BI Architect Moves into Sales

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Bill Lloyd's many years of business intelligence expertise are reflected in his title of "enterprise intelligence manager," but he doesn't work for IT anymore. Rather, he reports in to the sales organization at Pergo Inc., a global brand in laminate flooring with U.S. headquarters in Raleigh, N.C. "It's different, but it's good," Lloyd says of his move out of Pergo's 20-person IT department. "Things are changing constantly around me, and my duties keep evolving."

His career path forked into sales earlier this year after he led a successful launch of business analysis software (QlikView from Raleigh-based QlikTech Inc.) that serves up much faster, easier access to sales, inventory and retailer purchasing data to 45 sales reps. Lloyd rode with sales people on calls with clients to get a feel for the kind of data they needed in the QlikView dashboard on their laptops.

"One of the biggest things from a tech standpoint is that QlikView maintains the information in memory on the PC, so when the reps select what they want to see, they're not going back to hit the database or the [Cognos] data warehouse, so it serves it up extremely quickly," Lloyd explains. No more running SQL reports. No more expertise required in OLAP (online analytical processing). "Honestly, not everyone is made to be an OLAP analyst," he says. "These are sales reps."

The $352 million Pergo AB, based in Sweden, sells flooring through a dozen distributors in the U.S., giving it a presence in some 9,800 stores nationwide. Eventually more than 150 users companywide will employ QlikView for a range of financial and corporate reporting duties.

Moving his IT expertise into a business unit felt natural to Lloyd, who was a business major in college and had worked in some sales and marketing jobs. Though he advocated for the sales organization before, he says, "Now they depend on me all the time."

Maryfran Johnson, is the founding editor in chief of CIO Decisions. To comment on this story, email editor@ciodecisions.com.

This was first published in August 2005

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