PPC was the first cement manufacturer in South Africa and is now a leading pan-African provider of quality building materials and solutions. The company faced significant reporting challenges. There were stability issues when extracting data from the ERP system and stakeholders were unable to obtain timely insight into the value of their data. PPC’s four key areas of business operations: planning, production, sales, and inventory were unable to communicate with each other, each relying on individual reports created for only their particular function.
The company required a system to provide visibility into how these four key business areas influenced each other. The company needed an easy-to-use BI model that would also offer self-service dashboards and reporting for its end-users and decision-makers, agnostic of the reporting tool.
Keyrus was tasked with addressing this challenge and advised PPC to migrate from an on-premise solution, to a modern data architecture built on the cloud as Azure cloud streamlines many processes and allows for fast scaling and flexible feature implementation as and when needed. PPC had created cubes in SAP for planning, production, sales, and inventory. Keyrus tapped into the ERP system to extract that information and create models in Microsoft Azure Analysis Services which were pushed into the cloud. A tabular model in Azure was developed to serve as a semantic layer. The Power BI gateway was installed to ensure data connection between Azure and the on-premise data sources. Azure Data Factory was used to ingest the large inventory data volumes and structured to perform the daily data refreshes into the Azure Analysis Services Tabular model.
Benefits include cost -reductions, improvement in data accessibility, and faster reporting. Cost savings ensue from the move away from on-premise technologies, which means fewer hardware costs, including maintenance and support. In addition, the cloud gives PPC control over its spending based on how much new capacity or utilisation it requires. PPC’s reporting system is tool agnostic and users can connect to data across multiple sources. Power BI, the data visualisation layer, connects directly to SAP BW and other data sources. This environment is thus responsible for storage and business rules. The logic, therefore, resides in a semantic layer, rather than in the tool, which means any reporting tool can be used. The system is easy-to-use and much less daunting than having to connect to PPC’s ERP system.
What our clients say
We now have a stable, sustainable platform from which to generate our BI reports, offer self-service dashboards and reporting for its end-users and decision-makers.
Kgomotso Molefe, Chief Information Officer, PPC
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