Business Intelligence the way it should be

Start with a simple proposition – that everyone in your company can do their job better if they make decisions based on actual information rather than best guesses or how-we-did-it-last-year.

What if you could have everything that ERP, CRM and now BI vendors have promised you? Immediate access to all your data, with digital dashboards that show you the Key Performance Indicators that you need to run your business. What if you could have unlimited “slice-and-dice” drill-down into your data – regardless of what system it came from – down to the transaction level if you needed it – could you do your job better? Could your employees? QlikView helps companies around the world achieve just this – significant performance and efficiency gains through fast, powerful, and easy-to-use data analysis and reporting – without the pains and costs of going through another extensive implementation process.

ERP, CRM and the rest of the alphabet soup of enterprise software systems are critical elements of running a business. Unfortunately, while these systems handle transactions well, they come up short when it comes to data access, analysis and reporting. Improving on company reporting and analysis capabilities has consistently emerged as a leading priority for CFOs for 2005. Enterprise system shortcomings in reporting and analysis have made Business Intelligence Software a multi-billion dollar market. Business Intelligence offers tremendous promise to company leaders – immediate access to all the information they need in a useable format – something that business people – not just IT staff but line of business decision makers – can use and understand. Too often though, this promise has not been fulfilled.

Typical BI – Architectural Break Down

Traditional Business Intelligence is built around a technology called OLAP – or Online Analytical Processing. OLAP is a brute force approach to multidimensional analysis. OLAP uses “cubes” in which some small set of dimensions within the data are selected, the relationships between the dimensions are defined, and then all possible combinations (or “answers”) are calculated. Once a cube is created, an end-user interface is deployed to allow for actual people to interact with the “answers” in the cube. Take a hypothetical example – sales analysis. A typical cube for sales analysis might show sales by region, by sales rep, by customer and by month. When this hypothetical cube is built, the OLAP software would calculate all possible combinations of those data elements and store them; an end user would access this data through an interface ranging from a pivot table up to a high-end Business Intelligence product.

In this hypothetical example, the end-user would be limited to analyzing across those dimensions that were pre-defined: sales by region, by sales rep, by customer and by month. When the end-user wants to know about sales by customer by week, or day of the week, or by product (or any of the hundreds of other combinations that will come up) they are out of luck – or they have to wait for another cube development cycle – severely limiting employee productivity and effectiveness.

OLAP does provide some analysis capabilities, but it is an aging approach to data analysis that does not scale effectively. There are a number of different types of OLAP on the market today (MOLAP, ROLAP etc.) but all have the same fundamental weaknesses – complexity and inflexibility. Complexity increases the time needed for deployment, limits end-user adoption, and increases the cost of downstream modifications. Inflexibility limits the ability of those end-users who do use the system to get the answers they need when they need them. Thus while OLAP-based products do provide some benefits, they are time consuming and costly to deploy, they are complicated and difficult to use, and ultimately, they are rigid and difficult to modify.

QlikView – How it all Makes Sense

QlikView takes the OLAP model and throws it away. Instead, QlikView relies on Associative Query Logic (AQL™). AQL gives companies all the benefits they expect with OLAP – dashboards, multi-dimensional analysis, slice-and-dice of data – without the limitations, the cost, or the complexity. With QlikView, your company gets the whole package – analytics, reporting, digital dashboards with custom-defined KPIs and full drill-down to the transactional level. QlikView is a business intelligence platform – so your company can build and deploy analytics applications to address virtually any business analysis requirement – sales, finance, production, inventory management, HR – the options are endless. QlikView pulls and combines data from multiple disparate data systems – so you will never be “stovepiped” or limited to seeing data from only one vendor’s systems. (As an example, one QlikView customer manages their production environments by running SAP in Europe and PeopleSoft World in North America, and also runs several other database systems for finance and HR. This customer uses QlikView to combine data from across the corporation and provide a rolled-up view of the business.)

To understand the value that QlikView can deliver, start with a simple proposition – that everyone in your company can do their job better if they make decisions based on actual information rather than best guesses or how-we-did-it-last-year. Further, people in different positions have different informational needs. QlikView delivers on all of these requirements – from the big-picture view needed in the boardroom down to the nuts and bolts of a sales representative preparing for a customer call to a production supervisor identifying and reducing variance within a manufacturing process.

How QlikView Builds Value

QlikView is a platform for building custom applications – quickly and easily. QlikTech’s goal is to deliver powerful analytic and reporting solutions in a quarter of the time, at half the cost, and with twice the value of competing OLAP-based products. Here’s how it works:

A Quarter of the Time – Most BI deployments take months – sometimes longer. QlikView applications can be deployed in just weeks – even starting from scratch. QlikView’s fast prototyping capability means that companies can have extensive end-user input into the design of applications – thus increasing their effectiveness and driving up end-user acceptance. By cutting out excessive implementation time, QlikView makes it easier for your company to implement process change. Because your change initiative is not bogged down in the implementation process the company can maintain focus on process improvements and building value.

Half the Cost – The cost of a BI deployment breaks down to several components. Software license fees and annual maintenance, new hardware, training time for IT staff and end users, IT staff time during the implementation process, and consulting fees for the people doing the actual application development and implementation work. All of these factors contribute to Total Cost of Ownership.

QlikView significantly reduces these costs across the board – giving it a significantly lower TCO as compared with the major business intelligence vendors. QlikView is competitively priced, requires only standard hardware, and training for both IT and end users is quick and effective. Because implementations are fast, consulting fees and IT time expended are kept in check. One customer recently did a head to head comparison, deploying QlikView to the manufacturing division in one country and the OLAP-based products of a major competitor to the manufacturing division in a neighboring country. The group using the competing product spent 2 years and $2 million to deploy a single application to 40 end users. The group using QlikView spent just 8 months and significantly less than $2 million to deploy 9 separate applications to nearly 400 end-users.

Twice the Value – Business value from Business Intelligence comes from two main areas – incremental gains from process improvements and exponential gains from enabling information-based decision making. Process improvements take many forms – most QlikView customers pay for their initial deployments just by reducing the employee time spent on basic reporting functions – thus freeing IT staff, cost accountants or business analysts to work on higher value-add projects. Streamlining reporting processes will provide a good incremental benefit – and indeed similar opportunities exist in process-driven areas. QlikView provides an easy-to-use tool for identifying variance in any number of business areas – calling out opportunities to improve efficiency.

The exponential gains from BI come from improving the quality of the information that business leaders use when making decisions. As an example, the CFO of a QlikView customer was recently faced with a request to build a new $2 Million warehouse. Existing warehouse space was filled beyond capacity and the company was growing rapidly. However, rather than simply spend and build, this customer initiated a program to analyze and streamline their inventory management operations. Using QlikView, this customer was able to identify significant opportunities for improvement in how they managed inventory. By putting the resulting programs in place, this customer eliminated the need for a substantial capital expenditure, and also improved the efficiency of their ongoing operations. Multiply this effect across the hundreds of decisions that company managers make every year and the potential impact is staggering.

Follow Up

If your company is still struggling to make sense of your data, consider QlikView. QlikView deployments are lightning fast – most take less than three weeks start to finish. To learn more about QlikView, contact us today at and a representative will get back to you.