Union Bank of Israel sought to give its marketing and risk analysts better, more useful business intelligence (BI) tools. As part of a wider initiative, it deployed a Microsoft data warehouse and BI solution. Now, the bank’s analysts have fast
access to critical customer data through easy-to-use BI tools. They spend less time gathering data, which improves efficiency. Plus, the bank has a solution to build on.
Union Bank of Israel Ltd. provides banking services such as checking and savings accounts, investment counseling, and mortgages and loans to private and commercial customers throughout Israel.
||With the Power View tool in SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services, our analysts have flexible, powerful data visualization tools that help them make better and faster business decisions.
| Jonathan Bellisha
Chief Technology Officer
Union Bank of Israel
The bank’s marketing analysts and risk analysts needed easier-to-use business intelligence (BI) tools in order to create custom marketing and campaign preparation and tracking reports. “We felt we lacked the ability to organize data for use in self-service
analysis,” says Jonathan Bellisha, Chief Technology Officer at Union Bank of Israel.
For example, when analysts wanted to gauge the success of a recent campaign, they had to query a customer relationship management (CRM) database to retrieve rows of unorganized data. They would then have to manually match up the campaign data with the actual
financial results of the campaign, and cut and paste the data into a Microsoft Excel 2010 spreadsheet. “These are nontechnical employees, and they often took up to two days to analyze data and build a report,” says Bellisha. “We need them to be spending their
time on analysis, not on report building.” Additionally, analysts often relied on the bank’s IT and Information Center departments to create financial reports based on tools for disparate mainframe systems and Oracle databases. Bellisha says, “Only IT staff
could create those reports, and analysts had to wait for this information before beginning analysis.”
In late 2010, Union Bank of Israel started searching for a solution that could give its analysts simpler reporting tools.
Starting in November 2010, Union Bank of Israel worked with Microsoft Consulting Services to extend the use of a data warehouse and BI solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise data management software. “Microsoft technologies give us a strategic
commercial advantage, and we wanted to continue expanding our Microsoft platform,” says Bellisha.
In the first phase of the solution, targeting branch managers and other staff, data was restructured into online analytical processing (OLAP) cubes using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Services and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Integration Services.
The solution also uses PerformancePoint Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 to give bank employees dashboard and data filter functionality. With these capabilities, 900 employees have access to reports from a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 portal.
In November 2011, Union Bank began implementing a second phase, focused on the data analysis capabilities in SQL Server 2012 Enterprise. The bank deployed SQL Server Power View, a self-service web-based BI reporting tool in SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services
that gives nontechnical employees the ability to explore, visualize, and present data. These users can also create reports and store them in a SharePoint Server 2010 portal, where they can be shared and reviewed by colleagues.
Union Bank of Israel also wanted to take advantage of the BI Semantic Model in SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services. This feature provides a semantic layer on top of the bank’s data warehouse and interoperates with SQL Server Power View, Excel 2010, SQL Server
PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel, and SharePoint Server 2010. It gives users the option of using one model for reporting, analytics, scorecards, dashboards, and custom applications.
A small team of analysts initially participated in the solution’s second phase, with more than 40 users expected to use the BI Semantic Model in 2012.
Union Bank of Israel analysts now have faster access to data and simple BI tools. As a result, analysts can save reporting time. The bank improves efficiency and gains a solid infrastructure to grow on.
Gives Analysts Faster Access to Data
Union Bank of Israel analysts have faster access to the financial data they need to quickly build reports. “With the Power View tool in SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services, our analysts have flexible, powerful data visualization tools that help them make
better, more exact business decisions,” says Bellisha. “Analysts can receive millions of rows of Excel data quickly.” Also, instead of querying the database and copying and pasting results to Office Excel, analysts can now use a report definition language
as a data source, which can save several hours.
The bank anticipates that branch managers will also use the tools. “Our managers will be able to answer customer questions faster and make better, faster decisions about customers’ financial activity,” Bellisha says.
Provides Easy-to-Use BI Tools
Bank analysts now have simple, intuitive nontechnical BI tools, and no longer need to use manual processes for analysis and ad-hoc reporting. In the future, for some reports, they will be able to stay in Excel to query data and build a report to send to
the SharePoint portal for a branch manager. Bellisha says, “The BI Semantic Model gives us innovative, point-and-click tools for self-service reporting and dynamic data visualization.”
Reduces Data-Gathering Time
Analysts at Union Bank of Israel have now decreased their reliance on IT employees to complete reports for them. “Our analysts can use SQL Server PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel to get several sources of data and combine it very quickly, which saves them
up to two days per week,” says Bellisha.
Provides Building Block for the Future
SQL Server 2012 also gives the bank a solid BI and data warehouse solution that can be expanded. “Our analysts were very quick to adopt the solution,” says Bellisha. “We expect that same enthusiasm as we add more SQL Server 2012 functionality.”
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