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RESOURCES CATEGORY: Regulatory Reporting

PREDICTif Solutions to Present at Oracle OpenWorld 2015

EVN

oracle

 

PREDICTif Solutions, a Houston-based technology consulting firm, today announces its upcoming presentation at Oracle OpenWorld 2015. The conference, held from October 25 to 29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, will be a premier event for business and IT professionals to learn about Oracle technologies through the interactions with Oracle and its business partners. PREDICTif’s CEO, Jeff Huang, VP of Global Sales, Karl Harrocks and OEID Practice Lead, Jimmy Philip will represent PREDICTif at the conference, meeting customers and Oracle colleagues.“This year we are very excited to have two of our customers, Wilsonart and Cox Automotive, speak on our behalf and share with our customers and partners their successes with PREDICTif. The Wilsonart story is featured on the September issue of Oracle Profit magazine, describing the incredible journey that Wilsonart and PREDICTif travelled together to build a fully integrated EPM, BI and Big Data solution” said Huang.

“PREDICTif has built a lot of successes in our three core practices, EPM, BI and Information Discovery/Big Data last couple of years.” , said Harrocks, “We are excited to leverage this platform to share our extensive experience in Oracle cloud offerings and Big Data Discovery. Whether we’re sharing our knowledge or learning from others, it’s our continuous goal to grow as a thought leader in the age of Big Data and bring this advantage to our customers.”

High-Value Health Check to Enhance Existing BI Solutions

NWS

PREDICTif Delivered a High-Value Health Check to Enhance Existing BI Solutions and Develop a Master BI Implementation Plan

CUSTOMER:

A leading Oil and Gas Equipment services company.

REQUIRED CAPABILITIES

  • Remedied performance and instability issues existed with the BI applications
  • Delivered a master Implementation roadmap for an enterprise BI and FPM architecture

CHALLENGES

The customer has over 25 subsidiaries, many acquired through acquisition. Each subsidiary had built out its own business intelligence (BI) and finance performance management (FPM) solutions using a myriad of BI and FPM products. As one of the leading global equipment service and pipeline construction companies, the customer faced numerous challenges related to instability, inconsistency and slow performance of BI applications. In preparation for the opportunities and demands of becoming part of a publicly held company, the customer needed to expand its BI and FPM architecture beyond the business unit level.  Before further expansion could take place, the customer needed to consolidate their division level BI and FPM initiatives as well as map out a strategy and roadmap to establish an enterprise BI architecture. The existing BI systems presented numerous deficiencies in terms of people, process and infrastructure:

  • All its business units had their own BI and FPM technologies, support teams and project initiatives without an enterprise level governance and standard;
  • There was no single version of truth in terms of data on the enterprise level which rendered the enterprise level reporting and financial consolidation inaccurate and labor intensive;
  • The existing BI infrastructure contained a myriad of technologies and products making support and maintenance difficult and cost of ownership extremely high; and
  • Lack of a BI competency center rendered uneven quality of delivered BI applications that resulted in slow performance and instability.

SCOPE                      

Conducted a health check to identify areas of risks and opportunities, recommend remedial measures, and produce a master implementation plan and a roadmap to build an enterprise level BI architecture.

  • Examined existing BI infrastructure and organizations in terms of people, process and infrastructure to discover areas of risks and opportunities, and more importantly, produce a list of actionable recommendations to improve the overall BI strategy and execution;
  • Reviewed the existing architecture, configurations and codes;
  • Identified bottlenecks that were causing slow performance and instability;
  • Aligned business objectives and priorities with BI initiatives;
  • Created organizational philosophy and culture to support an enterprise BI strategy; and
  • Developed a master implementation plan and roadmap for an enterprise level BI architecture.

SOLUTION

PREDICTif Solutions was engaged to provide a 2-week health check. PREDICTif’s senior architects reviewed the existing BI infrastructure, made recommendations for improvement and delivered a master implementation plan for rolling out BI to the entire enterprise.

