Highly efficient data management
Bystronic expands Qlik analysis and reporting platform with Qlik Data Integration and iVIEW
„With the introduction of Qlik Data Integration in conjunction with iVIEW, we can significantly reduce loading times from our SAP and CRM systems. Instead of six hours, the data now loads in just 45 minutes.“ Stefan Heinz, Senior BI & Analytics Specialist, Bystronic Laser AG
Bystronic is a global provider of sheet metal processing solutions. The focus is on automating the entire material and data flow of the cutting, bending and welding process chain. The portfolio includes laser cutting systems, brake-forming presses and corresponding automation and software solutions. The technology company was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Niederönz, Switzerland. Further development and production sites are located in Sulgen (Switzerland), Gotha (Germany), Cazzago San Martino and San Giuliano Milanese (Italy), in Tianjin, Shanghai and Shenzhen (China) and in Hoffman Estates (USA). Bystronic operates in over 30 countries with its own sales and service companies and is represented by agents in numerous other countries. Bystronic employs over 3,600 people at more than 40 locations worldwide. Bystronic AG has been on the SIX Swiss Exchange since 2021 (SIX: BYS).
Solution at a glance
Industry: Mechanical engineering
Data sources: SAP and Salesforce
Utilized technologies: Qlik Sense, Qlik Replicate, Qlik Data Integration, iVIEW Dataflow
Region: Niederönz, Switzerland
ROI & Time-to-value: faster, resource-saving SAP and CRM data provision in Qlik Sense
Analysis and reporting with Qlik
For several years, the Bystronic Group has relied on Qlik as a strategic analysis and reporting platform for global BI management – accompanied by Informatec as an experienced partner in BI, Qlik and data management. Around 500 users from various departments now use 65 Qlik Sense applications.
The focus is on applications for finance and services. The most important data sources are SAP R/3 and Salesforce. 780 million rows from these two systems are processed in Qlik Sense. The total data volume includes around 500 GB of QVD-compressed data.
Growing demands for data transfer
User requirements for the use of SAP and CRM data in Qlik applications have grown over the years. The aim was to load and integrate ever larger amounts of data as quickly as possible and to make them available in Qlik applications. Previously, the nightly data update process took six hours. “Our goal was to significantly reduce data loading times, minimise the system load and ensure flawless, automated data updates”, says Stefan Heinz, Senior BI & Analytics Specialist at Bystronic Laser AG and certified developer for QlikView and Qlik Sense.
Optimal data processing with Qlik Replicate and iVIEW Dataflow
Bystronic made a groundbreaking decision to enhance the current Qlik-based analysis and reporting platform through two innovative solutions. Firstly, the implementation of Qlik Replicate, a robust replication software, allowed for accelerated database replication. Secondly, the introduction of iVIEW Dataflow eliminated the need for full loads of “long and wide tables” from the SQL server database managed with Qlik Replicate, ensuring that data becomes readily usable for Qlik applications.
The only data selected out are those that are changed and newly added (INSERT / UPDATE) which are pulled into QVDs and deleted (DELETE). iVIEW Dataflow, the low-code framework for Qlik developed by Informatec enables the generation of fully automated and controllable data processes (ETL).
Bystronic uses the framework to extract, transform and load the replicated data from SAP and the CRM system Salesforce into Qlik Sense. For Stefan Heinz, the central feature of the solution is the delta load functionality. It allows delta calculations to be performed to compare data changes between different time periods or data sets. “iVIEW Dataflow allows us to do both full loads, which are used for smaller tables, and delta loads. For example, we are able to reload just the data that has been added or changed after the last extract, which leads to a reduction in the amount of data and thus also the time required for the data loading process, and puts less strain on the source system,” he explains.
In close collaboration with Stefan Heinz, Informatec implemented further requirements from Bystronic in a solution-oriented manner. For example, he says, the BI & analytics specialist automatically detects entries that need to be deleted.
“Informatec has always responded very quickly to inquiries and provided solutions for my feature requests”, he confirms.
Renaming of SAP tables and fields
Bystronic also relies on iVIEW Dataflow for data transparency, more specifically when it comes to the subsequent renaming of SAP tables and fields. “For example, we pull and save the delta load of an SAP table” explains Stefan Heinz. “The table and field names such as “BKPF” for “document header” in accounting and “BUKRS” for company code or “XBLNR” for the reference document number are not easily understood, especially in the global context of our group of companies. Using an SAP rename stage in the iVIEW dataflow interface we thus rename BKPF to “AccountingDocHeader”, for example, and BUKRS to “CompanyCode”. The renamed tables and fields are then automatically available to developers and users, which enables better understanding – which in my view is a basic requirement for self-service BI at Bystronic.”
More efficient data management
The greatest benefit offered to Bystronic by using Qlik Replicate in conjunction with iVIEW Dataflow is more efficient, highly professional data management. This above all includes significantly reduced loading times. “Instead of loading data overnight as before, we were able to provide users with up to date SAP data in Qlik within 45 minutes”, explains Stefan Heinz. In addition, with iVIEW Dataflow delta loads place less strain on SAP and MS Dynamics CRM and Salesforce systems than with the full loads that tended to be used previously. The renaming of SAP data fields and tables as well as the central maintenance of elements also ensure transparency and traceability.
Stefan Heinz’s next goal is to establish multiple daily SAP and CRM data retrievals. In the medium to long term, migration to Qlik Sense SaaS is also an option Bystronic wants to use to further optimise its own BI strategy on its way to becoming a data-driven company.
“The combination of Qlik Data Integration and iVIEW Dataflow ensures highly efficient BI data management at Bystronic through accelerated database replication and the ability to carry out delta calculations.“
Stefan Heinz, Senior BI & Analytics Specialist, Bystronic Group
- Reduction in loading times
- resource-saving delta loads
- Renaming of SAP tables and fields
- Implementation of Qlik Sense, Qlik Replicate, Qlik Data Integration, iVIEW Dataflow
- Resource-saving delta loads from SAP and non-SAP systems
- significant reduction in loading times
- flawless data update
- more comprehensible data due to renaming of SAP tables and fields
- central maintenance of elements and usability in various Qlik Sense applications