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Mondi gets access to SAP information

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Forest, pulp and paper producer, Mondi South Africa, has successfully integrated QlikView business intelligence (BI) software with their SAP ECC6 (Enterprise Core Component) installation, achieving in weeks what one would have expected to take months.

“We have an extensive SAP ECC6  implementation, using the modules of Sales and Distribution (SD), Production Planning (PP), Materials Management (MM), Finance (FI), Costing (CO), Asset Management (AM), Plant Maintenance (PM), Human Resources (HR), Environment Health and Safety (EHS) and Advanced Planning and Optimiser (APO),” explains Mondi’s Head of IT, Ed Montocchio, “but our SAP reports were not providing information that could support our managers in making key decisions.  They were downloading data and creating their own graphs in Excel and PowerPoint which was very time consuming. Everyone had slightly different numbers depending on how they had extracted the data and this was causing difficulties for us.”
Montocchio approached QlikView with caution.  “I was sceptical that it would be able to meet all our requirements as we have some very complicated analysis. I initially considered various other options but, for something that’s so simple to implement, QlikView is an exceptionally powerful tool. It is based on a clever technology that handles huge volumes of data in memory giving the user fast drill down access to any detail.”
Mondi had two key needs, says Montocchio. “We needed firstly to be able to track trends in our data, which the users find cumbersome in the enterprise system, and secondly, to be able to drill down to the underlying information from a high-level overview.
"People were trying to do drill-downs from the SAP system reports, by running them multiple times with different selection criteria, and the IT team was receiving many requests for custom changes to the reports. These requests were logged as tasks and, depending on the work load, it took days or weeks before the business received the changes. This was frustrating for both the business and IT. Report writing is not the greatest value add in IT as this time could be spent improving business processes and implementing business projects.”
QlikView, using its SAP Connector, produced quick results.  “In less than two weeks, Direct Insight Consulting, QlikView’s KZN distributor and implementation partner, did a stock model for our logistics team which is still running. The user acceptance was immediate and the pilot was a huge success.
“It typically takes six months to build a fully working BI model which can be demonstrated to the business. We had a working solution from QlikView in two weeks,” points out Montocchio.
Upuli de Abrew of Direct Insight Consulting says this speed is typical. “One of the advantages of QlikView is that it’s possible to implement BI incrementally, so you can achieve quick results in the areas where they are most urgently needed.
"The QlikView  SAP Connector, which is certified by SAP itself, also makes it very quick and easy to select tables and data and import them directly to QlikView. It’s otherwise much more time and resource intensive to get data out of SAP and into another system."
The SAP Connector at Mondi was installed and performing its first SAP data extracts within six hours.
The initial stock model went live in March 2008 and Mondi now has 15 models and more than 80 regular users of QlikView. User feedback has been positive.
“People are ecstatic about the tool,” says Montocchio.  “The graphical representation of data makes it easy to see what’s going on in the business and it is completely interactive – you can really drill into the data, instead of having to try to interpret a printed report.”
As a result, “we’re really running the business on key performance indicators with full drill down capability to review exceptions – all graphically represented and driven by the click of the mouse.”
QlikView’s rapid deployment and extremely high user acceptance are matched by low training needs, says Montocchio.
“Basically, if you can use a mouse you can navigate these models. Both the IT team and our users like the fact that access to the software is all browser-based via our Intranet. Not only did it make deployment very easy, but users can also access it from anywhere in the world.”
QlikView has had some unexpected benefits as well. “It is so easy to view all our data that it has allowed us to detect discrepancies in our business that were previously not obvious in static reports. There was immediate impact on Key Performance Areas,” says Montocchio.
“All our data is now extracted directly from the SAP backend. QlikView either extracts data directly from existing SAP tables, or in certain instances, we run reports at the lowest level to tables and QlikView takes it from there.
“Mondi’s month-end reports are now quick and intuitive to produce and easy to read, says Montocchio, “and from an IT point of view, we hardly ever receive report requests from users because they can do it all themselves – the drilldown with QlikView is infinite, and they come up with some very complex drilldowns.”