Ballast Nedam

Builds on the success of operational management information

Published on 07-Sep-2011

Validated on 02 Dec 2013

"The reports for project control are truly a success story. They not only serve as a guideline for our discussions, but are often consulted between meetings too. The reports provide a clear and compact picture of the financial status of our projects, which makes them appealing to the users." - Jan Paul Seijlhouwer, Information Manager, Ballast Nedam Bouw & Ontwikkeling

Customer:
Ballast Nedam

Industry:
Construction / Architecture / Engineering

Deployment country:
Netherlands

Solution:
BA - Business Analytics, BA - Business Intelligence, Optimizing IT

IBM Business Partner:
Imtech

Overview

Ballast Nedam is a leader in the construction and infrastructure sectors. The company operates mainly in the Netherlands, working on projects for companies, public authorities and individuals in the fields of mobility, housing, employment, leisure and energy. Within the group, Ballast Nedam Construction & Development focuses on development, realisation and management of real estate projects. Around 4,000 people are employed by Ballast Nedam, of which approximately 1,000 work in Construction & Development.

Business need:
Ballast Nedam Construction & Development was interested in obtaining greater insight into its projects and finances – especially in the area of project control. The company needed a compact report that would provide a clear picture of the status of projects.

Solution:
Using IBM® Cognos® Business Intelligence, Ballast Nedam Construction & Development can easily generate more effective reports that offer an insight into its projects and finances from various perspectives. These reports make it easier to understand and discuss the company’s performance level, and offer support for management decision-making.

Benefits:
Access to operational management information provides the company with a better picture of the financial status of its projects from various perspectives. The information is presented in reports that are easy for users to read and can be retrieved at any location via an accessible web portal. The reports make the company’s performance more transparent and can be easily discussed during project consultations. Financial data is transferred directly from Cognos into the central financial system – saving time and preventing errors.

Case Study

To read a Dutch version of this case study, please click here

Ballast Nedam is a leader in the construction and infrastructure sectors. The company operates mainly in the Netherlands, working on projects for companies, public authorities and individuals in the fields of mobility, housing, employment, leisure and energy. Within the group, Ballast Nedam Construction & Development focuses on development, realisation and management of real estate projects. Around 4,000 people are employed by Ballast Nedam, of which approximately 1,000 work in Construction & Development.

The challenge
The widening of the A12 motorway, the development of the Berckelbosch area in Eindhoven, the renovation of the Sittard city centre and the construction of the new Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are just a few examples of the many construction and infrastructure projects that Ballast Nedam works on. These are often long-term projects with budgets of millions of Euros. It is therefore essential for the company to keep its finger on the financial pulse throughout the entire course of such projects.

“We want to continuously monitor the ratio between the actual budget and the approved budget, and what additional work and cancelled work has been involved,” says Jan Paul Seijlhouwer, Information Manager in Ballast Nedam Construction & Development. “What do we still have to do, what have we spent, which invoices have already been paid, and what is the prognosis for the project? We need clear answers to these questions and to many other issues in order to manage these projects.”

Ballast Nedam Construction & Development realised that its existing business software did not provide the level of reporting capabilities required to answer these questions.

Seijlhouwer comments: “We had software that handled financial administration, project monitoring, time registration, service administration and sales projections. The functionality was excellent from an operational point of view, but we needed simpler and clearer analysis capabilities. One particular point, for example, was the transparency of the reports for project monitoring. These reports provide financial and other project information, and constitute essential operational resources. They serve as a basis for the monthly discussions between project managers and the implementation teams under the guidance of special cost controllers.”

The approach
Ballast Nedam Construction & Development turned to Imtech, an IBM Business Partner, to help to implement IBM Cognos Business Intelligence. The initial goal was to improve the provision of information related to project control.

Seijlhouwer explains: “IBM Cognos Business Intelligence offers many options for analysing and presenting data within accessible reports, which are shown in a clear visual manner. This gives you project overviews that staff can utilise.”

Ballast Nedam Construction & Development generates project reports that retrieve operational data directly from the project control system. They are made available in PDF format, and are also accessible via the company’s web portal.

Seijlhouwer says, “The portal is ideal because it allows users to access information wherever they are – whether at our construction sites or in the office.”

As a result of the improvement in the project reports, Ballast Nedam Construction & Development has begun using the IBM Cognos solution on a far wider scale.

“We have now started using it to retrieve and analyse consolidated data about the various regions from our financial data warehouse,” says Seijlhouwer. “The data from the data warehouse is also transferred into the central consolidation system of our holding company via IBM Cognos. This saves us a great deal of work.”

Another important application has to do with sales projections Seijlhouwer explains: “In projects where we are constructing houses for sale, we must have an insight into the current status of the sale process. This is essential for keeping an eye on our financial position. We now have a data warehouse with data from our regional sales administration, which we can use to generate reports for projected sales. This gives a clear insight into the sales situation per project and per region.”

In addition, Ballast Nedam Construction & Development uses IBM Cognos Business Intelligence to record the hours worked by employees at the construction sites, based on time registration. Imtech provides support to ensure the proper operation of this and all other IBM Cognos applications in the company.

“Following the implementation of the business intelligence software, Imtech has continued to support us,” says Seijlhouwer. “For example, each quarter they perform a review, checking our servers and the reporting models that we have developed ourselves.”

The results
The reports that Ballast Nedam Construction & Development generates with IBM Cognos Business Intelligence offer the company improved insight into its projects and finances from various perspectives, and help it manage these more effectively.

Seijlhouwer comments: “The reports for project control are truly a success story. They not only serve as a guideline for our monthly discussions, but are often consulted between meetings too. In fact, our financial managers and cost controllers use the Cognos solution to retrieve information thousands of times per year. The reports provide a clear and compact picture of the financial status of our projects, which makes them appealing to the users.”

The financial overviews also contribute to improved insight. “We can now go through all the points per region with regard to the financial results of the projects,” explains Seijlhouwer. “A tremendous advantage of Cognos for our financial data warehouse is that the data can be copied directly – and without errors – into our central consolidation system.”

The reports for projecting sales are very practical and relevant. “They give us a good picture of the status of sales per project. This is essential for understanding the financial risks we are facing, and enables us to take timely action if we need to correct something. For example, if sales are too low, we could launch an additional advertising campaign. Each week, management receives and reviews a status report covering the last 13 weeks. The managers actually ask for it specifically!”

Finally the reports of working hours and the time allotment of employees at the building sites are easy and convenient to arrange. “We can easily see the areas where we still have to commit personnel to get the job done,” Seijlhouwer concludes.

About IBM Business Analytics
IBM Business Analytics software delivers actionable insights decision-makers need to achieve better business performance. IBM offers a comprehensive, unified portfolio of business intelligence, predictive and advanced analytics, financial performance and strategy management, governance, risk and compliance and analytic applications.

With IBM software, companies can spot trends, patterns and anomalies, compare “what if” scenarios, predict potential threats and opportunities, identify and manage key business risks and plan, budget and forecast resources. With these deep analytic capabilities our customers around the world can better understand, anticipate and shape business outcomes.

For more information
For further information or to reach a representative please visit ibm.com/analytics.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
Cognos Business Intelligence

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011. IBM Nederland BV, Johan Huizingalaan 765, P.O. Box 9999, 1066 VH Amsterdam, Netherlands. Produced in The Netherlands, July 2011. All Rights Reserved. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and Cognos are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at http://www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. IBM and Imtech are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Imtech makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.