“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 approximately 85% of all 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 occupies 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 a business intelligence solution, namely Oracle Business Intelligence. But this solution of older origin had several shortcomings. Above all, users and administrators complained about the difficult data management and complex tools that weren’t user friendly, which led to slower problem solving and an increase in the number and scope of maintenance work. “Besides, we found it difficult to please end-users regarding the use of BI tools on mobile devices, because the platform did not offer this to a satisfactory extent”, recalls Emir Mustafić, senior development engineer and coordinator of the BI team in the SIJ Group. Therefore, the group was looking at alternative solutions that would improve the quality of work for employees and administrators. The experts reviewed and tested several solutions, including the MicroStrategy platform and tools.
“With the complete renovation of the business intelligence environment in the SIJ Group, we wanted to implement a platform that would simplify and unify management, be responsive, and infrastructure-independent. In addition to raw capabilities, we also wanted the widest possible 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 buy an unproven solution, so the experts looked at and studied several good practices from various industries. “Although we came across the MicroStrategy solution only by chance, we researched it in more detail since the provider has an official partner for sales and support in Slovenia. We were more than pleasantly surprised by it, so we used it in the complete renovation of our BI environment”, explains Mustafić.
With the help of a local representative, the company CRMT d.o.o., the SIJ Group implemented the MicroStrategy platform. The implementation was carried out as an internal IT project and about 180 existing dashboards, which were located on the old BI platform, were transferred to the new MicroStrategy platform. Only six months have passed from the beginning of the project to its general use by business users.
In addition to the unified and simplified administration, the key advantages of the new platform come in form of several new functionalities with which business users and the group's management gain an even deeper insight into business data. Users 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, wishes, 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 were used throughout the new BI environment.
The SIJ Group has declared the MicroStrategy platform as a single entry point for all analytical tasks and purposes. Employees work significantly more efficiently and quickly with the new BI tools, and at the same time, the number of users of business intelligence and analytics solutions 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 concerned with maintaining the analytical and BI environment, therefore we shifted more focus on its development. We have reduced the development cycle of business intelligence related tasks by a third”, 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 show the implemented reports from the BI environment 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 the most advanced features of the new platform, so we are already working on the implementation of interactivity, with which we want to enable advanced communication and visualization of reports for business users. We aim to be able to perform queries by voice or in conjunction with 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.