Published on 29-Apr-2010
"Through standardization and the ability to provide information in a timely manner, we’ve experienced a number of improved efficiencies that translate into increased productivity, improved timelines and more rapid decision making. IBM Cognos BI, Planning and Controller all played key roles in helping us reach these goals, in addition to making our overarching BPI project a success." - Kevin VanderKley, Manager of Enterprise Applications and Support Services, Great Canadian
Great Canadian Gaming Corporation
Media & Entertainment
Great Canadian selected IBM Cognos 8 BI, Planning and Controller solutions for the data warehousing, reporting, analysis and budgeting capabilities.
Due to a number of acquisitions over a short period of time, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation had grown considerably including new lines of business, increased financial data and transaction volumes and needed to automate and streamline processes.
The IBM Cognos 8 system allows Great Canadian to consolidate business and financial data to allow for standardized reporting with one source of data for all users, so that users have “one version of the truth.”
Easier access to reporting for business and financial data; faster month-end and quarter-end closing processes; in-depth analysis of business, financial and budget data; streamlined budget cycle; consolidation of multiple systems; standardization.
One of Canada’s leading entertainment providers, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation is a multi-jurisdictional gaming organization with operations in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia, Canada and Washington State, United States. The company operates ten casinos, five horseracing facilities, a community gaming center, a bingo hall, a hotel and conference centre, two show theatres and various associated hospitality outlets.
Great Canadian aims to provide a memorable experience to its guests, rewarding opportunities for its team and outstanding value to its shareholders. The company relies heavily on streamlined operations and financial excellence to achieve its goals and objectives, year after year.
During the past five years, Great Canadian has significantly expanded its business, through property acquisitions and redevelopment activities. With this growth, the company soon saw the need to re-evaluate its overall financial processes and, in 2006 it launched a Business Process Improvement (BPI) project to drive business process improvements for financial data capture, reporting and consolidation.
“It became increasingly important for us to streamline business processes, given our recent acquisitions and increased financial transaction data and volumes,” says Gisele Callarec, Executive Director of Technology and Planning, Great Canadian. “Our existing enterprise resource planning system was adequate when it came to core competency around distribution and financials, but we still needed a solid, robust reporting solution that would support and accelerate financial reporting, consolidation, budgeting and analytics activities.”
Specifically, Great Canadian was looking to improve month-end and quarter-end closing processes. At the time, these procedures were tedious and lengthy, costing the company a great amount of time and resources. In an effort to improve the functionality and response time of these financial processes, the project team decided to upgrade their investment in IBM® Cognos® solutions.
Extremely satisfied as an IBM Cognos ReportNet® customer, Great Canadian decided to invest in IBM Cognos 8 BI and IBM Cognos 8 Planning solutions as part of its BPI project. Shortly after, the company also purchased IBM Cognos 8 Controller. Using these tools, the company was able to empower users with fast, easy access to financial information for internal and external based reporting needs, annual operational budget preparation and consolidation and multi-company financial consolidated reporting to meet regulatory and compliance requirements.
“IBM Cognos provided us with the path of least resistance when it came to upgrading our infrastructure,” adds Callarec. “Not only were we able to achieve our goals of automation and consolidation, but we also were able to use the IBM Cognos Data Manager to create a standardized interface for the automated import and export of business and financial transactional data which removed manual processes and decreased the time for when information was available for management.
As part of its IBM Cognos deployment, Great Canadian also leveraged IBM Cognos Education to train employees on the new solutions. Several employees used the computer-Based Training (CBT) offering to learn more about using the IBM Cognos Query Studio tool, while many others attended in-person trainings on IBM Cognos BI and IBM Cognos Controller.
From the outset of its IBM Cognos 8 deployment, Great Canadian experienced easier access to data, which led to improved timelines and access to information for the company. Furthermore, with regards to month-end close, the company was able to shorten the entire process from multi-weeks to less than ten days.
“By using IBM Cognos 8 tools in conjunction with our other BPI initiatives, we dramatically changed our business for the better,” says Kevin VanderKley, Manager of Enterprise Applications and Support Services, Great Canadian. “Improved workflow and decision-making made it easier for our employees to do their jobs. Our executives use the IBM Cognos solution financial reporting to identify new business trends and areas of opportunity. It’s become an invaluable tool organization-wide.”
Great Canadian has recently upgraded its IBM Cognos system to the most recent version, 8.4. The next areas of focus will be utilization of metrics studio to begin tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to monitor and evaluate the organization’s current level of business success and to develop plans for the future. Additionally, the company’s IT team is starting to identify more data to add to the data warehouse. Future initiatives involve further use of the Cognos BI features and functions such as the development of dashboard prototypes for executive management, as defined by the executives themselves.
“Through standardization and the ability to provide information in a timely manner, we’ve experienced a number of improved efficiencies that translate into significant benefits for the company,” adds VanderKley. IBM Cognos BI, Planning and Controller all played key roles in helping us reach these goals, in addition to making our overarching BPI project a success.”
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