SA’s Cubical standing out in BI solutions market

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South African data warehousing and business intelligence (BI) service provider Cubical BI Solutions is sustaining itself from its income as it aims to stand apart in the quality of service it provides and its refusal to be prescriptive when it comes to customer needs.

Founded in 2012, Cubical BI started to take in serious business in the second half of 2013 and now we has a team of six. A one-stop provider that specialises in all phases of the BI lifecycle, from data warehouse design to predictive analytics, the company has been focusing on meeting the needs of its customers and growing through word of mouth.

Jan Steyl, co-founder and director told Disrupt Africa most BI companies were affiliated with at least one BI software vendor, and as a result sold customers a toolset and not necessarily a solution.

“We pride ourselves in using the existing toolset and build our solutions on best practices and around the customer’s requirements rather than a specific tool,” he said. “If no toolset exists within the company we will happily make recommendations, but we will never be prescriptive when it comes to a specific BI tool.”

It is this belief and years of data warehousing experience – with the two directors alone having more than 20 years of experience – that Steyl believes makes a BI project successful.

“We also work closely together with the client to place the right resource for a project. With that I mean a resource that has the skills but also fits with the client’s culture. This way the employee stays happy and thus ensure stability for the client,” he said.

He said BI was critical for the success of a company in any country, and while not guaranteeing a company’s success was a “huge step in the right direction”.

“When applied correctly BI can help any organisation detect threats and opportunities by detecting trends within the organisation’s data. This can help the organisation adapt early and hopefully gain a competitive edge,” Steyl said.

He said this was especially the case in South Africa, with companies facing more and more competition and needing to compete with rival companies.

“More and more companies in South Africa not only compete with local companies, but rather compete internationally. With completion growing, everyone is looking for the edge, and BI can provide that edge.”

This commitment in providing quality service in a vital market certainly seems to have given Cubical BI an edge. Self-funded initially, it is now breaking even as it has very few overhead expenses to cover.

“We do not have financial landmarks, but we however strive to become the BI service provider of choice and to deliver the best solutions to all our customers,” Steyl said.

“Profits are not huge as we believe in attracting the best BI resources and keeping them by remunerating them very competitively. Good BI resources are not easy to find and finding the right person that will fit the culture of a particular client will always be our biggest difficulty. But at the moment the team is a small, highly qualified and a very dedicated group of people that all shares the same passion of helping our customers grow through good solid actionable BI solutions.”

Steyl said profits would grow as more clients were obtained.

“Our focus for the next year or two will be rather to grow profits by landing new projects and expanding on existing projects at our existing client base. We already earned their trust and proved our worth, so it will be much easier to grow this way.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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