Introducing FlixBuster Analytics
Now seems like a good time to introduce the running DW/BI example that I'll be revisiting throughout this book to show you how the various Agile practices are applied. I use an imaginary video rental chain to demonstrate the Agile Analytics practices. The company is FlixBuster, and they have retail stores in cities throughout North America. FlixBuster also offers video rentals online where customers can manage their rental requests and movies are shipped directly to their mailing address. Finally, FlixBuster offers movie downloads directly to customers' computers.
FlixBuster has customers who are members and customers who are nonmembers. Customers fall into three buying behavior groups: those who shop exclusively in retail stores, those who shop exclusively online, and those who split their activity across channels. FlixBuster customers can order a rental online or in the store, and they can return videos in the store or via a postage-paid return envelope provided by the company.
Members pay a monthly subscription fee, which determines their rental privileges. Top-tier members may rent up to three videos at the same time. There is also a membership tier allowing two videos at a time as well as a tier allowing one at a time. Members may keep their rentals indefinitely with no late charges. As soon as FlixBuster receives a returned video from a member, the next one is shipped. Nonmembers may also rent videos in the stores following the traditional video rental model with a four-day return policy.
Approximately 75 percent of the brick-and-mortar FlixBuster stores across North America are corporately owned and managed; the remaining 25 percent are privately owned franchises. FlixBuster works closely with franchise owners to ensure that the customer experience is consistent across all stores. FlixBuster prides itself on its large inventory of titles, the rate of customer requests that are successfully fulfilled, and how quickly members receive each new video by mail.
FlixBuster has a complex partnership with the studios producing the films and the clearinghouses that provide licensed media to FlixBuster and manage royalty payments and license agreements. Each title is associated with a royalty percentage to be paid to the studio. Royalty statements and payments are made on a monthly basis to each of the clearinghouses.
Furthermore, FlixBuster sales channels (e-tail and retail) receive a percentage of the video rental revenue. Franchise owners receive a negotiated revenue amount that is generally higher than for corporately owned retail outlets. The online channel receives still a different revenue percentage to cover its operating costs.
FlixBuster has determined that there is a good business case for developing an enterprise business intelligence system. This DW/BI system will serve corporate users from finance, marketing, channel sales, customer management, inventory management, and other departments. FlixBuster also intends to launch an intranet BI portal for subscription use by its clearinghouse partners, studios, franchisees, and possibly even Internet movie database providers. Such an intranet portal is expected to provide additional revenue streams for FlixBuster.
There are multiple data sources for the FlixBuster DW/BI system, including FlixBackOffice, the corporate ERP system; FlixOps, the video-by-mail fulfillment system; FlixTrans, the transactional and point-of-sale system; FlixClear, the royalty management system; and others.
FlixBuster has successfully completed other development projects using Agile methods and is determined to take an Agile Analytics approach on the development of its DW/BI system, FlixAnalysis. During high-level executive steering committee analysis and reviews, it has been decided that the first production release of FlixAnalysis will be for the finance department and will be a timeboxed release cycle of six months.