Toro shies away from head office SAP reports

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Toro shies away from head office SAP reports

Toro Australia is installing a new business intelligence system to escape a data access bottleneck between it and its U.S.-based head office.

The company as a whole – including head office and its subsidiaries – runs off a single instance of SAP ERP, which is housed in the United States.

To create reports, Toro Australia had to first request the information be extracted from the corporate SAP system into a data warehouse, from where the company could run up reports using SAP Business Data Warehouse v3.

“All that was happening on the U.S. side so naturally the response and query times were quite slow,” said Tim Hogan, business intelligence manager at Toro Australia.

“We were always operating within a fair bottleneck with the bandwidth available to us, and also because the reporting software was only specific to SAP data.”

Hogan told iTNews that Toro Australia is in the process of shifting off Business Data Warehouse to QlikView to handle local reporting.

“Because we operate as a fully-owned subsidiary, even though they lock us into things like SAP, we’re able to use other operational applications provided we have a business case for them,” said Hogan.

“We can do quite a bit that would be outside of the typical Toro United States culture.”

QlikView acts as an ETL tool that connects to multiple sources, both SAP and third-party, and as the presentation GUI for the information. It includes a series of GUI ‘building blocks’ that Toro has used to present its information.

Toro Australia has approximately 32 reports – what they call ‘analysis applications’ – that reside on a central server and then accessible via the company’s intranet.

The first application to be re-developed in QlikView is for sales analysis, Hogan said.

“We now produce the applications ad-hoc depending on what user requirements come up,” said Hogan.

“For example, someone might come to us wanting to consolidate information from a vendor against gross sales data. We’re able to consolidate the two data sources and turn it around in under an hour in some cases.”

QlikView was launched in Australia in 2003 and is distributed by Inside Info. The company’s managing director, Stuart Barnard, said the software now has over 200 customers locally.

Toro Australia is a fully-owned subsidiary of Toro Company, a supplier of irrigation products to the landscape, agricultural, turf care and domestic household garden markets. It has 250 employees locally.

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