Harvey Jones, one of South Africa's leading business intelligence companies, and global Microsoft business intelligence specialist Solver, have been jointly chosen by retail giant Edcon to provide a leading role in the rollout of the recently released Microsoft PerformancePoint.
The rollout, the largest under way in Africa, and believed to be the largest in the southern hemisphere, will cover financial reporting, dashboarding, budgeting, planning and consolidations.
The core of the solution is a financial data warehouse built on SQL Server 2008 and fronted by PerformancePoint.
"This is a massively strategic win for us," says Keith Jones, MD of Harvey Jones. "We were confident that with our skills base in the country leveraging Solver's experience, we could offer a degree of expertise and level of security second to none. We have led this sector in South Africa for nearly a decade and with the exclusive Solver partnership in place we can eliminate much of the risk involved with a new product."
Harvey Jones was recently assigned a BDM (business development manager) at Microsoft in Redmond. The role of this person is to formally support Harvey Jones in PerformancePoint rollouts and act as a conduit for information around new developments in the product and market. Harvey Jones is the only South African company to have this level of support on the PerformancePoint product.
"We had many personal relationships in place through the ProClarity migration, but this is a fantastic endorsement from Microsoft. This gives us direct, formal access to the development team. With this kind of support from Microsoft and the hands-on experience that Solver has, combined with our track record in this market, we can offer a great level of security to customers."
Solver is a global company with offices in the US and Europe. It is fulfilling more than 70% of the PerformancePoint Planning deployments globally, and came to South Africa last year to do the PerformancePoint product launch with Harvey Jones and do the product training.
Solver has started over 50 PerformancePoint deployments during the last six months and will soon be releasing its own product, BI Studio, that significantly extends the functionality and ease of use of PerformancePoint Planning. Solver has trained most of the Microsoft partners globally on the product.
Johann Magnusson, MD of Solver Europe, says: "This is a great win for the Solver/Harvey Jones partnership. We are excited to have such a big deployment in the southern hemisphere and are confident we can give Edcon what they need. Solver's undisputed leadership in this sector combined with the local skills of Harvey Jones means we can extend the Solver leadership to the African market. Edcon is a great site, well known for its business intelligence deployment success. Now we will be able to add the financial solution to the stack."
Edcon is the leading clothing, footwear and textiles (CFT) retailing group in southern Africa, trading through a range of retail formats. The company has grown from opening its first store in 1929, to 10 retail brands trading in over 1100 stores in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho. Edcon's retail business has, through recent acquisitions, added top stationery and houseware brands as well as general merchandise to its CFT portfolio. The Edcon brands include Boardmans, CNA, Discom, Edgars, Jet, Jet Mart, Jet Shoes and more.
Edcon will ultimately be rolling the solution out to over 1500 stores, although the rollout will be phased. The first phase of the project will run for most of 2008. Calvin Low, the business integration executive at Edcon, says: "The PerformancePoint product fitted into Edcon's strategic vision, but we were concerned about the lack of hands-on skills in the local market in doing this kind of deployment. With a multidisciplinary team including Solver supporting Harvey Jones, Accenture, Microsoft and IS partners, we are comfortable that many of these risks have been mitigated."
Harvey Jones was first to go live on the commercial version of PerformancePoint in South Africa with Venture, a manufacturing company, and will be offering training courses on the product both directly and through Solver. Solver will be visiting South Africa frequently over the next year to do the Edcon deployment, do product training and assist other customers in the region with their deployments.