Qlik Environment Upgrades and Design Optimization Improve Financial Reporting

  • Overhauled and simplified complex logic feeding into 20,000 Qlik reporting views.
  • Conducted one-on-one design sessions with business users to create a more user-friendly UI navigation.
  • New architecture reduced production push errors, eliminated manual version control, and reduced run time by ~25%.

Business Need

The BI tools a large software company used for Financial reporting were not meeting their business needs and reporting requirements. Reports had become extremely complex over time, with some reports being hundreds of columns wide and millions of rows in size. Instead of performing analysis on their data, the BI team was forced to spend their time producing reports and dealing with complex production testing and quality control. Users throughout the organization were losing trust in the systems in place.

This company initiated a digital transformation which was a company-wide effort to improve and streamline the financial reporting environment for easier tool management and improved reporting quality. Analytics8 was brought in to assist with this transformation and to achieve the company’s mission of making more proactive business decisions with their data.

Solution

Analytics8 first worked with this large software company to discover opportunities to reduce complexity and remove unused fields from their Qlikview reports. In addition to many discovery sessions, we built an Audit Analyzer App which includes several dashboards that show overall usage metrics across all Qlik apps. With this information, we were able to make informed decisions on which application features/reports/functionality could be removed or improved.

Then, we worked to overhaul the logic feeding into their 20,000 reporting views. Due to the critical nature of these reports, we had extensive interactions with business users to identify, plan, and execute any changes to the data model to ensure no downtime and no impact on reporting features. With such tight restrictions, we implemented version control of our applications using GitHub and Qlik, and we designed reports in a way which used project files and QVS scripts to expose as much of our code and work as possible. Not only did this simplify any beta testing or production pushes, this also allowed the Finance BI team to work in a more collaborative fashion. The challenge of merging new features became trivial, and the actual design of the reporting changes became more transparent.

We also conducted many one-on-one interactive design sessions with the business to understand how they use reports to create a more user-friendly UI navigation. We performed a complete overhaul of one of the most important reports that had complex reporting views:

  • We simplified the navigation which had numerous tabs across the top into a logically nested group of tabs which decluttered the UI.
  • We removed many unused measures and currency selections, which improved response time and greatly reduced the space needed on screen.
  • We built new sections of the report with new required reporting measures

All this activity was done with constant stakeholder input and collaboration sessions to ensure the dashboard stayed light while providing full functionality for users. We also helped users understand and leverage their new financial measures in the UI to encourage user adoption across the organization.

Results

Finance reports are cleaner, less prone to error, and provide easy insight to make important business decisions, while putting less strain on servers and operations teams. The new underlying architecture has reduced errors in production pushes, eliminated manual version control, and reduced the need for backup files that used to confuse and clutter shared drives. User receive updated data three hours earlier each day (~25% runtime reduction), allowing them to quickly see changes and collaborate on them earlier in the day. They also have more trust in their data and spend less time testing new features and implementations.

As the digital transformation project progresses, the new tools and processes we implemented for application design have made it easier for developers to tackle additional UI overhauls.

Analytics8 expertise and education to this company has inspired their organization to create more reports and approach new business initiatives.


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