TimeXtender Gives Cembrit a Fast and Easy Shortcut between ERP and Business Intelligence
“Today we are using the same ERP system in 9 out of 15 countries. We use TimeXtender to configure the “data cube” and, afterwards, for moving data from the ERP system to the frontend system Targit. And it really is a fantastic tool for this task because it makes it so much easier and faster to configure data cubes compared to traditional programming which often requires consultant assistance,” says Ivan Rafn, Group IT Manager at Cembrit.
Cembrit Holding has subsidiaries in 15 European countries. Up until a few years ago, the company did not have a common IT strategy nor did they have common IT systems. Today, even though 9 of the companies now use the same ERP system, they use them in very different ways. For example, there are great differences in how the data fields are defined and how the underlying database is built up.
TimeXtender – an Irreplaceable Tool
There are so many differences that it would just be too large of a data logic task to standardize these data definitions. Plus, it would also create a lot of practical problems and dissatisfaction locally. So, for now, it’s a long-term dream. Instead they have chosen a solution using a special tool to transform and move data from the ERP systems to the OLAP data cube from where the front-end tool gets its data. This tool is TimeXtender. And it is saving Cembrit a lot of difficult programming work.
Ivan Rafn says, ”TimeXtender is so easy to use that with just the help of a computer mouse we can determine which data fields in the ERP should be moved over to the front-end tool and in what format. And, we can do it ourselves! Otherwise we would have been forced to hire external help to do it. And that’s not only a much more expensive solution – it’s also slower because the consultants are not here every day. So not only do we have a cheaper and easier shortcut between these two systems, we can also build new roads between them quickly when the front-end users or management come with new requests or ideas.”
“In that way, TimeXtender has become an irreplaceable part of the organization’s Business Intelligence platform. And that happened more or less by accident,” explains Ivan Rafn who has many years of experience in the IT industry. ”We didn’t really think that there was such a tool so we didn’t know about TimeXtender – neither the product nor the company. They were the ones who contacted us and it was just when we needed them. They hit us in our weak spot and were able to show us what they had to offer. First, they showed us a demo of their product and when that looked promising, they showed us a test on our own data.”
TimeXtender has become an irreplaceable part of the organization’s Business Intelligence platform. – Ivan Rafn, Group IT Manager, Cembrit
Everyone who observed this experiment was impressed and now TimeXtender has become an irreplaceable tool for data transformation in the company. And it will become even more important in the coming year. The company has planned that a common ERP system will be implemented in all the company’s subsidiaries and they want to use it to transfer data from the Business Intelligence system to Hyperion, the system used for financial reporting in FL Smidth – the company that owns Cembrit. So with TimeXtender, Ivan Rafn has found a solution to some difficult data logic challenges. He says, “It’s really a great tool! The people from TimeXtender have done a top professional job all the way – also with the daily support.“
The Cembrit Group It-Strategy
Cembrit’s IT strategy has not been a common IT strategy in the 15 European companies under Cembrit Holding. Each country has purchased and run its own system. A new strategy was created and implemented that included centralization where all the companies in time could have common systems in all areas: ERP, Business Intelligence, Intranet, e-mail, and so on. This can happen by virtue of an IT structure with a common data center in Aalborg where all the applications are accessible through Citrix. The solution gives great synergies among the companies within the Cembrit group, and provides a common framework for the BI team members allowing them to “learn from each other”.