Dashboard, Dashboard, On The Wall...

At one point in our discussion, Sébastien stopped and looked for a few seconds at the horizon:

Imagine how much more I could have achieved if I had been using dashboards for the last 5 years.

He explains to me that the dashboards he creates these days help him review essential details on a daily basis and discover improvement areas not only for the company or his team but even at an individual level. He can now spend time with each member of staff to guide them to reach even better performance. He concludes:

I believe that each company should run BIME.

Sébastien Pitot is the Managing Director of AXYS Leasing, a company with a balance sheet of 85 million dollars and part of AXYS Group, one of the most important financial services players in Mauritius and present on the market for more than 20 years. For him, the decision to choose a cloud BI solution for analyzing increasing amounts of deposit and leasing data was a natural one.

At AXYS Leasing, I can guarantee, even after 3 months, that the benefits largely outweigh the costs of the system and we have already paid for many more months in terms of financial results.

He argues that people often think about the cost of running the system first without seeing the benefits that they can get from it. In this context, in comparison with the developments he and his team were already able to implement, his long-term assessment of the investment in cloud BI says it all:

It actually costs next to nothing.

A major role in this fast-discovery process was that of BIME’s partner - INSYNIUM and the one who introduced Sébastien to the multiple capabilities of cloud BI, Frédéric Waeber.

But how can a person who is already at an expert level in the financial field acquire even more expertise? This was one of Sébastien’s most important takeaways from his usage of cloud BI so far.

As an expert, you always think and estimate specific numbers and your expertise ensures that you are extremely close to the correct answer. But cloud BI allowed the experts at AXYS to benchmark themselves even better.

AXYS Leasing was able to automate a whole series of processes that were previously done manually and, thus, streamline each client executive. I found this to be an extremely valuable conclusion to the internal performance analytics that dashboards have brought to AXYS Leasing and went on to ask about how cloud BI was chosen and deployed in the company but Sébastien stopped me - he wanted to give me an example that he considers powerful:

At one point, we had a month during which the average disbursement rate that our client executives had was around 9%. But I saw in the dashboards that some of the executives were not reaching this average as they were at a low 8.5%. A team manager would directly think about their skills and how to immediately improve them. But the insights drawn from the dashboards offered me a deeper understanding of the situation as the workflow, the number of leases or the type of accounts, turned out to be more impactful factors in the low rate that I had discovered. I was thus able to discuss with the client executives from an overview perspective - advising them how to improve all the elements that were influencing their activity not only, for example, their negotiation skills.

Sébastien started to add more and more details to each graph, and he started feeling that as the charts were generating essential answers, they raised even more new questions. Each indicator got the team sitting together to talk about performance, marketing strategy, positioning, pricing, delivery speed, back office processes. By drilling down or decomposing charts in dashboards, they discovered outliers that lead to exception reports - these reports becoming the source for reviewing processes, understanding real causes of complaints, enhancing controls, etc.

The interactive visual dashboards created through BIME function now like a complex system of mirrors for Sébastien’s team. They can now pay more attention to the underlying factors of their individual and collective performance and re-engineer their internal processes and workflow altogether. It is an A to Z process within the company but for their customers this means a very smooth A to B improvement of the services they benefit from. And they have been doing this by analyzing more than 5 years of data. After that, their performance improvement has become visible in less than 3 months as Sébastien outlines:

We have steadily grown our lease disbursements every month since February 2014 as well as the weighted-average rate at which we are giving out leases. It has enabled us to identify numerous weaknesses in our lease marketing & pricing strategy. Similarly, we have streamlined our funding source (deposits) with better pricing, closer monitoring of mismatches (fixed and variable rates as well as maturities). Bottom line: increased margins through better and wiser pricing as well as better operating efficiency.

The amazing thing? AXYS Leasing was not in the process of looking for a BI system. But the meeting with INSYNIUM was decisive for them to understand that the customized leasing & deposit-taking software that they use for operational purposes lacks analytical & reporting tools.

Sébastien goes back in time for a short while:

We have been operating for 10 years with very basic manually generated KPIs and indicators. The answers we got from analysing data were certainly incomplete, often contained errors and took way too long to be published. You had to have some strong Excel skills to be able to manipulate data, formulas, macros and pivot tables.

The biggest problem was that by the time they got the information (although it was not very informative), a few weeks had gone by and the reaction happened too late. Also, the indicators produced were not detailed enough, lacked completeness and versatility. It was not always easy to draw concrete action plans from them.

At first, when he started using BIME, he wanted to do a myriad of graphs as one is tempted to analyze everything all at once but he soon realized that the process has to be more gradual than that.

You must really start small and build your queries and connections in small incremental steps. That’s the secret!

Nowadays, as the Managing Director, Sébastien has separate dashboards for various levels of reporting (Board, Executive Committees, etc.) and shares them through departments (Sales / Back Office / Leasing / Deposits) on a weekly and monthly basis.

The company has increased its speed of working altogether - today, with a few system exports to Excel and a refresh in BIME, the analysis they were previously doing in days is now ready made through the automatically updated dashboards. But more than that, there is no need for manual interventions, no risk for errors. The conclusion: better accuracy.

In the financial field that increases its amounts of data exponentially every day, Sébastien looks forward to the day in the near future where AXYS Leasing will combine their internal data with national economic data to dive deeper into understanding their clients and what services they can deliver to them. And, even though he is now an advanced cloud BI user, he is still anxious to test features of BIME that may further enhance his dashboards.

In his words one last time:

Imagine how much more I could have achieved if I had been using dashboards for the last 5 years… But imagine how many years ahead I will be by using dashboards from now on.