REVIEWER: James F. Kneece, director of financial planning and analysis for GTC Biotherapeutics, Inc.
BACKGROUND: GTC is a leader in the development, production and commercialization of therapeutic proteins through transgenic animal technology. GTC's ATryn, a recombinant form of human antithrombin, is undergoing review for market authorization in Europe. Subject to satisfactory approval, GTC will be the first company to commercially offer a transgenically produced product. GTC's technology is also used to develop transgenic production of its partners' proprietary products.
PLATFORMS: Applix TM1 and Turbo Integrator run on Windows Server 2000.
PROBLEM SOLVED: GTC needed a performance management solution that would enable us to better understand our ongoing fixed and variable costs, the cost of development for each new protein and our overall cost structure in order to develop contracts with our global partners. Whereas many businesses that sell professional services "guesstimate" how much a given project will cost, we needed a more controlled and transparent approach to determining labor costs, project timing and overall success of a given contract.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: TM1 is a single platform for all of our performance management needs. Using Excel as its front end, TM1 enables us to plan, budget, activity-based cost, determine variances, create both production and ad hoc reports and manage our Sarbanes-Oxley compliance activities. All of these activities enable GTC's financial team and executives to better understand the state of the business. As an integral piece of our performance management initiative, TM1 gives us the flexibility, accuracy and transparency needed to understand our current and projected business situation. As such, a critical aspect of the technology is its ability to integrate easily with other systems. We've been able to link TM1 with both our Solomon ERP application for extracting actual data and with our Microsoft Project Manager software to plan and manage our development projects.
STRENGTHS: The product is one reliable online source for all actual and planned performance information, eliminating the risk of error-prone spreadsheet extracts and enabling confidence in reporting across the enterprise. We can easily analyze, work with and present large amounts of financial and operational data in Excel. It is a great reporting engine for fast but elegant statutory and management reports with rapid reconciling and analysis of variances for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and control. Additionally, its memory-based OLAP functionality enables us to do real-time reporting on staff, fixed and variable labor costs and project-based costs and pricing.
WEAKNESSES: New users need to grasp the power and functionality of TM1. It's Excel interface is familiar to most, but the ability to create your own reporting on the fly needs to be introduced to users unfamiliar with BI or OLAP.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We did go through a formal selection process, and after looking at Comshare (Geac), Cognos, Hyperion and Microsoft Analysis Services, we selected Applix. TM1 gave us the best performance, flexibility and total cost of ownership on a single platform.
DELIVERABLES: We rely on TM1 for a number of deliverables. With TM1, we've reduced an almost six-month annual planning process to a six-week process. Financial data that previously took weeks to reconcile can now be managed in less than one day. Perhaps most significantly, the TM1 system has enabled us to more accurately plan and predict, significantly reducing the variance between budget and actual performance. With TM1, we have an integrated source for plan and actual data across all functions, programs and activities. We can quickly answer questions that we wouldn't dare ask before.
VENDOR SUPPORT: GTC purchased TM1 and performance management consulting from an Applix Solution Partner, Creeth Richman. Creeth Richman was instrumental in designing the TM1 cubes particular to our business, implementing the design, developing a few SQL code pieces and providing overall expertise.
DOCUMENTATION: Most of TM1's structures and syntax for its rules are in plain English, streamlining system design and management. Also, TM1's recently added rule trace functionality is extremely valuable when auditing models. The documentation is very useful for users and data administrators.
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