Hitting a data chord
"I started looking at Qlikview five or six years ago. We did a proof-of-concept back in the day, and I was all for making it happen then. For various reasons that didn't happen. Then three years ago, I realised that the business was in the right space to start talking about going down a proper BI route," says Rowland.
At that point in time, Warehouse Stationery was running Discoverer, a SQL generation engine, as the main reporting tool. However, the team felt that it was not giving the company what it needed in terms of responsiveness, and data capture seemed to slow down even further with the deployment of Oracle's eBusiness Suite.
"All we were really doing was producing data that was nothing clever in terms of graphical reporting or visual insights on top of it, which was okay, but it wasn't what we needed to take the business to the next level.
"Given that I had previously seen Qlikview and was pleased with it, I then brought it in for a demo. And the amount of interest was incredible. The hardest thing I had to do with this project was slowing the business down. I had to make sure that I had the data in the right format, make sure I had everything in place to make it happen. Once the business saw it they were just really ready to have it in straight away," says Rowland.
The initial deployment started in Warehouse Stationery and was carried out in a progressive format. All necessary elements were in place for the company by May 2012.
"The biggest amount of Qlikview use is still within Warehouse Stationery. But we also produce group data sales reports, which is taking data from nearly all the companies within the group. There are yet a couple that I have not gotten access to yet, for various reasons, so that's happening. We produce all the daily sales reports for Torpedo 7. We have a collection of companies in its own right that's Torpedo 7, Shotgun Supplements, No1 fitness and R&R sports, and multiple channels within that.
"We set up a new business last year called TV International Brands. That was set up from scratch with Qlikview, and have no other reporting solution. They have full Qlikview dashboards and data sets.
"We are looking to deploy into three other companies in the very near future within the group. So Qlikview starting to tough way more than just Warehouse Stationery," says Rowland.
Fit to functions
Besides moving the solution into more companies within the group, the BI team is also understanding what more can be done with the solution itself.
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