Based on PREDICTif’s standard health check agenda and customer priorities, PREDICTif and the customer created a detailed agenda before the engagement. The agenda addressed both tactical and strategic aspects of the customers business. The tactical aspects were to analyze the existing BI solutions to identify areas of risk and opportunity as well as provide recommendations on both. The strategic aspect was to understand the customer’s business priorities and deliver an enterprise BI implementation plan.

The two week agenda was filled with workshops, interviews and document reviews during which, PREDICTif’s architects met customer’s personnel from numerous areas of the business to discuss business objectives, current BI architecture and business user concerns. Conversations focused on areas such as data quality, data governance, data modeling, report requirement gathering processes, architecture, support/maintenance and technology best practices. The architects also discussed future plans, business initiatives, short term and long term business goals as well as technological direction in the BI and FPM arena.

The PREDICTif resources combined our own set of BI and FPM best practices and standards with information gathered from the discussions in order to produce a  set of documents:

  • The tactical health check deliverable is in the form of a Microsoft Word document and a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation both of which outlined areas of opportunity, improvement and identified risks as well as the necessary steps to mitigate those risks.
    • In this case, the PREDICTif architects discovered that the BI architecture was not designed appropriately for the increased number of users and business cases which caused significant degradation of performance and stability;
    • The customer did not have a well defined data governance process that was accepted by all business units. It resulted in poor data and metadata modeling as well as an overall lack of data quality and transparency;
    • The architects made recommendations to improve the Bi architecture in terms of performance and stability; and
    • The architects applied PREDICTif developed and tailor-made data governance and data modeling best practices to the customer’s business and IT environment.
  • A master BI implementation plan and roadmap was delivered in order to consolidate the dispersed BI architecture as well as establish an enterprise level BI infrastructure.
    • The implementation plan entailed a multi-phased project plan that detailed the sequence of activities, dependencies and high-level estimate of effort as well as timelines;
    • It illustrated a 18-month BI architecture evolution through the phases of implementation;
    • The roadmap also considered the trend and best-in-class BI technologies; and
    • The implementation plan included the steps to establish an enterprise level BI competency center and governance process.

RESULTS

PREDICTif delivered considerable value to the customer’s return on the software and IT infrastructure investment. The health check’s findings and recommendations significantly improved both the performance and the stability of the customer’s existing BI architecture. The implementation plan provided a clear roadmap to establish an enterprise level, world class BI architecture.

  • The improvement decreased the rendering time of a complex report from an average of 6 min to less than 30 seconds, greatly increasing the productivity;
  • The upgrade and addition of hardware and software instance increased the overall uptime from 95% to that of 99% which was a requirement of the business;
  • The customer completed all three phases of PREDICTif’s recommended implementation plan and the overall BI initiatives continue to gain adoption and approval from the business use population.

Scalable financial reporting solution for healthcare management

NWS

PREDICTif delivered a scalable financial reporting solution for a leading health management services and equipment company

CUSTOMER:

A leading health management and diagnostic services and equipment company.

REQUIRED CAPABILITIES

  • Financial consolidation and reporting
  • Interactive analysis
  • Forecasting and Budgeting
  • Cognos TM1 Web

CHALLENGES

As one of the leading construction multimedia companies, this customer is faced with the following challenges: inefficient central financial reports, reliance on manual inputs, and cumbersome Excel intensive reporting tool. With financial data coming from 8 different data sources, a central reporting tool to consolidate all the reports is needed. The business is presented in six platforms and each platform gets the data from its own data source.

The chart of accounts is compiled from a string with over 20 characters.  The accounts dimension hierarchy was set up in such a way as to hinder reporting leading to miss interpretation of data and errors in reports.  Each of the six platforms has their own chart of accounts and reporting method making it difficult to consolidate in a single tool. Therefore, a lot of manual methods are involved in creating reports.   Heavy reliance on Microsoft Excel to input budgeting data is present.  As a Solution, PREDICTif Solutions proposes an end to end solution to centralize the financial reporting system to provide budgeting and forecasting for the organization.

