Published on 19-Apr-2011
"The IBM Cognos solution has broken the shackles of our reporting restrictions, and enabled us to conduct analyses ranging from resident profiling through to site-specific queries." - Chris Mamarelis, General Manager for Finance, Moran Health Care Group
Moran Health Care Group
IBM Business Partner:
IBM Cognos Partner Cubewise showed a clear understanding of Moran’s needs, while the IBM Cognos solution provided the features Moran needed without the need for a large infrastructure investment.
To improve timeliness and accuracy of operational and financial reporting for better, more informed decision making.
IBM Cognos TM1 brought together the company’s disparate data into a single solution that helped them improve their operational and financial reporting and analysis processes.
Moran has reduced the time required to complete month-end reporting by 80 percent. And more than $1 million has been saved in creating efficiencies that resulted in an immediate impact to the bottom line in the first six months.
Facility managers have immediate, electronic access to reports, and for the first time they have the accurate financial and operational information they need to make proactive decisions; speed of reporting has delivered significant staff efficiency gains.
When the very first of the baby boomers began to approach retirement in the 1990s, aged-care services hit the spotlight. One of the biggest sectors of the population had become intensely interested in how it would be looked after in its later years, and the aged care industry was more than happy to grow in response.
New hostels, nursing homes, and assisted-living facilities sprang up all over the country. Aged-care providers became a solid investment proposition. Conscious of the need to maintain a consistent quality of services and to protect the rights of aged-care services residents, the government reacted to the boom with ever increasing scrutiny. Federal funding was tied to strict service requirements, and facility providers were tasked with extensive reporting requirements.
One of the best-known operators within this newly competitive and heavily regulated regime is also one of its oldest—the Moran Health Care Group. Established more than fifty years ago, Moran is Australia’s largest private aged-care provider. The company employs more than 5,000 people, and maintains 39 residential aged care facilities in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia.
By 2006, the combination of shareholder, management, and government reporting demands were pushing Moran’s information systems to the limit. Functional but fragmented payroll, accounting, and general ledger systems had led to a heavy reliance on staff re-keying month-end data into Microsoft™ Excel spreadsheets, which then produced the required reports. Inaccuracies inevitably crept in with each re-keying, resulting in delays in reporting collation. The sum effect was that data was delivered too late for proactive decision making. In addition, operational data from the 39 business units remained separate from financial data, making it difficult to obtain a single view of the organisation’s performance.
When the now CFO joined Moran in late 2006, he realised that something had to change. Within two months he began a process that involved three interrelated courses:
1. The search for a business intelligence (BI) tool that could bring together Moran’s disparate data and solve their reporting problems.
2. A process reengineering exercise that would ensure clean integration of business data to a BI tool.
3. Quality executive manager to own and finesse the process. For this objective, Hallit hired Chris Mamarelis as General Manager for Finance.
Moran’s idea was for a software solution that would sit in the middle of the company’s existing financial and operational systems; one that would take data from both sources, and create an integrated pool of financial and operational metrics.
“We called in a number of BI vendors and asked for a proof of concept,” Hallit explains. “Our major requirements were Web enablement and data integration, plus calculation of data before it flowed into further reports.” One of the vendors was Cubewise, a long-time specialist in the design and implementation of custom reporting and analytical applications, and an IBM® Cognos partner.
It took just two days for Cubewise to deliver a proof of concept with IBM Cognos® TM1®, involving the creation of:
• A general ledger model with initial profit and loss and balance sheet reports
• A payroll model
• A “resident” KPI model to track bed occupancy and certain patient categorisations that directly influence the government fees paid to Moran
• An accounts receivable analysis model
“Cubewise understood what we needed. They were the fastest to deliver, and it was the most successful proof of concept of all the vendors,” Hallit continues. “They delivered on all our requirements plus we were sold on the lack of infrastructure that IBM Cognos TM1 required.” By February 2007, implementation was underway.
Approximately a dozen people now use IBM Cognos TM1 to analyse and report on Moran business performance on a regular basis. Half of the group is financial staff conducting high-level analysis, and the remainder is made up of facilities managers and other non-financially oriented staff who access the software through the Web.
“If you know how to use Microsoft Excel, you can use IBM Cognos TM1,”Mamarelis comments. “With everything appearing through the Excel front end, it gives the users confidence and makes it infinitely easy to manipulate. It has broken the shackles of our reporting restrictions, and enabled us to conduct analyses ranging from resident profiling through to site-specific queries.”
One of the major benefits has been the reduction in staff time required for reporting. Calculations for items such as accruals and prepayments used to take weeks; they now take milliseconds. In addition, the solution delivers an instantaneous consolidation of all Moran business unit data. Hallit acknowledges that this has produced significant staff efficiencies before adding, “Reporting has also become spot on, first time, every time. We’ve removed the inaccuracies and errors.”
Electronic distribution of reports has given managers access to up-to-date rather than month-old information about financial performance, occupancy figures, and residency profiles. It is enabling a more proactive approach to the management of each facility.
The software has also eased the acquisition of additional facilities, integrating and consolidating new data sources quickly. Hallit estimates that Moran achieved a return on its IBM Cognos software investment within six months of implementation. “It’s a good tool,” he says. “A very good tool. As our business grows, we are now actually increasing the bottom line with proportionally fewer back-office costs.”
Cubewise is a professional consulting firm that specialises in the design and implementation of custom business planning, reporting and analytical applications.
Utilising the IBM Cognos platform, our unique blend of skills and expertise in both business and technology distinguishes us from other software consultants. As successful finance and business professionals, we approach technology from a business perspective.
With rigourous internal controls around Best Practice Quality Assurance, Cubewise have been awarded IBM’s TM1 Partner of the Year for the last 2 years.
Our goal is to provide our clients with Cognos 8 & Cognos TM1 solutions that enable analysis of business challenges and provide opportunities to facilitate collaboration and insight throughout their organisations.
We have an undiluted focus and only employ expert Cognos consultants in order to ensure we deliver successful and value-added business intelligence solutions quickly, painlessly and most importantly, affordably. For more information please visit: www.cubewise.com
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