Corporate Performance Management – Production
Established in 1916 in the USA, Modine is a thermal management company, providing engineered heat transfer systems and high-quality heat transfer components, specialising in thermal management solutions.
Modine has 21 production plants, a workforce of about 3900 people, a presence in over 80 countries worldwide, a team of over 200 sales managers and technical support staff, plus more than 200 distributors and agents.
The Business Challenges
In 2013, the Board of Directors introduced a uniform reporting system and setup a single Management Information System (MIS) across ZF management.
How do you consolidate the reporting system of an organisation comprising seven divisions and numerous strategic functions?
Existing, outdated systems no longer supported the innovative and global-oriented high-tech company. Different divisions were importing data from SAP into Excel datasheets. Producing reports was time consuming. Each report was sector-specific with different key figures and a different layout. Excel reports were emailed to recipients, making it harder to analyse and compare data. It was difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to cross-reference the data.
A reliable and flexible solution that adapts to rapid changes and fosters innovative business from ZF. Key requirements included:
- A Single Point of Truth
- Easy to use and adopt
- Consistent layout and uniform content
- Centrally located reports
- Secure and reliable access
ZF assessed about 60 BI tools, with BOARD coming top as their final choice. The ZF team were impressed with BOARD’s Proof of Concept as well as their close cooperation with the BOARD team. The BOARD team made sure the solution to the requirements was quick, creative and bespoke.
Within two short months they developed a Corporate Identity Designer that made it easy to implement the extensive design requirements of the reporting system.
The first concept phase of the project took around a year to complete, in which time KPIs were defined for future reporting.
A style guide was created for reports and dashboards, combining International Business Communication Standards with ZF’s corporate design to ensure a consistent look and feel going forward.
The new reporting system was migrated step-by-step using an agile process. Not all business areas and strategic roles migrated at the same time, ensuring that additional requirements could be incorporated and the solution perfectly adapted to practical needs to produce an efficient reporting system.
The ZF project has resulted in a complete application with intuitive navigation that adapts automatically to the rights and roles of the user.
A connector easily and reliably loads reporting data into the BOARD database from SAP. The BOARD planning applications (Operational Planning & Strategic Planning) load data back from BOARD into SAP. ZF writes data from BOARD back into SAP to create a single, all-in-one data point (SpOT).
There are currently 7 different applications for analyzing and viewing data:
- Managed Information System (MIS)
- Strategic Planning
- Operational Planning
- IFRS & HGB Notes (Financial Statement)
- Commentary (Liquidity)
- Tax (Tax Reporting)
- Profit Walk (Operative & Monthly Closing)
Around 1,200 employees access the tool and data worldwide, including everyone in the management team. The ‘storytelling’ approach contributed to the acceptance of the system; an innovation that BOARD developed for ZF’s reporting system. Predefined stories present data so they are easy to understand and interpret.
ZF has introduced a state-of-the-art reporting solution that perfectly suits the dynamic nature of the business.
Employees can view and assess reports on a tablet or a computer. Instead of email, stakeholders can access centrally stored data at all times. Standardising the design and content has made data faster and easier to compare.
Statistical tools evaluate the use of screens so that unused screens can be removed and popular screens made more prominent.
With drill-down navigation options, the management team see as much detail as they like, based on the reported KPIs, with tailored comments to support the decisions made.
Watch our video interview with Armin Ohlinger – Head of Management Information Governance at ZF Group
- Published in BOARD
By Lawrence Serven, Regional Sales Director, The Americas, BOARD International
Most CFOs are not happy with their Financial Planning and Analysis process, believing it delivers too little value and eats up too many resources. As a result, they often ask “What are Best Practices in Financial Planning & Analysis?” To date, the answers have been based on conventional wisdom, anecdotes, and popular trends propagated by finance magazines. What’s been lacking is hard data until now.
The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and I developed a survey that more than 700 organizations around the globe participated in. What made this survey different was the approach it took. Previous research focused on a particular methodology, then worked backward to find success stories. The IMA survey instead focused on what the most successful organizations are doing differently from everyone else when it comes to FP&A. These successful organizations consistently meet or exceed their targets, and they consistently meet or beat their competition. Hard to think of a single CEO who wouldn’t crave those results (which, by the way, guarantee their bonus).
