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Woolworths Picks DiData Solution

CAPE TOWN -- One of South Africa's largest retailers, Woolworths Ltd, has selected Dimension Data (DiData) to provide it with a web-based strategic planning and analysis tools.

The Management Planning and Control (MPC) solution, supplied by US-based Comshare, implements planning, budgeting, consolidation and management reporting into single application. It will provide Woolworths with a national reporting system that allows employee-access to company information from any web-enabled device.

Woolworths currently uses Lotus spreadsheets for financial analysis and reporting and what it calls a "cumbersome, homegrown budgeting system" written in Informix.

Eddie Douglas, Woolworths' system manager, stated, "The major problem with our current reporting is that it is centered around one person in the organization. We need increased accessibility of information for decision makers."

Comshare MPC will not only facilitate strategic planning, but also allow the simulation of complex 'what if' scenarios.

"We will be able to look at what an initiative would cost to implement, and then see what value of sales it might generate. For example, we can see how our bottom line might be impacted should we launch a unit trust product. We can also use the system to tie our financial results back to key performance areas," says Douglas.

"In addition, reporting toolsets will be easy to deploy, regardless of location, and flexible enough to allow for different levels of user."

As the workplace becomes increasingly mobile, it becomes increasingly important for corporates to ensure easy access to the company information from anywhere. Woolworth's choice is indicative of this.

It also points to a dissemination of responsibility, with large groups individuals being empowered to make decisions previously left to a select few. But this dissemination does not imply a loss of control, as the web-strands that allow the flow of information to individuals creates a similar flow back to those select few, so that they know whats happening, with who and where, at all times.