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Focus on: Engage Employees, Optimize Operations, Transform Products

If you’ve worked in an office, you’re familiar with the sound—the low, labored hum of the nearest printer, its inner-workings churning the mechanisms forward until one page, or two, or twenty slips out onto the printer deck. With the success of companies like HP Inc., the oversized, outdated printers of previous generations have been developed into sleek, modern devices with added capabilities.

As one of the most popular electronics producers in the country, HP produces everything from printers, scanners, and ink, to digital cameras, calculators and more. The company’s Auto-Replenishment Team is developing a new digital resource to effectively manage the printer needs of their retail customers. The online solution is geared towards HP’s partnerships, facilitating a multi-retail integration that includes major retail partners like Staples, in addition to other, smaller companies.

HP’s Auto-Replenishment Services Team digitally accesses printers that are connected to their system via WiFi, then leverages the latest IoT capabilities to analyze the data. The digital system lets HP monitor ink and toner usage, allowing the team to manage the replenishment needs of their customers automatically. Sinead Kelly, Master Architect for the HP’s Ink Supply business, and Edward Savage, HP’s Digital Assets Development Manager partnered with Ben Watt at ProData, to develop the online auto-replenishment system, using Power BI’s user-friendly database and cutting-edge analytic technology.

Enhancing data management and visualization to improve service

With multiple data sources, including various retail locations and individual printers, the Auto-Replenishment Team’s fundamental challenge involved finding a digital solution that could organize, manage, and efficiently analyze the data on demand. The team needed a digital solution that could deliver the right data to the right people at the right time. With no dedicated analyst team, they were looking for innovative technology that could decipher large amounts of information quickly and effectively, in addition to offering more flexible report-generating capabilities.

Prior to adopting Power BI, employees depended on software developers to provide them with analytics and reports. The Auto-Replenishment team wanted to develop a platform that would empower employees to gather the information themselves, allowing developers to focus on supporting the company’s technology needs. The database would need to be easily and directly accessed by multiple departments, including account executives for HP’s retail customers, various sales teams, and marketing and business employees.

Leveraging Power BI’s analytics technology to drive enterprise success

Building a searchable database using Power BI’s reliable, user-friendly infrastructure provides an engaging resource for both marketing and non-marketing users, transforming employee experiences across the board. “Power BI is great in that it has that approachability and it’s very understandable. You can come up with your requirements and bring back what you need in a short period of time,” Savage says.

Power BI’s accessibility and straightforward navigation mean that data scientists, engineers, and developers no longer spend valuable productivity time creating reports for other employees; they can focus on tech-related products, and continue addressing the company’s software needs. Non-marketing staff members use the data to gather feedback on product designs and more, and marketing employees use the data to observe campaign metrics, and understand how products are performing against targets.

“We will be able to see responses to campaigns pretty quickly. We get the end to end view of enrollment performance and ordering performance. So, we should be able to—in conjunction with our partners—measure the response of marketing,” Kelly explains.

Self-Service analytics database increase productivity and efficiency

Power BI’s impressive capabilities empower employees to leverage the databases themselves, using the search features to create meaningful reports that drive business decisions and product offerings. The system allows various teams to view their own department-specific version of the platform, producing data and reports that are most relevant to them.

“Power BI is the best at being able to give all the business teams and all the interested stakeholders a view on the data, and being able to slice the data into something that’s relevant for them,” says Kelly.

HP’s online database leverages five specific platforms, each serving a specific purpose for the auto-replenishment team. The first dashboard provides a high-level view of the entire program, offering quarterly reports that can be filtered by dates. The second dashboard, primarily used by the sales team, allows employees to track supplies and printers. The third dashboard serves the marketing team, and focuses entirely on enrollment and ordering. The fourth database includes reporting on major events and program launches, offering details on buyer trends to analyze how customers respond to marketing messages. The last dashboard focuses on printer-centric analytics, organizing data on which printers are being ordered the most, cartridge frequency, user trends, and more.

Driving future enterprise goals with expanded analytics

Although the Auto-Replenishment Team started the program with a focus on their biggest markets, the goal is to expand the new system, eventually serving a global customer base. Fueled by Power BI’s cutting edge analytics technology, the online auto-replenishment database also plans to target new devices and continuing to leverage IoT’s capabilities. With Microsoft’s innovative digital solution, HP’s Auto-Replenishment Team is escalating their digital possibilities and service goals to meet the everyday needs of their customers.

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