Scotiabank is one of North America's premier financial institutions, with close to $225 billion in assets and approximately 49,000 employees worldwide. It is also one of North America's leading international banks with approximately 10 million customers and offices in more than 50 countries.

Providing retail, commercial, corporate and trade finance services to clients around the world, Scotiabank is the leading provider of financial services in the Caribbean, has the broadest Asian network of any Canadian bank, and is active in the Latin American market through subsidiaries in Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Mexico, and affiliates in Peru and Venezuela.

In 1999, Scotiabank's international banking division began the search to replace its existing SAS-based planning, forecasting and reporting environment with a corporate performance management (CPM) solution that would enable us to better understand and manage business performance across our international operations.

Our existing system was so process-focused that we had lost sight of CPM overall. It was a fragmented environment that needed major integration if it was to provide true value to managers across our international organization.

Things were further complicated by the very nature of Scotiabank's operations extending to many countries that do not have a stable communications network. It was imperative that every manager in Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean have reliable self-service, online access to the same consistent source of business performance and profitability information.

We needed a global CPM system that would empower us to rapidly recognize opportunities, efficiently disseminate information across the bank and execute the necessary business actions in a timely manner.

The question we faced was whether we should buy off the shelf or build from scratch. We recognized that purchasing off-the-shelf analytics technology would have required considerable time to tailor it to meet the specific needs of our bank. Alternatively, building the application from scratch and the infrastructure to deploy it globally would have involved not only time, but also significant cost. The bottom line was that we had a few months, not years.

After careful evaluation of several vendors, including SAS, Hyperion and Longview, we chose INEA to help build our global performance management system. Our vision was to have in place a fully integrated process across our operations. INEA was the right solution because it enabled us to achieve this goal within a very short time frame. And, because the solution is geared toward financial institutions, we have in place a system that's close to being custom-built without the cost and time required to build it ourselves. We have a powerful tool that helps us very quickly identify performance trends and zero-in on opportunities or problems requiring our immediate attention. INEA brings the value of analytics to every manager's desktop.

Prior to implementing the INEA solution, our system was a heavily paper-based, manually intensive reporting environment. Our staff spent most of their time number crunching, rather than analyzing the core metrics for performance and profitability. The risk for errors and duplication was high. We needed to win back the trust and confidence in the accuracy of the numbers generated by our system.

INEA has allowed us to change the way the organization treats planning. The technology's built-in automation capabilities have freed managers from performing data manipulation and verification, such that they can instead focus on adding value to the process. This has become a tool to manage the business.

INEA's built-in automatic behind-the-scenes synchronization and distribution capabilities were also very powerful for us. When changes are made to the business model, such as the business rules, hierarchies and report templates, no manual intervention is required to determine which sites will receive the information. Because the division has offices in 38 countries, INEA's automatic system self-synchronization represents a powerful value proposition.

Since the implementation, the head office and its regional offices around the world have access to a single, consistent, comprehensive and integrated source of financial and sales information –­ online, with full drill-down analysis capabilities.

Practical advice:

  • Expect changes in the environment. Acquisitions, staffing changes and an expansion in the number of users can mean a change in your needs. Make sure you adopt a solution that is flexible enough to accommodate those changing needs.
  • Prepare for a challenging evaluation process. Evaluating proposed solutions without having the benefit of prior experience is a difficult process. Doing your homework is essential. Read about as many customer implementations as possible and talk to as many users as possible.
  • Consider your future needs. Be sure to choose a system that meets short-term needs and enables long-term usability.
INEA provides performance management software specifically designed for financial institutions. The INEA Suite efficiently automates the information value chain ­– data integration, analytic processes, real-time reporting and secure, personalized information dissemination –­ while leveraging existing infrastructure and systems. Driven by fully integrated planning, forecasting, consolidations, analysis, modeling and reporting capabilities, the INEA solution provides financial institutions with a single authoritative source of information for rapidly recognizing and executing on business opportunities.

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