SCOPE

  • The objective of the project was to deliver a solution that leveraged TM1’s in-memory OLAP capabilities and simplified the monthly financial consolidation and reporting process.
  • Centralized, efficient and ease of use access application which can reduce preparation time. Instead of spending time on preparing reports, users can now focus on analyzing data.
  • Instill ‘one version of the truth’ consolidation reporting system that can be applied to six platforms
  • Provide a proficient budgeting and forecasting web based process that allows users to input data at the line item level.
  • Give ability to end users to build and analyze reports without reliance on IT or the Accounting department

SOLUTIONS

After evaluating several world class solutions, IBM Cognos TM1 was selected for a number of reasons – one of them being that IBM Cognos TM1 provides a real-time approach to consolidating, viewing, and editing enormous volumes of multidimensional data.

PREDICTif was engaged to provide an end-to-end solution delivering 25 Cubes with dimensions ranging from 5 to 15 in order to provide Financials and Assumptions models. Changes in financial forecasts, assumption metrics and indirect expenses were made via customizable Excel templates as well as directly through the TM1 interface.   Reports created both in TM1 and Excel were readily accessible through the web with no additional effort.

  • PREDICTif Solutions was able to create a set of multidimensional cubes utilizing OLAP technology that can dynamically slice and dice through data sources.
  • Design a user-friendly excel input templates which can access through TM1 web. The cubes support consolidation and reporting of both budgeting and forecasting data as well as allocation.
  • An automated data extraction using by TI processes (ETL) tool that can update multi dimensional cubes from 8 different data sources.
  • Users can use dimension editor as primary method to maintain or update dimensions that are not from the source system
  • Setting up different instances for security purposes and separate the finance consolidation modules, budgeting applications and compensation modules will be given access by corporate controller.
  • Substantially reduce time spend on creating monthly financial reports. Reports are easily access and produce with little or no reliance on the accounting and IT department.
  • Provide a real-time consolidation reports and offer an automated tool for producing annual budget and monthly forecast process.
  • Eliminate manual effort and errors of gathering data from multiple reports, spreadsheet and data sources
  • Provide power users training and knowledge transfer to the client so they will be able to build additional reports, budget templates and forecasting procedures out of the cubes.

RESULTS

PREDICTif solutions delivered measurable results to the client.  Now the client is able to provide “one version of the truth” in their reporting system.  Customers can now use the centralized financial reporting cube to analyze data across six platforms and they now have an automated ETL process to update dimensions and cubes from 8 different data sources.  The TM1 web based input budgeting and forecasting system also allows users across the enterprise system to input data at the line item level.  The application significantly speeds up the budgeting and forecasting process and empowers users to create or modify input templates without IT department influence.

  • With the deployment of the TM1 solution, the number of hours spent generating consolidated financial statements were reduced considerably, allowing more time for analysis;
  • Multiple disparate business units were brought together under one streamlined reporting process with a standardized company-wide output;
  • The finance group supported and upgraded the solution and the accompanying infrastructure through its own staff, without dependence on the IT support; and
  • Consolidated financial reports have obtained further reach as a result of the use of TM1 web.

Financial reporting & consolidations solution for a leading Oil and Gas Equipment services company

NWS

Delivered a financial reporting and consolidations solution in a multi-currency and multi-account environment

CUSTOMER:

A leading Oil and Gas Equipment services company.

REQUIRED CAPABILITIES

  • Financial consolidation and reporting
  • Finance group’s self sufficiency
  • User friendly interfaces

CHALLENGES

As one of the leading global equipment service and pipeline construction companies, the customer faced numerous challenges related to monthly financial consolidation processing. In preparation for the opportunities and demands of being part of a publicly held company, the customer and its 25 plus legal entities had to manage all of their financial operations in a multicurrency environment, transforming individual financial statements from a group of entities into a single financial statement.  Their legacy solution which consisted of putting consolidated statements together using spreadsheets had severe limitations.

