Published on 31-Aug-2010
"We wanted to be able to perform more analysis and less excel consolidation and manipulation. And we needed a system that could help us become more focused and accurate in our planning, and support a move toward strategic use of advanced tools as our planning needs mature," - Jason Beard, Director, Global Business Intelligence, of John Wiley & Sons
John Wiley & Sons
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IBM Business Partner:
Wiley had been successfully using the IBM Cognos solution for reporting for many years. They chose the IBM solution because of their past success with the company’s BI solution, along with a need to standardize on a single planning and reporting platform.
The company needed to implement a global planning solution to address three major areas of business improvement: productivity, integrity and accountability.
The IBM Cognos BI and Planning solutions supported Wiley’s global businesses, providing easy visibility and planning across regional and business boundaries. IBM Cognos TM1 also provided valuable analytics at a departmental level.
The solution has increased the “Analytical IQ” of the company by providing online access to summary and detailed information; a central data source means less time spent on data entry and resolving data issues, and more time on analyzing and discussion business issues; faster and more accurate reporting and planning.
Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (WILEY) has been a valued source of information and understanding for 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. The core businesses include scientific, technical, and medical journals; encyclopedias,
books, and online products and services; professional and consumer books and subscription services; and educational materials for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners.
In the summer of 2007 John Wiley & Sons embarked upon a mission to implement a BI and planning system across their Global Operation. The project commenced after Wiley acquired Blackwell Publishing. This acquisition nearly doubled the size of the organization, and provided the impetus to reorganize many of their business processes.
This period of change provided the opportunity to implement a system to support the long term goals of the company.
The annual planning and forecasting at Wiley involved many Excel spreadsheets and e-mails from around the globe. Consolidations were performed manually, and there was very little consistency in data. And resolving these inconsistencies could be extremely time-consuming.
The company had been using an earlier version of the IBM® Cognos® BI solution for reporting, along with some third party planning solutions. However they wanted to implement a single, centralized solution to standardize reporting, planning and analysis, and to provide a single version of the truth across the global operation.
Before embarking on the Planning implementation, Wiley had taken several steps as part of a long term strategy to upgrade and align supporting systems and processes. This included bringing global financial definitions in line through creation of a Global Chart of Accounts and implementation of a global data warehouse and BI architecture for consolidation and standardization of data across the organization. With this foundation in place, a solid basis was created upon which to select a Planning vendor and implement an integrated solution.
Three major areas of business improvement they wanted to address with this project were: productivity, integrity and accountability.
To improve productivity, they would need to improve the speed of planning cycles, and decrease the number of emails being exchanged. Instead, they wanted to be able to have users input seamlessly into a central planning system.
“We wanted to be able to perform more analysis and less excel consolidation and manipulation. And we needed a system that could help us become more focused and accurate in our planning, and support a move toward strategic use of advanced tools as our planning needs mature,” said Jason Beard, Director, Global Business Intelligence, of John Wiley & Sons.
It was also critical John Wiley & Sons to have integrated business rules and consistent formulas and assumptions if they were to achieve the integrity and “single version of the truth” they were looking for. And to achieve consistency in their financial planning, the solution also had to be fully integrated with their existing BI reporting and financial systems.
In order to be fully accountable at all levels of the organization, the BI solution had to deliver superior online collaboration, security features along with centralized views of work progress, hierarchical workflow and approval features.
“We were looking for solution that provided common data and report definitions, a standardized data repository and analysis that was driven from the system, not from spreadsheets,” said Beard. “One of our goals is to increase the ‘Analytical IQ’ across our organization. This means providing online access to detailed and summary information when people need it, along with timely updates that will help them make better decisions.”
Wiley had an experienced and BI-savvy selection team. And in 2007, they created an RFP and sent to multiple vendors. They evaluated responses based on rankings in such areas as product functionality (including consolidation, workflow, security, flexibility, scalability and ease of deployment), integration with existing Wiley technologies, corporate-level criteria and analyst ratings.
The selection came down to IBM Cognos Planning and Applix TM1, both of which were already in use in Wiley on a limited departmental basis. IBM was chosen, in part because the company had a long standing, trusted relationship with IBM. Wiley had used the IBM Cognos BI reporting solution
for several years with success, and was impressed also with the IBM Cognos Planning solution. Soon after the selection was made, IBM acquired Applix and IBM Cognos TM1 became a part of the Wiley implementation.
Integration of the Blackwell Publishing acquisition delayed the project, but heightened the need for a global planning system to manage both legacy regions and new entities.
They migrated their IBM Cognos Planning system to the latest version and also upgraded the departmental TM1 server. Combined with the existing IBM Cognos BI tools, the former would become the engine for consolidating global business unit plans, while the latter continued to be used for corporate analytics, with an eye towards future expansion.
The changing environment at Wiley resulted in ongoing modifications to requirements and designs. With the development of a revised model, Wiley had to address inconsistencies within the planning process. As the project grew, Wiley hired a dedicated project manager with expertise in IBM Cognos BI and financial systems to gather and manage the formalized requirements.
Based on past project experience, the Wiley BI team used a standardized methodology for the implementation. This involved a phased approach with sub-phases, along with an established Wiley project framework. They also built in-house project knowledge at the corporate, departmental and regional levels.
IBM Cognos partner QueBIT played an integral role in helping Wiley deal with updated requirements and requests from users. The changes often required QueBIT to facilitate the appropriate adjustments to systems and processes. QueBIT provided implementation services in areas such as initial configuration and model-building. After successfully building a corporate model, they designed a departmental expense planning/forecasting model to assist with collecting information at a greater level of detail.
A key project target was to use the planning tool for the primary forecast model for the full Fiscal 2009 Q1 Wiley Global Forecast. In parallel to working on the planning tool, the team began efforts to work on resolution of any issues within Forecast model, and then created a departmental expense planning/forecasting model for the Fiscal 2009 Q2 Forecast and Q3 Forecast. Once these goals were successfully achieved, the 2010 Strategic Plans were conducted using the core models.
More recently, the team have been planning an upgrade to IBM Cognos 8 BI, version 8.5, along with rollout of a Resource/Staff planning model and prototyping of the IBM Cognos TM1 Contributor product.
The system has reduced the time end-users spend entering data by pre-populating values from the data warehouse for all calculations and templates. The central data source means global discipline leaders can now report and discuss globally accessible information, and can focused their dialogue on analytics rather than consolidation issues.
The global corporate entities feel confident in their calculations and assumptions, experience faster consolidations of the forecast and plan and can more easily compare of results across measures.
“We found that users developed a stronger sense of ownership and had more respect deadlines because of global visibility of workflows,” said Beard. “They now have visibility of information in much more detail, and a single source of information means there is one version of the truth across the organization.”
The business structure changed from regional reporting to business unit reporting in the development phase. The QueBIT model design was flexible, accommodating the changes with no data loss and minor updates.
The company has been able to experience “quick-wins”, while embracing a new technology that will help them evolve their business as they increase their use of the IBM Cognos solution for more strategic purposes.
“The IBM Cognos solution supports our end goal of having a global financial systems portfolio. It also helps us promote transparency and accountability through tools like online workflow management,” adds Beard.
The initial rollout of the solution was successful and the lessons learned could serve as a blue print for any organization.
About IBM Business Analytics
IBM Business Analytics 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 Business Analytics 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 Business Analytics solutions.
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