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IHD leverages BI investments with Progress EasyAsk

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Progress Software has announced that International Healthcare Distributors
(IHD) has chosen Progress EasyAsk software for operational business
intelligence to improve its response to internal business and external
customer queries.

Headquartered in Linbro Park, IHD is a provider of finished goods
warehousing and fine distribution services for the healthcare industry.
"Although we have had an active BI environment since 2001, we needed to
respond to customer queries quicker," says Ian Bezuidenhout, information
systems operations manager at IHD.
"While it remains an essential business tool, the standard BI reporting
platform is not rapidly flexible enough to handle dynamic customer queries
in a way that will help us to stay at the forefront of the pharmaceutical
warehousing and distribution market.
"The healthcare industry undergoes constant change and shifting influence,
largely due to an increase in regulations," says Bezuidenhout. "IHD strives
to use the latest technological and methodological advances to meet these
market challenges, from product batch tracking from manufacturers to end
dispensers, temperature-controlled warehousing, stringent cold chain
maintenance and an Internet-based ordering system called Futurewave."
"EasyAsk complements standard BI reporting tools and gives business users
direct, quick and easy access to information," says Corey Springett,
strategic business manager at Progress Software in South Africa.
Business people can ask natural language questions through a familiar and
easy-to-use search box that hooks into multiple applications and platforms,
from word processing and spreadsheet applications to any BI infrastructure."
IHD runs its standard BI tools with four BI developers delivering 260
reports to 45 managers. Only 50 of these reports are frequently used.
EasyAsk supplements this by adding rapid response to customer queries. Three
specialists develop cubes for the BI environment.
"The people using EasyAsk have been excited to see the type of information
they can quickly get from the system," says Bezuidenhout. "They can ask the
system how many days to stock expiry, for example. Before using EasyAsk,
business users had to rely on developers to write a report, run it and
deliver the results to them. They could get standard reports that listed the
stock expiry dates, but they would have to filter the reports. Now EasyAsk
delivers the results that they're looking for immediately."
IHD is planning to expand the use of EasyAsk in the near future to access
information across many different data sources and deliver results to a
broader range of business users.
IHD recently launched its Client Zone initiative. The company aims to be the
market leader in providing BI to its clients and users. EasyAsk will be an
integral part of this initiative.