- These most successful organisations tell us that their Financial Planning & Analysis process :
- Drives Shareholder Value (or business value if privately held)
- Drives execution of the strategy
- Provides the mechanisms to ensure the financial and operational goals of the organisation are achieved
- Builds organisational awareness of the strategy and each department’s role in achieving it
- Ensures the optimal allocation of resources
- Ensures coordination of initiatives, projects, and programs
Again, what CFO, or CEO for that matter wouldn’t want that? The question though is how these best managed organizations were able to achieve these results? What’s in their drinking water?
Those are the questions the IMA survey set out to address, and the answers are illuminating. They will be the subject of an upcoming series of blog posts called “12 Principles of Best Practice in Financial Planning and Analysis”.
- Published in BOARD
HBMP in-memory technology, toolkit, data-fast track, dynamic data models. Every BOARD component has been designed to ensure maximum speed of development and high performance.
Ease of use
A self-service data-discovery environment enables users to easily search for information, interact intuitively with their data, and perform in-depth analyses with the utmost simplicity.
The programming-free approach empowers business users to rapidly develop and maintain sophisticated analytical and planning applications with minimal IT Support.
BOARD is the only software platform that seamlessly unifies Business Intelligence, Performance Management, Analytics and Data Discovery in a single product.
BOARD toolkit approach delivers unrivalled agility in application building, customisation and maintenance, offering a “Total Cost of Ownership” that is unachievable with traditional solutions.
- Published in BOARD
By Michael Talbott, Global Product Director, BOARD International
Like most types of enterprise software, the world of analytics is moving into the Cloud faster than smoke in an updraft. The list of advantages is irresistible to businesses of all sizes. Economies of scale, savings, scalability, elasticity, faster time to value and access to a world of data and collaboration are but a few.
According to research firms, the global market for Cloud analytics is predicted to triple by 2020, exceeding $23 Billion USD from $7 Billion last year, and a host of not-so-adaptive vendors have emerged to chase those dollars.
But as with all revolutionary changes in our industry, a dark side has emerged which business and IT leaders need to keep a wary eye out for as they evaluate potential platforms and solutions for planning and analytics in the Cloud. Simply put, very few Cloud analytics and planning platforms deliver all of the advantages they claim, and which customers need.
As an extension of an earlier BOARD blog, I offer below major real-world requirements you need to verify in selecting your Cloud-based analytics, planning and reporting solution, and the questions you need to thoroughly explore with potential new vendors:
1. Cost-effective scalability and elasticity
- Will the proposed system scale to meet your needs now and five or ten years from now?
- Can it handle the required granularity and volumes of data?
- What about query and processing performance?
- And can it handle high concurrency?
- Lastly, can new computing resources be easily provisioned to expand the system’s capacity?
2. Efficient integration and consolidation of data from a wide variety of disparate data sources
- Does the proposed system have the tools necessary to provide a unified view of high quality data for the business?
- Can the system easily connect to every type of data source, internal and external to the business?
- Can data feeds and transformations be automated?
- Can it handle bi-directional data exchange from/to various systems?
- Will the platform ensure quality and security of the data, but not at the expense of flexibility business users require?
- Will the system allow continuous data feeds without impacting users?
3. Empowering business users to implement their own solutions for faster time to value
- Can business users own the solution?
- Does it provide the right tools users need?
- Can the system handle the most complex requirements?
- Can it handle your company’s or department’s custom models?
- Can users easily create their own reports and data models?
- Can they easily incorporate new data into the solution?
- Can they easily modify the underlying models and data structures?
- Can the system perform both analysis and planning? Planning inherently relies on detailed data that should be sourced from an analytics system. Integrating separate analysis and planning tools is a costly and complicated proposition.
4. Improved access to information and collaboration
- Can analysis and applications be easily created and shared across teams without geographic, language or technical boundaries?
- Does the system support coordinated workflow steps and authorizations?
