Business challenge

Eko Music Group aims to deliver high-quality experiences on every touchpoint—but time-consuming month-end reporting increased the risk of stocking out of products, especially on the digital channel.


The company worked with IBM Business Partner Info Consulting to deploy a centralized business intelligence platform, enabling it to rapidly collate and drill down into its operational data.



faster month-end reporting supports timely decision-making and effective planning


a single version of the truth across the business, increasing trust in reports


reports enable managers to analyze data on the go, increasing responsiveness

Business challenge story

Hunger for insight

Streaming services aren’t the only thing shaking up the music industry. Consumer expectations around e-commerce services are also growing—and if retailers and distributors can’t deliver seamless digital experiences, they risk missing out on sales opportunities.

Value-added services like e-commerce are a key focus for Eko Music Group, one of Italy’s leading producers and distributors of musical instruments, supplies and media. The group wanted to help its companies to reach customers on new channels, but delivering the timely, accurate data to support the new fulfilment models presented tough challenges.

Francesco D’Astore, CFO and COO at Eko Music Group, begins: “We aim to offer musicians everything they need to live their passion for music. As customer needs continue to evolve, we need to fine-tune our business accordingly. For this reason, we are changing the way we produce, distribute and commercialize music across our 12 business units.

“Driving this transformation has intensified our need for fast, granular insight into a wider range of data, including customer satisfaction scores, stock levels, marketing campaigns and market research. We wanted to provide the business with the information they need to make timely, well-informed strategy decisions.”

In the past, each of Eko Music Group’s business units relied on manual, spreadsheet-based processes to create month-end reports.

Francesco D’Astore explains: “It could take us as long as 25 days to collate month-end data, and a further seven days to create month-end reports. Delays in producing reports meant that we weren’t immediately aware of how our product lines were performing. We knew this situation increased our risk of stocking out, especially in our e-commerce stores, where sales can sometimes move faster than our brick-and-mortar stores.”

He continues: “Differences in data definitions across the business also made it difficult to create a group-wide view of our performance that everyone could agree on. To offer clear information to our decision-makers, we decided to standardize our approach to business intelligence.”

IBM Cognos Business Intelligence has delivered the analytics capabilities we need to align our business with fast-changing consumer expectations.

Francesco D’Astore, CFO and COO, Eko Music Group

Transformation story

Increasing the tempo

Eko Music Group enlisted the expert help of Danilo Scarponi, Professor at Università Politecnica delle Marche and Business Intelligence Training and Coaching Consultant, to provide advice. After reviewing its options, Eko Music Group selected IBM® Cognos® Business Intelligence.

“I have experience with a variety of business intelligence tools, but when Prof. Scarponi showed me IBM Cognos Business Intelligence, I was extremely impressed. I immediately felt that Cognos was the ideal solution for our needs: user-friendly, flexible and with a range of reporting functionalities that addressed our specific requirements,” continues D’Astore.

To implement the IBM solution, Eko Music Group joined forces with IBM Silver Business Partner Info Consulting. D’Astore recalls: “The Info Consulting team possessed the expertise we needed to make our business intelligence vision a reality. We worked closely with both Prof. Scarponi and Info Consulting, and the collaboration proved highly effective.”

By harnessing IBM Cognos Business Intelligence to standardize its reporting processes and data model, Eko Music Group can create user-friendly, easy-to-read dashboards that display a single version of the truth for data such as warehouse stock levels and sales, accessible at the touch of a button.

D’Astore adds: “Before we implemented Cognos, we found that our reports weren’t as timely as we would have liked and that it could often be difficult to look beyond the complexity of our data. With Cognos, we can visualize our data in new ways, which helps us to identify hidden efficiencies. Better still, our users don’t have to be data scientists to extract actionable insights with Cognos—all of us can easily interpret the dashboards. And because Cognos puts operational data at our fingertips on- or offline, our top managers can keep their pulse on the business at all times, even when flying overseas. We are still developing the platform, but we are very pleased with what we have achieved so far.”

Results story

String of successes

With IBM Cognos Business Intelligence driving its group-wide reporting processes, Eko Music Group can produce trusted, accurate and granular reports in a fraction of the time—helping it support its new digital channels.

D’Astore comments: “In the past, we received month-end data only after at least 25 days, and needed an extra seven working days to run analysis and create reports on multiple spreadsheets. Now, Cognos is helping us to collate our month-end data almost immediately, and put together visually engaging, easy-to-interpret dashboards containing all the information that our decision-makers need in just one day—96 percent faster than before.

“Additionally, because top managers can access important reports offline, they can work more flexibly and productively than ever before. Ultimately, we are confident that our shorter time-to-insight will translate into improved planning, better product availability, and higher sales.”

Following its initial successes with the IBM solution, Eko Music Group is now planning for the future. The company intends to deploy predictive analytics to further enhance its budgeting and forecasting processes.

D’Astore concludes: “IBM Cognos Business Intelligence has delivered the analytics capabilities we need to align our business with fast-changing consumer expectations. We are building an accurate view of how each of our businesses is performing, and can rest assured that the data is reliable and up-to-date.

“Our work with IBM and Info Consulting has paved the way for a greater, even more successful future as Italy’s leading provider of musical instruments, supplies and media. We look forward to offering even-better products and services to musicians and music lovers across the country, and we are confident that IBM Cognos Business Intelligence will be key to helping us to achieve that.”

About Eko Music Group

Established in 1959 and headquartered in Recanati, Italy, Eko Music Group is the Italian leader in the production and distribution of musical instruments, with particular emphasis on guitars. The company’s 120 employees delight the country’s music lovers with 70 different brands of instruments and a wide array of music-related services and entertainment.

Solution components

  • Cognos Business Intelligence
  • M&E: Agile Enterprise

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Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Osimo, Italy, Info Consulting is an IBM Silver Business Partner and a leading provider of consulting services. With deep expertise in business intelligence, ERP and warehouse management solutions, the company helped customers in industries including manufacturing, banking and distribution to achieve their business goals. To learn more about Info Consulting, please visit:

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