The Role of Business Intelligent Programs for Cost Management in Coca Cola Limited


The Role of Business Intelligent Programs for Cost Management in Coca Cola Limited


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The Role of Business Intelligent Programs for Cost Management in Coca Cola Limited

  • Introduction and Background (900 words approx. 10% of total Word count)

1.1         Introduction

According to the observations presented in the literature by Casillas (2013), the 21st century has been marked by an evolution in the way businesses control and plan the cost allocation so as to minimize their chances of going over budget. Enthused by the need for collection, access, control, and analyzing of corporate data, Business Intelligent programs have been the tools of choice by most businesses (Casillas 2013). Moreover, IBs used in business intelligence aid in cost management in areas such as customer profiling, product profitability, inventory, distribution analysis, market segmentation, and customer support. Companies like Coca-Cola deal in fast moving products. Such speed in operations is often accompanied by the emergence of large volumes of data within a short period. Therefore, keeping up with such information requires a business to use different programs which cause difficulties in a retrieval of information. In light of such developments, preference for Business Intelligent programs has increased due to their capability of extraction of relevant information from a pool to aid in decision-making. This paper will be keen to point out the features and functions of IBs in mainstream businesses like Coca-Cola. Additionally, this research will show strengths and weaknesses of IB and create a general impression of their interaction with traditional forms of information gathering in a typical accounting scenario for a company like Coca-Cola.

1.2         Context information and theoretical framework

Shim and Siegel (2010) record a series of losses made by different companies attributed to weaknesses in cost management systems. Moreover, recessions evidenced in most businesses result in the need to free up costs and realign cost management systems with corporate growth stratagems. Companies need to ensure that they carryout tailored cost reductions, increase the growth of sales and earnings, selectively cut costs, and improve the business’s overall capabilities. Shim and Siegel (2010) argue that it is on this basis that most cost management systems are established. Similarly, technological advancements have seen businesses adopt better methods that ensure their cost management systems are efficient and updated.

1.3         Statement of the problem

Most businesses find the maintenance of supportive conditions for their cost management systems complicated and ineffective (NRM1 2014). More often than not, the failure is associated with the directorate processes, capabilities, and organization. While organization, skills, and processes of the administration form essential success factors for continuous cost management, technology provides more feasible options (NRM1 2014). Evidently, knowledge of the intrinsic characteristics, suitability, and the technicality of IB’s application apparently evades most businesses. Moreover, technological advancement results in solutions that require constant documentation (Brandon 2016). It is the absence of regular updates in the knowhow possessed by most companies that cause problems in the implementation of IBs and difficulties in combination with traditional methods of information gathering.

1.4         Rationale (reason for the study)

According to Patra (2013), Coca-Cola generates Petabytes of raw facts from different areas of its operations. It is also evident that the use of a strategic rather than tactical approach in managing cost has enabled Coca-Cola to manage vast data amounts. Coca-Cola is a prime example, having over 500 brands, operations in more than 200 countries, and evidently a large reservoir of information. However, the extraction of valuable insights from the information by Coca-Cola to reduce costs, improve processes, and increase revenue forms an excellent learning opportunity.

Be that as it may, the reported 14 percent loss by Coca-Cola in 2014 and $40 million in loss from its Russian market warrants attention. Additionally, Patra (2013) observes similar losses associated with cost management dynamics witnessed in Wal-Mart and McDonalds that posted a 12 and 30 percent losses respectively.

1.5         Aims and objectives of the study

  1. To identify various BI’s used for Cost Management
  2. To specify the purposes of BI’s in cost management in Coca-Cola
  3. To determine the ways in which traditional information gathering methods complement or distract the BI in Coca-Cola.
  4. To explain the influence that BI have on Coca-Cola

1.6         Research questions

  1. What are the BI used in Coca-Cola today?
  2. How does Coca-Cola apply BI’s in Cost Management?
  3. How do the traditional forms of gathering business information affect BI’s results in Coca-Cola?
  4. What effects have BI had on Coca-Cola since their incorporation in Cost Marketing?

1.7         The relevance of the study

This study is relevant to businesses that intend to use benchmarking and performance metrics in a hierarchical arrangement for measurement of progress towards cost management goals. It is also important to business seeking to improve their analytics through the initiation of quantitative processes to make informed cost management decisions (Yu 2015).  Additionally, this study will provide the essential requirements for knowledge management through BI’s. In doing so, this study will enable businesses with varying ranges of data amounts to derive experiences and valuable insights regarding management of cost (Patra 2013). This study is informative to companies that face problems in the distinction of bad and good losses due to weakness in cost management.

Also, this study provides a clear guideline for identification of challenges or compliments posed by traditional data management processes on BI’s. By providing the case study knowledge, companies can precisely plan ahead with ease (Yu 2015). This study will explore Coca-Cola as an example of BI’s application to give other businesses a point of reference and ultimate comparison.



  • Literature review (3465 words approx.35% of total Word count)

2.1.     Introduction

This chapter primarily aims at examining different aspects of business intelligence and cost management as covered by various researchers. This section will explore the major Business Intelligent programs used by Coca-Cola and investigate their background and workability. Besides, this chapter will examine literature that contains details about the application of Business Intelligent programs in cost management. Moreover, this section will explore the ways in which traditional methods of information gathering relate to Business Intelligent programs. The positive impacts and drawbacks of Business Intelligent programs will also be covered in this section.

