Published on 24-Nov-2008
"We chose IBM Cognos 8 Scorecarding because of its rich functionality and ease of use." - John Clifton, Manager Finance, Risk & Corporate Planning, Port of Brisbane Corporation
Port of Brisbane Corporation
Travel & Transportation (US)
Business Intelligence (US) , Data Warehouse, Enterprise Data Management, Leveraging Information
IBM Business Partner:
The Port of Brisbane Corporation (PBC) manages Australia’s fastest-growing container port. Situated on the southern side of the mouth of the Brisbane River, PBC operates world-class cargo handling and warehouse facilities.
To improve efficiency and customer-focus, Port of Brisbane adopted the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) methodology to track performance. They sought BSC software that would streamline data collection and metrics calculation, integrate with their existing IBM Cognos BI solution, and make the information accessible to appropriate employees at all levels of the organisation.
IBM® Cognos® 8 Scorecarding, a component of IBM® Cognos® 8 Business Intelligence software. It allows a company to create, track and report on key BSC metrics across the organization, with an easy-to-use browser-based interface.
Provides middle and senior management with ad hoc metrics on KPIs and PIs in real-time; integrates seamlessly with the IBM Cognos 8 BI platform and other enterprise applications; integrates automated metrics from diverse sources and manual, unstructured data; adds to a corporate culture of transparency and accountability across the organisation.
The Port of Brisbane Corporation (PBC) manages Australia’s fastest-growing container port. Situated on the southern side of the mouth of the Brisbane River, PBC operates world-class cargo handling and warehouse facilities, and provides an interface between rail, road and sea transport. The corporation also manages the Manly, Scarborough and Cabbage Tree Creek boat harbors.
The corporation’s primary role is to facilitate trade growth through the commercial management of an efficient and customer-focused port. To assist them with this responsibility, PBC management started looking at the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) methodology to track performance in achieving its business objectives.
When John Clifton joined the corporation in 2004, BSC existed more in theory than in practice as no electronic reporting system on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and PIs (Performance Indicators) was in place. Reports were compiled in Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheets, and distributed manually.
Clifton explained “We wanted to make performance management systems accessible to the organisation as a whole, and purchasing BSC software was one of my top priorities.”
“We were looking for a BSC software solution that would consolidate KPIs and PIs in a simple, interactive, and user-friendly solution that would encourage both senior management and front-line employees to support the process.”
The corporation was looking for a technology solution that would enable employees at all levels to monitor and improve business performance.
The BSC solution was required to streamline data collection and calculation of metrics, integrate seamlessly with the corporate IBM Cognos 8 BI platform, and be capable of extracting data from existing PBC systems such as Finance One, Aurion, MP2, Microsoft Excel, and ORACLE databases.
Furthermore, the BSC reports had to provide quick access to information in a professional format, while also allowing users to drill down on data, depending on user access privileges. Finally, the solution would have to store historical data and accommodate ad-hoc queries, in addition to the monthly, quarterly and annual reporting requirements.
Brisbane-based technology solutions provider Bistech had been working with the port for seven years, and suggested an IBM Cognos-powered BSC solution to help measure and track KPIs on an ongoing basis. Seamlessly integrated with PBC’s existing IBM Cognos 8 BI platform, the BSC solution produces monthly, quarterly and annual reports and provides online analysis to decision-makers, contributing to a corporate culture of transparency, accountability and accuracy.
“When we heard PBC was looking for a performance management solution that integrates fully with existing data sources, we suggested IBM Cognos 8 Scorecarding, a component of IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence software,” said Brad Culbert, Senior Consultant at Bistech.
With IBM Cognos 8 Scorecarding, companies can create, track and report on key BSC metrics across the organisation. With an easy-to-use browser-based interface, IBM Cognos 8 Scorecarding is a dynamic and comprehensive tool for improving enterprise performance.
“Bistech not only came up with a software configuration, but they implemented a detailed proof-of-concept, demonstrating how our requirements would translate into an end-user solution. Bistech knows our company and IT systems well, so we knew we had the right partner on board to implement our BSC project,” stated Clifton.
“We chose IBM Cognos 8 Scorecarding because of its rich functionality and ease of use. Plus, with Metric Studio our BSC solution could be easily and seamlessly integrated with our existing Cognos reporting and analysis environment. This common platform is also being used to implement other projects such as risk register management, external trade reporting, and operational efficiency reporting,” he added.
Side-by-side to success
Two Bistech consultants worked side-by-side with PBC’s IT team and a management accountant. This team structure encouraged a dynamic working relationship and allowed for better sharing of product knowledge. Business involvement throughout the implementation was a key success factor, enabling effective management of changing requirements.
The actual implementation of IBM Cognos 8 Scorecarding, including design, development and testing, took about eight weeks and was completed in late 2007.
“The roll-out was remarkably fast, as Bistech knows our business inside out,” said Clifton.
“Our key internal stakeholder described the implementation as brilliant.”
As the BSC is a business-driven process, a key challenge lay in the definition of KPIs and PIs prior to implementation. This included corporate level metrics sourced from the 12-month Statement of Corporate Intent (SCI), which underpins the five-year Corporate Plan, to divisional level metrics measuring more day-today processes.
The management team had to define performance measures, accountability, strategic groupings, critical success factors and data collection methods, which were then translated into scorecards, metrics, targets, tolerances, groupings and ownership.
Brad Culbert explained: “Managing the cultural change is the biggest challenge for performance management, as Balanced Scorecarding results in greater accountability for employees and greater visibility across the organisation. It is important that Balanced Scorecard structures closely map key corporate objectives and present realistic targets that promote continuous improvement.”
Collection of manual data was another complicating factor. Manual metrics constitute approximately 70 per cent of the Corporation’s data, and include, for example, Occupational Health & Safety reports in Microsoft Word.
Following Bistech’s advice, the corporation implemented a distributed data collection process in each division. To ensure data accuracy, an approval workflow was also put in place allowing managers to confirm numbers collated by data collectors.
As the Port of Brisbane continues to grow, measuring and managing KPIs will be key to future success.
IBM Cognos 8 Scorecarding enables divisional and corporate managers to monitor performance and adjust day-to-day operations to meet and exceed corporate targets.
It has also increased the transparency of metric value calculations and, subsequently, reduced misinterpretation of actual results and related targets.
Metric owners, general managers, and the CEO can now directly access enormous amounts of data in real-time, without having to wait for quarterly reports or make requests to a management accountant.
Historical data stored in the system provides detailed monthly, quarterly and annual reports for the Board of Directors.
“First responses from users, including the divisional general managers, confirmed that the solution is very user-friendly. Users were also surprised at how fast metrics are provided and how deeply the solution drills down into corporate data,” said Clifton.
Currently the IBM Cognos 8 BSC solution is being rolled out to about 60 users, including 30 full-access users and 30 reporting-only users. More licenses will be added according to demand and business needs.
“We encourage our employees to work through Cognos’ computer-based training and attend our in-house course to fully understand the rich functionality of IBM Cognos 8 Scorecarding,” added Clifton.
About Cognos, an IBM company
Cognos, an IBM company, is the world leader in business intelligence and performance management solutions. It provides world-class enterprise planning and BI software and
services to help companies plan, understand and manage financial and operational performance. Cognos was acquired by IBM in January 2008*. For more information, visit http://www.ibm.com/software/data/ (US) and http://www.cognos.com. (link resides outside of ibm.com)
As a result of the acquisition, product names have now changed to reference IBM at the beginning of the software or service.
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
Cognos 8 Business Intelligence (US)
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