Geac MPCREVIEWER: Jeff Aberdeen, controller for Commerce Bank.
BACKGROUND: Commerce Bank is the principal subsidiary of Commerce Bancshares Inc., a $14.5 billion regional bank holding company. For more than 135 years, Commerce has been meeting the financial services needs of individuals and businesses. Commerce Bancshares operates across three states with approximately 330 locations and also has operating subsidiaries involved in mortgage banking, credit related insurance, venture capital and real estate activities.
PLATFORMS: Database: Oracle on AIX. Application servers: Windows 2000 Advanced server.
PROBLEM SOLVED: With several hundred separate locations, each with its own financial statements, Commerce needed a user-friendly solution that could be used by the finance division to save time and provide quick turnaround analysis of data. The previous reporting system was very complex and analysts needed information to be sliced and diced in different ways. The company wanted a system that would also lend itself to executives doing their own analysis.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Making changes to financial data within reports is much easier and more efficient now. In the past, every time an account grouping or a line of a report was changed, staff would need to manually edit approximately 100 financial reports. Now, accounts and line items are defined once, and if changes are needed all the reports can be updated automatically, which is a huge time saver. Later this year, the MPC's forecasting capabilities will be used to help the bank develop more meaningful forecasts of financial data. Five to 10 people in the company are involved in designing a quarterly forecasting process, which will involve creating separate forecasts for as many as 10 major business lines and then consolidating them into an overall corporate forecast. Production reporting will also be implemented in 2005 and will maintain a library of historical financial reports.
STRENGTHS: The MPC product allows our staff to be much more productive. Analysts and managers have much better access to financial data, and changes to hierarchies and reports can be implemented in MPC in about one twentieth of the time it took in the previous system. Also, the MPC Help Desk staff is very responsive, knowledgeable and helpful.
WEAKNESSES: The only weakness that might exist is related to Geac training. The MPC suite is a complex package. The training for the MPC suite should be enhanced and expanded to give clients, especially new clients, more understanding of the complete suite.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Commerce spent more than a year evaluating 10 vendors, including Geac, Cognos, PeopleSoft, SRC and OutlookSoft. Key concerns included choosing a vendor of significant size and financial dependability, and finding a solution that would provide support for our existing database structure and technology environment. During the process, some vendors were eliminated because of their small corporate size, some because they lacked breadth and some because their application was expensive relative to the feature functionality it provided. Geac MPC was chosen as the solution best able to address our business challenges.
DELIVERABLES: The MPC suite provides our analysts with much faster and more flexible access to financial data. In addition to dynamic Web pages that allow drill down into more detail, analysts can access the MPC data directly from Excel spreadsheets and build their own reports, graphs, etc. We are in the process of replacing the majority of our older mainframe reports with reports generated by the MPC suite. Also, our forecasting process will be the starting point for our budget process, which we are currently implementing in MPC.
VENDOR SUPPORT: The pre-implementation support varied from excellent to good. Product training for customers and consultants should be expanded and enhanced. For post-implementation support, Geac's help desk staff is very knowledgeable and is easy to work with.
DOCUMENTATION: The system-level documentation and the training manuals taken together provide the information required to run the system. However, because of the ability of each client to customize their environment, it is imperative that clients write their own manuals for their particular implementation.
555 Briarwood Circle
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
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