5. Streamlining administration and maintenance of computing resources
- Are backups performed automatically?
- Does security meet or exceed global IT standards?
- Are software upgrades handled seamlessly for customers?
- In multitenant environments, can the system guarantee a minimum level of system resources for a customer? Or are their resources simply pooled with other customers and subject to outages by unexpected usage spikes? This is a common pitfall for many Cloud vendors.
- For those applications judged to not be a good fit for the Cloud, can the system be configured to run some applications on-premises and others in the Cloud. Can these on-premises applications be seamlessly moved to the Cloud in the future, if warranted?
- Can structural modifications to databases and applications be migrated safely and easily between different instances (e.g. development, testing and production)?
Sadly, marketing and sales hype from most Cloud analytics vendors is far from reality in 2017. To ensure a successful Cloud implementation of your analytics, planning and reporting solutions, it’s imperative that you perform a comprehensive review of all the critical features you need.
Don’t just take a vendor’s word for it either; you must demand that they show you every aspect of configuration, and prove that it can handle both the scope of data required and the number of concurrent users you will need to support now and into the future.
- Published in BOARD
BOARD International, the world’s leading supplier of Decision Making software for enterprises, today announced availability of the new release of its Financial Consolidation and Reporting application.
BOARD Financial Consolidation 4.0 effectively addresses the challenges that multi-entity global organisations face today with inter-company reconciliations, consolidation adjustments and group reporting, for both legal and management consolidation process.
The process-driven environment and new cutting-edge user interface within BOARD Financial Consolidation 4.0 make it easier and faster to manage, control and monitor the consolidation process across a company’s entire perimeter, highlighting the operations status and certifying internal controls for each step and any required task.
Thanks to the advanced architecture and technology of BOARD, organisations can count on a flexible, secure and scalable platform, whether they choose BOARD cloud or on-premises solution, according to their specific needs and the geographical distribution of their entities.
“ We are particularly proud of the benefits that BOARD Financial Consolidation 4.0 brings to our customers. The new release will allow Chief Financial Officers to accelerate financial closes, whilst minimising the regulatory burden, ” said Michele Bernasconi, FC&FPA Business development and Product Manager at BOARD International. “ BOARD Financial Consolidation 4.0 will help companies reduce errors within financial consolidated statements and reduce the risk of inaccurate presentations and disclosures of outcomes according to accounting framework requirements, continued Bernasconi. “Leading organisations around the world – such as Alerion Clean Power, Amadori, Leitner, Octo and Verder – are already taking advantage of our application. ”
Being part of a unified interactive platform for Performance Management and Business Intelligence, BOARD Financial Consolidation not only provides a single and consistent enterprise view of a firm’s financial position, but it also empowers users with self-service analysis on the same set of consolidated financial information from multiple and changing perspectives. BOARD Financial Consolidation supplies all the benefits of BOARD’s decision-making platform, where analysis and reporting are seamlessly integrated with planning, forecasting and simulation processes.
Learn more about BOARD FC 4.0 : http://bit.ly/2y1tdTS
- Published in BOARD
By Michael Talbott, Global Product Director, BOARD International
Why are so many corporate decisions still made by “gut” feelings?
In the first quarter of the 21st century, there still exists a huge chasm between how decisions are made in most companies and the proven technologies and methodologies they could be using to achieve far more accurate and dependable results.
Perhaps this is partially due to traditional consensus building among experienced execs who at the same time don’t yet trust data from algorithmic driven systems.
Gartner recently spotlighted this chasm in their latest round of Data and Analytics summits when keynote analysts listed what companies need to make the best decisions possible. Beyond technologies alone, their list began with rethinking leadership and creating “a decision-making culture” within enterprises.
“We need to create a new culture that allows you to empirically tackle decision making, putting everyone on the same page, incorporating devil’s advocate positions by comparison,” said Gartner Research Vice President Kurt Schlegel at their US summit in Dallas.
