Caterpillar Tunneling: Revitalizing User Adoption of Business Intelligence Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Tunneling: Revitalizing User Adoption of Business Intelligence


The case Caterpillar Tunneling: Revitalizing user adoption of business intelligence basically discusses the various problems of Caterpillar Tunneling Canada Corporation (CTCC) that was a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., which was a United States based company. CTCC had been facing number of serious issues, which included the data inconsistency, poorly defined processes, weak enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and the uneven reporting of data and information within the company. CTCC was previously known as Lovat Inc., which was acquired by Caterpillar to make it a subsidiary of the parent company. The company was a manufacturer of tunneling technologies, which manufactured tunnel boring machines (TBMs).

Basically, problems within the company rose during the year 2011 when the company decided to shift itself or upgrade its IT structure to SAP from customized business intelligence (BI) platform. Although, SAP could have been an ideal shift but it was not replicated in the business because of the limited resources and lack of resource allocation issues at CTCC. However, it is important to understand that the BI platform was an effective tool because it created a link and allowed disparate data source successfully. BI platform was a customized tool, which was a reactive measure rather than being proactive for the company but it was working with a decent effect. However, not all the business units at the company were convinced with BI because of the imbalanced reporting landscape and port static results of BI. In spite of serious technical issues, CTCC was a profitable organization that had quite a few departments in function.

Since, SAP installation was postponed or even eliminated, BI platform was considered the only tool to manage all activities of ERP at CTCC. However, where some employees and departments considered it as an effective tool for the overall decision making at the company, some found it a confusing system and eventually turned down its usage. Some employees and departments found it as an overlapping of information with limited access to information with no security of private information.

Summary of issues

As the case states, CTCC was facing few issues and challenges since it was unable to implement SAP due to lack of resources within the company. As an alternate to SAP, the company instated business intelligence (BI) platform as the ERP system. The most basic and obvious problem at CTCC was that since prior to being acquired by Caterpillar, CTCC was a family owned business; therefore, most of the decisions that were taken by the company were a reactive measure. Along with this, the model or the project based model used within CTCC initially was quite different to the one used by Caterpillar. The company used repetitive manufacturing model, which made it difficult for the company to develop manufacturing protocols within the newly acquired company. Along with this, before the acquisition took place at CTCC it was the project management model that was quite lax and in fact it was inconsistent and rigor of regular status reporting. In fact, the model was so complex and unreliable that it took months after the project was completed. It was an over budget program and the cost had exceeded the desired levels.

Information Technology Department

IT department at CTCC was not a strategic business unit, in fact it was a mere support function in the company. By implementing the new ERP system, IT department became secured with the flow of incoming and outgoing network traffic. However, it had some technical issues such as the ERP system did not have a formal assessment by the company to identify and determine the subsidiary to better leverage the IT resources. Along with this, ERP challenged the promptness, which developed the situation where local users needed better services that were not currently present.

Enterprise Resource Planning Department

This was again a critical issue at CTCC, the reason for this issue was that the ERP department had two ERP analysts, who were actually responsible to manage and handle financial and systematic facets of the ERP at the company. Although, they were quite aligned to the ERP database installed at the company, which was efficient to perform and resolve customer queries. However, the issue which rose at CTCC was that it did not has a particular plan to overcome queries and customer concerns. They were quite reactive with their approach and lacked mechanism to secure and store information. Therefore, the introduction of BI remained a sparse.

Organization Business Analytical Needs at CTCC

Project Management Office

BI was introduced initially at PMO because it was accountable for better project reporting solutions. Although, BI was a good induction in PMO but it was resisted by many team members because members were unwilling to learn the ERP due to the tight deadline they had to meet. Along with this, not all the members were .................

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