REVIEWER: Cathy Kellers, assistant controller, Budgeting and Reporting, Foxwoods Resort Casino.
BACKGROUND: Foxwoods Resort Casino, owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, is the world's largest casino, offering its 40,000 daily guests more than 7,200 slots, 380 table games, the only World Poker Tour World poker room, high-stakes bingo and Ultimate Racebook. The 1,416-room hotel offers accommodations such as restaurants, retail outlets and a theater.
HARDWARE PLATFORM: Microsoft SQL Server.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Each October, we are required to provide budgets to Foxwoods' owners, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. With more than 70 departments, the former budgeting process was laborious, error-prone and time-consuming. Our solution requirements mandated that department managers have daily visibility into budgets that require less time to produce, provide robust trending analyses and report accurate results.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Budget preparers utilize Infor Performance Management (PM) Business Process Applications (BPAs) to input expenses for the coming year in addition to Infor PM's Excel Services functions to budget revenues. Infor PM BPAs run through the intranet, and Excel Services, an add-on to Microsoft Excel, provides users easy access to budget information.
STRENGTHS: Infor PM BPAs are very user friendly. Our 50-member budget preparation team did not require training. The budget preparation team utilized Excel Services to take existing worksheets and link them directly into the Infor database. The detailed worksheet function was an important selling point for us. These spreadsheets within Infor PM BPAs hold the justifications for any expense account, enabling us to budget down to individual vendors. Simplicity is inherent in the solution, as our team is able to execute the many administrative functions, including account setup and user security, without IT involvement.
WEAKNESSES: After utilizing detail budgeting, we realized that it would not work for our business environment. Our budget is based on hours worked, not headcount as the solution was set up. We were still able to use the system to run our payroll through user-created formulas. When Infor upgraded to 7.1, it included .Net, which we had trouble installing. The last issue focused on reporting. We use Microsoft Reporting Services, in which the programming involved turned out to be more IT than finance friendly.
SELECTION CRITERIA: An aggressive implementation deadline and ability to meet our detailed budgeting needs were two key factors in deciding on Infor PM BPAs. The other software providers said our deadline was unattainable. Also, we were looking for an application that would enable detail budgeting by line item, department or person. Infor PM BPAs allowed us to rapidly deploy the solution and begin making strategic financial decisions.
DELIVERABLES: Infor PM BPAs offer real-time, Web-based reports to the users, broken down by departments. Users have access to the departmental information for which they have clearance. Infor PM BPAs drive data used by Microsoft Reporting Services to provide user-friendly reports in either Microsoft Excel or PDF formats. A link was created between Infor PM BPAs and Microsoft Access to run queries on Infor tables. This brings the financial data from Infor PM BPAs to our general ledger system for further reporting.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Infor hired an implementation group, Strafford, to help deploy the software. The team consisted of two individuals, one for the IT side and one for the functional side. Prior to implementation, a five-day training session was conducted. By working side by side with the Foxwoods team, Strafford ensured that they left us with the knowledge necessary to keep the system running. One of the best features about Infor's support is the support Web site, Answerlink. Users can search a database of FAQs or case studies and receive an instant response. In addition, email updates are frequently sent. Finally, Infor's annual user conference offers training classes as well as insight into future product enhancements. It is a great way to meet with other companies who have implemented Infor PM BPAs.
DOCUMENTATION: Training books from the on-site training class are a great reference. There are also searchable documents on the Answerlink Web site that answer any questions regarding capability or a work of reference.
Infor Performance Management (PM) Business Process Applications (BPAs)
13560 Morris Road
Alpharetta, GA 30004
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