What led you to initiate your search for BI Software?
The first problem was that we were using Access Database to try to access data for analytics and I had to create a query and link all the tables every time I wanted a big query. So just writing the query and different versions of it was taking up a lot of my time. And, it was very slow in returning the data. We have at any one time about a million and a half rows of data for analytics we’re looking at for a full year or multiple years of data we need to compare.
The next problem - once I got the information, it was taking up a ton of my time to put it in a format that was fit for analysis. And then, I would need to present this information, so it took a long time to put it in a presentation format. So those are the reasons I started looking for a better tool to pull our data.
How much time were you actually spending on this?
On daily reports, I was spending 3 to 4 hours per day.
Now it’s all scheduled. So other than just maintenance or small changes in the way we want to see or pull that info, there’s not much to do. I don’t have to touch it, so I’ve gained back 3 to 4 hours per day since we’ve implemented the scheduling feature.
That’s incredible. So you’re using the Scheduler how exactly?
I’ve got Data Cycles that run overnight to update reports, and deliver them at a scheduled time the next day, which is another benefit we’ve received since there’s less strain on our network. I’m also using the scheduler for materialized views for dashboards, and that makes the dashboards move very quickly when users are slicing and dicing. So for both reports and dashboards, the Scheduler takes care of everything and I don’t need to touch thing.
In general, what kind of impact has Style Intelligence had?
In general, it’s given me a ton of time to actually do analysis rather than writing queries and formatting because that was the biggest challenge for me personally. From the business intelligence side, I can actually focus on areas for improvement, areas for opportunity, and pinpoint where they’re coming from and report that to senior leadership where they can make better decisions. So that is a huge gain for us.
Another advantage is – we relied on IT. If somebody wanted something they would ask for a report, but in their mind, they’re looking for something specific. So they would put a request in (a ticket) to get a report that they could run. Now, IT is very literal, and the user would start-off thinking that they know what they want reported out. So they put that ticket in with the requirements, IT would translate that perfectly and users literally got what they asked for.
But, there are always more questions, and so you’re back and forth tweaking the report and putting more tickets in the system. The Style Intelligence Tool makes it so that users don’t have to wait forever because we can throw in the interactive dashboards, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. So they have all that information at their fingertips and that is another huge advantage we’ve seen.