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Making Decisions Flow Like Oil

Dresser has built OLAP multidimensional databases containing purchasing, inventory, sales, and order-booking data using Cognos' PowerPlay software.
Dresser, maker of valves, actuators, regulators, and other equipment for the oil and gas industry, is assembling a business-intelligence system designed to give all of its decision makers deeper insight into purchasing and sales at its flow-control division. The company needs every advantage it can muster. Dresser lives in a highly competitive oil-production-equipment landscape, and, at the same time, its customers are demanding more project-management services, says Walt Albright, IT director of the flow-control division.

Early last year, Albright's department built online analytical processing multidimensional databases containing purchasing, inventory, sales, and order-booking data using Cognos Inc.'s PowerPlay software. Those databases are updated every night.

"It gives the whole staff the ability to do their jobs just a little bit better than they could in the past," Albright says. His department is building a data warehouse with three years of historical sales and purchasing data for even more effective analysis. Manufacturing and capacity-planning multidimensional databases for production managers are on the drawing boards, as are plans to provide Web access to the system.