UBB Interlease digitizes its reporting with the Qlik Sense BI system [interview]

Zlatina Yotova, CFO at UBB Interlease EAD, talks first-hand about the implementation, challenges, and benefits of the new solution

One of the leading Bulgarian leasing companies UBB Interlease, part of the Belgian banking and insurance group KBC Group, trusted our team to implement a Business Intelligence project to digitize its processes in the New Business and Portfolio areas.

The developed BI system is based on the Qlik Sense platform and aims to meet the needs of the fast-growing leasing business. It was created in just a few months – from April to October 2019 – and key factors in the rapid implementation include a hybrid approach to project management and close collaboration between the teams of our two organizations.

The new BI platform provides reports, analytics, and graphical and static visualizations related to sales and merchant performance reporting, asset underwriting, portfolio dynamics, and UBB Interlease market share assessment. Therefore, for internal purposes, we call it MIS (Management Information System).

The reporting solution itself was evaluated by the company as flexible, dynamic, and with a user-friendly interface. Our team also implemented the integration of the BI solution with the company’s core systems. The data is updated twice a day and is available online in a single application that can be used at any time and on any device.

This allows the specialists at UBB Interlease to maintain a real picture of the status and development of the business and to monitor whether the targets and budgets are being met. In addition, this helps them to more easily make the right decisions at the right time, as well as detect problems promptly. The result of implementing the BI software is proving to be greater growth for the leasing company’s new business.

Zlatina Yotova is the CFO at UBB Interlease EAD and she provides a first-person account for our blog readers on the implementation, challenges, and benefits of the new solution:

Read more: Business Intelligence software- what, for whom and why

Ms. Yotova, why did you decide to launch the BI project?

– We needed to automate the entire reporting process regarding the company’s new business, as we have been focusing exclusively on its development since our acquisition by KBC. Previously, we relied mainly on manual database processing extracted via Excel, and this was time and resource-consuming. Whereas now with Qlik Sense we have the opportunity to focus on data analysis.

It helps us to base our management decisions on actual data presented in a much more visible way, which increases the speed of decision making, and therefore the competitiveness of the company as a whole. To be a market leader, we needed a competitive solution and that is why we focused on this project.

How did you choose this particular BI platform?

– As part of the visibility analysis, we researched which companies offer what software and BI tools and described all the advantages and disadvantages of our needs. In the beginning, we were hesitating between QlikView and Qlik Sense.

Accordingly, we had to determine which would be more in line in terms of server and security requirements for our system. In the end, a perfect solution was achieved, which we have successfully implemented. This is especially important because there are many projects with good initiatives and good goals, but only about 65%-70% of all are completed.

How did the employees’ work change after the project was completed?

– First, not only the reporting team and everyone who worked on the project now has access to the new system, but also almost the entire sales team – i.e. the people responsible for the new business. This access is online and not only the management of the company, but everyone who is involved in the New Business now has a direct connection. This means that when the processing of a lease of an asset starts in our core system, we in the finance department get information about it.

Qlik Sense Dashboard

Qlik Sense Dashboard - Balkan Services

So we can continually compare against budget, against targets, against KPIs, which used to be very difficult to track and we didn’t do it within the month, but after it was completed with Excel. Now everything is visible daily and no matter where you are, you can make any reference. Also, the data structure is excellent, which is a very good basis for further development.

Our focus is exclusively on new business, accordingly having this powerful tool, we can immediately analyze the data and the results it has daily without wasting time and resources to extract the information. So we focus on analysis and making the right decisions at the right time, which is very important in our dynamic environment.

In addition, we now have a better opportunity to improve the quality of the data, as we can immediately see where there is a problem and fix it in passing and on time. This is a big change for us.

Read more: Groupama generates reports and analytics in minutes with Qlik Sense

Have you ever noticed how long it used to take you to process data manually compared to now?

– We used to do a breakdown by different sales channels, segments, by assets, but we didn’t have that complete picture and the budget comparison like we have online now. So it’s incomparable in terms of time, resources, and scope. I can’t quote exact figures because that means comparing different things.

Previously, reporting was concentrated in a small number of people, and I had to prepare for management, the group, and the shareholders, and it was all Excel-based. Now we are very happy with what we have, although so far only in the new business area.

Ms Iotova, what were the main challenges you faced during the project?

– The main challenge for us was that we had to plan resources in terms of time and participants so that ongoing tasks and deadlines were met and at the same time resources remained for the project. Our other major challenge was to continuously update the requirements that were coming from the management and colleagues from the Sales department to the system and reporting itself.

In addition, at the same time as the implementation of the business intelligence platform, the larger team from the sales department was working on another project that was focused on our customers. In other words, two large projects were being implemented in parallel and needed to be linked to the foundation system that we use to manage our overall leasing business. So this upgrade led to new requirements that we had to resolve on the spot and required us to react very quickly in the BI system setup.

At the same time, we were laying the foundation for the new business itself as a framework and a way of working. It was particularly important to set up the philosophy and structure so that we could then be very flexible and do everything that the dynamics of the business continually required.

But we were blessed to have come across such colleagues from Balkan Services, with whom as people and personalities we hit it off. Because of the security requirements imposed on us by the group, we worked together in our office and saw them almost every day. So in the course of working with them, we became a team.

In conclusion, let’s summarize what for you are the main benefits of implementing the BI system.

– In practice, thanks to the BI tool we achieve not only automation but also rapid growth of the new business itself. Now we don’t waste time in doing after-the-fact reporting, but based on this BI platform we achieve growth and make quick and relevant decisions, set the right KPIs, and incentive schemes, and generally meet the growth forecasts for the leasing portfolio that we have budgeted. That to me is the biggest benefit.

Other benefits include perfect in-the-moment visualization that gives us all sorts of detailed information in terms of segments, asset type, sales channels, across different agents, and all sorts of breakdowns and segmentations with corresponding visualizations like dashboards.

All of that overlays and gives us a competitive advantage and we get better results in the new business, which is the most important thing for us as a company, for the shareholders, and the whole group. The figures from the first two months of the year show the following: in February we had 111% budget execution and year-to-date to the end of February that percentage cumulatively is 106%, which is great. In my opinion, the implementation of this project is important for the overall business development of our company.

In this regard, do you plan to expand the scope of the BI application in the future?

– We are keen to continue upgrading the BI system to also include credit risk reporting. In general, this will allow us to monitor the development of the quality of our portfolio in terms of the credit risk we have taken on, as well as to make comparisons with the risk we have set out in our development plan. We do not want to stop there; on the contrary, we want to continue. I think it is achievable – again it is a question of good planning, good organization, teamwork, and motivation. important in our dynamic environment.

No business nowadays can grow and be competitive without the use of IT systems. Choosing the right software solution and implementing it is a complex, difficult but critically important decision.

At Balkan Services we have expert knowledge of both business and technology, and we speak both languages. We will listen carefully and advise you on choosing the right business system for your needs.

Balkan Services has been implementing business software since 2006 and has completed more than 690 projects, of which more than 420 are in the area of BI software. We follow a proven implementation methodology with clear steps and know-how on best practices.

Balkan Services
Balkan Services

Balkan Services has been implementing software solutions for businesses since 2006 and has completed more than 720 business software implementation projects and building complete IT infrastructure for 390+ companies. We follow a proven implementation methodology with clear steps and best practice know-how.