What is our primary use case?
We use it for retail budgeting and assortment planning. Our company is mainly focusing on fashion retail. And we are also now focusing on vendor forecasting to provide predictive analyses.
We are a Board partner in India. One of our clients is Bestseller, a fashion retailer. We are doing projects for them on retail budgeting and planning. We recently completed their assortment planning project and we have had good feedback.
How has it helped my organization?
The integration with SAP has helped with process optimization. Before, users were using Excel for planning. First they had to go to SAP, extract the data, and plan everything in Excel. Then, for reporting, they were using another tool where they would have to select the reports and send them to senior managers. But now, SAP is integrated with Board, so they get the data in Board, they do the planning in Board, and all the reports are in Board. There is no need to send reports via email to senior managers. And once the reports are approved, everything goes through automatically. It has made things easy for them. It has cut many steps from their activities.
Using Board has reduced costs for our clients because they would have to get an SAP license for each of their users. There is only one license for the Board SAP integration. So users can just use the Board license and cut down on licenses for SAP. And because they were using an additional reporting tool, that has also been cut down. They have even been able to cut down on Office, because there is no more Excel. Everything is in Board.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable features are the reporting and the charts. The reporting functionality is handy for aggregation, when it comes to planning. That ability is fascinating and our users are very happy with it. The charts and the reporting allow our users to see all the data and to see how things are going this year or in the COVID situation. They're seeing everything. Instead of having to check data line by line, they're seeing it in a graph and they're seeing it in charts. The reports are very useful here when it comes to aggregation. They want to see things at the regional or store level, or on the complete city level.
The forecasting is happening and the reports are sent to senior levels, like the CEO and managers. It's one solution, so that users don't have to go to other software to see any of their data. All the data is in one system, making it a one-stop system and solution for end-to-end planning. There is no need for a multiple software solution. The data, reports, and planning are there in Board, so there is no need to go to SAP or any other third-party ERP system. That's because Board is integrated with all the ERP solutions. Users are able to keep on using Board, making the planning seamless, with no need to go here and there.
What needs improvement?
We're using version 10.6 and small things are improved in 10.7 and even more in Board 11. Board 11 is much better.
There is room for improvement when it comes to how users see the data. Most clients are comfortable with MS Office and Excel. Something like 70 percent of Board, when it comes to data entry, is like Excel, where they can use Tab or formulas, etc. But if they want to freeze data—imagine the data contains 20 columns or 30 columns—they need to scroll. The freezing option is there, but it is not in the control of users. It is in the control of our technical team. We need to configure it and freeze it, but the end-user can't freeze the data view to a particular column. That option is there in Excel, where they can freeze things and scroll and see what the values are. So most users are asking for the option to be able to freeze things.
Also, some of our users are still using an MS Office add-in for Excel for certain calculations, and when they export from Board, some of the values, some of the totals and column names, are not coming through into Excel.
In addition, when it comes to speed and memory, we recommend our users use an 8 GB RAM machine. When loading certain large quantities of data, it is taking 4 to 5 GB of memory. We're still analyzing this but we have raised a ticket to find out why it's taking up so much memory.
Finally, it should be very friendly. The UI should be more attractive.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been working with Board for the past year. It has been very good learning Board as a powerful BI tool. Our team has made good progress. We recently finished the Board certification, so all of our team got the Practitioner certificate. We are looking toward the consultant certificate, which we are scheduled for in the next month.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
As I mentioned elsewhere, sometimes users are finding that the memory use is high.
Stability-wise, there are no issues.
We do get some error messages in the client, messages that we have raised tickets about with their support team. They are just a warning, they are not corrupting, but they give end-users the wrong impression. We have started correcting those. Apart from that, there are no stability or performance issues.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It's scalable because anything can be built with Board when you build it from scratch.
We have a very small team. We have around 15 licenses. Around five to six people are developing complete solutions for our customers. On the customer side, we have 150 licenses in the Board production environment.
How are customer service and technical support?
Board's technical support is very good.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Our clients started with Board. They didn't replace any solution, other than Excel.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is very simple, whether it's the installation of Board, license management, user installation, Windows installations, or if you want a cloud installation. Even the cloud administration console and the web server installation and the MS Office add-on installation are very simple. There are no problems involved with installation of Board.
For one server it did not take more than two to three hours and it was only me involved in the setup.
For deployment I use the Board Transporter tool. We have three environments: development, QA, and production. We're following Agile methodology. We first deploy it in our IT environment, then QA, then production. Transporter makes things very simple. However, I'm not sure that the Transporter tool will work on Windows clients. For Windows clients the Transporter 10.6 version was very problematic. Then we installed a web server. When our client was installed we then logged in to the client and there was the Transporter package and we started using that.
What other advice do I have?
Go with the latest version. Even my customers should have done so. If you're a new customer going with Board, go with the latest cloud version, always. The latest version is always best and it will solve most of the issues.
If our customers are happy, we are happy. If Board is making things simpler for our users, we'll be getting more licenses and we can suggest that users use more features of Board. It is making life and their work simpler. That is very good and that is the main objective for us.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?