Landmark Retail is one of the largest omnichannel retailers across the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA), India and Southeast Asia (SEA). It is a division of Landmark Group, a well-known multinational retail and hospitality conglomerate headquartered in Dubai. The group’s journey started as a single store in Bahrain five decades ago. Today, Landmark Group has evolved into a powerhouse of 2200 stores across 21 countries.

It offers a diverse array of products and services across 25 homegrown brands and multiple franchises that cater to a multitude of tastes and preferences across fashion, home, electronics and more. The group’s values (iLEAD: Listen, Empower, Adapt and Deliver with Integrity) guide their purpose of creating exceptional value for their employees, their customers and their communities.

In 2013, Landmark Retail’s financial planning and analysis team faced challenges as they managed financial processes across more than 1200 stores. According to Gopal Chandak, FP&A Leader at Landmark, “The consolidation of the financial budget, cost allocation methods and standardization of common records posed as major obstacles. Gathering files from multiple parties led to discrepancies due to varying versions of software and different levels of user expertise.”

Challenges in the complex budgeting process of a major conglomerate

The team was present in multiple countries and regions, and they and operated with multiple brands. Their business model was very complex, and it required massive data volumes to be processed. Because of this, the budgeting process was inefficient. It took 3–4 months and needed stakeholder alignment across different countries, brands and functions.

Additionally, the process of consolidating Excel files from different versions was difficult and often resulted in discrepancies in numbers. “Managing the data for our stores using manual spreadsheets and consolidating it at both the business unit and country level proved to be an overwhelmingly challenging endeavor,” according to Chandak. “Recognizing the limitations, we acknowledged the need for an enhanced solution. Although Excel is a powerful tool, it was simply inadequate for the size and complexity of our organization.”

A comprehensive solution to maximize efficiency

In Landmark Retail’s search for a capable, user-friendly solution, they turned to IBM® Planning Analytics. Unlike other competitive solutions that took 6–12 months, IBM Planning Analytics was able to perform a successful proof of concept within 8–10 weeks. This swift implementation showcased agility and flexibility, making it the preferred choice for Landmark Retail.

According to Chandak, “IBM Planning Analytics significantly simplified tasks by offering comprehensive governance throughout the entire budgeting process and unlocked substantial value for the organization. With this tool, Landmark Retail was able to enhance its business analytics and gain insightful perspectives that are often overlooked when using traditional spreadsheet-based budgeting methods. The tool effortlessly facilitated budgeting on a zero-based approach, saving significant time and effort as it possessed all the necessary historical data.”

To ensure employee buy-in during the transition to IBM Planning Analytics, the company applied effective change management initiatives and maintained clear lines of communication.

Landmark Retail’s budgeting process became notably streamlined and efficient, and they completed the first module (“Budgeting”) within a couple of months. According to Chandak, “The budgeting and consolidation processes underwent a remarkable transformation, resulting in a 75% reduction in time spent by employees. They improved governance and transparency across different brands and countries, enabling a sharper focus on strategic business analysis to drive growth and innovation.”

The new solution delivered significant automation based on clicks from the user interface and simplified financial processes. Since implementing IBM Planning Analytics in 2013, Landmark Retail has successfully scaled new use cases ranging from core budgeting, warehouse budgeting, consolidation of legal entities and financial statements, and CAPEX across their more than 1200 stores.

Trusted partners are the key to successful implementation

Veracitiz Solutions, an IBM business partner, has been integral to Landmark Retail’s success. With a solution-driven team of dynamic and skilled technical experts, Veracitiz has been invaluable in the implementation and optimization of IBM Planning Analytics.  Veracitiz Solutions worked to understand Landmark Retail’s unique requirements and delivered customized solutions that were instrumental to the project’s success. Notably, the team’s around-the-clock availability led to significant customer satisfaction.

After achieving so much success with IBM Planning Analytics, Landmark Retail plans to implement it for sales forecasting to consider external factors such as seasonality, weather forecasts and historical patterns.

Landmark Retail’s partnership with Veracitiz Solutions, coupled with the flexibility of IBM Planning Analytics, has not only streamlined their financial processes but has also enabled them to proactively address the dynamic needs of their business. This synergy between technology and expertise is pivotal as Landmark Retail continues to provide value to stakeholders and strengthen its status as a leading retail giant in the region.

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