Hundreds of automat-generated reports

The ProClarity reporting system implemented at Provident Polska SA has automated the processes of report generation and provision of access to company data to authorized personnel. Authorized users can easily track the required information through an internet browser on an up-to-date basis.

Provident Polska provides cash loans throughout Poland. The company’s organizational structure consists of multiple levels. - Thanks to ProClarity, we can quickly and easily access legible reports that show the sale trends in a given region – explains Jacek Maj, Manager of the Controlling Department at Provident Polska SA. Those interested in a specific chart can track its details all the way to the level of the Representative on the basis of the data on which the report is created. It’s possible to check how many loans a given representative, division or region has sold in a given week or the number of clients acquired or repayments collected.

We’ll manage on our own

Previously, all reports were prepared in Excel using preliminary data from Access or with the use of time-consuming SQL enquiries sent to the MS SQL database. In order to automate generation of at least standard reports, the company decided to implement the server version of ProClarity – ProClarity Analytics Server. – One of the guiding factors in our choice of this application was the experience of our colleagues from other countries who have implemented similar tools – states Jacek Maj. - Before making the final decision, Bonair provided us with a demonstration version of the application so we could see how it works, how it's used, how it defines indicators and also how it creates the related analytical cubes, namely OLAP cubes.

Thanks to ProClarity Analytics Server, reports used by employees are organized into topic report books, which are located in separate libraries. Moreover, users are divided into groups and have the possibility of working together. Each group can have authorizations to other libraries (or report books) as well as differently configured access to various ProClarity functionalities. 

OLAP cubes contain a reference database powered by the different systems employed in a company. OLAP cubes are divided into small data chunks, which speed up access to data and its analysis. They enable data analysis in any given, ad hoc cross-section and also make it possible to focus on a specific activity area defined with the aid of various analytical indicators and dimensions (i.e.: structure, time, etc.).
- We came to the conclusion that we wouldn’t have any problems with neither learning about the ProClarity system nor constructing OLAP cubes on our own. – recounts Jacek Maj.

Trouble-free implementation

Provident Polska bought the ProClarity system on March 31st, 2005. The company obtained licenses successively and currently possesses 43 of them. Bonair installed the system on the server thus providing appropriate conditions for connection of OLAP cubes. A highly-skilled specialist had about a month to create the final versions of individual cubes and test them. – IT knowledge as well as a uniform and ordered sales database helped us in the creation of the first cubes. We didn’t have to spend time on the so-called data cleansing process or connect information from multiple sources. This undoubtedly ensured that the system’s implementation was successful. – sums up Jacek Maj.

Testing of OLAP cubes was predicated on comparison of results generated by the cubes with data from the database. It had to be checked whether data integrity was maintained and whether none of the information was lost during construction of the cubes. - We also included end users in the tests. They are best able to assess if there's data missing or if something else should be changed – tells us Jacek Maj.
At the same time as cubes were being created, training was conducted for end users. Bonair trained 10 people from the Controlling Department that were to first use the program. Subsequent users, including the management, underwent internal training. – The system is simple enough to not require extensive and intensive training – evaluates Jacek Maj. – It’s enough to sit a user in front of a monitor for a couple of hours and show them where all the relevant options are located and how to use them in order for the user to learn how to access charts, perform simple information searches and research databases.

It was considerably more difficult for specialists to acquire the necessary knowledge to create OLAP cubes. They learnt how to do this themselves but – as Jacek Maj states - this is an achievable task for young, talented IT professionals.

What hides in the cubes?

The reporting process at Provident Polska could be termed as dispersed. The company relies on eight OLAP cubes and adds new ones according to need. The cubes draw data from various, often separate databases. The OLAP cube for sales analysis was the first to be created. It draws data from a database into which 13,000 new records are fed every week. The measures according to which the cube analyses data consist of the sales structure and time. Reports can show the type of sale performed by individual managers, divisions or regions at a given time. Another OLAP cube draws data from a database, which includes information on the company’s finances, book-keeping and budget. The analyzed dimensions include time (i.e.: how much has been spent within a specific month), departments (which one spent how much) and the operational structure. In this case, reports are used to monitor company costs. They show individual department budgets and their execution as well as deviation from the targets. Another cube serves the purpose of generating reports on bonuses for Provident Polska representatives. It ties together information such as structure, time and bonus type.

Support in pilot projects

ProClarity reports are used by the management – in particular by the sales department director, the heads of 5 divisions as well as personnel from the controlling department and credit risk department. A series of operational statistics are employed in observing business relations or the influence of company actions on key results. Streamlining of report generation is very helpful e.g.: in conducting pilot projects in selected company divisions. New organizational solutions are introduced in these divisions and their influence on results is checked. Moreover, these results are compared with the control division results. ProClarity generates 200-300 reports for such projects. – It wouldn’t be possible to generate so many reports with application of a different technology as it would require too much work. We would have to concentrate on a few key data thus risking that some information would not be analyzed – explains Jacek Maj. – Thanks to ProClarity, it is enough to create an OLAP cube at the start of a project and then we are able to automatically receive detailed data.

ProClarity benefits

  • Automation of standard report generation.
  • Possibility of ongoing monitoring, without excessive work, business projects or result tracking.
  • Access to ready reports immediately following database update.
  • Integration with intranet – possibility of browsing through reports on company web without the need to enter additional passwords by authorized persons.
  • Ordered analytical and report storage structured in the form of libraries and report books.
  • Group work (creation of reports by some users and their utilization by others) with provision of access to reports according to administrator-issued authorizations.

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