2.2.     Business Intelligent software used in Coca Cola

  1. Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management

To identify different drivers of profitability and cost, Coca-Cola uses Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management program (Williams 2007). Williams (2007) attributes such a choice to desire for speed in data processing using Oracle Essbase. In Williams (2007)’s view, Coca-Cola benefits from multidimensional analysis of information it acquires. Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management program provide insights in the form of traceable maps that make precise cost allocation and revenue calculation (Williams 2007).

More detailed research by Liebowitz (2006) shows that Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management program supports multiple income and cost models. Moreover, it creates a customized allocation methodology for Coca-Cola. More important is the ability of Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management program to carry out quick application designs and iterations with business rules that are flexible while maintaining an intuitive interface. The program builds scenarios, hierarchies, metrics, and dimensions with ease (Liebowitz 2006).

  1. SAP’s R/3 material and production planning software

Liebowitz (2006) explains the importance of supply chain management in a company the size of Coca-Cola. The company requires to cut down on the paperwork and encourage the proper making of cash settlements. According to Liebowitz (2006), SAP’s R/3 material and production planning software improve Coca-Cola’s visibility of its supply chain. It also allows for improved planning while reducing the possibility of unwanted deliveries.

Be that as it may, Loshin (2013) views SAP’s R/3 material and production planning software as a reflection of the agreement between SAP and Coca-Cola. The agreement entails that SAP and Coca-Cola collaborate to automate processes from the company to its retailers. In doing so, Loshin (2013) explains that the company eliminates inefficiencies in its supply chain thereby reducing cost. Loshin (2013) credits SAP’s R/3 material and production planning software for driving revenues by recommending timely replacement of sold-out stock.

In more critical research presented by Thierauf (2011), SAP’s R/3 material and production planning software and other similar programs are showed to be flawed. Thierauf (2011) explains their inefficiency by failure to link store deliveries with back-end structures.

  1. SAP NetWeaver mobile component

Michalewicz (2007) explains the management of cost in the supply chain by SAP’s mobile application. Coca-Cola uses the application for data integration which further improves the mobile worker’s functionality. The data fed to handheld devices is transferred to backend programs immediately. In reality, such efficiency improves vending operations. However, Michalewicz (2007) argues that the application can still be applied in vending machines more efficiently by use of tracking technology such as RF identification tagging.

  1. SAP EPR application

Another Business Intelligent software implemented is the SAP EPR application. In reality, cost management is most efficient when a company can effectively manage its resources. Michalewicz (2007) explains that SAP EPR application is a resource planning program whose latest version was released in 2006.

While Michalewicz (2007) covers SAP EPR application’s organization in resource management, Thierauf (2011) explores its use in different business processes. Such procedures include Sales and Distribution, Logistics execution, Financial Accounting, Human Capital Management, and Quality Management.

From a more technical view, Thierauf (2011) explains that SAP EPR application is written in C, ABAP/4, and C++ languages. The program is part of SAB’s Business Suite and was developed based on the former SAP R/3 software of 2002. However, Michalewicz (2007) adds that more architectural changes have been effected with notable efficiency, user friendliness, and easier integration.

In Boyatzis and McKee (2012)’s literature, the recompenses of EPR are pointed out. Such is its efficiency in cost management that it is credited with the allowance of global integration. Boyatzis and McKee (2012) argue that bypassing global barriers like rates of currency exchange and culture, SAP EPR application reduces overhead costs of overcoming such obstacles. In similar observation made by Simon and Shaffer (2011), the SAP EPR application is shown to lessen the reoccurrence of redundant errors by providing real-time business intelligence.

On the contrary, Boyatzis and McKee (2012) point out various flaws of SAP EPR application like inflexibility. Also, the software customization process is expensive. Moreover, Simon and Shaffer (2011), cites concerns about the high risk of failure of its implementation and prolonged ROI realization.

  1. SAP Customer relationship management software

In the literature presented by Simon and Shaffer (2011), various modules of SAP CRM are expounded. They include Sales, Marketing, Interaction Center, Service, and Analytics. SAP Customer relationship management software enables the business to engage customers, improve the performance of sales and make the order-to-cash process to be streamlined.

More descriptive research by Data Warehousing Institute (2013) indicates different recommendations for implementing SAP Customer Relationship Management software. Data Warehousing Institute (2013) explains that the correct implementation approach will dictate the cost control results a business gets. Additionally, Simon and Shaffer (2011) favor the use of SAP Customer Relationship Management software due to its ability to integrate commerce, client services, and sales.

Both Simon and Shaffer (2011) and Data Warehousing Institute (2013) are in agreement that the transformation of the front office to deliver real-time engagement of customers is an essential step in accomplishing successful cost management. Through SAP Customer relationship management software, the business can cut down on marketing costs by a simplified method.

  1. Microsoft Excel Add-on

In the course of running SAP, the finance organization at Coca-Cola was still using Microsoft Excel (Data Warehousing Institute 2013). The use of varying accounting programs caused chaos in data organization and derivation of variable insights. In reality, the use of separate sets of programs creates a dilemma. However, Coca-Cola implemented a Microsoft Excel add-on that enabled the use of Excel and SAP software (Data Warehousing Institute 2013).

