Faster, more accurate reporting and budgeting
The IBM platform now serves as a “single source of truth” for important business data, allowing Go Health Clubs to generate budgets, reports and scorecards based on timely, accurate data.
Clint Keble gives an example: “Take the budgeting process. Instead of having to pull together all the supporting information in spreadsheets, you can just drop all your historical data into the model and analyze trends based on last year’s actuals. That provides a lot of useful insight into how to build the next year’s budget, without needing to estimate and calculate everything from scratch.”
He adds: “It’s also a very flexible system, so if we need to add a new cost center or restructure our chart of accounts, that’s easy to do. If we continue to grow as a business and open new clubs, that versatility is going to be very important.”
By automating much of the work that was previously done in spreadsheets, the solution also helps to save time and accelerate decision-making.
Clint Keble says: “We used to take about three weeks to get the financial numbers out after the monthly close—now we can do it in five working days. So if a new opportunity emerges, or there’s a problem we need to deal with, we can spot it much sooner, and take action faster.”
Stefanie Nicholson agrees: “The same is true for management reports and quarterly presentations: it used to take three or four days to pull them together; now it’s a matter of a few clicks and an hour or two of work.
“The other advantage is that we’re much more confident in our metrics—in fact, there’s now an attitude in the business that ‘it doesn’t count if it doesn’t come from Cognos’. We can see what aspects of our business are working well, and where we need to make improvements.”
One example is increased visibility of sales performance. The company has built a scorecard that rates its salespeople not only on the number of memberships they sell, but also by the total yield of those memberships.
The solution has caught the attention not only of the company’s analysts, but also its senior leaders. As Clint Keble explains: “In the old days, when we had a directors’ meeting and someone asked for some data, it could take days to get an answer. Now, when I meet with our Managing Director, we have the system up on the screen in front of us. Whenever we have a question, we can drill down into the data and answer it straight away—so we can make decisions then and there.”
Stefanie Nicholson comments: “In terms of return on investment, it’s all about giving time back to the team at head office, so that we can be more proactive in our roles instead of spending all our time wrangling with data. This should help us keep our organization lean even as the business continues to grow.”
In the near future, the company hopes to extend its use of the IBM solution by making a closer connection between operational and financial analytics—for example, using key operational metrics as the basis for a more driver-based approach to planning and budgeting.
Clint Keble concludes: “We’re well aware that we are just taking our first steps with financial and operational performance management—there’s so much we want to do in the future. From what we have seen of Cognos Express so far, we’re very confident that it is a tool that can accompany us on our analytics journey, and that will take us as far as we need to go.”