Published on 05-Aug-2011
Validated on 02 Dec 2013
"Finally, we can provide clean financial figures for all CHT/BEZEMA companies to our worldwide sales organisation at the touch of a button. Sales planning and group consolidation have also become considerably quicker and more exact. TM1 is very easy to use and tremendously adaptable." - Martin Schmälzle, Head of IT, CHT R. Beitlich GmbH
CHT R. Beitlich GmbH
Chemicals & Petroleum
BA - Business Analytics, BA - Performance Management, Big Data & Analytics, Big Data & Analytics: Transform processes, Business Integration, Business Performance Transformation, Data Warehouse, Enterprise Content Management, Virtualization - Server
IBM Business Partner:
CHT R. Beitlich GmbH (CHT) in Tübingen is the headquarters of a worldwide operating group of specialist chemicals companies. The group’s products improve the quality, functionality and performance of textiles, building materials, paper and pet food, as well as cleaning and care products for the consumer goods industry. CHT/BEZEMA has production and sales locations all over the world. In 2010, it achieved a group turnover of over €300 million and employed approximately 1,600 people. CHT exports approximately 80 percent of its products from Germany to 120 countries all over the world.
CHT/BEZEMA needed a new solution for reporting, planning and consolidation of its 22 worldwide companies.
IBM® Cognos® TM1® enables uniform sales reporting, exact planning and (in collaboration with elKomKons™) financial consolidation for the CHT/BEZEMA group.
At the touch of a button, sales and financial departments receive exact financial figures for all CHT/BEZEMA companies. Sales planning and group consolidation have become considerably quicker and easier. IBM Cognos TM1 delivers high performance, even with huge data volumes. CHT/BEZEMA is well prepared for future challenges.
To read a German version of this case study, click here.
CHT R. Beitlich GmbH (CHT) in Tübingen is the headquarters of a worldwide operating group of specialist chemicals companies. The group’s products improve the quality, functionality and performance of textiles, building materials, paper and pet food, as well as cleaning and care products for the consumer goods industry. CHT/BEZEMA has production and sales locations all over the world, operated by more than 20 affiliates. In 2010, it achieved a group turnover of over €300 million and employed approximately 1,600 people. CHT exports approximately 80 percent of its products from Germany to 120 countries all over the world.
Conventional spreadsheet solutions fail to meet demands
CHT faced the challenge of introducing a uniform sales reporting solution for 22 group companies that would provide a basis for group consolidation as well as for annual sales planning.
Historically, each CHT/BEZEMA company used its own ERP system. Recently, the ERP landscape has been rationalised to some extent: in Germany and Switzerland, CHT uses SAP ERP 6.0, and five other subsidiaries use SAP Business One. However, in the medium term, there will still be a huge number of different ERP systems in the CHT/BEZEMA group.
The use of different ERP systems meant that there were no uniform reporting processes or consistent data. Planning and financial consolidation were very laborious processes. The challenge was to bring together heterogeneous information from the different ERP systems of 22 CHT/BEZEMA companies and transform it into an analysable dataset.
Martin Schmälzle, Head of IT at CHT, explains the reasons for the decision to introduce a new solution: “The present solution on the basis of Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheets did not fulfil CHT’s high standards for flexibility. Moreover, it regularly required a lot of manual effort, and it took a long time before the desired results were available.”
At group headquarters, CHT/BEZEMA had been using a TM1-based in-memory OLAP solution for about twelve years. On account of the company’s good experience with the comprehensive functionality and high performance of this memory-based solution, CHT decided to use IBM Cognos TM1 for the new project. To gain additional performance, a conversion from 32- to 64-bit technology was planned at the same time. CHT tasked elKomSolutions GmbH, an IBM Business Partner from Tuttlingen, with this job. elKomSolutions’ TM1-based group consolidation solution had already been in use at CHT for many years, and the company had also been CHT’s software service partner for a long time.
The focus of elKomSolutions’ service offerings lies in the development, implementation and maintenance of software solutions in the field of business intelligence, corporate planning and group consolidation. Founded in 1997, today elKomSolutions serves more than 150 enterprises, from medium-sized businesses up to the top performers on the German Stock Exchange (DAX 100).
A uniform solution for sales reporting, planning and group consolidation
IBM Cognos TM1 now forms the core of a group-wide solution for all CHT companies. Every company sends its accumulated monthly sales data to the headquarters in an extensive transfer file. This file contains all relevant information, such as for example article numbers, amounts, turnovers and costs. After validation and inter-company turnover elimination, all the data flows into different TM1 OLAP data bases. The resulting data cubes contain both source information and consolidated values, according to the purpose of their use.