The company sort to boost its financial reporting capability through the use of Microsoft Excel. In International Business Publications (2013)’s opinion, the Microsoft Excel Add-on eased the work of accounting staff during closure. Previously, the accounting staff would download data from SAP modules and key it into Microsoft Excel. The process was marked by duplicate entries which affected P&L analysis. However, the module alleviated the challenges in financial reporting and the assignation of manual tasks to accounting staff.

2.3.     Purposes of BI’sin Cost Management in Coca-Cola

Business intelligence software enables the management to eliminate inaccuracies caused by guesswork and unsupported approximations (International Business Publications 2013). International Business Publications (2013)’s estimate indicates that failure of cost management is due to the absence of a comprehensive structure for ensuring making of informed decisions. Therefore, International Business Publications (2013) observes that Coca-Cola employs BI’s to eliminate guesswork in its operations. They provide the company with accurate real-time updates, historical data, synthesis amid departmental information sources, trending and forecasting, and predictive analysis. BI’s thus reduce the risks posed by uninformed decisions and tendency of management to run businesses through gambled choices.

In more analytical research presented by Shim and Siegel (2010), Coca-Cola is showed to benefit from faster solutions to business inquiries. Traditionally, resources were spent on examination of dozens of printed reports so as to obtain answers. In reality, the company’s operations are broad and generate vast amounts of data. Shim and Siegel (2010) explain that the use of BI’s creates the opportunity for Coca-Colas management to obtain accurate answers within a short time.

BI’s aid in cost management by providing flexibility in accessing of information by the decision makers in Coca-Cola (Shim and Siegel 2010). Key business metrics, dashboards, and reports are accessible from any place in the world at any time. Patra (2013) attributes the accessibility to the use of cloud computing with the BI. On the contrary, the research presented by NRM1 (2014) gives credit to the development of mobile integration that is rampant in the company’s supply chain. Patra (2013) explains that flexibility enhances the ease of information flow. It also ensures the effecting of reactionary business plans as soon as developments are noted.

Similarly, NRM1 (2014) explains the role of BI in the provision of customer insights at Coca-Cola. Having these insights about customers enables the company to convert raw facts to profit generation techniques. Moreover, NRM1 (2014) explains that customer retention techniques are based on such insights. By knowing the business’ retention criteria, Coca-Cola can maintain the customers it already has. At the same time, Patra (2013) argues that the retention criteria can be used to generate new sales by attracting new customers. The company, therefore, expands its market and increases its sales. NRM1 (2014) gives the subject of customer insights a cost-oriented approach. By minimizing expenditure on non-viable markets, Coca-Cola reduces the risk of reduced ROI. Moreover, NRM1 (2014) explains that the company can invest more in products that clients prefer rather than equalizing budgetary allocation.

The issue of identifying up-selling and cross-selling opportunities by BI’s has been covered comprehensively in the literature presented by Casillas (2013). Like customer insights generation, BI’s refine, modify, and build predictive models for cost management in sales. By use of consumer insights, Coca-Cola cross-sells and up-sells products to the appropriate touchpoints of its customers (Casillas 2013).

In more detailed research about the manufacturing industry, Xiao (2009) explains that BI’s are applied in Coca-Cola to identify the actual cost of production. BI’s enable the user to account for manufacturing costs that are usually avoided by the oversight of other data gathering techniques. In reality, overlooking the truth in manufacturing costs reflects in the company’s profit. Moreover, it jeopardizes planning processes as they are affected by false information (Xiao 2009). Similarly, cost estimation is most significant during the company’s brand extensions and entry into new markets. As such, Xiao (2009) explains that Coca-Cola employs BI’s to determine the truth regarding expenditure.

2.4.   Effects of Traditional Information Gathering Methods on Results of BI’s in Coca Cola

Sommerville and Craig (2006) explore the creation of a dependable architecture by traditional methods of information gathering for use by BI. Sommerville and Craig (2006) use the term ‘Corporate Information Factory’ about architectural roadmaps for cost management. Such a roadmap is a proven starting point for the establishment of Business Intelligent programs for cost management. Traditional methods of information gathering create a foundation in an iterative fashion. Zinkin (2010) explains that such an organization gives the company a high level of flexibility. Sommerville and Craig (2006) agree with Zinkin (2010)’s argument and adds on that Coca-Cola is an ever-changing enterprise that requires flexible architectural foundations that are sustainable in the long run. In Zinkin (2010)’s opinion, the company maintains such conceptual frameworks and customize them to fit their specific needs. Such is the case with Coca-Cola, which developed a physical instantiation based on the framework of previous methods.

In more relation-based literature by Hua (2013), the aspect of problem identification is emphasized. Hua (2013) argues that the identification of IT needs by the business community requires the foundation of a healthy relationship between the IT and Business community in a company. In reality, the business community cannot clarify its needs to IT implementers. Hua (2013) explains that traditional forms of data gathering bridge the information gap between IT and the Business community by creating a mutual partnership. Hua (2013) recommends that a mutual understanding between IT and the business community should be established in the implementation stage. The relationship enables proper decision making like setting of reasonable timeframes.

Williams and Williams (2007) table comparative research citing the difference between Modern BI’s and Traditional BI’s. While Modern BI’s is completely unstructured, traditional BI’s contain structured information that is actionable in its raw form. Moreover, the arrangement of data in Traditional BI’s is such that the data sources are indicated making it easier to digest. Thus, in the absence or failure of modern BI’s, the company can still rely on Traditional BI’s. Williams and Williams (2007) further explain that Traditional BI’s does not require developers’ input in creating interpreted information.

