FiberMark uses QlikView to pull together data from Oracle, J.D. Edwards, SAP, Access, and Excel into individual applications - saving the company time and money.
FiberMark is a multi-national company headquartered in Vermont, producing specialty fiber based materials. Like many other firms, Fibermark was facing a common problem. Their ERP system was doing a great job of creating and managing hundreds of transactions a day, but Fibermark's management team was forced to run thousands of pages of reports to try to glean any information or insight from that data. Fibermark also had mission critical data in a wide range of other enterprise systems and databases, including Oracle, SAP, Excel and Access. The quantity and distribution of the data made it especially difficult to analyze what was happening in the business and how to react.
Fibermark initiated a search for business intelligence tools and evaluated several, eventually choosing QlikView 5 due to its intuitive nature and ability to gather and analyze data from a wide range of sources.
Fibermark initially selected QlikView to improve insight into sales data and to distribute information and analysis tools to the sales force. Within one week, the initial sales analysis applications based on QlikView 5 were deployed to the sales force.
"I've been working with ERP systems for years", said Joel Taylor, director of IS for FiberMark. "And I'd come to the conclusion that they were nothing but glorified report writers. Within 15 minutes of seeing QlikView I realized what it could do and why we needed it. It's quickly become the most useful software tool we have."
Fibermark distributes sales analysis to sales managers and to the remote sales force over the Internet through QlikView Web server. There are 130 users, including five power users. The sales force uses QlikView and the sales analysis application to evaluate progress against goals, compare sales statistics against baselines, and identify trends and problem areas.
Once the application was deployed, senior management from other business functions saw the insight and power that QlikView was able to deliver, and requested QlikView applications for their departments. Eventually, QlikView was deployed for sales analysis, purchasing analysis, inventory control, financial analysis, and human resources. The QlikView applications pull data from a wide range of sources. "It doesn't matter where the data is, as long as there is an ODBC driver, we can get to it", said Taylor.
Insights and Savings for Fibermark
QlikView offered Fibermark some unique capabilities, including the patented AQL associative database that resides in a computer's memory, rather than a data warehouse or OLAP cube. This means that all analysis is done locally when requested and removes the need to develop complex, expensive data structures. Since the data is not "pre-aggregated", it is possible to interact with the data from any level, any dimension with complete drill-down capabilities.
Additionally, there is insight in what is not selected, through the "reverse answer concept". When a field is selected in QlikView, all the values associated with that field fl oat to the top of their column; alternatively values not associated are grayed and sink to the bottom of the display box. "Reverse answers tell me more than anything else" said Taylor. "Now I not only know who is selling a product; but who isn't selling it. When I know that, I can try to find out why. That solves problems we might not have known we had."
But it was more than QlikView's ease-of-use and intuitive user interface that really convinced FiberMark of its value. "QlikView paid for itself instantly just in error corrections" said Taylor. "We discovered problems with the way some orders were being filed; finding and fixing them easily saved us the cost of QlikView. And if we hadn't gotten our money's worth then, we saved as much money over nine months in savings from paper and print cartridges. With QlikView our people don't have to run endless reports all the time. We cut our printing costs in half just by installing QlikView."
A Product People Use and Enjoy
Every enterprise dreads the idea of "shelf ware", the expensive system that is so difficult to learn and hard to use that ends up gathering dust on the shelf. QlikView lets users interact with their data in a natural and intuitive manner. End user training can be completed in a few hours as opposed to days. When software is easy to understand it is adopted much more widely throughout an enterprise, and becomes a useful tool and provides real ROI. FiberMark doesn't worry about shelf ware with QlikView. QlikView has provided Fibermark with access to their data, real and immediate ROI, and a software solution that has been enthusiastically embraced throughout their company. This all comes together and helps deliver tangible competitive advantages for FiberMark short term as well as for a long time to come.