Easy efficiency, savings and productivity for EOH with Qlik
"Qlik offers ease of use and can be integrated across any organisation for greater efficiencies. At EOH, we use Qlik broadly, whether it's reviewing our performance against budgets, or against sales, or against contracts, it has become part and parcel of how we run the business. I can't do without it. We manage this business on Qlik. There's nothing we do here without Qlik," says Tebogo Sehume, Managed Services / Public Sector, EOH.
EOH is widely known as Africa's largest technology service provider. Following the consulting, technology and outsourcing model, the group provides high value, end-to-end solutions to its clients in all industry verticals. Listed in 1998, EOH attributes its 36% compounded annual growth to a culture of remaining prudent, and not just meeting, but exceeding, customer expectations.
EOH provides the technology, knowledge, skills and organisational ability critical to Africa's development and growth. With over 12 500 staff and more than 5 000 clients, EOH's footprint includes 134 locations, in 50 countries, across Africa and abroad. Its end-to-end offerings have engendered a strong reputation for delivery.
EOH focuses on industry-specific solutions. With insights into future business trends and drivers, EOH expertly supports growth and development. EOH's operating model focuses on four divisions across industries: ICT, industrial technologies, BPO, and international.
By the very nature of its business, EOH is constantly inundated with massive data sources, including government documents which outline budget and expenditure. "Ordinarily, we would have to read the information, make sense of what government spend was going to be, and determine where the priorities and opportunities lie. This became an analytical nightmare," confirms Sehume.
Evaluating sales and delivering executive reporting was a major pain point for the business, simply due to the time needed to complete the task. This impeded strategy and planning. "To make strategic sales decisions, we needed to know how deals are won, and how those manifest into revenue. We really needed full visibility of the total lifecycle of a transaction, while subsequently understanding the service delivery eco-system," advises Sehume. "But with static reports that often took far too long to compile this simply wasn't possible."
According to EOH Finance Director: Corporate, Isobel Townsend, data analysis was laborious, taking a lot of time and lacking in flexibility. This meant that decisions could not be made based on real-time data, and the business was forced to manage reactively rather than proactively.
Rene Bredenkamp, EOH's Divisional Finance Director: ICT, confirmed that financial reporting was a real business challenge. "Being part of a big corporate with tons of data (previously received in Excel) reporting became a challenge."
She confirms that these Excel spreadsheets were vulnerable and presented operational challenges. "These files were difficult to manage due to their size. All our data was static. We have a number of companies and business units that operate on their own financial systems and to analyse data quickly has always been a problem."
The company's ICT Director, Rob Godlonton, agrees. He advises that Excel spreadsheets were also the biggest pain point in human resources and managed services. He believes that having the data is different to understanding it. "What do you do with your data? If you don't have a tool to slice and dice the information and look at it in different ways or pick up trends, what's the use?" asks Godlonton.
As the saying goes: you don't know what you don't know until you have visibility.
QlikView was initially implemented in the public sector division of EOH, in 2014. It was then rolled out to Managed Services, Finance and Human Resources. "We started using Qlik from a strategy and planning perspective. From there it just mushroomed in the organisation," adds Sehume. "Before we knew it we were doing CRM on Qlik, Financial Management on Qlik, and Service Delivery Assessments and Analyses on Qlik. Every facet is managed through the Qlik solution; down to the petrol cards."
When Sehume moved to Managed Services, he continued the implementation of Qlik at EOH in that department. Soon after this, the Finance Division adopted Qlik too. QlikView is further used to analyse the performance of the EOH bid office.
He notes that the solution is impressively adaptable, dashboards can be created in a matter of hours, and the information is intuitively available in the format you need, when you need it. Delivering high speed execution, the ability to create an intuitive story from very basic data, without requiring programming skills, sets the solution apart. "If you know what you want, you are able to design and run your own dashboards."
As it is in fact part of the EOH Group, the implementation of Qlik was a seamless process. The first implementation (post-design period) was delivered within three months and benefits were immediately seen. "Although we've had access to the Qlik experts throughout the process, given the simplicity of the application, the deployment is always quick. And the experience is always painless."
From a Finance perspective, Qlik was implemented in 2015 and put on top of EOH's existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool, as well as its payroll system. "We use Qlik for reporting, revenue analysis, and project management," says Townsend. "It's a very easy tool to use to collate information from different places."
Townsend believes that the Qlik solution offers more flexibility, good turnaround times and is easy to use. "The fact that it's easy to put Qlik on top of multiple products, and the simplicity with which it can be integrated with many databases and other sources, makes Qlik the tool of choice. Wherever you have information, it's easy to integrate it all into one simple view, without needing to build any complicated infrastructure to do so."
"The rollout to users is simple because it is user friendly. Once you know a few of the basic commands you can develop a new app yourself. The same logic of usage applies across the board, so to roll it out to users is quite simple," she adds.
With an uncomplicated process, involving no capital/infrastructure costs, the implementation of Qlik continues to spread through the EOH Group. Townsend confirms that this organisation-wide implementation is well received by staff, because the tool is easy to use and offers staff at every level true benefits.
Bredenkamp adds that the first introduction of Qlik to Finance was a CRM app that read from the EOH CRM System. From here the company developed a revenue app. "EOH's Finance Division currently has 13 financial apps."
To Bredenkamp, the Qlik solution has delivered massive efficiency improvements. "We've come a long way in reporting. We used to send out reports only once month end was closed. Now we can log in at any time to see and deliver reports."
The Finance Department now utilises QlikView Reporting, QlikSense and NPrinting - all of which have become integral to the Finance team.
