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Business Analytics – Ulf Lilja, CFO of Sony Ericsson

Business Analytics: Keeping Your Company Well Informed
Ulf Lilja
CFO, Sony Ericsson


At Sony Ericsson, against the backdrop of the dramatic and quick changes in the mobile communication industry over the last one to two years, it’s become increasingly important to have very good intelligence about your consumers, about your competitors, where the trends are going and how you should react to them. So in light of that, in the finance area we have strengthened our way of collecting critical intelligence in terms of consumer behavior and competitors.

The way we have approached that is to take help from more modern techniques in the IT world. We have bought some very good software tools that make it more efficient to share data within the company about the industry, about competitors, and to a certain extent, about customers and suppliers. That has helped us reduce the cost for collecting intelligence but also makes it available to our key managers more quickly. Specifically, we have managed to draw on the fact that we are, in Sony Ericsson, very centralized in working with one ERP system, notably SAP. But we have then connected our SAP world with some specific intelligence tools from other makers. That has given us a steep change, particularly in sharing this information.

The outcome of the more focused effort of collecting intelligence is definitely more informed decision making, and specifically, earlier than before we made this effort, we have managed to detect important trend changes and act on them much earlier. I think it’s probably here to stay: that intelligence and being well-informed as a company is more important than before. Notably, I think the changes are coming much quicker. They’re coming more often. You constantly need to update your thinking with the latest available information about your industry, as well as about your competitors. I think it’s money well-spent.