IBM Cognos Business Intelligence Software Helps Creativity Inc. Win TechTarget 2008 Midmarket IT Leadership Award : -- Creative arts manufacturer recognized for successful IT implementations, including IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence, that helped drive efficiencies and support key business initiatives --

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Cognos, an IBM company and the world leader in business intelligence and performance management, announced today that Creativity Inc. VP of IT, Jim Mulholland, has won a TechTarget® Midmarket IT Leadership Award for successfully executing a variety of IT initiatives, including the implementation of an enterprise-wide performance management system, that led to significant productivity gains.

The ROI gained from our IBM Cognos business intelligence solution stems from improving customer satisfaction and keeping our largest customers happy. Our CIO Decisions Award win is a perfect testament to our successful track record, and we are honored by the industry recognition.

Creativity Inc. is a leading designer, marketer, and distributor of basic crafting, beading, organization, paper crafting, and scrapbooking products. Announced at the annual CIO Decisions Conferenceā„¢ in Carlsbad, CA, Creativity VP Mulholland was recognized by CIO Decisions Conference and SearchCIO-Midmarket.comā„¢ editors for his work in implementing IT solutions such as IBM Cognos 8 BI that resulted in increased efficiencies in reporting and analysis, as well as stronger profitability through improved forecasting. Mulholland was one of ten industry IT executives to receive an award.

"We are proud that these winners exemplify innovation and IT/business alignment in the midmarket," said Anne McCrory, Editorial Director, TechTarget CIO Decisions Media Group. "The judging was a rigorous process, and these IT executives should be proud that they stood out. Clearly, they are leaders."

IBM Cognos 8 BI Improves Creativity's Bottom Line

In 2005, Creativity executives recognized that the reporting and analysis capabilities of their existing Solarsoft ERP system were limited and required significant IT involvement, which negatively impacted the company's bottom line. To overcome these barriers, the company sought out a BI solution that could be easily implemented within the company's existing IT infrastructure, could tap into multiple data sources, and would require minimal IT maintenance.

Creativity implemented IBM Cognos 8 BI, arming managers with a single, clear view of their data, which could then be easily measured against company objectives. For example, a key metric that Creativity needed to manage was its customer fill rate, with most customers requiring 95 to 100% fill. Previously, there was some summary-level insight into this area; with IBM Cognos BI, the company's supply chain team is now provided with daily and weekly details so they can manage their fill rates on the fly, enabling them to manage inventory levels and reduce carrying costs.

To help employees gain full advantage of their IBM Cognos BI software, Creativity established a Business Intelligence competency center (BICC) called the Analytical Center of Excellence (ACE). Considered part of the eight-person IT team, the BICC is tasked with maintaining the company's BI solution, and is also responsible for the company's reporting, analysis and future BI requirements.

Using IBM Cognos software, Creativity has experienced significant returns to date, including a decrease of 50% in time required to close the books, as well as a decrease of 25% in customer chargebacks. IBM Cognos BI's automated features have also helped free up two headcounts to work on other projects.

"By using IBM Cognos 8 BI, we are beyond the point most companies hope to reach with data accuracy. Employees can now speak confidently about our data, and easily match up reports and metrics, knowing that they are speaking the same language," said Jim Mulholland, Vice-President of Information Technology at Creativity. "The ROI gained from our IBM Cognos business intelligence solution stems from improving customer satisfaction and keeping our largest customers happy. Our CIO Decisions Award win is a perfect testament to our successful track record, and we are honored by the industry recognition."

IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence provides decision makers at all levels of the enterprise with groundbreaking capabilities to better manage performance by delivering a consistent, accurate view of all business information. As part of its global Information on Demand business strategy, IBM Cognos BI helps clients like Creativity find new ways to use performance information to accelerate their business growth by responding quickly to changing demands, and enabling the rapid delivery of new business services. IBM's approach enables businesses to use Cognos 8 performance management software to innovate, better compete and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

"Creativity's efforts to implement a culture of BI have provided the company with the foundation they needed to make better, more informed business decisions. In addition to improved customer service, Creativity has evolved into one of the few arts and craft suppliers that can effectively service large retailers, generating impressive returns both for these chains and their customers," said Paul Hoy, Global Manufacturing Industry Director, Cognos.

Cognos is a recognized leader in delivering performance management solutions for the consumer goods industry. In fact, 19 of the top 20 consumer goods companies in the world use IBM Cognos solutions. For more information about IBM Cognos solutions for the consumer packaged goods industry, please visit http://www.cognos.com/solutions/industry/manufacturing/index.html

About CIO Decisions Conference and SearchCIO-Midmarket.com:

The annual CIO Decisions Conference focuses on the unique challenges and strategic decisions that midmarket CIOs and senior IT executives face. This invitation-only, three-day event is attended by a 100% pre-qualified audience of executives at the director level and higher who have verified IT purchase influence and budgets, and are the top IT decision makers in their organizations. The CIO Decisions Conference's blend of independent expert and CIO speakers and attendee pre-qualification ensures a high-quality networking event for both attendees and sponsors.

SearchCIO-Midmarket.com is the premier source for midmarket-specific technology resources designed to help IT leaders keep pace with the ever-changing demands of managing IT at fast-growing midsized enterprises. Our award-winning editorial staff, along with leading industry experts, provide immediate access to the latest news, advice and technical tips on hot topic issues such as security, risk management, business applications, compliance, data center and infrastructure strategies. Nowhere else will you find such a highly-targeted combination of resources specifically tailored to meet the unique business and technology needs of today's midmarket IT leaders.

About Creativity, Inc:

Creativity Inc. is a leading designer, marketer and distributor of arts and crafts products. It sells its proprietary designs and brands, plus commodity products primarily to national craft chains and mass merchandisers, and to a lesser extent, independent craft retailers. Westrim Crafts, the predecessor to Creativity Inc.was started in the early 1950's providing trimmings and notions for the costumes in the movie industry. In the early 1970's WTC started selling products to craft retailers. Creativity Inc., in its present form, was established in 2002 as an organization incorporating several unique branded, wholesale distribution companies in the crafts sector. Today, the Company's products are sold under 5 major identifiable company names: Autumn Leaves, Blue Moon Beads, Crop In Style, DMD and Westrim Crafts. With nearly 300 employees and multiple warehousing locations, Creativity Inc. is one of the top 5 suppliers to the craft market. For more information, visit http://wwwcreativityinc.com

About Cognos, an IBM company:

Cognos, an IBM company, is the world leader in business intelligence and performance management solutions. It provides world-class enterprise planning and BI software and services to help companies plan, understand and manage financial and operational performance. Cognos was acquired by IBM in January 2008. For more information, visit http://www.ibm.com/software/data/ and http://www.cognos.com

Cognos and the Cognos logo are trademarks of Cognos ULC (formerly Cognos Incorporated) in the United States and/or other countries. IBM and the IBM logo are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, or other countries, or both. Other company, product, or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

(C) 2008 TechTarget and the TechTarget logo are registered trademarks, and CIO Decisions Conference and SearchCIO-Midmarket.com are trademarks of TechTarget, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Note to Editors: Copies of previous Cognos press releases and Corporate and product information are available on Cognos' Web site at http://www.cognos.com

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David DeRosa
Cognos
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