On the other hand, traditional methods of gathering information pose a risk regarding cost when used together with modern BI’s (Gendron 2013). It jeopardizes the practical cost advantage associated with current BI’s. Gendron (2013) argues that traditional methods of gathering information require the hiring of professionals who code manually to create actionable information that is relevant in the current era. Moreover, it requires on-site visits that increase travel cost in the consultative phase or during failure which frequently occurs in a hybrid system.

Traditional information gathering methods reduce the flexibility of cost management systems when used together with new IBs. Gendron (2013) maintains that increase in data complexity is a redundant factor in a company the size of Coca-Cola. Additionally, Gendron (2013) observes that data growth is inevitable, and data from current sources require continuous integration. Gendron (2013) clarifies that traditional information gathering methods are incapable of handling rampant increases in sizes and complexity of data.

Schoen and Sykes (2007) indicate that the integration of traditional methods of information gathering into Modern IBs extends the time-to-value. Schoen and Sykes (2007) note that all new sources of information get online on daily basis. Therefore, the company requires regular integration which would take a month of coding to get a day’s information fully integrated. When evaluating the cost management of such an enterprise, Schoen and Sykes (2007) predict that the overall value of time spent will not reflect positively in the output.

2.5.     Effects of Business Intelligent Software on Coca Cola

Even though BI’s programs are expensive, Pfeifer and Scheier (2009) explain that they pay for themselves by identifying the areas where a business can cut costs. Coca-Cola benefits from cost saving insights that decision makers obtain from BI’s. Moreover, the company’s inventory system is efficient. Pfeifer and Scheier (2009) elaborates that BI’s in Coca-Cola eliminate excessive inventory which is one of the primary contributions of BI’s to cost management. In similar research by Schoen and Sykes (2007), the visibility into inventory is emphasized. Schoen and Sykes (2007) show the essence of BI’s in pointing out the right orders to make to avoid running out or expenses associated with goods lying idle in warehouses. Additionally, Schoen and Sykes (2007) emphasize on the essence of BI’s in cutting and control of manufacturing costs. Control of production costs is best achieved through the analytics of the manufacturing processes. Pfeifer and Scheier (2009) observe that BI’s are allowed to access and collect data needed to obtain production and productivity-influencing metrics. In the process, the business can maximize the production efficacy from the supply chain. With the use of BI’s, Pfeifer and Scheier (2009) explain that the company’s factory floor and supply chain become efficient and profitable.

While BI’s are applied primarily for cost management, Hackman (2011) explains that they enable a business to benchmark partners in the sales channels. With information about sales partners, Coca-Cola can triage bottom and top performers. The sales team can devise sales and marketing operations with ease and accuracy (Hackman 2011).

BI’s transformed the process of data manipulation and entry and saved time for Coca-Cola. Hackman (2011) explains that well-configured BI’s speed up data copying and pasting. In the long run, workers at Coca-Cola can generate reports with minimal time since most of the work is done behind the scenes. Therefore, the time saved in the generating of a report can be allocated for more engaging tasks like analysis of the outcome which result in more practical choices.

Glantz and Amacom (2010) favor the use of BI’s due to their empowerment of employees. In Coca-Cola, employees are allowed access to data, and the organization derives great value. BI’s maximize information capital and enable every employee to view the analysis and results with ease. Glantz and Amacom (2010) argue that the access turns every employee in the organization to a valuable decision maker. Similarly, Hackman (2011) explains that employees are armed with real-time and relevant information that aids them in making decisions that contribute to the overall product of the company. Moreover, Hackman (2011) explains that IBs improve the quality of human resources and thereby contribute to the better output.

In similar research, Glantz and Amacom (2010) demonstrate that IBs programs enable the employer to monitor employees. The company can access network activities of employees and knows how much time is spent on activities that are outside the bounds of work. Glantz and Amacom (2010) conclude that BI’s reduce the rate of misuse of office resources by employees. Thus, Coca-Cola reduces the cost of unauthorized use of department resources.

More importantly, Sommerville and Craig (2006) explain that BI’s provide Coca-Cola with customer insights. For a manufacturing firm, customer insights transform various aspects of its operations such as sales, marketing, product design, and customer service. Moreover, Coca-Cola increases focus on profitable areas, thanks to the access of customer information. Sommerville and Craig (2006) explain that the company formulates better and more successful entry techniques into markets that it has yet to enter. The overall effect of BI’s is the expansion of the company to over 200 countries and increment of its products to over 500 brands. Sommerville and Craig (2006) estimate that these figures continue to increase, a factor that promises a brighter financial future for the company.

According to Zinkin (2010) BI’s aligned of Coca-Cola’s business activities with its corporate strategy. Zinkin (2010) observes that a firm stands to incur a lot of direct costs in addition to opportunity cost in case the activities carried out by the employees, management, and stakeholders are out of line with the organization’s goals. Zinkin (2010) explores the use of BI and decision systems, citing their importance in the achievement of coordinated activities in an organization. BI’s synchronize the organization’s activities by creating a common point of reference and a highly considerate plan of actions (Zinkin 2010).

