I have been provided the Opportunity by Customer FX to get to know the new Business Intelligence tool from Sage for SalesLogix called Visual Analyzer. While waiting for the dates of Visual Analyzer Developers course, provided by Sage University, I tried to learn as much about the tool on my own by using the many references from both Sage and QlikTech (Makers of the Qlikview). Although I found this material very helpful and easy to read I still ran into many items that I could not find the answers for. I am happy to report that Visual Analyzer Developers Course was excellent and it really answered a lot of those questions and provided enough guidance on the others that I feel comfortable to start writing on my experience with this tool.
The next several posts will focus on lessons learned during Installation and set up of the Visual Analyzer (VA) 2.5 in a test environment. One of the first lessons we learned as a company was the tool works great using the SLX evaluation database, but when you apply the tool to an actual existing modified SalesLogix (SLX) database, the challenges begin. The notes provided in these posts will come from lessons learned while establishing this tool against actual client database with the purpose of identifying the challenges you will face during your implementation.
CFX strongly encourages you to first establish a test environment using a copy of the database you plan to install VA in. Although the installation using the SLX VA Implementation guide is pretty straight forward, practicing against a test system allows the user the ability to make mistakes with out effecting the production environment.
As stated before most of the documentation is adequate, there were very few issues we incountered during installing of any of the components. When installing the QlikView server on a Microsoft Windows 2003 machine we had to stop the CRM Indexer Service prior to running the installation wizard. If we did not, the installation failed. One other important note is that we did not see a way of updating the User Security in SLX version 6.2.6 as stated on page 13 of the implementation guide. It has been available in installation of 7.2.1.
Finally, we feel it is important for you to understand that VA out of the box assumes that you are using standard SLX functionality such as Opportunities, History and Activities to track your Sales force. If this is not the case then VA will need to be modified to your internal processes for the KPI’s to work. You must have a QlikView Enterprise license and some training to modify the .qvw file.
During the installation process you are instructed to set up the KPI data sheets. The installation guide fails to go in to detail about each of the KPI so I thought I would dig into to this topic a little deeper.
VA has 10 standard Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and an important task in a successful implementation is deciding which KPI’s are important to your company. Since this article would be a mile long if I went into the details of each KPI in one post, today I will focus on first establishing the list of Users you are going to track. I will follow up with KPI’s and the supporting details in future posts over the next several days.
The KPI data displayed in VA is a combination of data derived from your SalesLogix data and goal data input by your company into supporting KPI Microsoft Excel Spread Sheets. These Spread Sheets are what we need to modify. The spread sheets are accessible through SLX when logged in as ADMIN, once logged in navigate to the VA interface.
On the top middle of the view you find a tool bar box with icons. The second icon from the right has a drop down, select the “Manage Configurations” from the list and the following view appears.
This interface allows the Admin user to manage the data for your KPI’s along with several other items we will get into in future posts. With the KPI’s sheet active, you will see a list of the standard 10 KPI’s. As you highlight the rows on the left the list to the right displays the corresponding spread sheets data. (We will get into the exact steps of modifying these sheets in the next post.) Right now, as you look at each of the sheets you will notice the User column contians a list of users. VA uses this column to match against the data in SLX. The match is to thename in this coulmn to SLX USERINFO.USERNAME field. This is why our first step in establsihing the KPI’s in your system is discovering the list of users we want to track under the KPI’s.
Since the User Name in the KPI Spread Sheet has to be an exact match against the User Name field in SLX, I thought the best way to collect the list of names was to run a SQL Query against the SLX USERINFO table. I used the following query based on what I know of the company I am working with.
SELECT Title,Username, Department,Region
WHERE (DEPARTMENT = ‘Sales’)
This provided me a fairly accurate list and I was able to work with the client to narrow it down. Right now this list is simply a reference but we have a start. The next thing to think about is how far back in History do you want to query. Standard VA comes with the ability to query data in the years 2004 through 2008. Once you have the list of Users and the number of years of history you want VA to query you are ready to start modifying the KPI sheets with your companies goals. In the next article we will look at the Sales KPI and how we came up with the data to populate the supporting spread sheet.
Just to clarify the term “we” used through out the post, I have the distinct pleasure of working with Larry Halsrud (Director of Support at Customer FX) on this project.