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MRC use QlikView to manage R500m budget

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South Africa’s Medical Research Council (MRC) has used next-generation business intelligence tool QlikView to improve the management of its annual Government grant and its 220 contract research projects (annual budget about R500-million).

Divisional manager for contracts and budgets, Philip du Plessis, says QlikView has helped the MRC save time and resources as well as enabling better decision-making.
“Contract research for organisations including the US National Institutes of Health, the Center for Disease Control and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation accounts for about half our budget,” says Du Plessis. “We need to give fairly frequent and detailed updates to our funders as well as in-house users, and it can be very complex especially when dealing with projects that have multi-year budgets. QlikView has made the reporting to funders and internal clients easier.”
Du Plessis says QlikView gives users at the MRC instant access to information, updated daily from the organisation’s HR and payroll system as well as its core financial system (JD Edwards).
“Previously we managed all our contract budgets in spreadsheets not linked to the finance system. The finance system is not set-up to handle our government grant as well as our contract research grants. Now we have an easy way to analyse data according to any variable we want to track, across any of our 45 units and their 220 contract research projects.”
Unlike older business intelligence software the MRC had used previously, du Plessis says QlikView is quick to implement, easy to use and easy to build on.
“We had a working model for 15 users up within a week and we’ve since increased our user base to 100,” he says. “It’s so intuitive that anybody can be trained to use the system in a day or less, and because it’s so easy to implement we can develop our own new data models whenever we need them. Combined with the low support requirements, that has made QlikView’s total cost of ownership very low.
“Our researcher administrators love QlikView because it gives them up to date information they can trust, and much better control over and insight into their budgets,” adds Du Plessis. “For our managers, it has saved days of time when it comes to compiling quarterly reports.
“Because QlikView makes information so visible, it has also improved the integrity of our data. For example, it quickly exposed a couple of minor problems in our accounting structure which otherwise might have gone undetected for much longer.”