Unlike Zinkin (2010), Hackman 2011), and Sommerville and Craig (2006), Hua (2013) takes a different approach citing new insights as the major transformation of Coca-Cola by BI’s. While traditional methods only provided information in a predefined and fixed manner, BI’s take on a less rigid approach. Hua (2013) observes that rigorous methods give the organization information that was previously specified in questions it was set to answer. However, IBs provide the user with the option of posting ad hoc queries. Hua (2013) explains that the capability to handle special questions advances with changes in IBs version. Users poke around for random information using unsystematic questions which increase the quality of data used in decision making. Moreover, Hua (2013) observes that the users strengthen their understanding of different patterns of the business. In the process, users gain fresh insights into the dynamics that cause failure or success of the firm. Williams and Williams (2007) presents a similar idea citing the use of data mining algorithms by Coca-Cola. The algorithms unravel underlying patterns in data. Williams and Williams (2007) explain that data mining algorithms are composed of Cluster Analysis, Neural Networks, Decision Trees, and Rule Induction. A perfect example presented by Williams and Williams (2007) to show underlying patterns is the examination of various variables to determine the most relevant in determining customer churn. However, Williams and Williams (2007) observe that the use of data mining algorithms requires an in-depth knowledge of mathematics so as to make their results actionable. Additionally, such algorithms require vast amounts of evidence to ensure statistical significance in their results. Williams and Williams (2007) observes that the application of data mining algorithms in Coca-Cola was majorly fruitful due to its data size and operational structure.

2.6.     Limitations of Business Intelligent Programs

Some of the main disadvantages of Business Intelligent programs include complexity, limited use, and time consumption during installation, cost, muddling of commercial settings, and piling of previous data (Pfeifer and Scheier 2009).

Pfeifer and Scheier (2009) explains that when done wrong, IBs installation can use up time and money beyond the expected limits. Additionally, the costs associated with business intelligence includes software costs, hardware costs, personnel costs, and implementation costs. Pfeifer and Scheier (2009) adds to that maintenance cost is equally significant since they run at 15 percent of the cost of purchase.

A large number of BI projects fail before the company realizes real business results. According to Glantz and Amacom (2010), the failure is associated with the mismanagement of changes that BI’s present in an organization. Glantz and Amacom (2010) elaborate that most managers overstate the ease with which BI is accepted and implemented. Similarly, the overstatement may stem from Enterprise Resource Planning vendors. In such a case, Schoen and Sykes (2007) explain that the organization faces a problem regarding expertise or personnel to implement BI programs to a scale matching its needs. Moreover, Pfeifer and Scheier (2009) indicates that the absence of competent staff to carry out readiness assessment, Return On Investment (ROI) analysis, change management, process engineering, and opportunity analysis jeopardizes the entire operation.

In More detailed research presented by Schoen and Sykes (2007), the exposure of company information to potential risks is covered. The use of BI’s exposes the company’s sensitive information to unauthorized persons. For example, the intelligence may be performed in third party environments for reporting. Schoen and Sykes (2007) explain that such activities may lead to access of the information by users who have similar access authority. Moreover, Schoen and Sykes (2007) demonstrate that storage of information on computers and the cloud remains a significant and ever-present risk for any organization. Information in digital form may be accessed in case the software protecting its storage is compromised.

2.7.     Conclusion

This chapter primarily aimed at analyzing various research carried out regarding Business Intelligent programs and their use in cost management. The primary results indicate that Coca-Cola is in partnership with SAP, a German software development company that supplies major BI programs including SAP’s R/3 Material and Production Planning Software, SAP NetWeaver Mobile Component, SAP EPR Application, and SAP Customer Relationship Management Software. Additional programs used include Microsoft Excel Add-on and Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management. The section also explored various forms of BI’s in cost management from different perspectives including customer insights, inventory management, human resource management, and efficiency in the supply chain. Also, the section explored different limitations from the various views in featured literature. As such, the primary aim of the study is to study the use of Business Intelligent programs in Cost management in Coca-Cola. To complete the objective the research question; ‘How does Coca-Cola apply BI’s in Cost Management?’ will guide the research from now on. In Chapter Three a study procedure to help achieve and response to the question will be discussed.



















  • Research methods (1485 words approx. 15% of total Word count)

3.1         Introduction

This chapter provides information on the research methods of this dissertation. Particularly, this chapter covers the research perspective, approach, sampling method, data collection and analysis besides describing the ethical consideration observed during the study. In this case, this chapter presents the methods used to collect data to address the research questions and objectives of this study. Specifically, this chapter describes the methods used to identify various BIs used for cost management and point out the BIs used at Coca Cola Limited. Further, the chapter identifies the techniques adopted to identify the ways in which traditional information gathering complements or distract the BIs in Coca Cola besides explaining the  influence of BIs of the Company.

3.1         Research purpose

The main purpose of this study was to understand the role of BIs for cost management in business organizations. Specific emphasis was given to how BIs affect cost management operations in Coca Coola Limited.

3.2         Research philosophy and perspective

Research philosophies include the thoughts that form the basis for various ways of doing research (Mariappan, 2015). In his argument, Mariappan (2015) describes a research philosophy as the rationale for using certain methods in research. According to a more comprehensive description, as suggested by Holden & Lynch (n.d), is that it is important for a researcher to consider the ‘why’ of a research study before considering ‘how’ and ‘what’ a research is all about. In this case, this study was conducted through an intepretivism perspective in order to explore and interpret the meaning of the contents in details.

