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Lebara Group is a leading MVNO which was founded in 2001 and offering innovative telecommunication services in different parts of world. Labara Group is also a major provider of international wholesale minutes. Lebara is a very fast growing company. In ‘Fast Track 100 Listing’ produced by Sunday Times in 2006, Lebara was declared as 4th fastest company in UK. Labara launched service in Holland in May 2004. Labara Holland was a great success story. Lebara Holland was followed by Lebara Norway which was launched in March 2005. Lebara Demark started its services in May 2005 and Lebara Sweden in September 2005. In 2007, Lebara launched its services in three more countries. Lebara Spain in February 2007 and Switzerland in March 2007. Next launch was in United Kingdom in October 2007. Recently Lebara moved outside Europe and Lebara Australia was launched .
Lebara is targeting immigrant and ethnic minorities in all above mentioned countries. Lebara is offering low cost international calls so that people can remain in touch with their families abroad. International calling is very costly and Lebara is providing this service very cheap compared to other mobile operators. Lebara Group is going strength to strength and success has been acknowledged by number of awards in different countries. Real Business Magazine in 2007 placed Lebara in their Hot 100 listings and top 50 in Mobile Industry. The Judges declared Lebara as best newcomer in 2008 Mobile Awards.
Lebara is serving around 1.5 million customers in eight countries. Lebara is going to offer more services in future in financial services as well. Lebara is working hard to excel in mobile industry and to beat other competitors. It is using state of art technology to improve its services and to satisfy customers.
With the increasing competition from global market, organizations have to make quick and better decisions in order to survive and be successful. Information systems are used by many organizations to facilitate analysis-based decision-making, with the focus on supporting top level management in making strategic decisions. However decisions have to be made also on lower level in the organization which also needs support from information systems. These tactical and operational decisions often must be faster and fresher as well as historical data is needed for analysis.
Information systems are used to manage and process data and to carry out day to day operations. Data analysis is used to see different trends, customer behaviours and promotion analysis etc. So, information systems are very important for any organization for better decision making.
The processes of an organization produce information which is an asset of the organization. This information is kept in two forms, in OLTP Systems and in data warehouse. An operational system also called Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) system is used to record the daily operations and business transactions. The data warehouse, on the other hand, is used for analysis based decision making. The data warehouse is a huge collection of data from different sources including the OLTP systems. Often external data, for example address lists and other kinds of customer information, is also purchased and incorporated into data warehouse. One major characteristic of data warehousing is that, unlike the OLTP systems, it keeps historic data. This data can be used to analyze trends and variations.
There are many definitions of data warehouse.
“Data warehousing is collection of decision support technologies, aimed at enabling the knowledge worker (Executive, Manager, Analyst) to make better and fast decisions.” 
“A data warehouse is a subject oriented, integrated, time-variant and non-volatile collection of data what supports managerial decision making.” [2, p 54]
Golfarelli et al  defines Business Intelligence (BI) as “the process of turning data into information and then into knowledge”. The knowledge of interest to organization often concerns customers and their needs, the competition, and different trends, among other things.
The technology of BI is based on customer and profit oriented models. This means that BI targets to improve relationship with customers. It is used to reduce operational costs and provide increased profit by improving sales, productivity, and customer services. The concept of BI came in early 90’s when managers of different organizations felt the need for a technology which could help them to analyze organizational data to better understand the situation of their businesses and to make better decisions at right time .
BI soon becomes popular among business organizations and these days, it is known as combination of different technologies such as data warehousing, customer relationship management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) etc .
Lebara Information System
Lebara is also using information systems for all decision making. It is very important for Lebara to see customer behaviours and analyze different promotions to offer better services to its customers. Lebara has developed data warehouse to manage all current as well as historic data. Data warehouse has been built in Microsoft SQL Server. On front end, Lebara is using Qlikview. Qlikview is a reporting tool and analysis tool.
Lebara Information System
All Lebara countries send traffic, sales and financial data to central location in United Kingdom where data is being processed and loaded into data warehouse. Qlikview gets data from data warehouse, generates different reports and analysis. Qlikview is a user friendly and very innovative tool. Qlikview stores data in RAM which makes analysis very fast. Qlikview takes less development time and power users can generate their own reports. Qlikview can generate HTML reports as well as window based reports. It also has feature of sending reports through email.
Functional use of Information System
Lebara understands the importance of information system and using it in all departments. It analyzes current as well as historic data to understand customer before making any decision. We will look into different departments in Lebara and their use of information systems.
Business development (BDM) department is responsible for researching new markets for Lebara and development of new products in exiting countries. This is a very important department which needs information system for various activities. It needs to analyze trends and customer behaviour during new product development so that products can be made attractive to customers. Due to competitive market, it is very important to design such products which meets customer requirements as well as profitable for the company. As Lebara is most popular in different ethnic minorities, they also have different requirements and trends due to different cultures. BDM uses historic as well as current data to see trends and customer behaviour within different cultures. For example Pakistani customers and Polish customers are very different in nature while choosing products.
Marking department is another department which uses information extensively. Marketing department has the responsibility of running different campaigns and promotions so that Lebara can reach to different ethnic groups and introduce new products to its customers. Marketing department is using information system to select customers where promotions are needed to be run. Data analysis could be used to find out weak areas and do necessary action. Marketing department is also using information systems to analyse the results of campaigns and promotions.
