Several years ago, a worldwide electronic components manufacturer reached out to our team for help. They were looking for a partner to work with them on an initiative to greatly improve their ability to provide enterprise-wide analytics and reporting on data across the entire company. They selected SCS because of our past history of providing quality consulting services and because of our long history delivering quality data analytics solutions.
Siloed reporting is inefficient and cumbersome
When we began this initiative, they relied on siloed reporting from their various business systems. Any enterprise-wide analytics were done through manually maintained spreadsheets. Their manufacturing operations were planned and executed differently across their three manufacturing divisions which meant cross-division comparisons could not be made in a meaningful manner.
We implemented an enterprise-wide data management and visualization system
We got to work. We began by building out a SQL Server-based data warehouse to combine data from across the enterprise. SQL Server Integration Services was used to extract data from our client’s ERP system, timekeeping system, accounting system and assorted flat files. The data was then combined into a coherent picture of the enterprise operation within the data warehouse.
Next, we implemented several tabular data models on top of the data warehouse using Analysis Services. These data models present data in a manner that is familiar, offering user-friendly naming while hiding data complexity. The data models also capture intricate business calculations such as efficiency and utilization as well as rework and scrap percentages. This ensures metrics are consistent enterprise-wide.
We utilized SQL Server Reporting Services for larger, multi-page reports. We initially implemented Power View, which later gave way to Power BI, for data visualizations, dashboards and self-service reporting. SharePoint now manages reports and dashboards for a seamless user experience.
As their data analytics usage matured, Power BI began to be utilized by several power users within the company. This self-service data exploration allows for quick answers to ad hoc data questions. The self-service exploration utilizes the same tabular data models as the rest of the reporting within the organization. This ensures information is consistent across all data visualization.
As we implemented this analytics initiative, we took the time to mentor key members of our client’s IT team. This mentoring allowed their business analysts and systems administrators to become proficient with the new tools and systems. We remain available for future tech support and any future enhancements or transitions.
Streamlined analytics pave the way for effective decision-making.
Today our client has an integrated, enterprise-wide analytics system that is utilized throughout the organization. Dashboards are reviewed everywhere from daily shop floor meetings to the CEO’s corner office. They now make data-driven decisions—something that profoundly increases their efficiency, raises their customer satisfaction levels and gives them a competitive edge.
Having used SCS twice, I continue to be pleased with the people and expertise they bring to the table. They comfortably worked to meet the challenging delivery demands of our BI project, including two-week release cycles. With their no-nonsense sales approach, they successfully match our needs with their skills. Bottom line, SCS has set expectations and is hitting their marks.
-John, IT Director