Qlik has empowered EOH to improve productivity, efficiency and the ability to make sound decisions based on real-time information. "We can now place the government budget into a spreadsheet, load it into Qlik and we're able to evaluate the data in seconds," confirms Sehume. "Managing budgets from 260 municipalities, across 35 departments, and then processing that data to come up with a business plan was a mammoth task... but with Qlik we now do this effortlessly."
To Sehume, the benefit of Qlik lies in visibility. "Reliable and intelligent data analysis is available up to the second, so that we can make informed decisions." Qlik delivers in-depth, up to the minute insights into the financial standing, service levels and performance on all contracts. Godlonton confirms that Qlik has also empowered EOH to ensure the right Field Service Agent is in the right place at the right time, bolstering cost efficiency and promoting Service Desk performance.
"We use QlikView to analyse service desk calls, which we field for our customers. This helps us to eliminate unnecessary or 'fake' call outs, bringing down the cost of delivery," adds Sehume. Through the analysis of its petrol cards, the Managed Services Division has brought its travel expenses down by a massive 30% - a benefit which it is passing on to customers.
EOH is also driving benefits to customers by introducing them to Qlik and educating them on the value of the solution. "We have done pilot presentations at a number of clients, including the Department of Justice, to show them the power of QlikView (regardless of the data source). The beauty of the solution is that you don't have to have a single source, and the source doesn't have to be structured."
EOH Directors confirm that the lessons they can now learn from their own business is the power of QlikView. "The fact that you can teach a Head of Human Resources how to do these analyses themselves gives them the power to handle their own affairs."
Contributing to operational success, Qlik offers EOH the ability to operate with targeted efforts. Decisions are made based on what will immediately make a good impact, as opposed to relying on trial and error to find the right way to do things. Due to its inherent speed, using Qlik offsite is vastly more affordable than other solutions. "Qlik is a breeze to access because it's quick. I don't have to consume a lot of data to get to the result," says Sehume.
The Financial Management of the organisation has experienced positive growth, with standardised, consistent, fast and reliable reporting. "Qlik is definitely a time saving tool which indirectly converts into cost savings," adds Townsend. "The ease of accessibility of information gives the user full visibility. This visibility allows you to manage things better."
Through Qlik, the EOH team now spends its time reviewing trends and identifying gaps and issues, rather than preparing spreadsheets which sometimes only deliver a one-sided view. "From a resource point of view, we are saving a tremendous amount of time, having eliminated the need to consolidate excel spreadsheets and manipulate data," confirms Bredenkamp.
EOH has experienced marked financial benefits from using Qlik. Apps that are built on top of third party information offer real time cost analysis, as opposed to static data. "For example, we have Qlik App running on top of our third-party petrol card functionality," states Bredenkamp. "The trend analysis has led to a reduction in costs and increased recoveries from customers and employees."
The Finance Department has automated a number of tasks with apps, including payroll.
"Most of our reporting has moved to QlikView, which means we require much less static, manual reporting. This enhances decision making, allowing us to analyse data, see trends, and identify and address errors immediately," says Bredenkamp.
"With the flexibility to access a Business Unit's performance in an instant (rather than 30 days later when we review financials), we have ensured the success of our operations. With many different Business Units across the board, Qlik has vastly improved efficiencies. I've seen the benefit. I was here when we operated from static Excel uploads and files. The various, in-depth views that we get with Qlik help us to make the right financial decisions."
Godlonton confirms that using Qlik hugely benefits EOH from a business perspective. "We can now make better informed decisions faster."
The business has seen significant savings across the group. From its headcount, to ensuring the right resources are allocated to the right tasks, Qlik has ensured that the business benefits, which continue to multiply with its ongoing use.
"Evangelists of Qlik have emerged, all we need to do is give them the tool and they continue to find more and more uses for it," adds Godlonton. "Without a doubt, Qlik has provided a solution to the pains points and challenges experienced in our business. It has not only provided a solution, but has also added significant value to the end users and the business users."
As the implementation of Qlik continues across the EOH Group, new applications are favouring QlikSense over QlikView. "All you need to be able to operate QlikSense is logic," advises Sehume.
Townsend adds that new applications are being developed monthly. "We implement new apps on a monthly basis. We're continuously improving the way that we are receiving and analysing the business' information, through Qlik. This is becoming the norm."
Bredenkamp confirms that users are being trained to be more comfortable with the system. The aim is to drive further adoption of the tool, while allowing employees to be more self-sufficient in their use of Qlik.
Consuming more of what Qlik has to offer is Godlonton's main goal. "In a nutshell, I'd like to see it being adopted by all of our leaders and business units."
Customer Name: Bidvest Procurement.
Industry: Procurement Solutions for the Bidvest Group.
Function: Mandated to save the group money on all non-cost of sales operational expenditure.
Specific applications: Budget; General Ledger; Telecoms; Travel; Motor vehicles and Utilities.
Generally: Executive; Finance; Supply Chain; Logistics.
Geography: Johannesburg, South Africa,
Challenges: Bidvest Procurement's data management was constantly hampered by the sheer majority and variety of data sources and types at hand. Manually generated information required laborious collation and manipulation. This was time consuming and ineffective.
Solution: Bidvest Procurement evaluated a host of business intelligence partners. Upon careful consideration, Qlik Sense was chosen to become its core reporting tool in 2017.
Benefits: Bidvest Procurement can now see a consolidated view of operations across the Group.
The business is empowered to identify trends and exceptions as well as structure commercial agreements.
More strategic decision-making fed by real-time, reliable data
Disparate data now effectively consolidated for a single-view.
Data Source: A variety of unstructured, Excel documents. Piviots.
Six months to develop five applications covering Bidvest Group's Budget, General Ledger, Telecoms, Travel and Motor Vehicles, consolidated for a global expenditure view.
Time to value for Telecoms: Average 24% reduction in costs per minute. Some customers have experienced up to 57% in cost savings.