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Gap Systems helps companies streamline the product development process, organizing complex supply chains and getting new products to market faster. Their core product is “Smartflow,” a web-based SaaS product used to navigate and manage workflow, collaborate with partners, maximize value, and avoid getting locked into any one vendor.
However, Smartflow lacked graphical reporting tools of its own. Customers couldn’t make full use of their data or figure out the “pinch points” in the process. Gap System’s clients were having to make decisions based on their gut, rather than facts and evidence. Sisense was brought in to help clients fight daily fires, get a clear idea of company performance and keep project on track - but Gap Systems clients now use it to raise their businesses to the next level through predictive analysis and future planning.
A common thread from clients when the software was deployed was: if only we had this earlier! The data was there, they just weren’t making use of it.
The Challenge: Embedding Analytics for Easy Insights
When, for example, a food retailer launches a new item, many people are involved in the process: chefs, suppliers, procurement teams, taste testers, marketing, focus groups, legal teams, manufacturers, shipping companies, etc. Moreover, Gap Systems’ clients manage hundreds, even thousands, of product launches a year. That’s a lot of moving parts – including mountains of data that needs to be managed and interpreted to ensure a successful launch. Smartflow was intended to track these disparate items, so you know who is doing what at any particular time. Except, this wasn’t how customers were using the tool in reality.
As a result, clients weren’t getting the value or insights they needed. They would say things like, “It seems our legal department is slowing us down, we need to do something about that,” when in fact, they couldn’t really show either way whether legal was the problem. It was all based on instinct or assumption, rather than the hard data they had at their fingertips. Evidently, choice wasn’t working. Customers needed high-end reporting embedded into the product to make Smartflow a success.
The Search is on
As Managing Director of Gap Systems, it fell to Paul Goldberg to find a solution. Paul has a background in enterprise software/product development and works closely with customers/prospects, and the product development team, so he understood precisely what Smartflow was missing to fix the problem.
As a result, Paul zeroed in on Sisense fast. It was the only platform that did exactly what he needed, balancing versatility with affordability. He found it simple to configure the Elasticube, organize data flows, and design preliminary client dashboards. Paul decided to host Sisense online in a similar way to Smartflow, and allow clients to pick the license they wanted, putting them in control of access and costs.
While the functionality is fantastic and allows Gap to be a leader in the market, it was customer support that really sealed the deal. They [Sisense] are always happy to jump on the phone or shared session and make sure you have what you need to be successful. It doesn’t hurt that their software was the best we saw.
Intuitive, Flexible Dashboards
Client dashboards were set up to be fully interactive and flexible. This means clients could filter data however they wanted
and make any changes they needed, without having to alter underlying data or reports; they could modify filters to see
changes in real time. No time or technical skill was required – so no reason not to make use of these valuable functions.
Now, data is refreshed daily, guaranteeing accuracy. Visual reports are easy to understand at a glance, meaning clients can
identify process flow and pinch points immediately, especially when managing hundreds of projects with many data points
and rapidly accumulating information pools. What’s more, user permissions stored in the Elasticube have enhanced security.
The new system was a hit with clients. In particular, they could interpret
- Partner Performance – Many of Gap Systems’ clients build and distribute products through third parties, managing relationships with partners
- Internal Department Performance – Clients can now see immediately whether internal departments are on track and performing as planned. If bottlenecks form,
they don’t have to guess who’s responsible: they have hard data to back it up.
- Planning for the Future – Every company wants to do more with less. Having a complete picture of internal data allows Gap Systems’ clients to plan
resources, from people to budgets, and make evidence-backed predictions for the future.
through Smartflow. Now, they have real visibility into how these partners perform.
Sisense doesn’t just help Gap Systems to figure out where they’re at, it also helps them plan for the future. That’s because they can review currently active projects and determine that in, say, three months, the QA will have X much work to do, marketing will have Y, and legal will have Z. They can plan based on resource capacity, determining how much they’ll be able to manage and whether they might need to outsource, take on additional staff, or even postpone / turn down projects if necessary.
In the past, some of Gap Systems’ clients had attempted this manually, ending up with complex spreadsheets based on calculations so obtuse that only the person who wrote them could understand them – making it impossible to determine accuracy or underlying rationale. Sisense, on the other hand, provided a logical, reliable, user-friendly solution.