AE Smith looks to business analytics for competitive edge

Mechanical services contractor drives business growth through analytics

Australia’s largest privately owned mechanical services contractor has rolled out business analytics software across its business to increase its competitive edge.

Speaking to Computerworld Australia about the project, AE Smith’s general manager of finance, Ross Cochrane, said the company chose to use analytics because of an increased workload.

“One of our key drivers was that our business has been growing quite rapidly and the base has been expanding and so have the areas we’ve been involved in,” Cochrane said.

“The main benefit is that for the first time, people have understood customer profitability...being able to look at trends and work out which customers are more or less profitable has been of real benefit.”

After using another product and deciding it wasn’t what the company needed, Cochrane said AE Smith rolled out IBM business analytics software across the company.

“We had gone down the path with another bit of application software but it was fairly limited in what it could do, so we’ve spent time looking at other products and what we looked for was if it was widely used, that it was fairly mature and that it was relatively easy,” he said.

“We’ve already made decisions and we’ve chosen to walk away from a business because it wasn’t going to be profitable.”

Other projects the company has been working on include the deployment of hand held devices and a Web portal, with Cochrane saying the business has a strong focus on lead application software.

“We have about 180 service technicians throughout Australia and each one of those service technicians have a mobile handheld device,” he said. “They can receive service calls, make notations and get customer sign off which interacts with our backend systems,” Cochrane said.

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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