REVIEWER: Ulfar Helgason, CIO and corporate controller for Actavis Pharmaceutical.
BACKGROUND: Iceland's Actavis Pharmaceutical is one of the world's top-five makers of generics. Founded in 1956, Actavis now operates across five continents with operations principally focused in Turkey, Germany, Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia and recently the U.S. Through a series of acquisitions, the company has expanded from just 100 people five years ago to more than 10,000 experienced pharmacists, chemists and other professionals in 32 countries. Its manufacturing plants worldwide produce a variety of medicines in different formulations.
HARDWARE PLATFORMS: The system is being run on Windows servers.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Our company is driven by an ambitious product-development strategy, an unwavering focus on better and faster access to the latest generic products and a commitment to delivering a wide portfolio of affordable, high quality products. We were challenged by extremely rapid worldwide growth, multiple corporate acquisitions and a laborious spreadsheet-based budgeting process. Consolidation was becoming extremely time consuming, the budgeting cycle was getting stretched and we were losing oversight of the global process. To address these challenges, we began our performance management journey by building an enterprise-wide revenue and expense-based planning system for hundreds of contributors across multiple business units.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: This was our first rollout of a global application - one that required every subsidiary and division to install and use it. We are using Cognos for sales and budgeting planning, reporting and data analysis. Scorecarding capabilities are in a pilot phase. Because it's a centralized system, we had a lot of control. For example, we could centrally construct the planning models and roll them out to the different lines of business. Another positive effect is that we have standard dimensions and measures across all of our business units. If a sales unit or subsidiary uses a different sales model or structure, we can easily roll it up into a unified model and budget, so we're both flexible and standardized. We can also consolidate and look at overall production costs and forecast our sales, complete with what-if scenarios, three to four years into the future by brand, business unit and production line. Centralized reporting gives us consistent, accurate information in a timelier manner. Broader plans encompassing sales and costs of goods sold allow for profit analysis, which helps guide our production. The formal structure allows us to integrate newly acquired companies more quickly into our planning structure. Overall, we have achieved great savings of time and effort.
STRENGTHS: Product strengths include flexibility, ability to integrate with disparate data sources, process automation and a secure, documented audit trail.
WEAKNESSES: For us, the overriding weakness of the system is the limited functionality around versioning. A modeling solution is required in addition to the core product capabilities.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Our explosive growth created the demand for a flexible solution that could integrate with close to 20 different ERP systems for improved enterprise-wide visibility to planning, budgeting, forecasting and reporting. We consulted with our reseller, CAPACENT, and looked at the various commercial software alternatives. We had already had a positive experience with Cognos' reporting and analysis capabilities. I also knew Cognos solutions from previous jobs I'd held. I knew that Cognos was superior to competitors. Once we saw the proof of concept and the architecture of the system, we knew this performance management solution was dead-on for a broadly distributed organization like ours.
DELIVERABLES: Cognos solutions help us develop our annual sales plans, production plans, budgets and long-term financial plans. The reporting and analysis capabilities pull information from the local ERP systems and data sources, planning and product data, actuals and financial statements into cubes for analysis.
VENDOR SUPPORT: We engaged Cognos partner CAPACENT to handle the implementation. Vendor support from Cognos has been in the spirit of partnership to help us achieve our goals.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is comprehensive. We could run the product with the documentation but found the implementation support from CAPACENT quite beneficial.
Cognos Performance Management Solutions
15 Wayside Road
Burlington, MA 01803
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