Paramount Pushes the Envelope

By Cindy Waxer

Paramount Cards, the 95-year-old greeting card giant, found that delivering detailed reports to field sales personnel took up too much time. So the company turned to Cognos, a business intelligence solution provider. In partnership with Creative Computing, Cognos offered Paramount a powerful, Web-based reporting and analysis tool that allows sales professionals to access customer information with only a Web browser.

In addition to providing greater accessibility to crucial data, Cognos’s solution eliminated the need to re-key information into spreadsheets, combine data from separate sources and provide real-time data via the corporate Intranet.

Cognos’s business intelligence solution also has enabled Paramount’s sales professionals to enhance their performance by making targeted recommendations based on hard data and analysis, instead of abstract speculation.

According to Ken Gustin, Creative Computing’s director of sales and marketing, “Sales professionals can now show customers, specifically on a Web browser, their buying patterns over the last two years – the cards that have sold particularly well, and the cards that don’t sell particularly well…so they can greatly enhance a customer’s ability to select the cards that are going to sell best.”

What’s more, Paramount’s sales professionals no longer need to pull out flowcharts and colored graphs to prove their point to their customers. Instead, they can simply display the appropriate information on their laptop computers.

Gustin says, “Rather than have just a stack of very structured reports from which you can derive only a certain amount of information, sales professionals are now able to look at information in a very interactive fashion.”

In the coming months, Paramount also plans to develop a 360-degree view of every customer to forecast and track sales, profitability, inventory and turnover.