Published on 25-Nov-2010
"Our new IT environment puts us in a position to take an enormous step forward on a business level." - Robert-Peter den Heijer, Global Information Manager, Logica
Business-to-Business, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence
Logica was looking to take its financial and management information systems to the next level, standardising their environment so they could obtain reliable detailed information more quickly and flexibly and use it as a basis for sound decision making.
IBM could provide the integrated, out-of-the-box solution to bring together data from disparate systems across the organisation.
IBM Cognos Financial Performance Management and IBM Cognos Business Intelligence provided the basis for a structured information environment.
The solution provides higher quality and •speed of information provisioning; offers greater flexibility in reporting and analysis; offers unambiguous insight on a group and local level; establishes a basis for well-informed decision-making.
Logica is an international ICT services provider that operates all over the world. The company provides services in the areas of management and ICT consultancy and system development and integration. It also takes on total business management projects for customers. Logica employs a staff of approximately 40,000. The company’s head office is located in the United Kingdom and is listed on the stock exchange in London and Amsterdam.
Reporting figures on a group level can be a laborious process in a large international organisation. This is particularly true when local offices use varying systems, as is the case with a merged operation such as Logica. The ICT services provider we know today came into being in 2002 when CMG and Logica merged. The company was expanded a few years later with the acquisition of Unilog in France and Scandinavia’s WM-data.
Robert-Peter den Heijer, Global Information Manager at Logica, explains the situation: “The result of having so many different systems was that much of the monthly consolidation of our figures had to be done manually. Each country transferred the data from its financial system in its own way to a Hyperion application, or else sent in a Microsoft™ Excel file to head office. This badly affected data quality. There were also all sorts of phone calls going back and forth about what the figures actually meant.”
The way the information was provided from these disparate sources was also not sufficiently flexible for Logica’s needs.
“Because we didn’t have a repository with metadata, it took a great deal of work to answer questions so that the data could be viewed in a particular way. In addition, we didn’t have enough historical information to be able to carry out trend analyses. Group management also wanted better insight into operational management. It needed more dimensions to the information than just book figures and more than just a monthly snapshot of the business. Gathering, processing and reporting the data was also taking too long,” says Den Heijer.
Working with IBM® Cognos® software, Logica created a structured information environment based on software for Financial Performance Management (FPM) and Business Intelligence (BI).
“We started by going looking for a BI solution,” says Den Heijer. “That meant weighing up a range of different options. IBM suggested using its Financial Performance Management software as the first step. This solution makes it possible to enter data in a standardised manner via a web portal for direct in-memory processing and analysis. This can either be done automatically or out of Excel. Another benefit is the flexibility to add dimensions manually, without being dependent on the source. For example, our local offices can report their actuals in terms of cost center, while supplying their forecasts on a country level. Adding elements yourself to the report enables you to create more specific forecasts.” IBM Cognos FPM software was an out-of-the-box solution. “This was exactly what we wanted. It enabled us to roll out the system worldwide in a very short space of time,” says Den Heijer.
The situation now is that Logica’s local offices can use templates to enter their financial data into the FPM portal. This is partly manual and partly automated. For example, the actuals are imported directly from the financial system, while budgets and forecasts, as well as cashflow and debtor summaries, come from Excel templates. This is done weekly or monthly, depending on the financial timetable.
Step two is to implement an IBM Cognos software data warehouse and BI solution in the local offices. Logica is currently involved in doing just that. “The aim is for the countries to collect and process their data locally via the data warehouse and BI suite, and then send it in a single line to the FPM solution,” explains Den Heijer. “And this will include not only their financial data, but also information from areas such as their sales and marketing or HR system. Each dimension in the local operating systems is then also available via the data warehouse, so that we can have even more detailed information about project management, say, or HR, account management, billing and so on. This solution already exists in the Netherlands.”
The new information environment enables Logica to take an enormous step forward in terms of business, according to Den Heijer. “The quality and flexibility of our financial reporting have improved significantly,” he says. “Apart from the fact that we can now view accounting information faster on a group level, we can also see how the results look for each type of service or alliance and identify where our opportunities for growth lie. It’s also possible to produce simple analyses to answer specific questions from our CEO and CFO, or to highlight trends. Plus, each country has less work to do in supplying all of the data, which means they also benefit from improved information provision. In addition to rolling out the data warehouse and BI suite, local managers can also access FMP and BI information via the portal. This means that everyone is drawing from the same source and can drill down to detailed information.”
Den Heijer believes that the biggest challenge is still ahead, in the form of acceptance of the information environment. “We now provide all of the information our managers need to be able to make sound decisions, but they actually need to use it properly,” he says. “There may be a perception that there’s a lot of work involved in retrieving a report via the portal. So in the time ahead, we will be in clarification mode and make it clear to them that they are always just a few clicks from the report they want.”
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.
For further information or to reach a representative: www.ibm.com/cognos
Products and services used
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2010 IBM Canada3755 Riverside DriveOttawa, ON, Canada K1G 4K9 Produced in CanadaFebruary 2010All 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, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo 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.