Software // Information Management
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1/6/2006
12:12 PM
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Xerox Taps Data Mining To Improve Sales Forecasts

Implementation of Rapid Insight analysis tool will free up Xerox's sales reps to spend more time with customers.

Sales representatives would rather spend their time selling and working with customers instead of generating sales forecasts and other paperwork. Xerox Corp. has implemented data mining and predictive analysis software to improve sales forecasts and free up its sales force for more important tasks.

The goal is to resolve an age-old problem: "How do we get the salespeople out of non-value-added processes and allow them to spend more time with our customers?" says Dave Rowlands, VP of Lean Six Sigma for Xerox North America.

Xerox installed Rapid Insight Analytics software from Rapid Insight Inc. about five months ago to analyze customer order, sales prospect, and supply chain data to develop monthly and quarterly sales forecasts for the company's North American operations. Rowlands' Lean Six Sigma quality management team has been using the software to build and test sales forecast models which analysts at Xerox' headquarters will use to generate the forecasts.

Xerox previously used the Minitab statistical analysis application to develop the forecasts, but Rowlands says that tool was complex to use, especially with the large sales data sets. "The Rapid Insight tool is really much more intuitive," he says, noting that the software graphically groups data by subsets to help users see relationships. The software automatically mines data sources to create forecasting models, Rowlands says, and testing those models and spotting and correcting data errors is easy.

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