Data warehouse with clear reporting structures VOKA’s policy
The Flemish network of Enterprises (VOKA) was looking for new reporting software that could integrate seamlessly with the organisation’s other Microsoft applications. The software had to merge the ERP and CRM packages and ClickDimensions. By doing so, the Flemish employers’ organisation wanted to create broader support for improvements within the seven entities and raise its reporting approach to a higher level. Kohera brought the different databases together in a data warehouse and replaced the previous reporting tool by Microsoft Power BI.
“We used Qlikview to draw up our reports”, says Erwin Nagels, IT Service Manager and Chief Data Officer of VOKA. “However, our needs exceeded its user-friendliness and possibilities more and more. Next to that, the licences seemed to become more expensive every year. That’s why only few people used it effectively. We wanted more employees to have access to the software.”
Therefore, VOKA decided to look for a platform that matched better with the existing Microsoft environment and of which the number of licences could be kept in line with the required use. The number of licences increased considerably after Power BI had been introduced. Meanwhile, about twenty active users have been registered, and this number is expected to reach 200 in the near future.
More insights in different databases
VOKA uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM for its membership management and Microsoft NAV for accounting and other activities. Next to that, VOKA has recently started using ClickDimensions to send mailings. “We wanted to integrate those different databases in a data warehouse, so that they could be available to the management and all employees at all times. Thanks to those uniform data, everyone can now make well-structured and correct decisions”, says Erwin Nagels.
«The unique cooperation between the different Cronos companies was the key to the success of this project»
“Next to reporting possibilities, we can also use Power BI to check the quality of all data. In this way, we can quickly detect which fields are missing in our CRM system. Another example is that we now can use ClickDimensions to send more targeted emails by analysing all those data beforehand. We notice the advantages of Power BI at really all levels.”
Key users train their colleagues
“For this Power BI project we selected two delegates per entity to cooperate with the Kohera consultants”, says Erwin Nagels. Kohera trained them thoroughly, converted the existing reports to Power BI and helped in developing the first complex reports.” Those key users now draw up reports for their own entity, after which they stimulate other users to further use those reports for the benefit of their own field of work. “By doing so, each field (account management, information and advice, files, advocacy,…) already has a central Power BI report that can be widely used within VOKA itself. The number of licences keeps increasing, we still get requests from new users. The interesting licence policy makes sure this remains financially feasible.“
User-friendly for each level
Katrien Moens, advocacy manager of VOKA was one of the first to use Power BI. “The developers of complex reports need some additional IT knowledge, such as knowing how to work with pivot tables in Excel. Knowledge of different databases and how they are interconnected is crucial as well. But no matter which function you want to use; Power BI is and remains very user-friendly. All end users learnt the ins and outs of the tool very quickly.”
“Now we draw up reports for our different teams, so that everyone can follow up his annual results, both operationally and financially. This approach seems to work very well, and we notice that a lot of requests are made to obtain additional reports, which indicates that our employees use the software almost on a daily basis.”
Different projects, one contact person
VOKA appeals to a number of companies of Crosspoint Solutions, a company from the Cronos Group, of which Kohera is part as well. Three companies support VOKA in managing its different applications. “Infront manages our CRM system, whereas Arxus takes care of hosting our server infrastructure. Kohera is responsible for managing our Power BI applications. That unique cooperation was the key to the success of this project”, says Erwin Nagels. “It guaranteed a flawless communication and was highly cost-effective.”
Frederik Aerts, Senior BI Consultant and Team Lead of Kohera was in charge of the BI project. “That flawless communication is indeed unique for a project, in which different parties are involved. The real challenge lay in converting the old reports to Power BI and creating awareness of the platform’s possibilities. VOKA knew exactly in which direction it wanted to go, but it did not know that the range of possibilities was so extensive. We have shown them different ways to obtain interesting insights. Now VOKA is perfectly capable of filtering the information itself and making data-based decisions.”