As a new strategic direction brought more complexity to SCC’s operations, manual planning and reporting processes struggled to keep up. Could it find a better way to deliver insights to the business?
SCC is taking its financial and operational performance management capabilities to the next level with a comprehensive enterprise consolidation, planning and analytics solution from IBM.
Empowersdecision-makers with new insight to guide smarter acquisitions and investments
Up to 2 monthssaved on annual planning, budgeting and year-end processes
Reducesadministrative workload, freeing up more time for analysis and business support
Business challenge story
Meeting new demands
For more than 40 years, leading businesses across Europe have trusted SCC to deliver mission-critical IT infrastructure services. As technology and customer needs have evolved over the years, SCC has worked carefully to ensure its offerings remain up to date.
Most recently, this commitment to continuous innovation has seen the company focus on cloud and managed services offerings—a shift that had a far-reaching impact on financial planning processes.
Julian Bennett, Finance Controller at SCC, elaborates: “Following the sale of the hardware distribution business, SCC moved to strengthen its focus on supplying, integrating and managing technology. This was supported by a strategy to increase profitability and reduce costs for its customers in seven key areas: enterprise infrastructure; data center hosting and cloud infrastructure; IT outsourcing; desktop and workspace; software and software asset management; networking and security; and flexible resourcing. The new strategy placed new pressures on SCC’s budgeting, forecasting and reporting processes.
“SCC needed a more multi-dimensional approach to financial planning and forecasting that would help the business get the best value out of its new data center investments and acquisitions.”
To meet these new demands, SCC recognized that a refresh of its existing financial planning processes was in order.
Julian Bennett continues: “Previously, we relied on a complex web of spreadsheets to manage financial planning and reporting, and used a separate system for our financial consolidations. Using such manual methods meant that analysts spent more time manipulating data than they did analyzing it.
“Moreover, because each of our operating units had its own way of planning and budgeting, it was difficult for us to gain a consistent, enterprise-wide view of performance. We wanted to get everyone working from a single version of the truth and drive a more efficient approach to performance management. This would allow us to deliver timelier, more accurate insights to the business.”
Next-level financial performance management
After considering offerings from several different vendors, SCC opted for a suite of financial performance management solutions from IBM. The company worked with IBM Gold Business Partner Aramar to ensure that the new solutions were expertly designed and deployed.
“What really set IBM apart was the strength of its planning and analytics tools,” recalls Julian Bennett. “We chose to work with Aramar because not only were they clearly very knowledgeable about the IBM® Cognos® Controller, TM1® and Business Intelligence software, they also had excellent project management skills, and a lot of experience with financial consolidation projects. This gave us confidence that the team could deliver a solution that really worked for our business.”
As a first step, SCC replaced its existing financial consolidation tool with IBM Cognos Controller. The company then moved on to introducing IBM Cognos TM1 for financial and management reporting. SCC has been working steadily to embed the new approach across its Europe-wide operations, and expand the complexity and scope of its budgeting, planning and forecasting models.
Julian Bennett explains: “We started using TM1 for management and board reporting, and haven’t looked back since. We’ve gone on to develop much more complex cubes, and rolled out improved forecasting models. We’ve since completed in TM1 several full-year budget cycles for the whole of the SCC EMEA operations, as well as launching local reporting and planning models for SCC France.
“Aramar provided valuable mentoring for our finance team, so that they can write their own reports and views. SCC also hired its own ‘deep dive’ developers to help build new capabilities, as well as broadening support from other IBM partners. We have a long wish-list of TM1 projects, with recent highlights including fixed asset analysis exploiting the fixed assets register, a multi-year planning and forecasting tool, a rolling monthly forecast, and a number of costing analysis cubes.”
He adds: “SCC is undergoing a number of system replacement projects, with the IBM Cognos products at the leading edge of this change program.”
Insight in a flash
Replacing decentralized processes with a consistent financial planning framework enables SCC to automate previously manual processes, and eliminate much of the risk and complexity of relying on spreadsheets. As a result, SCC’s finance team can deliver insight to the business faster and more reliably than ever before.
“We have accelerated financial consolidation, planning, forecasting and reporting processes across the board,” says Julian Bennett. “Today, Cognos TM1 enables us to complete our annual budgeting process six to eight weeks faster than ever before. Year-end statutory reports take 50 percent less time to prepare and we can get monthly actual results for our management reports up to 30 percent faster on average.”
By providing rapid, accurate insight into company performance, the new financial and operational performance management solutions are helping to drive sharper decision-making.
Julian Bennett comments: “Today, our analysts spend less time crunching numbers, which gives them more freedom to explore and understand our financial performance data. Instead of delivering reports to our management team at a meeting, we can provide all the data in advance. With more time to digest the information, it’s possible to make better-informed decisions that will help steer the business to continued success.”
He concludes: “IBM Analytics has transformed our approach to financial planning and analysis, and we are looking forward to building on this success as SCC continues to grow.”
SCC (Specialist Computer Centres) is Europe’s largest independent IT services business, with over 2,500 customers in more than 50 countries. Headquartered in Birmingham, England, SCC operates from 75 locations in the UK, France, Spain, Romania and Vietnam.
- Cognos Controller
- Cognos TM1
- Planning Analytics
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Aramar delivers financial reporting, business intelligence, planning and performance management solutions. The company helps organizations of all sizes and industries to plan for, understand and control their business performance, and make better decisions as a result.
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