3.3         Research Approach adopted

Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) argue that the research approach adopted by a researcher is dependent on a number of factors such as the aim of the study, the nature of a study and the subject under study. According to Saunders et al. (2009), two main approaches could be adopted: the qualitative and the quantitative research approaches. At the same time, as explained by Van Asselt (2013), it is never wrong to combine the two approaches. Based on Van Asselt (2013)’s argument, combining the qualitative and quantitative approaches enables the researcher to effectively address the research objectives and questions of a study.

However, for this study, a qualitative approach was considered. The sub-section that follows provides a detailed explanation for the selection of the qualitative study.

3.4         Qualitative vs. Quantitative study

A discussion by Saunders et al. (2009) established that when setting up a research study, it is important to identify and choose the most suitable approach by which, to collect and analyse data. It is clear from Saunders et al. (2009)’s argument that a researcher needs to establish the difference between qualitative and quantitative research studies. This means that it is paramount to understand the two studies by ascertaining a significant contribution of each approach to a study.

Based on Saunders et al. (2009)’s explanation, qualitative studies focuses on in-depth understanding of the phenomenon under study while quantitative studies are focused on using statistical evaluations to explain the meaning of a specific phenomenon. Saunders et al. (2009)’s explanation is in agreement with Mariappan (2015)’s observation on qualitative and quantitative studies. In their argument, the authors point out that qualitative studies involve the use of explanatory rationale that uses no nominal scale while quantitative studies involve using measuring tools to confirm a trend. In other words, quantitative studies are confirmatory while qualitative studies are exploratory (Saunders et al., 2009; Mariappan, 2015). Additionally, quantitative studies use tools such as questionnaires while qualitative studies use research tools such as interviews or focus group discussions in order to interpret a specific meaning (Van Asselt, 2013). This study adopted a qualitative research study over quantitative study in an effort to extensively interpret meaning and explore the contents of the study.

3.5         Research methods used-  Secondary and Primary research methods

This study opted to adopt secondary research methods over primary research techniques. This included the use of journals, books and web pages that contain vital information about cost management and BIs in the market. In addition to this, in Mariappan, (2015)’s views, secondary methods enabled the researcher to investigate data that were varied, detailed and extensive concerning the use of BIs for cost management in Coca Cola Limited. Based on Saunders et al. (2015)’s description, secondary studies allowed the researcher to build a theory by evaluating and synthesizing available information related to this study. An advantage of this technique was that secondary research methods enabled the researcher to examine research that had already been conducted, and search for specific information that goes beyond being descriptive (Mariappan, 2015).

3.6         Sampling method

Mariappan (2015) asserts that sampling is a procedure a researcher uses to gather or select objects, people or groups that contain elements representative of the characteristics of a situation under study. In their arguments, Saunders et al. (2009) point out that sampling enables a researcher to identify the most suitable and finite population whose characteristics are studied to gain information concerning a study. A purposive sampling method was selected over other techniques of sample selection. Particularly, as explained by Mariappan (2015), purposive sampling was selected in order to identify information-rich cases for in-depth analysis related to the central issues being studied. Purposive sampling allowed the researcher to study past events as identified from the secondary research methods. Particularly, previous studies, journals, books and other secondary material related to the use of BIs in Coca Cola Limited.

3.7         Data analysis

In order to give insight to the issue under study, the data collected during the study were analysed using a theoretical analysis. This enabled the researcher to identify and select data through varied, detailed and extensive presentation (Mariappan, 2015). Ultimately, this helped the researcher to evaluate and synthesize available information concerning the use of BIs for cost management in Coca Cola (Mariappan, 2015). Data analysis enabled the researcher to not only point out any gaps or point out any areas for further research.

3.8         Validity and Reliability- triangulation

In their description on the characteristics of performing a statistical or a non-statistical study, Saunders et al. (2009) assert that validity is a measure of how well a test measures what it is supposed to measure. Conversely, reliability concerns how consistent the results of a study are similar studies (Saunders et al., 2009). From Saunders et al. (2009)’s argument, it is evident that researchers need to ensure that the data collection methods selected for a study will always identify and collect data accurately. For this study, the issue of reliability and validity was addressed by selecting previous studies which had the issues addressed by the original writers.

3.9         Ethical Concerns

Saunders et al. (2009) describes ethics as those elements that a researcher considers in an effort to maintain the integrity of a study. According to Saunders et al. (2009), considering ethics in a study enables researchers avoid research inquiries that could result into untrue, deceptive, or doctored results. Drawing from Saunders et al. (2009)’s argument, the researcher remained open and honest when dealing with other experts besides obtaining informed consent from any authors of the original studies used for the secondary research. At the same time, the researcher maintained the confidentiality of any information concerning Coca Cola Limited.

3.10     Limitations and Delimitations of the Study

With a secondary research considered for this study, it was clear that companies that use BIs for cost management represent a wide scope, which could hinder effective sampling for this study. However, selecting previous studies that specifically addressed the use of BIs at Coca Cola enabled the research address the issue of scope. On the other hand, it was anticipated that a narrow scope, in this case, Coca Cola Limited, could affect the validity and reliability of the findings. However, an in depth analysis of the selected samples enabled the researcher to collect the most reliable secondary samples.

