5 reasons to use Board Software

Friday, 09 February 2018 by

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Board is internationally recognised with over 3000 clients worldwide

 

Board focuses on your specific requests as a user, providing dashboard viewing

 

Board integrates easily with Microsoft packages 

 

Board will help better your Budgeting, Forecasting, Planning, Profitability & Future Profitability and Trends

 

Board will save you money as you will need less staff to develop reports

 

for more info check our the Board Software website by clicking here

 

Case Study – CPM- Manufacturing

Friday, 02 February 2018 by

Company

ZF Friedrichshafen AG is a leading automotive supplier and technology company specialising in drive line and chassis solutions and safety technology. The company is represented by 137,000 employees at 230 locations in nearly 40 countries.

 

 

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Existing, outdated systems no longer supported the innovative and global-oriented high-tech company.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.

The Goal

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

Selection Process

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.

The Delivery

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 Solution

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 analysing 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.

The Value

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

http://www.board.com/en/zf-friedrichshafen-ag-0

 

Case Study – CPM – Financial

Monday, 29 January 2018 by

Company

B-Source is the Swiss market leader in the sourcing of bank back office and IT services to banks in private banking and wealth management.  B-Source also offers ITO services to insurance companies and other financial institutions.

Combined, they have over 7500 employees worldwide, using B-Source systems and services on a 24 hours and 7 days per week basis. Figures document an impressive daily workload: 3000000 technical transactions, managed through 350 Unix servers, 900 Intel servers, 2500 MIPS mainframe, 4 AS/400 servers, more than 100 TB on storage area network, 2 international wide area networks, 50 local area networks, 3 metropolitan area networks, 1200 network components, 30 DMZ, 5 neutral zones, 12000 network access ports, 35 firewalls, 120 routers, 350 switches and more.

The Need

Overcome the limitations of Excel

Excel could no longer guarantee their ability to report on and analyse data obtained from SAP and they needed a tool that could interact quickly with their data, in an intelligent manner, and manage the growing volume of information generated by the business”.

At the selection stage, SAP BW was a principal alternative, but the implementation costs and a rigidity detected during prototyping suggested they needed a more flexible solution. A tool that did not require heavy investment or long lead-times before producing the operational information they needed.

From an IT standpoint, choosing BOARD assured them of many important advantages: in fact, the adoption of BOARD has enabled them to overcome the limitations of Excel in terms of volume, security, the centralisation of data, and the ability to simulate and report. At the same time, they found the tool easy to install and configure, allowing the multidimensional database to be managed in a totally intuitive manner.

The Project

Reporting, management control and profitability analysis

Starting with a data structure inherited from SAP and managed in a DWH SQL, BOARD was used to generate a multidimensional view of profitability considering three principal dimensions: customer, service and organisation (BU).

In addition, BOARD allowed them to add levels of detail not managed by SAP and to reallocate costs and revenues from profit centres to projects, or from divisions to departments, using a series of predefined drivers.

A second project involved the invoicing of back-office services: commencing from a transaction-based system, they use BOARD to monitor and measure a series of quantities, such as the number of calls, the number of payments handled and the number of pages printed, that enable them to price the services provided and invoice the customer accordingly.

The panorama of solutions developed using BOARD also included an application that allows them to consolidate the operating results of all group companies.

The breadth of the information managed using these applications lays a solid foundation for their reporting processes which, thanks to BOARD, benefit from a modern, easy to use and highly interactive interface.”

BOARD: simulations, ease of use, latest front-end

“In my view”, commented Marco Lusa, IT manager, “the value added by BOARD is our new ability to run simulations: we have moved from viewing data AS-IS to a more advanced scenario, where we can analyse the impact of likely future events.

For example, in our next implementation of the budgeting process, we want to take a dynamic rather than static approach to the available data. Simply by changing certain parameters, we should be able to make projections and forecasts to year end that build on the partial data available for the period,” continued Marco Lusa. “Clearly, to achieve this, we will need an in-depth knowledge of the tool in order to benefit in full from the opportunities it makes available.”

“In terms of our daily work”, explained Andrea Bionda, Internal IT Manager, “the upgrade from version 6 to version 7 of BOARD has brought enormous benefits. Administration is now much easier at the installation and configuration stage and, more importantly, when it comes to the various data management activities required: from back-ups to the construction and maintenance of databases, each operation has become easier and more effective.”

“From my standpoint, as an advanced end user,” concluded Luca Mainini, Head of Finance, “the greatest advantage offered by BOARD is undoubtedly its practicality: the front-end has an innovative graphics interface that combines ease of use with a powerful ability to display, analyse and interact with data.”

