Introduction

Overview:

Case Study, Alliance Entertainment Corporation (www.aent.com), used to explore the roles of the “extranet” in helping organizations form partnerships with their customers, suppliers, and even competitors.   Companies are constantly looking for ways to gain a “strategic advantage” and lock in client loyalty.  Alliance Entertainment Corporation is doing this through the use of an extranet based reporting system using the product “WebIntelligence” from Business Objects (www.businessobjects.com).

Statement of the Problem:

Alliance Entertainment Corporation (AEC) provides fulfillment services for many internet based music and movie retailers.  AEC produces traditional EDI files that are transmitted to clients on a regular basis.  However, AEC’s account management and operation team found that the managers of the client sites seldom had access to the data produced.  The client managers needed information to help manage and market their business and they were not getting assistance from their own Information Technology (IT) departments.

According to Phil Russom (2002), business intelligence (BI) for the masses has been underway since 1996.  Unfortunately, it still has not trickled down to the managers and marketing professionals running many Internet stores, especially in the tight budget economy.  Christopher Koch (2001) in his Budget Playbook noted that IT spending is under greater scrutiny now than in recent years.  AEC recognized the need of their clients to get timely information, and also that their client IT teams simply did not have the time and budget to get reports to the teams managing the day to day business.

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