Boeing: Data-Driven Innovation to Power the Best Integrated Aerospace Company

By | March 31, 2015

It doesn’t get much cooler than Boeing, right? Ranked 30th on Fortune 500, manufacturer of commercial and military aircraft AND the prime contractor for the International Space Station – add in that they’re almost a $100B company and the incredible history of innovation and well… you have Boeing. Innovation doesn’t stop at the cool stuff Boeing pioneers, it is pervasive throughout the century old, global company.   With the vision of “What Others Dream.  We do.” Boeing is an elite member of the innovation club.

Boeing needed to enable the organization to transcend the production of financial information and spend more time helping the business use facts to take actions that would achieve the strategic vision.  Boeing knew finance was uniquely positioned to help the company operate and transform into a fact-based, data-driven culture.

“Overall Boeing was looking for one source of the truth to provide an ecosystem that allowed people to get better insights from the information, that will allow them to utilize a self-service model, and provide better answers at a higher quality with less effort.” – Howard Alexander, Director of Business and Supply Chain Systems

Howard Alexander Boeing

Howard Alexander

The goal: give self-service BI to 20,000 HR, Finance and Supply Chain users through the integrated data warehouse.  Boeing I-T & Business had to find common definitions across business units and transform its systems infrastructure, which included consolidating hundreds  of data marts. Two key strategies ensured success. First, partnering with the business and second creating a foundation for analytics.

“One focus area has been, from the standpoint of value of integrated data, in the finance area.  The key there, is that the finance professional has a seat at the table, and is more than just reporting what has happened; actually involved in helping drive the right decisions, bringing to the table insights that can help management make decisions that are going to gain a better result. The analytics and the business intelligence has been built around keeping them away from having to do a lot of searching for data, massaging of data, more about spending more time understanding what the data is telling them and understanding what assumptions can be derived from what they’re looking at.  That’s a perfect example of where we have been able to provide a framework that has helped an organization move toward what they consider a business imperative.”  – Howard Alexander, Director of Business and Supply Chain Systems

Data-Driven BusinessThat foundation allowed for what Howard Alexander calls the “community approach to analytics” within risk, cost accounting and labor management. Boeing users got increased self-service through user-friendly discovery and analysis tools, empowering them to solve their own problems and answer their own questions before data latency rendered the questions null. Now, Boeing has financial visibility throughout the month so the business can solve possible problems before they’re problems (month-end insight is too late!) Business users spend their time looking for better outcomes.  Teradata’s Unified Data Architecture™ means Boeing can leverage its technology infrastructure to get the most it can holistically.  Alexander says Teradata Unified Data Architecture™ allows them to meet objectives for cost performance and power the business intelligence analytic needs.

“We’re definitely a deeply data-driven business, from the data that’s coming from our products, our airplanes, and other products, from the data that we use to manage our business, it is about the information, and it’s gonna be the key differentiator in the future, as we develop fairly hot, complex systems that produce a tremendous amount of data, that we can use to make the products better, and also serve the mission of our customers better.” – Howard Alexander, Director of Business and Supply Chain Systems

Thank you to the team at Boeing for sharing this data-driven story of success!


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