The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most valuable monuments of material culture in Poland, visited by over a million tourists from all over the world. Being one of the first ones added to the UNESCO list, it is also a world heritage site.
Does the Business NAVIGATOR system perform well?
“Absolutely. The effectiveness of the Business NAVIGATOR system is proven by the number of regular users”, says Łukasz Gębala, head of the Controlling Department.
“Today, we have over 50 system users, mainly people in managerial positions. In addition, the system is constantly operated by analysts.”
What processes does Business NAVIGATOR support in the mine?
The most popular module of the NAVIGATOR system is the data warehouse. The data sources of the warehouse are the ERP system, a tourism support program (Ponet), and a budgeting module based on an MS Excel spreadsheet. The warehouse integrates crucial financial data about the group companies. It also allows for analysis through the prism of both the group as a whole and individual companies. The warehouse also integrates data from the system that supports tourist activities such as booking and ticket and retail sales. The scope of data analysis is therefore not only multidimensional but also multi-thematic. Currently, the Wieliczka Salt Mine Group has 10 OLAP analytical cubes. Additionally, ad-hoc queries are used.
Reporting in the KSW Group covers three main areas: tourism, security activities, and management effectiveness – explains Łukasz Gębala.
“When it comes to tourism, we try to collect all the possible data on the tourist traffic in the warehouse, starting from the time when the tourist enters the mine, through the information where they come from, how they found out about us, what they bought, and how much they paid for the services. On this basis, the Controlling Department not only prepares dedicated analyzes but also provides a powerful analytical tool to be used by managers. For managers, Navigator is, due to its ease of use, an additional employee that they have in the team, who, after only a few clicks, collects data in any layout, accurate and up-to-date.
The implementation of activities based on securing a unique monument, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, is financed from various sources that often require adapting to the reporting requirements set by the government or EU institutions. For example, to control budget subsidies, we use the reporting system to which we are obliged by the Industrial Development Agency. For this purpose, we use a dedicated OLAP cube, which has the analytical dimensions we need to report on a budget subsidy. Before the Business NAVIGATOR system implementation, subsidy reporting was based on rewriting data from the accounting system and manual processing in Excel. After the introduction, we build any statements by dragging chosen fields with the mouse. We can save any report in the form of an Excel file, which can be updated automatically in the next months. It is a huge time saver for analysts.
From the management point of view, the area of resource management is the key. It mainly refers to the implementation of budgets by the heads of individual units but not only this. We are looking for all kinds of optimization. Most people are involved in this process – from the Management Board to the Controlling Department, various specialist units, and lower-level managers. Here Navigator also provides the greatest added value. Everyone can create reports on their own and easily share them with others.”
Thanks to the variety of analytical tools offered by Business NAVIGATOR, everyone will find the optimal solution for themselves. In this regard, the system provides tables and pivot charts based on OWC or MS Excel. More advanced users can also use SQL queries directly in the database. In addition to dynamic reporting, the KSW Group also uses static tools to build and distribute any reports.
What has changed in these four years?
“2008 was a breakthrough year in terms of the digitalization of the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Apart from NAVIGATOR, Wieliczka has implemented an ERP class system (Impuls 5). However, we have not been idle during these four years, especially when it comes to NAVIGATOR. We doubled the number of analytical areas (OLAP cubes), expanded each of them with additional dimensions, and launched the tourist service system as a new data source. In terms of budgeting, we furthered the details and expanded it with elements that were not available before (e.g., payroll planning for each employee). All these activities were aimed at optimizing the budgeting system and capital group management. Above all, we intended to increase access to management information. Today we can boast that the number of employees using the system has increased five times, and many managers start their working day with Navigator. It is the success of our but also the Archman company, which helped us in this.”
What are the development plans?
“The ability to influence the development of the system is very valuable to us. Over time, our users gain more experience and expect new functionalities. All our reception and distribution of information and the system efficiency improvement suggestionsare included in the next versions of the software.
There is the implementation of new analytical areas ahead of us, such as analysis of the purchasing process, catering activities analysis, and analysis of the flow of people such as tourists and employees below the earth surface.”
“We are also talking to Archman about launching the Information Exchange module, which would help us better manage files and public resources, such as conference rooms or projectors,” says Grzegorz Kawaler, head of the IT Department.
“The topic of files is especially important to us. We currently use a model based on network drives. It is convenient for users but not necessarily for administrators. You have to monitor permissions to multiple directories on different servers constantly. We want to implement a solution that will be as convenient for the user as network drives– and, on the other hand, will allow us to store files on different servers physically. Moreover, we need to manage the permissions from one place – the NAVIGATOR system. I look at this topic from the perspective of further development. It is possible that the need for electronic document flow will soon arise. We know that NAVIGATOR has such a module, and we have the assurance from Archman that implementing such a system with a well-defined architecture on our side will be relatively easy.”