“I am convinced that our implementation of the MicroStrategy platform is one of the best practices in the industry. With it, we gained a really deep insight into the business.” Emir Mustafić, senior development engineer and coordinator of the BI team, SIJ Group
Company: SIJ - Slovenian Steel Group
Number of employees: 3800
The SIJ Group which consists of 25 companies is the largest Slovenian steel producer and one of the largest producers of stainless and special steels in Europe. The company has more than 3,800 employees and is, therefore, one of the largest Slovenian employers and a pillar of the steel industry in the country. The SIJ Group is also among the leading Slovenian exporters, generating about 85 percent of their revenues in foreign markets. As the largest Slovenian vertically integrated metallurgical group with its high value-added products, such as stainless steel, toolbar steel, special steel quarto plates and alloy tool steels, it holds leading market positions in European and global niche steel markets. The program of steel semi-finished products is upgraded with finishing and production of finished metal products, such as industrial knives, where the group ranks among the ten largest manufacturers of industrial knives in the world. The SIJ Group also produces rollers, welding materials, and is very active in the field of mechanical engineering.
The SIJ Group had already used Oracle Business Intelligence as Business Intelligence solution. As the tool did not meet all the requirements with regard to data management and maintenance and mobility, the company was looking for a flexible platform with comprehensive mobile functionalities. “We were looking for a solution to offer our users flexible self-service analytics on their mobile devices as well”, recalls Emir Mustafić, Senior Development Engineer and Coordinator of the BI Team at SIJ Group. Therefore, the group was evaluating alternative solutions to improve the quality of work for employees and administrators, including the MicroStrategy platform.
“With the complete re-organization of the Business Intelligence environment of the SIJ Group, we wanted to implement a platform to simplify and unify management, be responsive, and infrastructure-independent. In addition to the required capabilities, we also wanted the best connectivity with back-end systems, rich functionality, and mobile BI capability”, said Mustafić, summarizing the requirements for the new BI environment.
The SIJ Group did not want to purchase an unproven solution, so they evaluated several best practices from various industries. “Although we came across the MicroStrategy solution only by chance, we looked at it in more detail as the provider is working with an official partner for sales and support in Slovenia. We were more than pleasantly surprised by it, so we used it in the complete re-organization of our BI environment”, explains Mustafić.
Working with Slovenian MicroStrategy partner CRMT d.o.o., the SIJ Group implemented the MicroStrategy platform. The implementation was done as an internal IT project. Around 180 existing dashboards which were located on the former BI platform were transferred to the new MicroStrategy platform. It only took six months from the start of the project to its general deployment with SIJ's business users.
Besides the facilitated administration and deeper insight into business data, users at SIJ also appreciate the possibility of using BI tools on all modern mobile devices, which makes work much easier and faster, especially for employees working in the field.
Due to the open architecture and excellent connectivity with external systems and associated data sources, the SIJ Group raised the field of analytics to a completely new level. “Today, we know our own business, trends, needs and requirements of customers and the market much better. And we respond to them accordingly”, explains Mustafić.
CRMT had thoroughly redesigned and upgraded the analytical environment of the SIJ Group. MicroStrategy solutions are now used throughout the new BI environment.
The SIJ Group uses the MicroStrategy as a single platform for all analytical tasks and purposes. Employees are now working significantly more efficient and faster. At the same time, the number of BI and Analytics users in the group has expanded by as much as 42 percent. The new, centralized analytics platform, which replaced several older and partial solutions, has delighted both administrators (IT department) and owners, as the costs of maintenance contracts have been reduced by 73 percent. Among the bigger benefits is also a significantly lower amount of support and help tickets from business users.
“The IT department is now less busy with maintaining the BI and Analytics environment, therefore we shifted more focus on its development. We have reduced the tasks related to the development cycle of business intelligence by around 33 percent”, says Mustafić.
The new analytical environment is certainly ready for future challenges in the field of data preparation and processing. Adding a new data source, or even migrating to a new platform if such a business need arises, is greatly simplified.
In the future, the SIJ Group plans to make the implemented reports from the BI environment available to users of non-BI solutions, especially on the internal portal based on the Microsoft SharePoint solution. “We also want to take advantage of all features of the new platform, so we are already working on the implementation of interactivity, to enable advanced communication and visualization of reports for business users. We want to perform queries by voice or using Amazon Alexa's digital assistant. We want to create an analytical environment that will be fully tailored to the group and its users”, Mustafić revealed some of the development plans.