Canon India is a provider of photographic and digital imaging solutions. It was imperative for the company’s managers to take quick and informed business decisions. This need led to the deployment of QlikView business intelligence (BI).
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Prior to QlikView BI, the process involved producing reports from the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, exporting them to Excel, messaging the data into the required format, and presenting it. The process was time consuming and data management required back-office personnel.
Canon India required a real time, web-enabled technology that could read from disparate systems such as Oracle e-biz ERP, human resource information system, customer and dealer management portals, retail point of sales (POS) systems, Oracle relational database management system, and Lotus Domino.
The key evaluation criteria, besides meeting the functional requirements, included ease of deployment and time taken to deploy. The time allocated for the deployment of the first three modules, i.e. sales, inventory, and receivables, was two months.
QlikView BI from QlickTech, Sweden was selected for its cost, user-friendliness, data access management features, and provision to integrate with Lotus Messaging for sending alerts. QlikView BI also met another important requirement: sourcing data from disparate systems and presenting a unified view to the business managers.
In the first phase, QlikView BI was implemented at Canon India in 2006 by Team Computers. This phase involved the rollout of sales, inventory, and receivables modules, which were relevant to the top management, regional managers, product managers, inventory planners, and credit teams.
The second phase was rolled out in October 2010, wherein analytics on service, human resources (HR), complaints, logistics, and dealer claims were incorporated. This was an initiative to expand the analytic facilities to other departments. Following the success of sales, the stocks module was taken on to expand the scope of QlikView BI.
Vendor support was required for server sizing, data extraction, query writing and designing the framework.
At Canon, QlickView BI system is managed by the in-house IT team. For any major changes, the vendor is called in..
Freeing up of resources
Post deployment of QlikView BI, the business managers do not have to depend on the sales teams to generate reports. They can access the information they want from the QlickView BI system directly. On the other hand, the sales resources are freed up for undertaking more productive jobs.
The managers can also compare and analyze business information based on parameters such as time, geographies, products, and types of customers. Data from Oracle e-biz suite, Lotus Notes workflows, and call center system can be accessed and shown in graphical, rollup, drill down, and excel exportable formats. These features have also made the product usage simpler and intuitive for business users.
Improvement in data quality
“QlikView BI has also improved the data quality in the existing systems,” points out Shikha Rai, Director –IT, Canon India. “Prior to this deployment, an incorrect entry in the base system could not be changed and hence had to be rectified in Excel. As a result, the base system would continue to have incorrect information. However, since the deployment of QlikView BI, the data in the base system can be compared for inconsistencies and corrections can be made wherever required. This has also helped in boosting the users’ confidence about the correctness of master data. Further, an absence of any middle layer in the new system has also improved the quality of data entry,” Rai explains.
Another positive outcome of the QlikView BI deployment has been an easy access to real time, ad hoc querying information on the move. As a combined effect, the QlikView BI implementation has expedited the decision-making process at Canon India.
Benefit to customer service
The deployment of QlikView BI has also improved quality of customer service for Canon India.
Earlier, the customers of Canon’s copiers had to call the company’s call center to open a service ticket and request for service.
Now with QlikView BI, the service portals where those calls are logged are available to the customers. Thus, the customer can view the service tickets opened, service performance, billing based on copier meter reading, and other such aspects. By making QlikView BI available to their customers, now Canon can even plan to offer BI as a value addition to them.