Such a culture would overcome the scarcity of disciplined decision making in most companies where Gartner research shows most decisions are still made in closed conference rooms by “gut feelings,” or individual executive conclusions. While analytical data are often consulted in making decisions, most often they are only followed if they support those gut feelings about the matter, Schlegel told his Dallas audience. And while executives try to achieve consensus, their decisions are often hampered by longstanding social phenomena like group-think, anchoring, confirmation bias and loss aversion.
Today, as business managers increasingly look to BI and Analytics software to inform their best decisions, the same rules apply: they compare relative risks vs. benefits, costs vs. income, and so on. And the promise of analytics software is that we can make better decisions with far higher levels of accuracy than by relying only on gut feelings or consensus of advisors.
But not all BI and Analytics software are alike when it comes to assisting decision-making. In fact, most vendors emphasize how their analytics systems deliver insights. That, however, only provides a small part of the information executives and business managers need to support their decisions. What we see all too often are still a small group of execs relying on their collective gut to make final decisions. Moreover, automated insights alone will not foster the culture of decision-making that Gartner prescribes.
What’s needed is to use all the operational detail captured by a company’s BI sytem to create robust, forward-looking multidimensional models so decision makers can evaluate the outcomes of alternative decisions. This reality has never been more true than in today’s world of real time Big Data flows from arrays of structured and unstructured data sources that swamp traditional BI architectures.
Then business managers and executives alike need to develop trust in those models and analytics systems by comparing results with those from their traditional conference room decision-making processes. To the degree they come to trust predictive models and their results, they will achieve true decision-making cultures within their enterprises.
As the leading decision-making software provider in the world, BOARD International delivers the technical foundation for a decision-making culture within large enterprises with a robust platform that allows decision makers to quickly build their own forward-looking multidimensional models thru a unified modern BI architecture that will scale to support the most complex decisions.
- Published in BOARD
By Gary Simon , Chief Executive of FSN and Leader of the Modern Finance Forum
The latest FSN research The Future of Financial Reporting 2017 shows that boardroom confidence has been dented by doubts over data quality, the inability to make decisions on the spot and an incomplete picture of enterprise performance. Indeed, 40% of CFOs fret that their data is not always trustworthy and only 50% say ad-hoc questions about performance can be answered immediately in the board meeting.
The board pack is the product of a monthly process that starts with the financial close in reporting entities and ends up on the board room table. But it’s a linear process that can only travel at the speed of the slowest link in the chain. Furthermore, any errors that arise, are propagated perfectly along the reporting supply chain until they end up at the corporate centre where they are difficult to resolve. These two issues taken together illustrate why a piecemeal approach to process improvement is unlikely to improve matters in the boardroom.
At the heart of the problem is a lack of data governance. For example, FSN’s research highlights an unhealthy dependency on spreadsheets fuelled by inflexible ERP and CPM systems that are impermeable to change. Hard-pressed IT functions unable to modify reports in acceptable timescales, unwittingly encourage the introduction of even more spreadsheets to ‘paper over the cracks’ leading to a Spreadsheet-Spiral™ of ever-increasing proportions.
But the challenge of managing data is set to become even more testing. The days when the most valuable data came directly from the general ledger have gone. In a period of rapid change, it is new data sources (social media analytics, web statistics, customer behaviour, CRM, supply chain statistics and other operational data) on the fringes of the organisation that hold the key to competitive advantage. But finance functions that remain shackled to fractured legacy systems neither have the time nor the capability to exploit it.
For most the way forward it means a step-change to a unified decision-making platform in the cloud. Indeed, FSN reports that the cloud is an accelerant, allowing businesses to quickly standardise and automate their core financial processes while creating a more agile environment for the future. Three decades of tinkering at the edges of group reporting shows that it does not deliver sustainable improvement in board room reporting. On the other hand, the latest FSN research identifies how a more joined up approach in the cloud enables organisations to make enduring change for the better and sets the groundwork for a future of real-time, self-service reporting.
Click below to download the FSN’s research: ” The Future of Financial Reporting 2017 ” :
- Published in BOARD
By Michael Talbott, Global Product Director, BOARD International
While Analytics and Business Intelligence systems have been consistently listed at the top of CIOs’ prioritised spending lists in Gartner’s annual CIO surveys over the past eight years, it’s surprising how few enterprises are looking beyond merely gleaning insights from data rather than what they need to make effective decisions.
