BI | Drowning in Excel reports. Employee retention. Some unexpected benefits from deploying a business intelligence platform like Power BI and Qlik.

Power BI

Here is one recent example of how a business intelligence tool can deliver more than just new operational insights.

  • The client: Multiple systems, multiple sites, time and labour-intensive manual reporting

  • The result: Timely, automated reports, new insights with an instant feedback portal

  • Next Steps: Deployed to mobile with chat, user accountability and predictive analytics

Managing a business is very much about the people that you work with. The clients that rely on our services to run their business and the employees at Advance that are responsible for delivering these business systems. Clients and employees both need to have a good level of customer satisfaction or relationships can fall apart.

It was interesting to hear from my peers about situations where talented employees have left their jobs because of frustrations caused by data overload and using a process that is inefficient, manual, slow and often frustrating. There are times when work will be challenging and that is a part of life, but throwing more labour into a manual process to get the result is not a good long-term solution.

Companies that foster employee growth through technology innovation will improve staff retention. We try to adopt innovative tools early that are good value and this means our team is always learning new skills. The users of these solutions on the client side are eager to adopt a new system if it makes their work life easier and more productive.

Employee satisfaction and retention was an unexpected benefit from deploying a successful business intelligence platform.

Below is a BI solution we have been working on which is quite a common example where daily reporting is needed and there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to manually pull all of the data from the various branches and the 30+ systems. This type of reporting will cause frustration to any employee, especially if they are tasked with manually accessing each branch early every morning to build a complete view of the businesses performance.

The Challenge

  • Multiple sites, often in the double digits. 30 sites are not uncommon

  • Multiple disparate business systems across different locations, systems like Xero, MYOB, SAP, many others for HR functions and client facing systems

  • Be aware that although powerful, API’s are not built equally and something that performs well in a mature system like SAP may not provide the same data and consistency in something like MYOB. The ability to manipulate the data is a critical aspect of connecting multiple data sources

  • Time-consuming and labour-intensive manual reporting

  • The window for generating daily reporting not big enough to generate reports on time

  • Sites spread across multiple geographies and time zones

  • Manual, static Microsoft Excel reports to consolidate data into PowerPoint and then emailed each day




Using Traditional Reporting Encountered Some Of These Challenges

  • Hardly scalable and very prone to human error

  • Time-consuming, manual and inefficient

  • Not a lot of fun. Repetitive tasks

  • Staff turnover is high

  • Inefficient with no automation

  • Slow

  • Missed opportunities

  • No forward projection or predictive analytics

  • Linking performance to industry systems that benchmark against competitors in the same industry was not possible

  • Reporting can look inconsistent and not well branded when required for management reporting

A Better Solution

  • A business intelligence solution connecting all of the systems and data into a single verified view of the truth

  • Automated, consistent, branded and uniformly formatted reports and dashboards

  • Dynamic insights that can be queried, drilled down for further detail

  • Automatic red flag warnings for KPI’s that are underperforming or outliers

  • Opportunities for further growth in positive KPI’s

  • Data pulled directly from each system, automatically calculated, verified and disturbed in minutes

  • Manageable distribution via internal systems like Slack or email to a selected user or group based on title or credentials

  • Connected to external data sources such as local weather to provide further insights and predictable analytics

  • Easily managed by employees without any special training

  • Portal for reporting commentary enabling stakeholder feedbacks

  • Secure and only the right people have access

KPI Pulse

The Results

  • Finance now quickly generate required reporting each day for 9:00AM reviews

  • Holistic reports for entire business across all 30 locations

  • New insights for things like revenue vs payroll

  • Automated reports are distributed each day to key stakeholders

  • Increased efficiency, productivity and employee satisfaction

  • Finance can focus on actions versus generating reports

  • Minimal manual reporting – there is always some needed and the human touch.

  • Consistent presentation with clear branding

  • Instant feedback on the numbers via comments on a secure portal

Final Thoughts

A well thought out BI implementation will connect all these business systems and inputs to build accurate business reports and dashboards. Smarter insights and visualisations with automated reporting will reduce risk and provide the feedback needed to manage a business effectively with a holistic view.

Enabling your team with valuable tools will teach them new skills and a reduction in manual inefficient processes will lead to better job satisfaction.

Tools like Qlik and Power BI are powerful, they will pull together all the systems so you can start building meaningful insights. Qlik is remarkably good at this. By linking to virtually any data source will let you manipulate data to build reports without the need for a data warehouse. The benefit is that it is more cost effective, quick to get answers, often within days not weeks. We have connected to a clients systems in a demonstration right there on the spot and built a report from a live system which is very compelling. Speed to new insights and value is a key benefit when using a tool like Qlik.

A Common Question

How do you get started? The first step to any project is getting access to the data.

If you would like to know more or have any questions about BI, get in touch with us here. We are passionate business intelligence experts.

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