Business intelligence (BI) software distributor AIGS Insights, in collaboration with Bongani Rainmaker, a project management company, delivered a complete reporting and BI solution to a customer using Yellowfin technology – from initial demonstration to full onboarding and activation – during lockdown.

Gustav Piater, sales and marketing director at AIGS Insights, the official sub Saharan Africa distributor of Yellowfin BI, says full credit must firstly go to the company’s dedicated product focus on Yellowfin.

“Together we were able to quickly implement an impressive solution to consolidate data from various sources ranging from an ERP database, a WMS and Distribution system as well as several collaborative spreadsheets to present the holy grail of reporting insights – the elusive “One Version of the Truth” report. All during lockdown. A great result and time well invested by all parties.”

Impressive timeline

Piater says project headline stats show an impressive timeline of approximately one month, from initial demo through to implementation.

“Training took three days, whereafter Yellowfin representatives in our business worked with our partner for five days to define the client’s minimum viable product [MVP], before moving into the nuts and bolts of the project. During this time, the solution was configured, installed, data sources were connected, and numerous reports and dashboards were built.”

He adds that the solution was presented to the client and accepted in an impressively short time frame.

Project timeline:

* 3 April: first demo

* 7 April: follow-up

* 9 April: internal discussion

* 14 April: project go-ahead

* 20 to 24 April: quick-start proof of concept, reports done

The need

Maciek Ganicki, chief technology officer at Bongani Rainmaker Logistics, explains that the company is responsible for client solutions that span an expansive value chain of services, ranging from professional services to end customer delivery from a distribution centre. The project required a variety of technologies to deliver what the client must experience as a unified solution with consolidated dashboard reporting across all aspects.

“My objective was to furnish 7 internal business units and our clients with a reporting ability across multiple data sources. This has been an ongoing challenge for some time with most managers turning to standalone spreadsheets as their data and reporting sanctuaries. As amazing as spreadsheets have become, a dataset of 250 000 line-items across 20 column becomes unwieldly to manage.”

The solution

Conscious of the need to stay ahead of the game through a focus on customer service, the company specified visibility, flexibility and agility as its solution criteria but had little success in finding an appropriate BI tool for quite some time.

“Then, in early April, we had a remote [Zoom] demo with the AIGS Insights team. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was so successful that I had to tell everyone on the call to end it off, as it just kept on going – the excitement was that great.”

The project

For deployment, the client nominated some of their own staff to work with the AIGS Insights team.

Ganicki said in the first week, three key reports were identified (of which one was by far the meatiest and most difficult to pull off). “We knew if it could be achieved, it would make everything else easier, so those reports were bashed out in short order.”

He reports that it was “very intense – we pulled data across all three systems. It had to be manipulated, cross-referenced and so on.” A week or two later, additional team training helped the client to fill in any gaps.

“As can be expected with any deployment, there were some issues, but AIGS solved every challenge systematically, progress was constant, and nothing was too much for the AIGS Insights team.”

The outcome

Throughout, Ganicki says AIGS Insights was “very professional, respectful, not pushy, didn’t presume anything and methodical”. Calling the project quick and relatively painless, Ganicki says it’s as if a crystal ball of insight and opportunity has been provided to company’s management.

“We are investigating integrating Yellowfin with, a project management tool, and taking from to give visibility into projects. We are also looking at gamification of certain warehouse processes. Picking for certain projects requires very quick turnaround times due to very tight deadlines and we need to have real time visibility to ensure efficiency and accuracy. This new direction will revolutionise the monitoring in real time.”