QlikView, a global leader in business intelligence*, has done a repeat performance of its rapid global uptake in South Africa, recording a 10-fold increase in customers in five years. This month the company passed the 1000-customer milestone by signing global construction products group St Gobain.
“Fast, flexible and visual”
St Gobain South Africa experienced problems with the BI component of its enterprise solution, finding it unresponsive, difficult to implement and inflexible in the face of business changes.
Alex de Sousa, supply chain and business systems director, says the subsidiary investigated alternatives and came upon QlikView as a global BI leader. “We analysed it and it was very flexible and powerful. You can interrogate business systems from any angle, as opposed to the inflexible reports of the other tool.”
In parallel and independently, St Gobain’s group CIO did an own investigation into QlikView. Based on the two assessments, the solution was chosen as the group’s preferred solution for the construction products division.
“It is extremely fast, as it works in memory, as well as flexible and adaptive. It’s user-friendly and visual, presenting information in different modern graphical views,” De Sousa concludes.
He says St Gobain intends to roll QlikView out in every area of the business with the help of QlikView Partner KPI Management Solutions.
‘Business discovery’ leads
QlikView SA MD Davide Hanan says the company’s success is due to the user-driven brand of business intelligence it pioneered (termed ‘business discovery’).
“Business discovery tools are implemented enterprise-wide or by organisational units to give business answers to business questions, rather than predefined reports designed by IT. It has come to define modern BI, and QlikView has continued to lead this growth direction, which has come to dominate BI.”
Business discovery gives business users control over their information in keeping with the general trend of the consumerisation of business applications and tools.
“Technology that succeeds addresses end-user needs as its reason for being,” says Hanan. “QlikView is easy to use, offers compelling visualisations of business trends and allows rapid development of BI models for every area of the business – by business users.”
At the same time, QlikTech – the company that developed QlikView – has gone to great lengths to ensure the IT department’s governance requirements are met.
“QlikView offers superior integration with any source and the ability to support and manage user access and security on multiple platforms, locations and databases,” says Hanan.
The old way
Contrasted with this balanced approach, traditional BI tools places outsize importance on IT’s dictates, restricting the user experience. “This blunts the solution’s effectiveness. Users do not think in predefined query terms,” says Hanan.
According to Gartner, inflexible BI tools result in low user engagement. As a result, 30% of users who should use BI do so, whereas QlikView’s flexibility encourages far better user engagement.
To underpin its user-centric vision, QlikTech patented an in-memory associative search technology early on in its corporate history. This technology finds data associations rather than rely on cumbersome, skills-intensive querying of hierarchically-structured data, as done by SQL systems.
It shows up reasons for trends in the data and allows system interrogation in any direction. “Traditional systems can show you the problems, but not why it has become a problem,” says Hanan. “And since all the data is in memory, the response is immediate”.
Assisting this wave of change, ever more efficient data compression and ubiquitous broadband have allowed the adaptation of QlikView to mobile platforms. “Thus QlikTech have pioneered BI software overhaul on at least three catalytic levels,” says Hanan.
The latest corroboration of the tool’s clear technological leadership came in October this year, when a Business Application Research Center (BARC) survey ranked QlikView first among its BI peers in visual analysis, agility, innovation and shortest project length**.
“Our continued strong technology ratings shows that we have not just kept up with advances, we are years ahead of the field in our understanding of true user-centric BI,” says Hanan. “As a result, QlikView offers very low total cost of ownership, with a low technical skills requirement, as well as greater speed and agility in arriving at business answers. We think that advantage gives us momentum to keep building on.”