COMPUTER BUSINESS REVIEW

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Issue Date: November 2006

Simpler reporting

1 November 2006

Cutting out the expensive front-end BI systems, Alchemex is a local company making full use of Excel to make report generation easier for executives.
Alchemex was founded in the year 2000 by Gary Boddington, Charles Teversham and Darryl Smith with the vision of delivering a simple reporting tool to company decision-makers who experience frustrations with reporting. Having had significant experience in business analysis and solution development in high-end ERP applications like SAP, the founding members were well-placed to relate to the kinds of frustrations experienced by most companies.
Gary Boddington, Charles Teversham and Darryl Smith
Gary Boddington, Charles Teversham and Darryl Smith
One common theme was very evident. People needed information to make the best decisions for their business, and they all wanted it in Excel. There was a clear need for a tool that could interrogate multiple data sources, and deliver formatted information in Excel at the click of a button. Spreadsheets were here to stay, but their use needed to be tightened up to deliver a single version of the truth that could be trusted and distributed confidently across an organisation. Their product, the Alchemex Reporting Solution evolved to fulfil this need, providing a flexible reporting solution that uses Excel to give decision makers instant access to the right information, formatted the way they choose.
Alchemex has 30 head office staff and over 3000 different companies, both local and abroad, benefiting from the use of its software. This is supported by a national infrastructure in Gauteng, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban.
Although Alchemex is a flexible reporting tool, the success to date is attributed to focusing on solutions for the more prevalent install bases like Pastel (packaged as the Business Intelligence Centre available on Pastel Partner, Pastel Evolution and Pastel Payroll products), SYSPRO (supporting MS SQL and C-ISAM databases), Accpac (supporting MS SQL and Pervasive databases), Great Plains (supporting MS SQL), VIP Payroll (Essentials, Classic and Premier), SAP Business One, Sybiz Vision (Australia) and others. Unlike other proprietary reporting solutions and Excel links, Alchemex delivers a suite of automated container solutions or pre-formatted Excel report templates for the specific install bases to get users up and running immediately and to fast track customised reporting.
Install base solutions cover financials (including management pack automation), sales analyses, inventory and purchasing. This is supported by training and consulting divisions, developed to close the loop on delivering a whole product service to customers.
Supporting the Microsoft drive to make Excel the chosen presentation platform for business intelligence, Alchemex has invested significantly in developing the Excel on Steroids training program, specifically aimed at teaching people how to maximise the use of Excel as a reporting platform - extending its use well beyond just spreadsheet functionality. Alchemex has seen over 3000 delegates graduate from the program in the last year. A number of Alchemex's training courses have been launched online so potential delegates need not take time out of their busy working weeks to commute to a training centre, but can now excel themselves anytime, anywhere and become expert report writers in the comfort of their home or office.
BI is talked about everywhere, with all major vendors attempting to stake their claim in some form or another. Traditionally such technology has only been available to corporate giants with huge budgets, but this will be changing quickly. The next five years will see rapid adoption of BI for SMEs in particular. Solutions must be easily deployed in a cost effective manner so that companies realise their returns early. Alchemex is well placed to deliver on this initiative as its product suite, training and service offerings grow. This is supported by a 32% year on year revenue growth for 2006, and on track forecasts of 79% year on year, for year ending February 2007.
Alchemex's install base offerings are set to grow, locally and abroad, in terms of both add-ons to applications, where the report writing tool is powered by Alchemex, as well as successful partnerships with application vendors, where Alchemex is integrated as a reporting solution in an application. The latter has been successful and will continue to be so because other vendors can focus on their core business, but still offer the flexibility to extract, analyse and report on information, using the Alchemex software.
For more information contact Alchemex, +27 (0) 861 102 302, info@alchemex.net, www.alchemex.net


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