Gartner also reported that during the past decade, “organizations have spent over $60 billion on Business Intelligence software and service efforts to improve business performance, yet many have failed to achieve significant benefits, or at least have found it hard to quantify the benefits.” (from Gartner report “Use Analytic Business Processes to Drive Business Performance, May 25, 2016”) Clearly, giving business users access to information and “insights” isn’t enough. This further suggests that businesses would benefit by having better mechanisms to plug information derived from analytics systems right back into their businesses to make that information actionable and valuable.
While most enterprises have embraced transactional business processes to improve the efficiency of their operations, they have not applied similar processes to their analytics systems. As a result, many routine decisions, like a price offer to a specific customer, are made on-the-fly without the benefit of detailed analysis. However, the basic analytic framework within their companies could be enhanced to greatly assist such decisions.
Today, most business analytic processes are somewhat primitive. In many cases, they follow the course of: A) Observe data, B) Determine if anything unusual pops out that requires further action, C) Look around further for any additional “insights,” D) Deal with any unusual results in an ad-hoc manner, E) The end.
Or the processes are so confusing and inefficient as to no longer resemble repeatable processes. These follow the path of: A) Compile spreadsheets from 50 managers, B) Consolidate them manually since they’re fundamentally incompatible, C) Distribute the error-laden results back to the business, D) Repeat every quarter regardless of tangible results.
Sound familiar? Fortunately, there is a solution with the emergence of decision-making platforms, which provide a framework for users to follow prescribed decision-making processes. Beyond just assembling and analyzing data, these systems turn the results of those analyses into actionable business decisions. They do this through organized steps that are repeatable, efficient and auditable. Structured decision-making processes can be used to transform the operations of the entire enterprise, from finance to HR to manufacturing and strategic planning.
Analytic business processes deliver more than just the efficiencies of forcing users to follow prescribed sets of actions; they are a means to embed expert knowledge into an organization about HOW to be more effective. The analytic process contains the optimal decision-making steps to follow to achieve the best decision possible.
As an example, let’s consider the buying decisions of a typical fashion retailer, which relies on the ability of its buyers to spot and exploit the hottest trends. Typically, there are a few truly outstanding buyers who consistently pick the right merchandise while the rest of the buyers have mixed success. Careful observation shows that the best buyers are the most adept at leveraging the information and analytic tools at their disposal.
We also see that they perform the same series of analytic steps each week to help them pick new merchandise. In doing so, they have created their own analytic process. Now imagine the positive impact on the company when the other buyers on the team can use that same decision-making process, in an easy to follow series of steps? That’s the idea.
It’s important to note that the best analytic processes often come from decision makers themselves, not necessarily from a central authority. The processes often grow organically, based on trial and error and continuously improve over time. So it’s equally important that the technology supporting these processes is simple and flexible and allows those same decision makers to easily build and modify these processes.
These same concepts apply to many other types of business decisions. There will always be a certain percentage of decision-makers who embrace and apply information and analytic tools better than their peers. If the goal of your Business Intelligence software is simply to provide “insights,” it will remain useful to only the small population of users with the incentive, knowledge and aptitude to discover and capitalize on these insights.
In this manner, analytic processes allow organisations to harness the knowledge and insights from their best decision-makers and apply it to the rest of the organisation in a systematic manner. If you’re looking to see greater engagement and return from your Business Intelligence investments, implementing analytic processes is a great place to start.
- Published in BOARD
Digiterra recently attended BOARD’s global conference in Italy. Speakers from around the world shared their insights, experiences and successes with Board’s #1 decision-making platform.
During the exciting three-day event of keynotes, workshops and presentations, Digiterra had the opportunity to explore the power of decision-making in the digital era, discovering BOARD’s most-innovative solutions and gaining valuable insights and in depth knowledge from industry leaders and peers.
It was interesting to talk to BOARD customers who shared how BOARD’s Enterprise Performance Management solution has radically changed the way they see and manage their businesses. Contact us to find out more…
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