Pawnbroker empire cashes in on BI

How to beat Excel-loving managers

In a bid to overcome a lack of data consistency and human error, Cash Converters Australia is leading its global franchise with the rollout of a new business intelligence (BI) reporting system.

Not only has the new system bolstered accuracy and efficiency of its reporting system, it has removed the problems associated with copy/pasting between Excel spreadsheets.

Cash Converters selected Crystal Decisions BI system from Business Objects to provide consistency in data reporting by linking a Domino relational database, various financial systems, a document portal library and data stored in Microsoft Excel and Word documents to a central dashboard.

Cash Converters senior Domino and portal analyst, Michael Horsfall, said there was no consistency in data entry which relied on manually inputting figures into different databases.

"Information was copy/pasted between Excel spreadsheets, SQL databases and the Domino database; there was no consistency, and numbers were often wrong," Horsfall said.

"We have now slashed our report creation times from four days to five minutes and have improved data consistency and accuracy across our 120 Australian stores, and through our national and state management levels.

"IT had a lack of information to base the monthly reporting on. Now we produce reports with information on store sales, loans and state and national KPIs, broken into past years, months and weeks."

Horsfall said a by-product of the project was that "Excel-loving managers jumped on it and started demanding more reports" which is handled by the company's four IT staff.

According to Horsfall, the BI application will also help with compliance, following the company's third case of insolvent trading earlier this month, as reports must incorporate SQL data from its third party credit providers Saffroc and Mone.

Cash Converters in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa, China, the USA, and Singapore are considering buying the company's first BI implementation, which is built on the same architecture as the National Australia Bank (NAB).

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