The human brain is capable of storing terabytes of information, not unlike a server or a computer’s hard drive. But of course we don’t need to recall every piece of information everyday: like what you needed to buy at the grocery store last week or when your driver’s license expires. This then brings up the need for flash memory: a way to recall small chunks of the information you need, when you need it. One of the leading suppliers of specialty DRAM and Flash-based memory in the United States is SMART Modular, based out of Newark, California. At some point in your career you may have used memory that they designed and manufactured in a server, industrial control system, network infrastructure or telecom voicemail.
With the wide array of products that SMART Modular produces, you can imagine the collective data that piles up related to product lines, ordering locations, sales, inventory, quality control, operational performance etc. All of these data points were being captured by various business systems and the IS reporting team dreaded the beginning of the week/month. It meant crunching the numbers for weekly spreadsheet reports, sent to the VPs and the C-level staff. At times, management had no access to the data and what’s worse the figures that were passed along to the VPs and C-level staff didn’t elaborate on product demand trends or supply chain logistics/bottlenecks.
“Ultimately, those spreadsheets required weeks and months of effort by our reporting team to properly map,” says IS Manager Laks Yelugoti. “After all that effort, we didn’t even have a dashboard to monitor trends and perform complex analysis. We needed a way to bring different value in a much quicker way.”
That different value came in the form of Qlik which was introduced to the reporting team at SMART Modular in 2010. This opened up a host of new possibilities for the company because now, not only could they gain a much broader view of all the company’s data, but they could collaborate across business units. For the first time, Yelugoti had ushered in the ability to gain live access to data which completely changed the way the business units viewed their efficiencies and shortcomings.
“Now we have the ability to analyze data across multiple business units and applications. It doesn’t matter what type of data it is: there is no limit. There is no more waiting for reports, the entire process has been automated in many cases and saved our reporting team many hours of work.” – Laks Yelugoti, IS Manager, SMART Modular
The effects of implementing this data analysis were staggering. The SMART Modular reporting team went from updating numbers on 50-100 different reports on a daily basis to slicing and dicing the data through an automated dashboard set-up. Here are just a few of the other changes that took place:
- Each team was able to access their own data and deliver metrics to supervisors in record time.
- The need for weekly reporting subsided, replaced by shorter and more efficient emails.
- All data analysis was now centralized which meant more parts of the business could take part.
- Teams were able to simulate what-if scenarios via a simulation model through existing data trends.
- Customers and partners were given access to relevant Qlik dashboards for enhanced visibility.
“Our users have spread the word about Qlik and new business units became interested in implementing it in their departments. We have users in finance, manufacturing, quality control, sales, operations and many other parts of the business. Most new users will ask us the same question: ‘Can we put this data in Qlik?’ to which I say, yes.”- Laks Yelugoti, IS Manager, SMART Modular
In the five years that SMART Modular has worked with Qlik, they have generated over 50 apps and maintain roughly 175 users to date. What was once an ad-hocracy for reporting data is now a one-stop shop that recalls the data they need when the need arises.