AE Smith integrates budgeting, forecasting and reporting

Improving flexibility for end users while cutting reporting time by 50 percent

Published on 14-Nov-2011

Validated on 03 Jun 2013

"I found Cognos Express to be a mature product that is highly reliable, widely used and constantly evolving. With IBM Cognos Express technology, along with the expertise and unbeatable customer service from Decision Resources, we have absolutely implemented the best solution to fit our company’s needs." - Tira Jones, Finance Manager, AE Smith

Customer:
AE Smith

Industry:
Construction / Architecture / Engineering

Deployment country:
Australia

Solution:
BA - Business Intelligence

IBM Business Partner:
Decision Resources

Overview

AE Smith is the largest and most respected privately-owned mechanical services contractor in Australia. Backed by more than 110 years of expert experience, it partners its customers to deliver environmentally sustainable facilities and achieve energy-efficient solutions. It offers building owners the most practical and effective way to reduce their energy and maintenance costs, achieve their green building targets and add dollars to their bottom line.

Business need:
AE Smith wanted to gain a better understanding of its business in order to drive better decision-making. Its existing ERP system held large amounts of valuable data, but did not provide the business with an easy way to analyse information.

Solution:
With help from Decision Resources and IBM® Cognos® Express, AE Smith was able to integrate budgeting, forecasting, and reporting into a single, more efficient solution. This has significantly improved flexibility and ease-of-use for end users, while cutting report delivery time by 50 percent.

Results:
Cuts report generation time by 50 percent, from two days to one.

Benefits:
Provides a single solution that consolidates and streamlines budgeting, forecasting, and reporting processes. Generates consolidated, dynamic reports that support vital business decisions. Centralises data for easy and effective management, providing end users with consistent and integrated information in an easy-to-read format. Creates a powerful and flexible reporting platform with room for future growth and development. Leverages Decision Resources’ proven expertise to tailor the solution to AE Smith’s specific needs.

Case Study

Company Overview

AE Smith believes there’s a big difference between knowing and doing when it comes to providing practical solutions tailored to help its customers meet their commercial objectives.

The company understands the best solutions are collaborative solutions, born from deep listening to hear the customer’s true and sometimes unspoken needs. Equipped with this understanding, AE Smith employs a national team of 700+ dedicated people who provide a single source solution that champions step-by-step practical action to achieve the right outcome for its clients’ business.

AE Smith is the largest and most respected privately-owned mechanical services contractor in Australia. Backed by more than 110 years of expert experience, it partners its customers to deliver environmentally sustainable facilitiO cpmpes and achieve energy-efficient solutions. It offers building owners the most practical and effective way to reduce their energy and maintenance costs, achieve their green building targets and add dollars to their bottom line.

AE Smith is the ‘partner of first choice’ for energy efficiency, building technologies, air conditioning and mechanical services.

Challenges
As AE Smith grew and became more complex, it realised that it needed to gain a better understanding of the impacts of daily decision-making on the business. Its end users needed to understand what was happening in the business from month to month. For example, if profit margins were down for the month, users needed a quick way to discern where this was happening, what activities caused the decline, and whether the results were part of a trend. This would help them to address problems efficiently and come up with solutions.

AE Smith’s existing Microsoft® Dynamics GP ERP system is a sophisticated solution, but it did not provide the company with the budgeting, forecasting, and reporting tools it needed to generate reports quickly and in an easy-to-use format. The company needed a user-friendly tool that would enable detailed analyses and present the results in a simple way.

Approach

  • Leveraged Decision Resources’ experience and expertise to implement a business intelligence solution tailored to AE Smith’s needs.
  • Purchased IBM Cognos Express Xcelerator, a leading analytics platform specifically designed for mid-sized businesses.
  • Consolidated the budgeting, forecasting, and reporting process for all end users through the implementation of a powerful and flexible integrated solution.

Impact
  • The IBM Cognos Express Xcelerator Module and Decision Resources’ consulting and implementation service provided end users with an easy-to-use, comprehensive budgeting, forecasting, and reporting solution with advanced analytical capabilities.
  • Soon after implementation, AE Smith realised a 50 percent reduction in month-end reporting time due to the Xcelerator dashboard and reporting function.
  • The company utilised in-house resources to develop and maintain the system with minimal outside consulting.
  • The IBM Cognos Express Xcelerator solution is flexible enough to meet the changing needs of the business.
  • It provides AE Smith’s end users with a tool that helps them create comprehensive sets of reports and key performance indicators. The business can readily use these to make impactful decisions for the future.
  • With more time now available, AE Smith can better analyse the integrated information held in Cognos Express Xcelerator, understand its implications and make better business decisions.

About Decision Resources
Decision Resources is an IBM Business Partner based in Melbourne, Australia. It specialises in business intelligence and data warehousing, master data management, financial budgeting and forecasting and predictive analytics – helping clients gain faster, deeper and more accurate insight into their businesses, enhance decision-making and deliver greater value to customers and stakeholders.

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.

Software:
Cognos Express Xcelerator, Cognos Express

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011. Australian Head Office, IBM Australia Ltd, Level 13, IBM Centre, 601 Pacific Highway, St Leonards, NSW 2065. Produced in Australia, October 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 www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. IBM and Decision Resources are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Decision Resources 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. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.