3.11     Conclusion

In conclusion, this chapter describes the methodology employed by the researcher to collect and analyse the data for this study. Particularly, the chapter demonstrates the methodology adopted by the researcher to answer the research questions designed for this study. The chapter demonstrates that through an intepretivism perspective, a qualitative study enabled the researcher to theoretically select secondary data for analysis. The data obtained from the study are outlined and presented in the chapter that follows.





























  • Data Findings and Presentation of Results (1485 words approx. 15% of total Word count)


Whereas the previous chapters of this dissertation have laid the groundwork for the study, this chapter represents the focal point of this research study. As stated earlier, the previous chapters provided: an explanation of the purpose of the study; outlined the research questions and objectives; described how the study fits with the overall body of related research and outlined the methods adopted during the study. Based on this development of the report, this chapter moves on to a presentation of the findings produced during the study concerning the role of BIs for cost management in the Coca Cola Company. This chapter presents the results obtained by outlining the various BIs used for cost management, and particularly, the use of these programs in the company. On the other hand, the results presented in this chapter outline the ways in which traditional methods of gathering information complement or distract the use of BIs in Coca Cola. Further, the findings presented help explain the influence that BIs have on the company under study.

4.2  Results based on the research objectives

Most research studies have argued that BIs are those technology-based programs used to extract, analyse and predict information using past raw data (Olszak & Batko, 2012). According to the literature presented by Hocevar & Jaklic (2010), these systems are commonly used for accountants and business executives in companies and organizations.

4.2.1        To Identify Various BIs used for Cost Management

The issue of BIs used for cost management is a subject that seems to attract extensive discussion from concerned parties such as organizational managers, business executives and accountants (Epple, Bischoff & Aier, 2015). Meanwhile, the results obtained from Grahovac & Kacinar (2009)’s report showed that the common programs used by almost all companies include spreadsheets and excel software. On the other hand, software programs such as ORACLE and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), Online Analytic Process (OLAP) and Data Warehouse are used for management operations (Iyer, n.d). However, business practitioners such as Iyer (n.d), Hughes (2012) and Williams & Williams (2010) argue that with the business environment constantly evolving. The results obtained in these author’s studies showed companies have adopted new programs integrated and dimensionalize the data sets in any company that uses them.

Other results from the secondary search revealed that companies use IBM, Microsoft, SAPs, Informatica Builders and Data Marts, which have been improved from the existing BIs in order to enable business components to be assembled and orchestrated efficiently and rapidly (Grahovac & Kacinar, 2009).

Grahovac & Kacinar (2009)’s studies found that BIs such as Management Information Systems (MIS), Decision-Support Systems (DSS), Extreme Information Systems, Management Support Systems and Corporate Performance Systems are also used for cost management in the business environment.

4.2.2        To Specify the use of BIs for Cost Management in Coca Cola

Williams & Williams (2010)’s report on the impact of BIs on profits demonstrated that for any BIs, when done right, can deliver knowledge, efficiency, better decision, and profits to almost any firm that uses them.

A study of cost accounting and cost management in the ever-changing business environment conducted by Stephanovic (2010) revealed that the use of BIs not only enable business process components to be assembled but also give the company the ability to respond to these changes. On the other hand, a case study by QuantamPM (2015) found out that the use of Microsoft software in Coca Cola has enabled the managers to slice and dice a subset of data. In this case, with such a BIs system for cost management, managers are in a position to make various decisions from lots of different angles. QuantamPM (2015) reports that at Coca Cola bottling Company, BIs yields measurable benefits. QuantamPM (2015)’s report explain that by using the BIs, consolidation of processes is more efficient with a greater than ninety percent compliance rate across the board with a goal of perfection. These findings show that costs are more accurate for financial reporting since discrepancy reports are reported to the project managers on a weekly basis (QuantamPM, 2015). The report further explains that companies such as Coca Cola, which use BIs, ensure that there is shortening in the  time it takes to reconcile data. The report points out that the BIs consolidate data from any given number of systems, analyses the data, and provides specific messages directly to the people responsible for the data input.


4.2.3        To Identify the Ways in Which Traditional Information-Gathering Methods Complement or Distract the BIs in Coca Cola

In the Gatner report, Hostmann (2008) set to find out how corporate organizations such as Coca Cola Bottling, round up the traditional methods in an effort to address the use of BIs in the management of company operations. Among the key findings of this report, was that open source technique BIs products are still in the early stages of development and evolving. This result indicates that the companies were still trying to incorporate the traditional methods with the new models of BIs. Hostmann (2008) found out that the concerned companies required new cross-functional organizational models, practices, and skills in order to address the variety, volume and velocity of the business operations. Hostmann (2008) pointed out that in order to address these issues, the company’s management is encouraging its stakeholders to come up with innovative ways of incorporating the traditional systems into the new BIs being adopted.

QuantamPM (2015)’s case study, performed under the flagship of Coca Cola, showed that through the use of existing rules, the management can monitor the adoption, compliance, and performance with no human influence, something unique from traditional information systems.