Day to day operations of commercial finance is also heavily dependent on information system. Qlikview financial reports are used in commercial department. This department works out to find profitable customers and run different promotions to retain those customers. This department also needs customer data to find out that how customers can be made profitable. Churn is defined as number of inactive customers or disconnected customers. Commercial department also uses customer data to find out different ways to reduce churn and get customer back.
Sales department sell Lebara products to its customers. Lebara is selling its products through different channels and sub channels.
Ethnic Indirect channel
There are three sub channels in Ethnic Indirect channel which are Hotspots, Ethic Retail and Ethnic Wholesale. Hotspots are small shops around country which made contracts with Lebara directly to sell its products. Ethnic Wholesalers are different distributors which are responsible to distributor Lebara products all over the country. Ethnic Retail shops also consist of small shops around the country which are candidate to be a hotspot depending on the performance.
Products are sold directly to customers in this channel. It has three sub channels which are street sales, events and promotions. Lebara has a sales team which sell products in streets. Products are sold in different events as well as through promotions.
National Indirect has very important channel in which customer are targets through different national distributors as well as national retail chains. Phones4u, Data select, Tesco and ASDA are few examples.
Lebara Products are sold through web as well.
Sales department heavily depends on information systems to analyze the performance of different channels and sub channels. Information system is capable of tracking each Product on unit level and to analyze it.
Systems department is responsible of development and maintenance of Information system. It also provides adhoc reports to all departments. Systems department uses information system to detect frauds and keep an eye on different promotions and campaigns to find out any abuse.
Customers service use information to deal with customer queries and respond immediately to all complaints. Information system is capable to show customer calling history as well as other all top ups made by customer.
Evolution criteria of Information system in Lebara
We have defined criteria to evaluate and access current use of information system in Lebara. This criterion has been identified by reviewing literature and focus on the effectiveness of information system.
Check whether the information system is different from the conventional information systems.
Check whether information system is more useful for decision making.
Quality of Results
Check whether the information system has the quality of results or not. With quality we mean the accuracy of results.
Access the performance of the information systems against while retrieving data results
Check whether the information system can provide access to more data sources.
Check the consistency of results retrieved from the data sources.
Applying the Evaluation Criteria
The information system is based on a new concept in the field of data warehousing. It is based on Qlikview which is very powerful and can be developed in very short time as compared to conventional data warehouse. It is unique in a sense that it stores data in RAM and calculations can be made on fly. It also compresses the data while loading data in RAM. Reports can be shared on Intranet as well as can be emailed to senior management. Powerful end users can make their own reports as well.
The use of conventional data warehouse was focused on the top level management of an organization. The Labara’s information system is helping to make decisions on all levels of the organization. So Labara’s information system is more useful and all decisions are based on analysis of data. This is improving the overall performance of Lebara.
Quality of Results
The labara’s information system is helping to retrieve more recent data for analysis which ensures and improves the quality (accuracy) of results and hence the quality of decisions. Qlikview does not take much time to reload fresh data which makes results more meaningful.
There is lot of emphasis on performance in information system solutions. It is clear that there is decrease in performance of queries in conventional information systems because they are based on OLAP cubes which take more time to execute these queries. Labara’s information system is based on Qlikview which does not use OLAP cubes. It uses RAM and makes calculations on the fly which makes queries very fast irrespective of size of data. End users want data result within no time and Labara’s information system is meeting this requirement.
The information access is increased as fresh data in Operational systems as well as historic data in data warehouse is available for analysis based decision making. Whenever fresh data is needed, it will be extracted on the fly from Operational Systems. Several data sources are being used by Lebara to populate Qlikview.
Lebara‘s information systems is producing consistent data results which is very important. Inconsistent data results will decrease the confidence of end users. As information is being retrieved by several data sources, data needed to be cleaned and transform before loading data in Qlikview. Consistency is maintained in all these process.
As Lebara is growing rapidly, Incoming data is increasing in size. Lebara needs to improve systems configurations and buy new power servers to manage data. Currently Lebara is running more than one applications in same server where information systems is installed. Information system needed to be installed on a dedicated server. This will improve performance of the system.
Data security should be stricter as data leakage to competitors could be fatal. It should be made sure that employees are well aware of security policy and they are following it.
Data from external data sources should be analyzed before integrating it in data warehouse as this data could be corrupted which can data reports inconsistent.
Different systems in Lebara should be integrated to make them consistent and eliminating manual inputs in data warehouse. For example currently sales database is not integrated with data warehouse and manual process is in place to load data into data warehouse which is creating problems.
Information Systems has already shown its worth to better decision making on strategic level. Information systems have become a necessity in large and medium size organizations for analysis of business processes.
Labara’s information system is enabling management in organization to make strategic decisions and also keeping an eye on the progress of different tasks running in the organization at real time. Managers can take appropriate steps immediately if any task is diagnosed to be not going in accordance with strategic decisions taken by top level management in the organization.
Labara’s information system offers unique functionality by providing access to organizational operational system. This solution thereby increases the access to information compared to conventional information systems. This in turn increases the usefulness of the information system.
Lebara is effectively using information system on all levels in organization. It is using its information system to improve relationships with customers. It is also using information system to reduce operational costs and provide increased profits by improving sales, productivity and customer services.
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