In 2011, the very young Bmatix went all in for SAP BW combined with BusinessObjects – which at the time was the platform for business intelligence & analytics for SAP users. Until a disruptive trend threw a spanner in the works: self-service BI. Business Intelligence shifted from IT to the business. In 2015, the new Bmatix management changed course, expanding its technology portfolio, developing sector solutions, investing in consultants with process knowledge, and fine-tuning its SAP competencies to the new technologies. Welcome to Bmatix 2.0.
Jan Vautmans and Maarten Bemong joined Bmatix in 2015, both as managing partner. The strategist and the people person complemented one another perfectly. "Until then SAP was the thread running through both of our careers", Jan notes. “But it seemed the right moment for us to broaden our perspective. With Bmatix we wanted to be an independent advisor for our customers: a partner who thinks as a function of needs, not of a technology.”
“We concluded partnerships with Microsoft and SAS, amongst others. Without touching our SAP expertise. SAP BW remains top on many levels. Thanks to the fast SAP ERP HANA database, we are also constantly delivering ever more real-time BI to our SAP customers. Yet many SME customers no longer want expensive separate servers for BI.”
“Self-service BI was really taking off. Business users wanted to start working with data analytics without expert knowledge and IT. So, we brought in knowledge of tools like Tableau and Power BI. In the beginning you encountered these tools primarily in non-SAP landscapes. But the cross-pollination did its work. With our knowledge of Power BI and SAP we developed an SAP Extractor, for example. In this way we efficiently pump data from SAP into Microsoft solutions. With an obvious advantage: we know SAP, the processes, and the data structures. Which increases the quality of the result."
BI projects sometimes have a fairly long completion time, yet customers want fast results. Bmatix sought a way to reconcile that. “We developed an approach based on templates”, says Jan. "SAP partner TheValueChain also does this, but for SAP S/4HANA. They offer sector solutions for e.g. the wholesale trade. We supplemented these with a template for BI, budgeting and KPI reporting.”
“The template is the starting point for the conversation with our customer. Adjustments are only necessary for the customer´s unique characteristics, so he sees results much faster. He can even deploy BI during the ERP implementation for testing, master data management and historical data."
“The template is still growing every day. Customers sometimes ask for additional information. Often, we include this so that other customers can benefit from it as well. For instance, we recently added production reporting. This approach works, so we don´t limit ourselves to SAP. We do the same thing with Microsoft Power BI. Industry-oriented templates are central in our long-term vision.”
Has the role of the BI consultant evolved? Jan: “No doubt about it. Today our consultants are firmly integrated into the customer teams. Sharing knowledge is important. The customer teaches our consultants his specific processes. Thanks to our templates our consultants have greater process knowledge. They require less explanation. In turn, our consultants teach the customer how he should use the tools and information.”
“The consultants become providers of user-friendly information models that the customer himself applies in BI. Moreover, our people are often active simultaneously in several, often smaller, projects. In this way they are constantly improving their functional knowledge and their business insight. That too is good for our templates, in which we consolidate all of our lessons learnt."
“That´s perhaps the greatest change: we have evolved from technicians to all-round information and process experts”, Jan concludes. “In the transition between BI and the business we matured into adulthood. Adult, but with a twist.”