The FM Group was established in 1968 and is a company in flowers, plants, and accessories. Every day, 1700 employees in 17 countries on six continents work to deliver a wide range of fresh products to over 40,000 customers. The supply chain plays a vital role in FM’s operations. After all, its huge range of 16,000 types of fresh flowers and 9,600 types of plants must reach the right retailer, florist or wholesaler at the right time.
Access to – and clear insight into – the relevant data through dashboards, reports and analytics plays a key part in the business. The BI-Analytics team, one of FleuraMetz’ 11 scrum teams, is responsible for this aspect of the company’s operations. Lennard de Koning, product owner of this BIA team, explains: “Our team is responsible for internal information provision, which we have been doing with a combination of Qlik and Qlik NPrinting for the past ten years or so. We used Qlik to develop more than 25 dashboards for key users, and Qlik NPrinting helps us distribute up to 600 reports to colleagues and preferred suppliers throughout the world every night. In the past year, we also introduced MS Power BI for self-service BI.”
A Flood of QVD Files, Excessive Complexity
A traditional Qlik environment, in other words, in which the data for reports and dashboards was processed via QVD (QlikView Data) files. “We saw that the environment was slowly spilling over, in part because the organization was growing and in part because the wishes of our end users were changing. The information we made available was distributed across a large number of dashboards with lots of different information, all of it available exclusively via Qlik. The number of data sources also increased, drawing out the development cycles and making maintenance incredibly complex. It became nearly impossible to allocate people temporarily to projects because everything was so complicated,” says Lennard de Koning.
A New Heart for the Data
At one point, the BI-team felt it was time to search for a solid data foundation, which would have to merge all of the data sources in order to provide reliable data for the entire organization, visualized via Qlik and Power BI. “A modern data management platform would result in a single version of the truth and respond to our end-users’ wish to have access to self-service dashboards and analytics on a greater scale, and our executives’ policy to become more data-driven as a company. It would help our scrum team to be more agile and reduce our lead times. As a result, we would be much better prepared for the future, as it will clearly be characterized by increasing data sources, increasing data consumers, and the need to work with Artificial Intelligence via a data lake,” recounts Lennard de Koning.
FleuraMetz called on Victa to set the process in motion. Victa was already their Qlik implementation partner and the two companies had built a relationship of trust through the years. “TimeXtender® seemed a truly good match for FleuraMetz.
“As a matter of fact, we feel that everyone expecting
an increase in the number of data streams,
for instance multiple visualization tools or third-party data streams,
should build a modern data warehouse with TimeXtender®.
It prevents future complexity and ensures lasting compliance
with regulations and directives”
– Bas-Jan Lubbers, Victa Business Intelligence
This powerful software, which is based on the Microsoft Data Platform, can be used to set up a data warehouse simply by dragging and dropping the desired elements. Moreover, TimeXtender® features comprehensive security and audit functionality, plus it is completely GDPR/AVG-proof. As a matter of fact, we feel that everyone expecting an increase in the number of data streams, for instance, multiple visualization tools or third-party data streams, should build a modern data warehouse with TimeXtender®. It prevents future complexity and ensures lasting compliance with regulations and directives,” says Bas-Jan Lubbers at Victa.
Operation Data Heart
Operation ‘data heart’ started with TimeXtender®. “We centralized data from the different source systems, such as ERP, CRM and Exact, in TimeXtender®. This worked perfectly, we really opened up access to our biggest ERP package in no time and the process was quick for other data sources as well. Today, PowerBI and Qlik look at the same data so we have one single version of the truth despite using different forms of presentation. It has become much easier to feed data into our systems, for instance by means of our CRM system. For us as the BI-team, this set-up represents shorter and more agile development cycles. The data is also more structured and secure compared to the QVD files. The business also benefits. Data is made available much more quickly, and we can now also combine data from different sources, for instance, CRM and ERP data. What is the forecast – and how does it translate to stocks. Questions are answered more quickly and the organization can adjust more easily, which translates to an improved bottom line,” says Lennard de Koning.
TimeXtender® has been the beating heart behind information provision within FleuraMetz for over nine months now. The organization couldn’t be happier with their choice. According to Lennard de Koning, “We were offered the opportunity to reshape our data landscape in a very short period of time. The data is more structured, metadata is governed, and the data flow is accessible anywhere, anytime. We spend much less time on testing and problem solving, particularly in terms of maintenance. For the business, this means that data from different sources can be combined and is available more quickly than before. Anyone who wants to can use dashboards and analytics to ensure that our product range gets to the right place at the right time. We are still building on this, but our data heart beats perfectly.”
“We centralized data from the different source
systems, such as ERP, CRM and Exact, in TimeXtender®.
This worked perfectly, we really opened up access to
our biggest ERP package in no time and the process