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How BI Tools Help Our Clients Tell Better Stories, Faster

Diana Hvistendahl, PMP

At IWCO Direct, we recently started using a Business Intelligence (BI) tool called Qlik Sense. Many internal groups have been instrumental in getting our organization acquainted with its capabilities: our Continuous Improvement and Quality teams started using it to analyze data; our Client Services group uses it to keep client schedules on track; and our IT team has started to use BI tools to help pilot interactive dashboards for our clients.

All the data within Qlik Sense is indexed and related. This setup allows a person to filter or drill down into specific aspects of the data to gain deeper insights. For example, you can filter by department, region, or date range to interpret the data from all necessary angles.

All Relevant Data in One Safe, Easy-to-Use Spot

The format of BI tools like Qlik Sense are a huge part of their effectiveness, letting us compress time and tell a story with graphs and colors instead of dense, difficult-to-parse data. One of our pilot clients is now using these tools for daily inventory, fulfillment, and data suppression reporting. Here’s a breakdown of what each of Qlik Sense’s capabilities can do for IWCO Direct and our pilot clients:

  • Inventory dashboard – This dashboard offers easy color-coding to indicate inventory stages, usage, and on-hand quantity. If inventory levels are adequate, the data displays in green. If inventory should be re-ordered soon, the data displays in yellow. And if inventory has depleted, data displays in red.
  • Fulfillment dashboard – This dashboard provides a visual link between our client’s data file and our internal production job numbering convention as a way to bridge a communication gap between the way our client refers to their data and how we track it through production internally. Each data file is tracked through fulfillment stages and also lists the associated mail dates and quantities.
  • Data Suppression dashboard – This dashboard provides a visual answer to why and how often we suppress or reject data (e.g., duplicate address, etc.). The dashboard provides a holistic view of all suppressions at first glance. Users can then drill into each data feed to see which records were suppressed, how many , and why within each file. They can also select a date range, department, or specific campaign to see suppressions related to those selections.
  • Letter Offer dashboard – This dashboard provides a data file report that displays each letter offer and its assigned code with counts of the letter offer combinations.

All of this functionality was implemented at the beginning of the summer after a client requested their IWCO Direct portal, including reports, be refactored and upgraded with a new look and feel. Some traditional static reports remain in their portal and some were replaced and combined using the new BI tools and reporting platform.

Management, analysts, and senior leadership of direct mail operations at our clients’ organizations can all use these portals and BI tools and dashboards, including Qlik Sense, with IWCO Direct. Using them daily also means they’re always up-to-date and maintained with the newest information and requests. With the help of our best-in-class Account Management team and IT support, everyone working on direct mail campaigns can use the dashboards to gain insights and answer questions like, “How much of component X do I need to order today?” faster than ever before.

BI Tools Tell Better Business Stories Quicker

Using BI dashboards allows our clients to combine multiple reports and analysis routines into one interactive dashboard. This reduces the amount of technical support needed to manage workflow and allows the client to get to the same data faster because fewer reports need to be run.

Not all of our clients use Qlik Sense or other similar BI tools, but building new client portals is an option for some programs. The first step is determining how it would benefit the client—from a resource, cost, and timing perspective. If you’d like to know how integrating BI tools could bring value to your marketing campaigns, let me know.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2018/07/24/bi-tools-software-direct-marketing/
Diana Hvistendahl, PMP

Author

Diana Hvistendahl, PMP

Director, Information & Process Services. Holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and a master’s from Metropolitan State University. Has been viewing challenges as opportunities for team-building at IWCO Direct for more than five years. When not improving processes and creating new tools to increase efficiency at IWCO Direct, she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and visiting her husband’s distillery.

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