 

By Lawrence Serven, Regional Sales Director, The Americas, BOARD International

This is the third of a 12-part blog series appropriately called The 12 Principles of Best Practice FP&A. These Principles are based on global research conducted with more than 700 organisations worldwide.

Principle #3: The best performing companies have a much better understanding of how their operational plans drive their financial results, and monitor the progress of those plans.

The best performing organisations know that their financial results are the product of operational decisions and actions. For example, increased manufacturing productivity translates into decreased Cost of Goods Sold and increased EBITA. Operations and the resulting P&L are completely intertwined. While we all know this on some level, the best performing organisations make those connections explicit. When they establish a goal of increasing EBITA by some amount, they know what they have to do to achieve that, and put projects in place to make it happen.

Beyond that — and this really separates the good from the great – the best performing organisations monitor the progress of those projects and have a clear understanding of how progress (or lack of progress) will impact the P&L. So, for example, if a project that is designed to increase productivity by 5% is delayed by six months, they know the impact on Cost of Goods Sold (COGs) will be $Y and the impact on EBITA will be $X.

The role of Finance here is significant — this is where we can live up to our role as a Partner in the Business. Operational Managers know everything there is to know about the specifics of their operations, but don’t necessarily understand the P&L or their impact on it. Finance can bridge this gap. It requires that they know enough about the business and the area the serve to be conversant on the issues and have a well-reasoned point of view. Once they have this foundation, they can connect the dots between operational goals and the impact on the financials. They can then work with Operational managers to share this know how and build business acumen.

Monitoring the progress and impact of these plans requires, among other things, a robust Dashboard. Displaying KPIs, goals and progress toward goals, the status of initiatives, are all key elements of an effective dashboard. The more sophisticated organisations have “drillable” dashboards that capture cascading goals and KPIs so each successive layer of management can key in on their responsibility, but at the same time see where they fit in the chain.

The last point to make here is the importance of continuous improvement. Not just in perfecting KPIs, but also in learning the connections between operational performance and the P&L. Take, for example, the impact of promotions on sales. We know there is an implicit connection, but how strong is it and to what degree does it exist? Which promotions work and which don’t? Incorporating lessons learned from real world experience will improve forecast accuracy, and ultimately will help the organisation achieve greater success.

Case Study – CPM – Production

Monday, 27 November 2017 by

Corporate Performance Management – Production
Case Study

 

Company

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.

 

The Goal

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

 

Selection Process

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.
The Delivery

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 Solution

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.

 

The Value

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
http://www.board.com/en/zf-friedrichshafen-ag-0

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”.

BOARD Key Advantages

Thursday, 09 November 2017 by
Board International Future of Finance

Speed

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.

User Self-sufficiency

The programming-free approach empowers business users to rapidly develop and maintain sophisticated analytical and planning applications with minimal IT Support.

All-in-One

BOARD is the only software platform that seamlessly unifies Business Intelligence, Performance Management, Analytics and Data Discovery in a single product.

TCO

BOARD toolkit approach delivers unrivalled agility in application building, customisation and maintenance, offering a “Total Cost of Ownership” that is unachievable with traditional solutions.

 

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
  1. Will the proposed system scale to meet your needs now and five or ten years from now?
  2. Can it handle the required granularity and volumes of data?
  3. What about query and processing performance?
  4. And can it handle high concurrency?
  5. 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
  1. Does the proposed system have the tools necessary to provide a unified view of high quality data for the business?
  2. Can the system easily connect to every type of data source, internal and external to the business?
  3. Can data feeds and transformations be automated?
  4. Can it handle bi-directional data exchange from/to various systems?
  5. Will the platform ensure quality and security of the data, but not at the expense of flexibility business users require?
  6. Will the system allow continuous data feeds without impacting users?

 

3. Empowering business users to implement their own solutions for faster time to value
  1. Can business users own the solution?
  2. Does it provide the right tools users need?
  3. Can the system handle the most complex requirements?
  4. Can it handle your company’s or department’s custom models?
  5. Can users easily create their own reports and data models?
  6. Can they easily incorporate new data into the solution?
  7. Can they easily modify the underlying models and data structures?
  8. 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
  1. ​ Can analysis and applications be easily created and shared across teams without geographic, language or technical boundaries?
  2. Does the system support coordinated workflow steps and authorizations?

 

5. Streamlining administration and maintenance of computing resources
  1. ​Are backups performed automatically?
  2. Does security meet or exceed global IT standards?
  3. Are software upgrades handled seamlessly for customers?
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.

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 

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.

TOP