REVIEWER: Johna Leidholt, cost analyst, South Dakota Department of Transportation.

BACKGROUND: In 2003, the 1,300-employee South Dakota Department of Transportation began using SAS Activity-Based Management and then implemented SAS Strategic Performance Management. The SAS solution for performance management provides monthly updates that tie the department’s costs to specific activities, such as designing roads and highways, performing asphalt resurfacing, concrete and bridge repair, and other highway maintenance.

PLATFORMS: Windows 2000 on HP with two Compaq servers running two processors each.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The top challenge facing the South Dakota Department of Transportation is providing a transportation system that satisfies diverse mobility needs, addresses concerns for public safety and the environment, and maximizes the use of existing resources. Before implementing SAS, the agency maintained multiple accounting systems that tracked how much money was spent, but the information was not organized or optimized. SAS Activity-Based Management is used to allocate overhead costs to cost objects, allowing an apples-to-apples comparison with private industry. SAS Strategic Performance Management allows decision-makers to evaluate and compare programs for best practices. This performance management solution helps the South Dakota Department of Transportation managers and executives focus on and monitor key activities, apply sophisticated analytics and respond proactively to pressures and changes. SAS gives everyone the opportunity to make changes to their jobs that will increase efficiency and contribute to the strategic goals of the department. The department has saved approximately $3 million on improvements since implementing SAS.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SAS meets many needs, including business improvement, process measures, performance measures and activity-based management. SAS provides information in a user-friendly manner. With SAS Activity-Based Management, managers can find answers and share them with executives, team members and state legislators. The Web-enabled solution allows users to drill down into any project, customer or service area to identify the costs associated with underlying business processes. The scorecarding and strategy map solution, SAS Strategic Performance Management, provides answers to more in-depth questions such as where and why there is underperformance and what the resulting effect will be on the agency. While SAS Activity-Based Management forms the core of the agency’s solution, scorecarding and strategy maps produce results throughout the organization that increase the value of the solution exponentially.

STRENGTHS: SAS solutions are integrated. SAS Activity-Based Management supports all activity-based costing (ABC) methodologies, including bottom-up, consumption-driven ABC. It offers a multidimensional modeling environment with a point-and-click graphical user interface. SAS Strategic Performance Management exchanges information with other business solutions across the organization. The format is easily understandable.

WEAKNESSES: The OLAP reporting tool within the SAS Activity-Based Management modeling client is not used for reporting. The South Dakota Department of Transportation’s reporting requirements are for a custom report writer, which is not available in the SAS Activity-Based Management client. Therefore, we export our information for reporting purposes. SAS Strategic Performance Management sometimes took more than one iteration of the same process to get the final result. That was addressed in the next version of the product.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose SAS because of the good reputation of the company and the fact that it produced the end products we needed for business improvement, process measures, performance measures and activity-based management.

DELIVERABLES: SAS Activity-Based Management imports information from our accounting system, calculates a model and exports information for reporting purposes. SAS Strategic Performance Management calculates a score for managers to compare to prior periods and other programs.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Support has been awesome. SAS was on site to install the software on my schedule. Any technical support I request is addressed within hours, and the people are very knowledgeable.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is easy to follow and understand.

SAS Activity-Based Management and Strategic Performance Management
SAS Institute Inc.
100 SAS Campus Drive
Cary, NC 27513
(919) 677-8000
www.sas.com

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