Train operator Eurotunnel, which runs Le Shuttle, is using business analytics applications built with QlikView, to analyse data from its SAP system.
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QlikView is being used by the sales team to help Eurotunnel Le Shuttle understand its customers better; their purchasing methods and patterns, geographical location and the impact of marketing campaigns.
It is used to assess business demand to plan capacity at the most effective times, including allocating additional shuttles to manage demand. QlikView is being used to measure business performance against budget and targets on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
The delivery of regular forecasts to the operational teams enables them to allocate resources, for example the provision of refreshments and staffing levels at the exclusive FlexiPlus lounge for customers requiring complete flexibility. The ability to link data easily has also improved fraud detection by linking data across millions of bookings to identify potential risks.
The business intelligence tool was selected over SAP Business Objects, due to cost and limitations of the SAP BI product, said Paul Lymath, strategic planning & analysis manager at Eurotunnel.
Lymath said: "We had strong resistance from IT, who wanted us to buy Business Objects. We were not opposed to SAP, but we were not going to compromised."
Lymath said he gave IT opportunities to show how BusinessObjects could be used, but the SAP BI tools would have been a lot more expensive and less flexible compared to QlikView.
"We wanted our analysts to build their own reports, rather than rely on IT," said Lymath.
"With Qlikview our analysts can build their own queries, rather than use a SAP consultant.
"My analysts create the applications. The whole ethos is about self-service."
The commercial team at Eurotunnel has 50 licences of QlikView. It is being used by eight analysts and 42 business users.
Lymath said QlikView offered Eurotunnel the flexibility to pull in data from multiple sources, including SAP BW, spreadsheets, the HR system and e-mail response data, stored as a flat file.
The deployment of QlikView started as a pilot project.
"We didn’t have buy-in from our IT department," said Lymath.
One of the barriers he faced was that IT wanted him to use a specific method to extract data from the SAP system using SAP BW with OLAP (online analytical processing) extraction, which did not work.
This would have allowed his team to extract only the data from the SAP system that had changed. Since the interface was not functioning, he had to scoop all data the SAP data on a daily basis instead using QVD, the QlikView file extractor. The data is extracted from SAP and loaded into QlikView.
Lymath said: “This does put a large load on SAP, but it was the only way we could extract the data.”
Once in QlikView, he said: “I can see sales from yesterday and compare to last year, and see, for instance, which tickets were sold, how they were bought, when are they are travelling, is it for the Olympics?”
Lymath and the team of analysts have built several applications providing analytics on the contact centre, business performance, sales, e-mail performance, Twitter and Facebook and coach sales.
Once SAP BI 7.0 is fully implemented at Eurotunnel Lymath plans to use the method IT prefers for extracting SAP data based on OLAP.