Published on 18-Sep-2009
"Planning is now much faster, despite the greater complexity of the planning logic and the considerable increase in the number of persons involved in the process…We have achieved a 90% time saving in the consolidation of planning data and around a further 60% in the preparation of analyses. Recently, the CEO was informed of the results just three hours after the end of the planning process. An all-time record! " - Erik Bär, Project Manager, VR Leasing
Business Analytics, Business Integration, Business Performance Transformation, Information Integration, Performance Management
IBM Business Partner:
VR Leasing accelerates planning with an IBM® Cognos® TM1 solution
Accelerate and improve the company’s planning process, replacing its existing spreadsheet-based planning, and link field sales staff directly to the planning application.
An IBM Cognos TM1 system that streamlined and speeded up planning for VR Leasing, and improved reporting, incorporating financial calculations and introducing ad hoc and tailored reports
“What-if” planning and comparison of scenarios at all aggregation levels; ad-hoc analyses and dynamic, con- figurable reports with short response times, even for large volumes of data; considerably faster planning despite greater complexity and more users – 90% time saving in the consolidation of planning data and around a further 60% in the creation of analyses; ability to compare actual data and planning data in the same application; familiar Microsoft® Excel® interface.
Click here for a German version.
The VR Leasing group is one of Europe’s leading leasing companies, providing thousands of customers in Germany with all kinds of leasing services for property and contents. The company’s sales are handled by an extensive network of 14 branches, and through banks from the cooperative banking sector.
In February 2006, as part of the reorganisation of its sales processes, VR Leasing launched a comprehensive modernisation project to accelerate and improve its planning processes – at the time based on hundreds of Excel spreadsheets. Manual consolidation was very complex and inflexible – even small planning changes triggered countless time-consuming correction flows at all levels. The company also needed its field sales staff to be more involved in the planning process, on the one hand to improve quality and validity, and on the other to provide a more transparent view of the responsibility of all parties involved in the company’s business results.
VR Leasing’s second key objective for the project was to significantly improve its reporting. At the time, it had no means of producing ad hoc analyses, or simulating and testing alternative business scenarios. The company was also seeking to incorporate automatic calculations of the typical cost and profit items in leasing contracts in its reports, easier access to the latest data and a wider selection of tailored analyses of relevant business information for its departments.
“At the time, we were looking for a single and comprehensive solution to cover planning, analysis and reporting at all levels: from regional sales agents right up to top management,” says Dr. Bodo Chrubasik, Business Controlling Division Manager at VR Leasing, explaining the background of the modernisation project. “We also wanted a continuously up-to-date view of the performance of our divisions and branches in relation to the plan. We had no means of doing this with our previous planning process, based on countless isolated Excel spreadsheets and standard IT reports.”
These criteria meant that a database-supported solution was essential, as the only means of meeting the requirement for real-time planning and reporting. The specific features of the leasing business and the required user-friendliness of the interface also called for a number of tailored amendments in the implementation, configuration and programming of market applications. VR Leasing therefore enlisted the services of conunit GmbH, a specialist planning and controlling consulting firm, to develop and implement a suitable solution. conunit GmbH is one of Germany’s leading business intelligence consulting firms and has extensive expertise of the industry and technology.
On the basis of a detailed analysis of the situation, and interviews and workshops with decision-makers, conunit drew up a comprehensive concept that in the end met with general approval.
“The conunit consultants really thought of everything. They had excellent knowledge of the intricacies of the banking/leasing business and offered us the best IT infrastructure on the market to map our processes: IBM Cognos TM1. My initial scepticism in relation to feasibility was quickly replaced by great enthusiasm for the new IBM Cognos solution,” says Guido Quicker, Controlling Manager of VR Leasing, looking back on the early days of the project.
IBM Cognos TM1’s Turbo Integrator handles data imports and exports. This high-performance and flexible ETL tool automatically structures dimensions and hierarchies – for example, sales hierarchy, cost-centre structure, BD1 object groups or sales channels – thus creating standard structures for actual, planned and projected data across application borders. The tool also imports actual data from the data warehouse, and user authorisations at sales and cost-centre structure level. Further features include complex calculations for planning and data imports (such as determination of standard costs and tenant revenues for lease contracts, or generation of a sales scorecard), creation of new planning sessions with the option of copying and overwriting data from a previous session, and finally consolidating sales and cost-centre planning to create a comprehensive break-even analysis. The Turbo Integrator exports completed planning/projection sessions to the existing data warehouse.
conunit created user-friendly entry and calculation masks for sales and cost-centre planning in Excel according to VR Leasing’s requirements. This ensured high levels of acceptance among employees from the very start, on the one hand, because all users are familiar with Excel and because it offers more design and calculation functionalities than a Web mask.
Around 100 users currently work with the new system. The multi-dimensional database allows comparisons of any required scenarios at all aggregation levels. Ad-hoc analyses and dynamic, configurable reports can be created easily in the familiar Excel interface and then displayed on screen in HTML format. The solution also guarantees short response times, even when processing large volumes of data.
“Planning is now much faster,” states Erik Bär, VR Leasing Project Manager, “despite the greater complexity of the planning logic and the considerable increase in the number of persons involved in the process. Each planner can now immediately see the effects of the values he or she is entering at all levels. And we know the planning status of all persons involved. The new IBM Cognos solution also processes completed plans ‘at the touch of a button.’ We have achieved a 90% time saving in the consolidation of planning data and around a further 60% in the preparation of analyses. Recently, the CEO was informed of the results just three hours after the end of the planning process. An all-time record!”
Controlling Manager, Guido Quicker, adds: “These labour and time savings are freeing up additional capacity to interpret results and work out meaningful actions. We are also making intensive use of the ability to compare actual and planning data in the same application. Automatic forecasting of actual tenant revenue and standard costs for each contract is also very useful. We are very happy with the IBM Cognos solution, and with the conunit consultants and their adherence to deadlines throughout the entire project.”
“After these excellent results, our employees are now working hard to further improve the performance of the new tool. We are just at the beginning,” explains Dr. Chrubasik. “In the near future, we plan to incorporate the profit and loss statements of all our subsidiaries and to improve user friendliness and automation for reporting and tailored real-time analyses. Thanks to the flexibility available to us, this should not be a problem.”
A certified IBM Business Partner, conunit supports its clients with all aspects of business process optimisation and implements demanding projects. From its two sites in Frankfurt/Main and Düsseldorf, conunit supports large international groups as well as successful medium-sized companies.
About IBM Cognos BI and Performance Management
IBM Cognos business intelligence (BI) and performance management solutions deliver world-leading enterprise planning, consolidation and BI software, support and services to help companies plan, understand and manage financial and operational performance. IBM Cognos solutions bring together technology, analytical applications, best practices, and a broad network of partners to give customers an open, adaptive and complete performance solution. Over 23,000 customers in more than 135 countries around the world choose IBM Cognos solutions.
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2009 IBM Canada3755 Riverside Drive Ottawa, ON, Canada K1G 4K9 Produced in Canada August 2009 All Rights Reserved. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and Cognos are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such Trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Microsoft, and Excel are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. This case study is an example of how one customer uses IBM products. There is no guarantee of comparable results. References in this publication to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference in this information to non-IBM Web sites are provided for convenience only and do not in any manner serve as an endorsement of those Web sites. The materials at those Web sites are not part of the materials for this IBM product and use of those Web sites is at your own risk.