Published on 10-Feb-2010
"IBM Cognos Controller was the key engine for our marquis requirements. And since we were bringing that in, we wanted to make sure BI was there for its strong reporting piece. WithoutIBM Cognos Controller, we would not have done it." - Director of ERP Development, leading global energy management firm
Leading Energy Management Firm
Energy & Utilities
The IBM Cognos solution was the best one for delivering business benefits, including ease of use and highly intuitive analysis and reporting.
Create a base of consistent data throughout the organization, despite different currencies and business conditions, and provide broad information access from a single portal.
The IBM Cognos 8 BI system provides a centralized, Web-based system for employees to report and analyze financial data; IBM Cognos 8 Controller – which supports driver-based budgeting, rolling forecasts and enterprise-wide financial performance management – provides unmatched capabilities for managing the close, consolidation, and reporting process.
High reliability with minimal maintenance needed; easy-to-read reports; increased access to data from multiple sources; speedy downloads; transparency that is essential for sustained compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
A leading global provider of integrated energy management solutions, this organization operates in approximately 30 countries, supported by 5,000 employees.
In early 2009, this global organization with a significant North American presence needed more insight into its data. Specifically, its parent company wanted to streamline several aspects of its budgeting processes, including the consolidation of financial statements aggregated from several different business units in North America; they also needed a stronger reporting solution to enable managers to view data in real-time. The organization’s management also wanted to seamlessly implement a quick reporting solution. This process had to be completed faster than it would take to rationalize the use of three ERP systems.
As a leading provider of energy management hardware and software, the company needed to become more agile in order to continue to stay ahead of the competition. Since the majority of its users were non-technical, it required an easy-to-deploy solution with a straightforward user interface that could provide access to multiple data sources, while delivering a single version of the truth in a timely fashion. Additionally, it wanted to ensure compliance with global accounting standards and regulations for auditing and financials.
Prior to implementing IBM® Cognos® BI and IBM Cognos Controller, the organization had to deal with longer close times when it came to consolidating budgets from various business units and departments, or resolving discrepancies and inefficiencies resulting from issues like having to gather data from numerous disparate sources. Reports and budgets were taking more time and effort to produce and were error-prone. For those reasons, the organization realized that it needed to access data in a quicker, more structured manner so it could meet its business needs and increase the efficiency of its reporting.
The organization started its implementation in February 2009, and the deployment took only two short months. Of note, minimal training was needed at the outset, and IBM Cognos consultants were made available in-person and by phone as needed. Before any vendor was selected, the organization considered other competing vendors such as Oracle/Hyperion. Solutions from competitors were evaluated with due diligence alongside the IBM Cognos solution. But in the end, the company chose the IBM Cognos solution for a myriad of reasons, including performance, flexibility, speedy implementation time, ease of use and the rich user interface that was able to support a global consolidation team. Also, the organization’s parent company was already using an IBM Cognos solution and had great results to prove its value. This factored into the decision as well.
“IBM Cognos Controller was the key engine for our marquis requirements,” said the ERP Development Manager. “And since we were brining that in, we wanted to make sure BI was there for its reporting piece. Without IBM Cognos Controller, we would not have done it.”
In tandem with IBM Cognos 8 BI, the organization is making use of several other related solutions including Query Studio, AnalysisStudio®, and ReportStudio, which are all helping users with efficient reporting.
Since the initial roll-out, the organization has met several goals including that of having its financial and management results consolidated in real-time. The global organization’s budgeting operations are more efficient and streamlined – helping them put real-time information in the hands of their management team to drill down on reports and analyze multiple dimensions of business data, including budget to actual comparisons, and realignment objectives. Before the solution was implemented, the monthly closing process was tedious. Employees involved in the process had never before had a chance to step back and analyze data, because they were instead spending all their time cobbling together reports. Now, the balance has shifted.
“This implementation allowed us to de-prioritize smaller tasks and focus more on core business activities,” the Director of ERP Development said.
Within months, their use of IBM Cognos solutions had a significant impact. In fact, all three North American business units are now on a consolidated common workflow (timing of shipments, etc.). Executives from across the organization are using the solution, which has allowed them to view metrics that they’ve never seen before. Some are taken aback with the level of detail they’re able to drill down into, and all users are delighted to have more data at their fingertips.
“We’re all in lock-step with each other now. Our parent entity needed to consolidate in North America, so we needed a mini-consolidation within North America. There’s no way to do that without a consolidation engine in place.”
As for the future, the global organization’s North American operation is looking to start doing more detailed budgeting in winter 2009, and possibly start forecasting on future sales and profit by January 2010. The organization does monthly and quarterly outlooks now using the IBM Cognos solution, so they’re confident these can be further refined.
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
Copyright IBM Corporation 2010 IBM Canada3755 Riverside DriveOttawa, ON, Canada K1G 4K9 Produced in CanadaJanuary 2010All Rights Reserved. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Cognos and Analysis Studio 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. 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.