  • Disparate spreadsheets were not a scalable solution to implement across multiple lines of business;
  • Manual consolidations processes were complex, error prone and left no time for analysis; and
  • Currency translation with exception rates for items like intercompany receivables and common stock became a maintenance dilemma.

SCOPE

Efficiency, user-friendliness and self sufficiency were the three main objectives of this project.

  • Deliver a Cognos TM1 based solution to streamline the monthly financial consolidation process;
  • Provide a user-friendly user interface for analysis, ,reporting and dissection of data in an interactive manner; and
  • Establish self sufficiency so that the customer’s business users can easily support and upgrade the solution independent of its IT group.

SOLUTION

PREDICTif was engaged to provide an end-to-end solution and after evaluating several potential software vendors, IBM Cognos TM1 was selected for a number of reasons most notably,  the ability to provide a real-time approach to consolidating, viewing, and editing enormous volumes of multidimensional data.

Cubes having dimensions ranging from 3 to 10 were created. GAAP entries, Eliminations and Adjusting entries were made through the TM1 Consolidations product.   Reports created both in TM1 and Excel were readily accessible through the web with no additional effort.

  • TM1 is an in-memory OLAP server, which means that can typically respond to queries more quickly than its competing products;
  • By implementing TM1, the customer was able to compress the consolidations process into a matter of hours, giving analysts much more time for data analysis; and
  • The customer found out that it could eliminate numerous steps from the process itself further contributing towards more time on analytic activity rather than the mechanics of generating month-end reports.

PREDICTif provided a training curriculum that was tailored to the customer’s needs and culture. Power users received comprehensive technology and solution specific training and as a result, quickly became proficient enough to instruct other end users.

RESULTS

PREDICTif delivered significant value to the customer’s return on investment related to the software and IT infrastructure investment. The solution received positive feedback from the customer’s user population and significantly improved the financial consolidation and reporting process.

  • The deployment of the TM1 Consolidations and Reporting solution reduced the number of hours spent generating the consolidated financial reports and freed up considerable more time for analysis;
  • The network traffic due to large volumes of attachment in the email has decreased;
  • Financial analysts can generate reports and dissect large volumes of data using an interface they are familiar with; and
  • The customer’s finance group uses, supports and enhances the solution without dependence on the IT support.

crc1
Consolidations Process After TM1

crc2

Electronics Distributor Solves Migration, Logistics and Billing Problems

NWS

A major independent electronics distributor solves migration, logistics and billing problems with performance management.

CUSTOMER:

A leading, global independent distributors of semiconductors, electronic components, and computer products to the world’s major manufacturers

REQUIRED CAPABILITIES

  • Single-version of truth
  • Interactive reporting
  • Operation and finance dash-boarding
  • Real-time data access

CHALLENGES

This multinational organization relies on the ability to quickly and accurately report, analyze, plan and forecast across its entire global enterprise. On time delivery of components to customers is a critical business event for the client and a principle reason why the client is a leading company in the electronics distribution industry.

The analysis of continuously changing operational data is routine; planning and developing “what-if” scenarios for operations and logistics must be conducted not just annually, but on a daily and weekly basis. Data from multiple sources is constantly being entered by myriad users; the data is then manipulated and accessed as orders are placed to buy, sell, and deliver electronic components around the clock through numerous global offices and warehouses.

 

  • A lack of transparency into freight data lead to significant billing allocation issues, a lack of control over expenses, and delays in internal departmental’ budgeting. The customers standard reports only enabled limited visibility into the business leaving key insights buried;
  • Significant opacity into actual freight costs developed because of the multiple sources and means by which charge data were handled;
  • There was concern over the continuity of knowledge and information at both inter- and intra-department levels. Additionally, knowledge and data sharing were limited and as a result, hindered productivity and responsiveness;
  • Due to the absence of a BI platform, freight and inventory levels along with their associated costs were extremely difficult to manage effectively due to the lack of real-time interconnectivity of data across departments as well as locations; and
  • The business stake-holders did not have visibility into the inventory and freight related data;
  • Accurately planning and forecasting based on available data was becoming an impossible task to accomplish because of the number of disparate data sources; and
  • There was increasing concern over data validity due to data opacity;
  • Data opacity and resulting billing problems were estimated to be costing the client one-half of a million dollars in 2007.

