this challenge. In phase 1, using WebFOCUS they have been able to transform 2,700 reports into 10 InfoApps, which is much more manageable and productive for all. Pretty impressive.

It’s not just about consolidating explains Nagesh. It eliminates the problem of people getting the wrong information and making a bad decision. Also, they are on the journey to data monetization. They need to have governance and data quality as the strong foundation for innovation.

Ace has built-in governance through their use of guided ad hoc (InfoApps). End users who are not technical can be data explorers but can all trust that the data they are using is consistent, reliable and trusted. Power users and data analysts are empowered to use tools and do more with direct access to data. Ace used data analytics to help them decide where to focus to drive new store growth.

Peter talked about how important data quality is to Pershing. They created an index and a scorecard and share with clients so they can track data issues back to providers. As a result, this ongoing initiative is driving the whole industry to improve data quality.

What are the challenges of an analytics journey? For Mike at Ace, it was moving from thousands of reports to self-service governed data because it’s a complete shift from traditional Business intelligence to modern data analytics. It requires getting feedback from users, looking at their needs first and bringing them into your mindset.

Peter also remarked on the importance of understanding users. They realized that senior managers needed more visual content and dashboards, so that’s what they delivered. It was an opportunity.

Everyone agreed that what they are doing goes beyond core technology integration. It’s about connecting business goals with data assets to serve the company. It requires building a community of excellence. Data is the ultimate business enabler and best leveraged when IT and Business leaders work together as partners.

Thanks to our customers for sharing your stories.