When I first started using QlikView 12 years ago, it was a small niche tool that could help you load your data from a variety of sources and build dazzling visualizations in a matter of hours or days. As an Application Director for a mid-size manufacturing company, I deployed my first QlikView dashboard in 3 weeks, with minimal investment, and that first achievement was called a "slam dunk" even by the most skeptical executives. This was in 2002, way before most of the tools and gadgets that we use today, ever existed.
We used QlikView to analyze Sales, and then Profit Margins, and then Excess and Obsolete Inventories, and then transportation costs, and so on and so forth. within 5 years, QlikView become a valuable business tool on every desk in the company.
Since then, the technology world around us had changed a lot - our computers are now using 64-bit operating systems, and a nifty laptop is now more powerful than the most powerful server back in the days. The capabilities of business software had changed as well. Today, QlikView is not a niche tool anymore, it's a flagman tool in the market of Data Discovery (Qlik likes to call the same term Business Discovery). However, the core value remains largely the same:
With QlikView, we can load large amounts of data and build beautiful and insightful visualizations with an unmatched speed. Using the recent advances in technology, we can empower our users to navigate their data in the most liberating and powerful way.
I won't be the first to state that modern companies collect, store and process vast amounts of data. BI tools are trying to help people make sense of that data, and QlikView is by far my favorite tool for this task. We think that we know our business. However, the "million dollar" question is what we don't know about our business? For me and many of my customers, QlikView has become an eye opener, in the way it helped companies realize how much they don't know about their business:
- As a manufacturer, do you know what products are truly profitable and to what extent, considering all the customer programs, allowances, chargebacks etc?
- Do you know what products in your inventory are turning fast and what products are sitting there for years?
- Do you know your true service levels with your customers, and how they are trending in time, and what are the possible reasons might be?
- Do you know if vendor payment terms are consistent across your corporation, or do you lose money on various unfavorable payment terms?
- Do you know how your customers are paying you? Do they comply to your payment terms? Are you paying them chargebacks while they are being late on their commitments?
- Do you know if your employees follow your travel policy, and how much does it cost you when they don't?
All of those questions have one thing in common - if you don't know the answer, you are likely to be wasting money that could be saved.
When things are getting tough, companies tend to resort to layoffs and tough decisions... With the help of QlikView and advanced business analytics, we can find money in a haystack of data and help companies get better without necessarily laying people off. There is a lot of money wasted in the process, and QlikView is an excellent tool that can help us find it, save it and put it back to work.