CASE STUDY - Qualcomm Speeds Time to Business Answers
Commentary by Steve Rimar, Senior Programmer Analyst, Qualcomm
Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM) is a leader in developing and delivering innovative digital wireless communication products and services based on CDMA and other advanced technologies.
Understanding the usage of internal applications is vital. With Qualcomm’s numerous business intelligence (BI) systems, obtaining application usage information sounds easy. However, employees from the product development services team could not easily utilize these tools to obtain this information. They did not lack the skills to do so; they simply lacked the time and resources.
Steve Rimar, Qualcomm senior programmer analyst, discovered QlikView while looking for a solution to some of the department’s key reporting and analysis challenges. Rimar was intrigued by the appealing visual analysis and ability to rapidly develop new applications. After downloading the fully functional free trial of QlikView, he built an application for analysis of Qualcomm’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system—within a few days.
The QlikView solution he developed accesses a large data set within the PLM application, providing analysis on the number and profiles of employees using the system, along with specifics on peak usage time, system performance and speed, average product turnaround time, and bottlenecks in the process. With Qualcomm’s existing BI solutions, development time for the same application could have taken weeks or even months. After experiencing QlikView’s ease of use and the minimized amount of predefined analysis required for development, the team made the decision to purchase QlikView.
Reduced Reporting Time and Optimized Staffing Accelerate Time to Market
Although QlikView was originally intended for reporting within Qualcomm’s product development services organization, use grew organically as employees recognized the potential of QlikView analysis for functions outside of IT. More than 100 dashboards and reporting applications have been deployed across 15 business units. These applications have given employees one-click access to information that had previously taken them hours or days to track down.
For example, a QlikView application for the ASIC System Test (AST) group has enabled Qualcomm to increase efficiencies in the chip testing life cycle and ultimately improve throughput time. Previously, each group had to compile and distribute individual Excel spreadsheets, since the AST group includes nine different subdivisions and employees in both the United States and India. Today, the department’s 40 users share a single view of how each chip feature is testing against each phone, with powerful trending analysis of coverage percentage, automation complete, and other key testing metrics. Qualcomm has been able to save one day each month previously spent generating reports. The same AST application also enables Qualcomm to optimize staffing to meet timing commitments to the company’s manufacturing suppliers.
“With QlikView’s ability to enable IT groups to rapidly deploy applications, we are able to put the power of data analysis into the hands of our engineers faster than ever before.” —Steve Rimar, Senior Programmer Analyst, Qualcomm
“Qliking” for Quality: Efficiency and Transparency in Quality Control
In addition to increased reporting and staffing efficiencies and the associated cost savings, QlikView has enabled Qualcomm to provide its engineers with the intelligence to improve quality control processes. Before QlikView, a quality technician spent at least four hours each week preparing reports for eight different Qualcomm product families—an exhausting five-step process that included querying data from the company’s Manufacturing Execution System (MES) using Qualcomm’s former BI software product, exporting to Microsoft Excel, creating a pivot table, refreshing the existing chart, and manually calculating yield and defects per hundred units (DPHU) to complete the chart. Today, the weekly reporting process has been completely eliminated, saving the quality technician 16–20 hours each month.
Putting Business Intelligence in the Hands of End Users
Qualcomm recognizes the additional value QlikView brings to its end users. “Since QlikView is an all-encompassing tool and we don’t need to spend a lot of time gathering and modifying requirements, it only takes a few days to get new applications up and running, allowing us to quickly expand to additional users,” said Rimar.
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