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Southeast Corporate Federal Credit Union Sees Applix TM1 as the Tool of Choice for Analytic Applications

  • October 01 2004, 1:00am EDT
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REVIEWER: Dan McGowan, vice president of financial reporting and analysis for Southeast Corporate Federal Credit Union.

BACKGROUND: Headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, Southeast Corporate Federal Credit Union (FCU) has approximately $4 billion in assets. Southeast Corporate exists to provide business and financial services to other credit unions; membership is comprised of almost 470 credit unions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Southeast Corporate is one of the highest rated financial institutions in the country, as reflected by its AA rating from Standard & Poor's.

PLATFORMS: Applix TM1, TM1 Web and Turbo Integrator run on Windows 2003 Server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Southeast Corporate had a general ledger system housed on a legacy mainframe system with limited report-writing capability and no analytics functions. The process of creating financial statements was overwhelmingly complicated, labor intensive, time-consuming and subject to organizational error ­ human or computer. The system overburdened my team with the mechanics of producing financial statements without giving us the analytical abilities we needed. TM1, with Turbo Integrator and TM1 Web, simplified the general financial reporting and analysis and gave us analytic capabilities for budgeting and forecasting. Additionally, our departmental budget comparative reports were equally cumbersome and were limited to only three broad reporting groups by geographic location. For internal management accountability, control and analysis, there was a compelling need to better define functional workgroups.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: TM1 is a great example of how powerful one person with the right tool can be. TM1's dimensions, cubes and rules enable me to quickly organize financial data while using Excel for compliance reporting templates. With TM1, we have a comprehensive solution for reporting and performing financial analysis on data, not only from the general ledger, but from other sources as well.

STRENGTHS: Key strengths of using TM1, TM1 Web and Turbo Integrator include templates and security settings for Excel both on the desktop and over the Web. Additionally, the ability to use the TM1 dimension hierarchies along with Microsoft Excel is extremely useful for building stable models in the Excel environment. The TM1 add-in functions combined with Excel's native functions give the user power that was not available previously. Once set up, TM1 requires very little maintenance time ­ we only depend on our IT department to make certain the basic network infrastructure is up and running.

WEAKNESSES: We've been very happy with Applix products, but we would like to see TM1 Web include more support for macro features in Excel, such as pull-down boxes and radio dials.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We had three primary criteria: price, power and user friendliness. Over the course of my career, I have seen a number of vendor presentations, and while there are some impressive products on the market, I've never found anything to beat the combination delivered by TM1.

DELIVERABLES: TM1 enabled us to expand our reporting so that we now track results of 30 departments and management reporting groups. With TM1 Web we can distribute departmental financials through our company intranet to our management team. Additionally, our managers are able to directly key-in their budgets through TM1 Web while simultaneously viewing the current year's budget and actual results. Additionally, as part of our business, we need to adhere to and report on federal compliance policies. TM1 enabled us to create report templates, reducing the amount of manual labor and opportunities to insert errors into the reporting process.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Applix has responded promptly to our questions, and we are pleased with the support that Applix has provided.

DOCUMENTATION: I personally administer the TM1 server and TM1 Web server. As a controller, I've been able to easily understand and work with the documentation provided by Applix.

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