4.2.4        To Explain the Influence that BIs have on Coca Cola

Notably, the Gatner report shows that BIs contribute to improved business process agility and enable decisions that derive strategic business transformation (Hostmann, 2008). The findings presented in the Gatner report show that in the multinational organizations, Coca Cola is one of them, BIs have influenced the organizational changes in architecture and product deployment strategy. Hostmann (2008) found out that in the firm, SAP’s acquisition of business objects is causing the SAP customers to re-examine their product portfolio, hence, the change in architecture and product development process. According to Hostmann (2008), through the BIs, managers can identify strategies that help the organization realize practical benefits from its evolving production environment. The author provides examples such as: through the open source BI, managers can understand the state of the market, and by using the Microsoft-based BI, the managers gain sufficient support from the community.

At the same time, while referring to the Microsoft Project Server 2013, the study conducted by QuantamPM (2015) found that Coca Cola’s manual reviews of time entities dropped from thirty percent submission to less than five percent almost immediately. This finding shows the project server facilitates increased agility and control, and simplifies support by correcting errors within days instead of months (QuantamPM, 2015). This can be achieved by collaborating more closely with suppliers and engage customers with the company’s goals considered. This extends the benefits that come with the BI, which gleans actionable business information from the information that is stored in the database (QuantamPM, 2015). The results depict that BIs influence project participation, and decision makers can get started, prioritize and deliver value from virtual systems.

4.3  Conclusion

In conclusion, this chapter has outlined the results and findings obtained from the secondary studies conducted. The results obtained set to demonstrate the role of BIs for cost management in Coca Cola Limited. The secondary findings presented in this chapter depicted the various BIs used for cost management and specifically, their use in Coca Cola. The findings show that while there are many BIs such as the use of oracle, Hyperion, SAP, and many others, which the company has made an effort to innovate and establish procedures to use in the current business environment. The findings show that the traditional information systems are still used while collaborating them with the current technology. The findings demonstrate that the BIs are used mostly in making decisions and otheri4 operations in the business. Chapter five presents a discussion of these results as analysed.













  • Data analysis and Discussion (1485words approx. 15% of total Word count)

5.1.               Introduction

In this chapter, the specific findings or results of this study presented in the previous chapter are connected to the existing literature and theories as pointed out by other researchers and authors. The findings are compared to other previous studies to see if they support each other or contradict from each other. It is worth noting that the discussion presented in this chapter is set to find out the overall role of BIs for cost management in business firms. Special attention, however, is the use of BIs and how the use of these systems affect cost management operations in Coca Cola Limited. However, in order to achieve this main objective, this chapter is organized into particular analogies of the results based on the research objectives of the study. These objectives include identifying various BIs, specify their use in the company under study, identify how traditional models complement or distract their use, and explain their influence on Coca Cola.

5.2.               Overview of the Findings

It is only appropriate at this point to point out that the secondary study conducted revealed that the business environment is in constant accretion. According to the secondary results, the facet of organisational management is facing irresolute growth, which affects the ways by which operational decisions are made within firms. For instance, companies have designed or adopted information programs such as Microsoft software, SAPs, Oracle, Data Marts and others in an effort to manage their financial operations. These results are in constant agreement with previous studies that have revealed the use of the BIs in developing traceable maps that have helped operational managers in the allocation of revenue and costs for projects (Williams, 2007). The findings showed that Coca Cola has adopted BIs such as SAPs, oracle, informartica, data marts, and integrated them with the existing traditional information systems in order to manage very large amounts of data. The secondary findings found that through innovative strategies and the use of existing rules, the management in Coca cola has used traditional systems to incorporate the new BIs when making financial and resource allocations.

5.3.               Discussion

5.3.1          Discussion of the First Objective

The first objective of this study was to identify various BIs used for cost management in business organizations. The results obtained from the secondary study revealed that with the alluring changes in the business environment, companies have either improved on the existing information systems or adopted new models. For instance, the findings showed that firms use softwares such as Microsoft, Informatica Builders, Oracle, Datawarehouse, SAPs and SOAs to manage large amount of data. These findings concur extensively with other previous research studies that revealed how companies such as Coca Cola Limited have adopted and intergrated BIs (Data Warehousing Institute, 2013; Liebowitz, 2006; Loshin, 2013; Michalewicz, 2007; Thierauf, 2011; Simon and Shaffer, 2011). This implies that both large and small organizations are now using BIs to cut down on paperwork and encourage proper allocation of costs and revenue.

However, the secondary findings obtained showed that companies have outsourced experts to design newer models while improving the existing BIs. For instance, the findings revealed that data marts, Microsoft Programs, IBM, informatica builders, SAPs and other platforms are hosted externally and concerned firms use DSS, MIS and other performance-based systems for cost management. This argument resonates extensively with a similar study conducted through the International Business Publication (2013), which concluded that the use of Add-Ins to existing models such as Microsoft Excel and SAPs has reduced the workload of the accounting staff in Coca Cola. Evidently, as postulated by Shim and Siegel (2010), with an increasing magnitude of operational procedures in the changing environment, companies have consolidated existing models with the BIs. This, in Shim and Siegel (2010)’s views, implies that companies are continually designing and adopting improved BIs in order to address multiple operational costs that come with the dynamic business environment.


5.3.2          Discussion of the Second Objective

The second objective of this study was to specify the use of BIs for cost management in Coca Cola.


5.3.3          Discussion of the Third Objective



5.3.4          Discussion of the Fourth Objective





5.4.               Conclusion


























  • Conclusions and Recommendations (990 words approx. 10% of total Word count)

6.1.            Introduction

  • Conclusions

6.3.               Implications of the study

6.4.               Recommendations




























Appendix 1:





























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