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QlikView Unleashes "The Art of the Possible"

  • July 01 2007, 1:00am EDT

REVIEWER: Steve Hunt, CIO of SI International, Inc.

BACKGROUND: SI International is a professional services company that delivers critical IT and network solutions to federal civilian and defense agencies. SI International is ranked as the 40th largest federal prime IT contractor by Washington Technology and has approximately 4,300 employees.

HARDWARE PLATFORMS: Deltek Costpoint ERP system and Microsoft Office, Dell PowerEdge 1955 blade servers and 2950 rack-mounted servers attached to a Dell/EMC storage area network.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Objectives were to centralize and simplify flow of information into operational and management reports on more than 400 IT projects at more than 100 high-profile customer sites.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SI International built QlikView applications for revenue/expense, labor utilization and customer-support reporting. QlikView provides dashboard views and detailed analysis of more than 1.4 million rows of financial data and another 1.1 million rows of labor utilization data. Updated data is extracted weekly from the Deltek Costpoint system and cross-referenced with data from other corporate systems. End users can examine results from millions of rows of data with a few mouse clicks. Year-over-year trend data became available for the first time, as did new insights into information by drilling down to virtually any level of detail. QlikView is also being applied to streamline time-consuming monthly operating reports (MORs), which managers previously had to prepare manually from the Deltek Costpoint system, multiple Excel spreadsheets and contract system reports. Replacing the manual procedures will collectively save the company thousands of hours every month. Similarly, QlikView dramatically simplifies generation and distribution of weekly labor utilization reports to executives and managers by consolidating information into key trends and enabling managers to drill down for labor utilization analysis by organization, project, person, labor category, type time and many other factors. With Microsoft SharePoint as SI International's core collaboration platform, QlikView reporting is just a click away using a standard SharePoint Web Part.

STRENGTHS: QlikView eliminates the constraints of integrating data from systems and applications that otherwise would be extremely difficult to physically integrate. It provides BI reporting without the time and expense of traditional data cube or OLAP-based products. Despite large data sets, confidence in the accuracies of QlikView reports is high because even summary dashboards are rollups of the source data and not derived from summaries of summaries, as with traditional BI data warehouses. Developers and end users suddenly see how BI can be done more easily. You get a new perspective on how quickly you can get your arms around business data from different systems and applications. You don't need a small army of database administrators slaving over data cubes to do it. Working with QlikView gives you the power to think creatively about data analysis and makes it easy to explore new ideas - the art of the possible.

WEAKNESSES: The documentation and training examples could be improved to better explain the actions needed to really integrate data from multiple systems.

SELECTION CRITERIA: For internal use, SI International considered several traditional BI products but could not justify the higher cost of implementation and maintenance. One executive from SI International downloaded a trial version of QlikView, spent a couple of hours learning the basics and, in less than three hours, built a QlikView application that analyzed data previously hidden in more than a dozen spreadsheets. That success was sufficient to justify additional assessments. In only three days, QlikTech built three proof-of-concept applications using SI International data and convinced any remaining skeptics. Company executives quickly agreed to proceed with QlikView.

DELIVERABLES: Deliverables include dashboards and reports for financial analysis, labor utilization and customer-support reporting.

VENDOR SUPPORT: QlikTech representatives were easy to do business with, from supporting the proof of concept to contracting to providing excellent training. The entire organization is extremely responsive.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is clear and stands on its own. We were able to build complete applications in a couple of hours without any support.

150 North Radnor Chester Road Suite E220
Radnor, PA 19087
(888) 828-9768

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