e-bebek is combining the speed and convenience of online shopping with the tactile experience of the retail store—but as it transitioned to the new model, gaining insight into costs was a challenge.
By replacing manual, spreadsheet-based budgeting and forecasting with an automated, centralized solution based on IBM Cognos TM1, e-bebek enables greater accuracy and control for financial reporting.
66%shorter budget cycle will help e-bebek adapt faster to new market trends
Enablese-bebek to use what-if scenarios to identify potential opportunities and threats
Supportsdecision-makers in their efforts to contain costs and lift profitability
Business challenge story
New model, new costs
If you’ve ever spent hours comparing product images online or struggling to work out exactly how the child safety seat you just bought fits together, you know that help from an in-store associate sometimes makes all the difference.
e-bebek, a born-on-the-web retailer of baby and children's products, realized that offering customers the support and reassurance of an in-store shopping experience would be a powerful way to nurture loyalty and increase its market share.
To offer its customers the flexibility to shop, compare, buy and exchange goods in store as well as online, the company embraced the bricks and clicks retail model, opening 70 retail stores across Turkey. As e-bebek transitioned to the new business model, it realized that the additional operational expenses of bricks-and-mortar operations required even tighter control over budgets, and more precise and frequent forecasting capabilities.
In the past, the company relied on manual, spreadsheet-based processes to prepare its annual budget and forecast operational costs at regular intervals throughout the year. The approach was initially manageable, but with cost drivers such as commercial rents added to the mix, the company realized that its processes were becoming increasingly prone to human error.
Previously, employees would send different versions of their budgets between departments via email, which made it difficult to ensure that everyone was working with the same sets of figures. In addition, multiple versions of the truth meant that reconciliation was a time-consuming process. To deliver more accurate information to decision-makers faster, the company looked for a new way of working.
Halil Erdoğmuş, General Manager of e-bebek, comments: “To manage our business more effectively and drive toward our strategic goals, we needed deeper insight into our budgets and forecasts, and better accuracy and traceability of targets across the company.”
Improving the accuracy of budgetsTo solve the challenge, e-bebek engaged IBM Silver Business Partner Intellium to replace its spreadsheet-based approach with a centralized budgeting, planning and forecasting platform based on IBM Cognos TM1.
Ali Kılıç, General Manager, Intellium Information Technologies, says: “We listened carefully to e-bebek’s needs around budget planning, forecasting and what-if modeling, and proposed a solution that would help them to achieve their goals. We are delighted to have assisted e-bebek in implementing IBM Cognos TM1, and believe that our collaboration will deliver mutual benefit.”
Within just four months, e-bebek deployed the IBM solution across its business and trained its people to utilize the new capabilities.
“The combination of Intellium’s project management competence and technical knowhow and our clear goal-setting created valuable synergies throughout the deployment process. We worked together with Intellium to solve challenges quickly and effectively,” says Kazım Mavuş, Financial and Administrative Affairs Manager at e-bebek.
Today, e-bebek employees submit their budgeting and forecasting data via a single interface, enabling the company to eliminate the need to track figures into multiple versions of spreadsheets and share them via email.
Better still, e-bebek can now perform what-if scenarios based on its actuals and forecasts. Running these scenarios can enable the company to determine the impact of changes such as logistics costs or downturns in discretionary incomes, and build long-term strategies to mitigate the impact of potential risks.
Helping decision-makers contain costsWith deeper insight into its costs from the IBM Cognos TM1 solution, e-bebek is successfully launching its new bricks and clicks business model while keeping operational costs under control.
As well as shortening the time required to capture data, the new way of working makes it faster and more straightforward for analysts to prepare budgets and identify previously hidden trends in the resulting reports. Market conditions can change quickly, and these capabilities can help e-bebek to adapt rapidly to meet evolving business requirements.
“We have improved the manageability of the budget planning process, and reduced the budget cycle substantially,” says Erdoğmuş. “In fact, we anticipate that our budget planning cycle times will decrease from three months down to just one month, a reduction of more than 66 percent.”
Submitting budget data is also a faster and more convenient process for managers in the company’s human resources and finance divisions. Because it now takes less time to prepare budgets, managers can invest more of their working day in value-added analytics tasks.
Mavuş adds: “With IBM Cognos TM1, we have reduced the time required to prepare some of our budgets substantially. Because TM1 is quite a flexible tool, we can now generate reports that were not practical to create before.”
Dimensional modeling capabilities in the IBM solution enable e-bebek to look at its financial data from different perspectives. For example, the company can view costs by store, department, supplier and more, empowering its decision-makers to identify opportunities to contain operational spend.
With tight integration into e-bebek’s systems of record—including the company’s ERP system—the IBM solution automates many data capture and data cleaning processes, and reduces the number of technical personnel required to prepare budgets and forecasts. As a result, the company can deliver faster and more accurate reports to the business, and reduce its exposure to risks such as talent shortages.
Mavuş concludes: “IBM Cognos TM1 enables us to prepare budgeting, forecasting, analysis and managerial reports in line with strategic goals of our company. The solution offers us store- and department-based views of our budgets, and enables us to model cost scenarios and identify potential opportunities and threats. IBM Cognos TM1 will definitely help us to add value to our company by optimizing our cost structures.”
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, e-bebek is a leading specialty retailer of baby and children's products. Operating 70 retail stores and an e-commerce channel, the company employs more than 1,000 people.
- Cognos TM1
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Intellium is an IBM Silver Business Partner based in Istanbul, Turkey. Founded in 2009, Intellium provides solutions and consultancy focused on Corporate Performance Management, Business Intelligence, and Data Management and Analytics.
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