Based on this data, the group-wide contribution accounting is processed. The TM1 database provides the basis for central sales reporting, and the sales departments of all connected companies can access reports and analyses via a simple web interface. Once a year, CHT carries out a sales planning exercise for its companies up to customer level and article level, which currently takes place in a combined solution based on IBM Lotus® Notes® and IBM Cognos TM1. In future, IBM Cognos TM1 will take over this job completely.
Another area where IBM Cognos TM1 supports the business is the extensive monthly business reporting for the whole CHT/BEZEMA group. Via TM1’s Excel interface, all the relevant data from CHT/BEZEMA companies is collected, imported, validated and – again – published using the Web front-end.
The CHT/BEZEMA group also uses IBM Cognos TM1 to create its annual consolidated financial statement. Once the data has been imported, the solution performs the calculations required to generate the profit and loss statement, the balance sheet and the cash flow.
Finally, CHT/BEZEMA also produces the complete legal consolidated financial statement using elKomKons™ from elKomSolutions, a flexible consolidation solution.
CHT has been using a Cubeware™ application as the ETL (extract, transform and load) tool that imports data from different sources into the TM1 structure. However, thanks to IBM Cognos TM1 TurboIntegrator’s capabilities for extracting large quantities of data from different sources and importing it into TM1, CHT has decided to partially replace the present ETL tool.
With the previous solution, for example, the import of a large data set from an IBM i server took more than three hours; now, with IBM Cognos TM1 TurboIntegrator, it can be completed in a few minutes – approximately 50 times faster than before.
Overall, approximately 300 users worldwide access IBM Cognos TM1, mostly via a Web frontend. The users are predominantly from the sales, marketing and controlling departments, but the development and support department also uses the TM1 data to support technical customer service.
Advantages of a homogeneous system landscape
For many years, CHT has been a loyal user of IBM hardware, solely using IBM systems in its central IT department. The company’s central SAP ERP applications run in an IBM i environment on two IBM Power Systems 520 servers with mirrored data; IBM Backup Recovery and Media Services (BRMS) and an IBM Tape Library TS3200 provide data protection.
Furthermore, IBM System x3650 M3 and IBM System Storage DS3400 disk systems support VMware environments. IBM Content Manager manages the archiving of SAP data and scanned documents, and will soon be used for IBM Lotus Notes emails too. IBM Cognos TM1 runs in a logical partition on these servers.
IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager is used to back up the System x servers on connected IBM System Storage TS3310 tape systems.
Managing the solution
The functional management of the IBM Cognos TM1 solution is the responsibility of the controlling department, because reports and analyses of the commercial figures are mainly required here. The IT department acts as an internal service provider, and looks after the supply of data.
Thanks to the long experience CHT has already gained with TM1, its own employees are able to operate the solution independently, without external support. When a new tool or functionality needs to be introduced, consultants from elKomSolutions provide support and training for CHT staff.
Schmälzle reports about many advantages of his new IBM Cognos TM1 solution: “Finally, we can provide clean financial figures for all CHT/BEZEMA companies to our worldwide sales organisation at the touch of a button. Sales planning and group consolidation have also become considerably quicker and more exact. TM1 is very easy to use and tremendously adaptable. New cubes can be created quickly,which is very advantageous for the development and testing of prototypes and provides short project cycles. The Excel interface in particular helps many users from the controlling department work very easily with the central system in their usual environment, and enables us to eliminate many isolated Excel files.”
The performance of the solution also fulfils Schmälzle’s expectations: “The biggest TM1 cube contains about 800 MB. Six to eight million relational records lie in the background. In spite of these huge data volumes, the high performance has completely persuaded us of the value of IBM Cognos TM1.”
Prepared for future projects
Within the scope of a project that was started in 2011, CHT begun to use IBM Cognos TM1 to handle reporting for the central SAP ERP system in Germany. With IBM Cognos TM1, it is possible to process the multidimensional data from the SAP ERP system directly. This enables the CHT to provide daily sales statistics to all companies who are registered in the central SAP system at the click of a mouse.
Schmälzle is sure that TM1 is the right solution, and has great potential for the future: “Our future plans are to extend the IBM Cognos TM1 reporting capabilities in conjunction with the SAP ERP system. Future projects are, for example, the refinement of the sales reporting, the introduction of purchasing reporting, cost-centre and cost -type accounting, as well as production reporting. With its innovative technology, excellent flexibility and high performance, IBM Cognos TM1 provides the best conditions to fulfil our expectations in the future.”
About elKomSolutions GmbH
IBM Advanced Business Partner elKomSolutions GmbH is an established service provider focused on development, implementation and maintenance of software solutions in the field of business intelligence, corporate planning and group consolidation.
elKomSolutions develops integrated software solutions based on robust IBM Cognos TM1 technology. The modular system architecture allows elKomSolutions to develop perfectly tailored and easily extensible solutions for its customers with a user-friendly and consistent user interface.
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.
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
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