Kollaras Group ditches spreadsheets for business intelligence

Hospitality, property investment firm now has access to real-time analytics

Reports were taking hours to create using Excel spreadsheets until Australian liquor, hospitality and property investment firm, Kollaras Group, decided to implement data analytics and business intelligence (BI) software in early 2014.

The Group was founded in 1960 in Wollongong, New South Wales and is now one of the largest privately-owned hospitality firms in Australia.

Kollaras Group IT manager Jonathan Miller told Computerworld Australia that staff had to extract data from a Microsoft Dynamics NAV enterprise resource planning (ERP) system into Excel spreadsheets.

“That made it very difficult to do reporting and was time consuming,” he said.

“The requirement came to look at business intelligence [BI] systems in order to speed the reporting process up and take away the amount of hours of manual labour required to do the reporting.”

After talking with the company’s IT consultant firm, Data Transformed, a decision was made to implement the Actian analytics platform and Yellowfin BI software across the entire business.

“Since then, we’ve come a long way with the reporting. With Actian in the back end, it’s sped up our reporting. We now pull data out on an hourly basis from our production systems into Actian. The reporting interface feeds back into Yellowfin.”

For example, staff can access the BI system and look at financial reports which are updated hourly.

“Because the guys were so used to spreadsheets, they’re impressed with the Yellowfin BI and how readily available the data is. Prior to the implementation, they could be days behind on their information if for some reason the reports weren’t updated manually,” he said.

The Group’s executives and owners have access to all of the company’s data to see how each division is performing financially.

“The executives are heavily focused on sales so they have access to dashboards. They can see their sales by day, week or month prepared for this year versus last year,” he said.

“Management is now able to rapidly analyse the business and respond to emerging trends using real time data, whilst eliminating significant manual processes in a way that was not possible before,” said Miller.

Currently, the business owners have access to reports on their iPads. In the future, Miller would like to roll this capability out to sales representatives for use on their iPhone when they are out on the road visiting customers.

“This is so we can give the reps visibility before they see a customer. They can look at the sales and payment history,” he said.

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