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Stork NV Uses BPM Tools to Meet International Accounting Standards and Improve Operational Efficiencies

  • February 01 2004, 1:00am EST
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CATEGORY: Business Performance Management

REVIEWER: Bram van Iddekinge, manager of management control and reporting for Stork NV.

BACKGROUND: Stork NV is one of the longest-perating companies in the Netherlands, with its roots going back to 1827. The company specializes in increasing production efficiencies around industrial processes.

PLATFORMS: The applications run on three Compaq servers running Windows 2000 and utilize SQL Server as a database.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Stork needed better insight into how each business unit was performing across regions to meet its goal of growing its profitability and operational efficiencies. Therefore, we decided to implement a business performance management (BPM) solution. As a large global enterprise with multiple regions of operations and multiple business units that must adhere to various international accounting standards, our system for analyzing performance was to have each region and business unit prepare Excel spreadsheets, which were then forwarded to headquarters and loaded into Hyperion Enterprise. The team at headquarters would then perform analysis on the output from Enterprise using Excel and create a static report that was delivered back to the regions and business units. This method took weeks and didn't allow for collaboration or drill-down analysis within the strategic units. Therefore, we were not able to adequately react to the data, nor did we have sufficient data for gaining overall insight into how to improve the company's performance. We needed tools to help us connect the dots between regional and unit-level performance with regard to overall business performance. More importantly, we needed to know what changes would have the most impact on how the company performs as a whole. At the same time, we had to comply with many new accounting regulations across the globe.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Hyperion worked with us to implement a complete solution, which included Hyperion Financial Management, Hyperion Strategic Finance, Hyperion Reports and Hyperion Analyzer. Our various regions and business units began to input their data via Hyperion's Web-enabled tools. We dramatically decreased our throughput times from weeks to hours. Now, almost all entities have their data in by 1:00, and we have our results to the board of directors by 4:00.

STRENGTHS: The Hyperion solution was fast to implement and has given us a very flexible solution for viewing and analyzing real company data.

WEAKNESSES: Because we began the implementation process on an earlier release of the products, we initially ran into some difficulties integrating with various systems and connecting entities in remote countries. In addition, the software was only optimized for two processors, and we were running four. Therefore, we had to switch off a two- processor machine to run the software. Hyperion responded quickly to the issues and worked closely with us to resolve both problems.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We first did a market survey on the different solutions available. We then narrowed our choices to Cognos, Hyperion and SAS. Stork was already using Hyperion Enterprise and had been pleased with the product and the relationship with Hyperion. After looking at the other tools available, Stork chose Hyperion because of the strong relationship between the companies and the capabilities and flexibility of the products.

DELIVERABLES: Our level of insight into company performance and operations has dramatically improved. Each region can input their data according to their local accounting practices and standards and translate it to corporate standards. We are all looking at the same data and can easily analyze the data from various perspectives. We then create key performance indicator (KPI) sheets with specific financial and nonfinancial performance indicators. This information is delivered via dashboards to board members and executives, giving them an up-to- date overview of the company's performance. One version of the truth across all areas of the company enables us to make better decisions and improve efficiencies and profitability.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We have a strong relationship with Hyperion, and their support on Hyperion Enterprise was excellent. In fact, it was a main criteria for us choosing to implement their products for an overall BPM solution. The best part of working with them is their flexibility and responsiveness.

DOCUMENTATION: We did not use an outside partner to help us, as the implementation process was well- covered in training and documentation from Hyperion.

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