SCOPE

The initiative is to deliver an end-to-end enterprise performance management (EPM) solution to increase cross business unit data sharing and as a result, enhance the customer’s agility to maximize short- and mid-term market opportunities given the real-time nature of the client’s business.

 

  • Delivered an end-to-end EPM solution, its accompanying infrastructure and data integration services;
  • Integration of the Accounting and Finance Departments with that of Operations in order to improve strategic planning, forecasting (including rolling forecast capabilities), analytics and various reporting for freight and inventory;
  • Provide real-time internal data for financial and operational planning to reduce data latency and accelerate response time-to-market opportunities;
  • Establish mechanisms for knowledge sharing to increase productivity of the workforce;
  • Addresses BI performance issues resulting from disparate systems that were not interconnected;
  • Provide back up and lock down document functionality that traditional spreadsheets are not capable of;
  • Resolve conflicting cross-departmental data issues to simplify Inter-department reporting; and
  • Establish a single version of truth by implementing a suite of tools for use in extracting, reporting, analyzing and forecasting the existing data while at the same time, compiling and cohering that data

SOLUTION

PREDICTif was chosen first to evaluate a number of technologies to be used for the initiative. After a careful product selection process, IBM’s Cognos tool set was selected due to its capabilities that allowed for real-time data drill-down and analyses, rolling forecasts, multi-level management tasking, visibility, interaction across departments and management levels.

 

PREDICTif then architected, designed and implemented a solution to address a set of logistics and billing related issues based on PREDICTif’ proven BI and EPM solution offerings. PREDICTif’s ability to provide an immediate implementation of Cognos TM1 mapped to a short-term scalable plan was of paramount importance to the customer as short term return on investment was a critical variable in the decision making process related to engaging with a solutions provider.

 

The PREDICTif team, comprised of financial and operational business experts, Data and BI solutions architects, along with PMI® certified consultants, adopted a proven project delivery methodology. The methodology consists of three main phases: Foundation, Implementation and Evolution. The Foundation Phase establishes the project readiness in terms of people, infrastructure and processes. The Implementation Phase entails a typical project lifecycle that constitutes many steps including requirement gathering, design, development, testing and deployment. The Evolution Phase establishes the customer’s self sufficiency in terms of the abilities to support, maintain and upgrade the delivered solution.  The solution provided:

 

  • Real-time access to multiple data sources from a single point
  • Agile forecasting and reporting
  • Product specific drill-down capabilities
  • Multi-level management reach and connectivity
  • The interconnection of operational and financial data across multiple departments
  • The ability for Client executives along with managers across departments to interact and manipulate data collaboratively, approve or amend changes, forecasts, and formulate budgets in real-time

 

RESULTS

PREDICTif established an IBM Cognos BI and TM1 infrastructure that the customer uses to enhance their operational excellence processes in order to drive maximum business value.

 

  • Delivered an IBM Cognos TM1 user-friendly Freight Analysis Model that was first deployed on a 32-bit environment and later upgraded to a full 64-bit environment for enhanced performance;
  • Created a new suite of analysis, forecasting, and reporting tools providing visibility into the inventory and freight data across multiple dimensions. This transparency allows executives and managers to connect different data elements in order to meet various business needs, such as allocating freight costs to different parties as well as building strategic plans and forecasting with precision;
  • Offered end users the ability not only to view and analyze reports, but also to accurately view the impact of changes to freight and inventory mix and thereby create rolling forecasts to better manage operations and budgets;
  • Achieved improved ROI as a result of enhanced analytic capabilities, forecasting and reporting across the enterprise because the data is no longer opaque;
  • Ushered in a new dimension of responsiveness by delivering a flexible, real-time environment for the organization in order to perform multiple business functions and improve strategic planning in real-time for immediate and future cycles.
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